Born in India, Paramhansa Yogananda was the first yoga master to spend the majority of his life in America, revealing the truths and unity of all religions. His teachings were fresh, entertaining, and filled with deep insight. This combination made him extremely popular in a land ready for a new perspective of its ancient spiritual heritage, and for a practical approach to knowing God.
The Los Angeles Times wrote of him during one of his early lecture tours:
“The Philharmonic Auditorium presents the extraordinary spectacle of thousands being turned away an hour before the advertised opening of a lecture, with the 3000-seat hall filled to its utmost capacity. Swami Yogananda is the attraction. A Hindu invading the United States to bring God in the midst of a Christian community, preaching the essence of Christian doctrine.”
Yogananda came to the West to bring the science of Kriya Yoga and a new non-sectarian interpretation of the great scriptures of East and West. His mission was not only for those disciples who were fortunate enough to be with him, but for the world, to uplift humanity as a whole.
His Autobiography of a Yogi has sold millions of copies and is published in many languages worldwide, making it perhaps the best-selling spiritual autobiography of all time. Written in 1946, it has been translated into 19 languages and is used in colleges as a textbook in Yoga and Indian philosophy.