Best Self Magazine

Yogananda & Me: The Human Story of a Spiritual Guru

Paramahansa Yogananda and me, by Philip Goldberg, photograph of Buddha by Benjamin Balazs

Photograph by Benjamin Balazs

Philip Goldberg writes the human story of the spiritual guru Paramahansa Yogananda

As an idealistic, inquisitive student in the 1960s, I made what seemed like a radical shift from Marxist, atheist, anti-religious, political activist to questing seeker, enchanted by the philosophical and spiritual insights of the East. Neglecting my assigned course work, I read everything I could about Yoga, Vedanta, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and world mysticism, including Western commentators such as Alan Watts and Aldous Huxley, the fiction of Herman Hesse and J. D. Salinger, and the poetry and song lyrics of artists whose lives and work were influenced by those Eastern spiritual traditions. What I learned was not only revelatory, it was practical, empirical, and transformative. I was hardly alone in making that transition; the counterculture was awash in Indian music,

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