The Book That Changed My Life


Life-changing events and moments may not happen very often. When they do, it can be an experience that affects the rest of your life.

One of these moments happened to me when I was eighteen. I have been forever grateful for this book is the spark, the inspiration, and the breath of Spirit that moved me to start a spiritual journey in life. 


 It was the middle of the night, and I was visiting a friend. We were talking into the late hours, and when I left, she gave me a book titled Autobiography of a Yogi.

There was a photo of an Indian guru named Paramahansa Yogananda. Something about his eyes in the photo was unusual as if the photo captured the energy and love that was emanating from them.

Yogananda was the first yoga master of India whose mission brought him to live and teach in the West. His firsthand account of his life experiences in India includes childhood revelations, stories of his visits to saints and masters in India, and long-secret teachings of yoga. He was the first yogi from India to come to the Western world.

As I read the book, I was amazed at the uniqueness of his story, and the Sanskrit words and names in the book. If there is such a thing as past lives, I know I must have been in India for at least one, maybe many more. The stories, Sanskrit, and descriptions seemed unusually familiar.

I learned recently that Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Computer, also read this book when he was seventeen. Then he traveled to India two years later to try to meet Yogananda, who had died a few months before. While he was there, he reread the book three times. The book was so influential and inspiring that he ended up reading it once a year for the rest of his life.

 I also read Job’s authorized biography by Walter Jacobson, and the book was an important part of his story. Jobs died on October 5 2011. His memorial service was held on October 16 and was attended by hundreds, including famous friends such as Bill Gates. At the end of the service, everyone received a brown box. In the box was a copy of Autobiography of a Yogi. It was Steve Jobs last gift. Check out the YouTube video “Steve Jobs Last Gift.”


 It was also a special gift in my life, and I have read it several times over the years. It changed my life and set me on a path and spiritual journey for the rest of my life that continues today. Yogananda’s photo has always been in my home. Even now, as I write this blog, his photo is right next to my laptop.

 Usually a life-changing event does not happen from just from reading a book. Indeed, it was not only a book that I read. It was the thoughts and energy and spiritual inspiration in between the lines and within the stories told. It was the intense devotion and love of the Divine of Yogananda that so profoundly affected me. I felt that my spiritual awareness opened up as if my consciousness had crossed a new threshold of expanded knowledge and wisdom. For some reason, I was inspired to go into the local foothills and fast on oranges, almonds, and water for three days. I maintained silence and did a lot of meditation. When I came out of the foothills, I was changed. It was the beginning of a lifelong spiritual journey. I never became active in the SRF (Self Realization Fellowship) movement, or in studying his meditation techniques beyond the initial lessons I received by mail. I visited the original world headquarters on Mt Washington near Pasadena, where I lived at the time.
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 To this day, I can glance at those amazing eyes at any time and be reminded of a lifelong spiritual journey that was originally inspired by his book. His photo seems to radiate the spark of the Divine, and I feel deep gratitude for his book being such an inspiration and for life changing experience that I had as a result of reading it. Namaste.


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