Review: Coming Home: Finding Shelter in the Love and Wisdom of Paramahansa Yogananda
Publisher: White Pearl Press
I must admit a fascinating story engages our curiosity, emotions and our imaginations. Listening to someone narrating his or her own unique story enables us to have a peek of a world or way of life that may be or substantially different from our own. And when we recognize life as they perceive it or walk in their shoes, the understanding can inspire empathy within them.
With Coming Home: Finding Shelter in the Love and Wisdom of Paramahansa Yogananda, Margaret Wolff has put together a mixture of candid first-person accounts narrated by fourteen storytellers from divergent backgrounds, religions, occupations, and varied geographic locations.
Their accounts contain common threads as the aspiration for something to believe in, living with richer significance, embracing the spirit of kindness, and mindful of the dissatisfaction and impermanence inherent in the external experience.
These thought-provoking personal descriptions in the collection speak to our times' challenges, especially that we are now experiencing a global pandemic with far-reaching consequences.
They do not just transmit knowledge; they convey understanding. Many have endured a humdrum existence without meaning, and they long for something higher. Something takes place that signals them forth in an adventure.
Initially, they hesitate but ultimately accept the invitation, and this emerges in their attraction to Paramahansa Yogananda, who has been called “The Father of Yoga” in the West. They sense they were “handpicked” in discovering Yogananda, and for each, it is like coming home.
The writers tell us they first stumbled upon Yogananda's teachings with the reading of his Autobiography of a Yogi, which was published in 1946. They further explain that the Autobiography resonated within them, and they reveal such emotions as: “the Truth above Spirit and creation, Oh my God! I knew there was more to the story! This is who we are! Why we’re here! What life is about! I couldn’t wait to turn every next page. The biggest thing I’ve learned since coming to the path is that I don’t really know anything. That’s a big relief!”
We are informed that a good deal of Yogananda’s insightful teachings stress all religions' underlying oneness, the blending of spirituality into everyday living, and super-conscious living. Also, people are more important than things, and adherence to right action.
It should be noted, The Autobiography has sold millions of copies and has been hailed as one of the 100 Best Spiritual Books of the Twentieth Century. It has been translated into twenty different languages and is worldwide a spiritual classic.
If you are curious about who is Paramahansa Yogananda, Wolff tells us in her opening pages that Yogananda was born in India in 1893 under the name of Mukunda. At seventeen, he was drawn to Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, his enlightened master who guided his spiritual journey. At twenty-five, Mukunda took vows as a monk of the ancient Swami Order and was given the name Yogananda-bliss, ananda, through divine union, yoga. The religious title, Paramahansa, was later given to him by his guru. He was the first yoga master of India to take up permanent residence in the United States, arriving in Boston in 1920. He filled some of the largest halls in American cities with his spiritual campaign. In 1935 he incorporated the Self-Realization Fellowship(SRF), headquartered in Los Angeles and has grown to include over 500 temples and centers worldwide.
Notwithstanding that you may not connect to any of these storytellers, they will nonetheless stir your curiosity and probably motivate you to walk your spiritual adventure.
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