Stories of Yogananda's Youth
The author, Swami Kriyananda, a direct and close disciple of Yogananda, writes: "In this book I have tried to depict Yogananda's spirit; a spirit ardent with love for God, tender with sympathy for all men, forgiving, kindly, humorous, yet resolute and forceful when strength was needed."
From the preface:
Paramhansa Yogananda was born in India in the last decade of the nineteenth century. His father, a high official in the Bengal-Nagpur railway, was in a position to offer his children worldly security and success. Mukunda's heart, however, was set on another kind of security and another, higher, kind of success: final victory over ignorance through loving union with God. Spurning earthly comforts, he sought rigorous training under one of India's greatest living gurus, Swami Sri Yukteswar, of Serampore, Bengal.
People often make the mistake of equating the spiritual life with dullness and prudery. These stories should help to dispel that illusion. Mukunda's keen sense of humor and love of pranks often startled his more sedate neighbors out of their mental ruts. The personality that emerges from these episodes is joyous, compassionate, childlike yet fiercely determined, loyal, deeply in love with God, and capable of standing alone in his convictions against the very world.
These stories have been written from true episodes in the master's life from approximately the ages of six to seventeen. Some of the accounts were related to me by his relatives; others, by childhood friends. But the greater number were told me by the master himself. I have taken no liberties with those accounts beyond adding superficial details for poetic emphasis, an occasionally combining separate episodes (too brief to stand alone) into a single story.
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