The New Path tells the story of a young American’s spiritual quest, his discovery of the powerful classic, Autobiography of a Yogi, and his subsequent meeting with-and acceptance as a disciple by-the book’s author, the great spiritual teacher and yoga master, Paramhansa Yogananda.
Swami Kriyananda is an extraordinary narrator: He recreates the vibrancy of his guru’s presence, remembers Yogananda’s words with perfect clarity, and communicates to the reader the depth of their meaning. Through Kriyananda’s eyes and words, you’ll be transported into Yogananda’s immediate presence as you learn the highest yogic teachings.
The New Path provides a marvelous sequel to Paramhansa Yogananda’s own Autobiography of a Yogi, helping you to gain a more profound understanding of this great world teacher. Through hundreds of stories of life with Yogananda and through Swami Kriyananda’s invaluable insights, you’ll discover the inner path that leads to soul-freedom and lasting happiness.
Swami Kriyananda Speaks About His Book The New Path, My Life with Paramhansa Yogananda
Preface to The New Path
Foreword to The Path, 1977
List of Illustrations
1. The Pilgrim Whittles His Staff
2. He Sets Out from Home
3. Storm Clouds
4. A Temporary Haven
5. The Storm Breaks
6. A Paper Rest House: the “Popularity Game”
7. To Thine Own Search Be True
8. Joy Is the Goal
9. He Gathers Strength for the Climb
10. Intellectual Traps
12. “Who Am I? What Is God?”
13. A Search for Guide-Maps
14. Joy Is Inside!
15. A Map Discovered
16. The Pilgrim Meets His Guide
17. Mt. Washington Estates
18. First Impressions
19. The First Days of a Neophyte
20. Twenty-Nine Palms
21. Paramhansa Yogananda
23. God Protects His Devotees
24. True Teaching Is Individual
25. Work vs. Meditation
26. The Ministry
29. Gardens—Mundane and Spiritual
30. A Divine Test
31. The Bhagavad Gita
32. “I Am Spirit”
33. “Original Christianity”
34. Kriya Yoga
35. Organizing the Monks
36. The Wave and the Ocean
37. The Guru’s Reminiscences
38. His Last Days
39. Spiritual Service
40. A New Way of Life
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Since the first publication of this book thirty years ago, it has appeared in several editions and languages. Recently I reread it, and decided that, after so many years, it could do with revision. And though the same number of years of my own life have passed also, bringing me now to the age of eighty-two, I decided not to bring the reader comparably up to date on my own life. Essentially, indeed, this book was never intended to be an autobiography so much as an account of my life with Paramhansa Yogananda. My basic purpose was to tell about his life from the perspective of a disciple. This would, I felt, fill a much neglected need.
I’ve written here about the deep humility which caused him, in his autobiography, to relate more about other great saints he had known than about himself. Indeed, the average reader might receive the impression from that autobiography that the author himself was not even a master, but simply a devout, earnest spiritual seeker who had had the good fortune to meet all those saints.
What I have done here, then, is complete the story of his life from an objective point of view. In this sense, I might indeed have titled this book A Gospel of Paramhansa Yogananda, were it not for the fact that I have also written other books, containing hundreds more of his sayings.
This book is also, and primarily, a sequel to Yogananda’s autobiography, which, I am told, has become the best-selling spiritual autobiography of all time, and is still, after more than sixty years, among the ten best-selling spiritual books in the world.
The underlying saga of my own life has been universal in that it has been mostly a search for truth. Thus, this book is really more concerned with principles than with persons or events.
My story—detailed in Part I of this book—begins with my boyhood search. I sought by many paths: scientific, political, artistic, literary, dramatic, religious, philosophical, and (finally) spiritual. My hope is that this book will touch a receptive chord in others, for what I have dealt with here is a search that is central to the life of every man.
One day a disciple asked Yogananda, “Will I ever leave the spiritual path?”
“How could you?” the Master asked. “Everyone in the world is on the spiritual path.”
This book is an attempt to demonstrate the truth of those words.
I met Paramhansa Yogananda on September 12, 1948, at the age of twenty-two. I had just read his autobiography. It had inspired me to take the next bus across the country (from New York to Los Angeles, where he lived). So deeply had his book affected me that the first words I addressed to him—they would have been inconceivable for me even one week earlier—were, “I want to be your disciple.”
The Guru must have seen how desperate I was for the truths he had to share, for he accepted me at that very meeting as a monastic disciple. From then on, I lived with him for the remaining three and a half years of his life, and have served him and his work throughout my life.
January 31, 2009
Chapter 15: A Map Discovered
As soon as possible after my return to White Plains I went to Bowling Green, in New York City, to apply for a merchant mariner’s card. I received the card on August 24 with the classification, “Ordinary seaman, messman, wiper.” I was told it was now only a question of waiting for a ship that would give me a berth. I hoped to ship out as soon as possible.
Meanwhile I helped Mother to pack. On her sailing date, I accompanied her to the dock in New York and saw her safely off on her journey. Next I went down to Bowling Green to see if any ship had come in. No luck: “Come back in a few days.” With most of the afternoon still before me, I went uptown to browse at Brentano’s, a famous bookstore on Fifth Avenue.
At Brentano’s I got into a discussion on spiritual matters with a sales clerk, who showed me a few books by Thomas Merton, the young Protestant Christian who had converted to Roman Catholicism and had then become a Trappist monk. I was intrigued, though I didn’t feel personally attracted. It was the catholicity—which is to say, the universality—of India’s teachings that had won my devotion.
From Brentano’s I went further up Fifth Avenue to another bookstore: Doubleday-Doran (as it was named then). Here, I found an entire section of books on Indian philosophy—the first I had ever encountered. Hungrily I feasted my gaze on the wide variety of titles: The Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, books on yoga. I finished scanning these shelves, then stood up to go over them again. This time, to my surprise, the first book I saw, standing face outward on the shelf, was one I hadn’t noticed at first. The author’s photograph on the cover affected me strangely. Never had I seen any face radiate back to me so much goodness, humility, and love.
Eagerly I picked up the book and glanced again at its title: Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramhansa Yogananda. The author, I saw, lived in America—in California! Was this someone at last who could help me in my search? As I leafed through the first pages of the book, the first words to catch my attention were: “Dedicated to the memory of Luther Burbank, an American saint.”
An American saint? But, how preposterous! How could anyone become a saint in this land of the “almighty dollar”? this materialistic desert? this. . . . I closed the book in dismay, and returned it to its place on the shelf.
That day I bought my first book of Indian philosophy—not Autobiography of a Yogi, but Sir Edwin Arnold’s beautiful translation of the Bhagavad Gita. Eagerly I took this treasure home with me to Scarsdale, where I had temporarily rented a private room. For the next couple of days I fairly devoured what I read, feeling myself to be soaring through vast skies of wisdom.
By this sign is [the sage] known
Being of equal grace to comrades, friends,
Chance-comers, strangers, lovers, enemies,
Aliens and kinsmen; loving all alike,
Evil or good.
What wonderful words! Thrilled, I read on:
Yea, knowing Me the source of all, by Me all creatures wrought,
The wise in spirit cleave to Me, into My being brought. . . .
And unto these—thus serving well, thus loving ceaselessly—
I give a mind of perfect mood, whereby they draw to Me;
And, all for love of them, within their darkened souls I dwell,
And, with bright rays of wisdom’s lamp, their ignorance dispell.
These marvelous teachings were dispelling all my doubts. I knew now, with complete certainty, that this was the right path for me.
The day after I finished my first reading of the Bhagavad Gita, I returned to New York, intending to visit Bowling Green and see if any ship had come in. I was walking down Seventh Avenue toward the subway, the entrance to which was on the far side of the next cross street, when I recalled the book I’d rejected so summarily on my last visit to the city: Autobiography of a Yogi. As I remembered that beautiful face on the cover, I felt a strong inner prompting to go buy it. I thrust the thought firmly out of my mind.
“That isn’t what I’m looking for,” I told myself. Chuckling, I added, “An American saint, indeed!” Resolutely I continued to walk toward the subway.
The thought returned: “How can you know what the book is really like, if you won’t even read it?”
“No!” I repeated. I then offered reasons: “I’ve got to stop reading books; I’m too intellectual as it is. Besides, if I’m ever to become a hermit, I’m going to have to save money, not continue to spend it!”
I reached the corner, and was proceeding toward the curb ahead of me, when I felt that an actual force was turning me left, toward Fifth Avenue. I’d never experienced anything like this before. Amazed, I asked myself, “Is there something in this book that I’m meant to read?” Unresisting now, I hastened forward, eager to reach Doubleday-Doran.
On entering the store, I made straight for the shelves of Indian books and bought Autobiography of a Yogi. As I turned to leave, I bumped into Doug Burch, that friend from Scarsdale High School who had introduced me to Nick’s and to Dixieland jazz. We exchanged news briefly. Doug began to describe in glowing terms his plans for a career in radio and advertising. The more he talked, the more closely I hugged to my heart this increasingly precious acquisition.
Imperceptibly, my doubts about it had vanished. I felt as though Yogananda shared my dismay at the shining prospects Doug was describing—a way of life that, to me, spelled desolation. My new book in hand, I felt suddenly as though this Indian yogi and I were old friends. The world and I were strangers, but here was one human being—the very first!—who knew and understood me. And I hadn’t yet even met him, physically!
I waited until I’d reached my room in Scarsdale before opening the book. And then began the most thrilling literary adventure of my life.
Autobiography of a Yogi is the story of a young Bengali Indian’s intense search for God. It describes a number of living saints he met on his journey, especially his own great guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar. It also describes, more clearly than any other mystical work I have ever read since, the author’s experiences with God, including the highest one possible, samadhi: mystical union. In chapter after chapter I found moving testimony to God’s living reality, not only in infinity, but in the hearts and lives of living human beings. I read of how Yogananda’s prayers, even for little things, had been answered, and of how, by placing himself unreservedly in God’s hands, his unanticipated needs had been met unfailingly. I read of intense love for God such as I myself yearned to possess; of a relationship with Him more intimate, more dear than I had dared to imagine possible.
Until now, I had supposed that a life of meditation might give me, at best, a little peace of mind. But here I discovered, all at once, that the fruit of the spiritual life is a love and bliss “beyond imagination of expectancy”!
Until recently I had doubted the value of prayer, except perhaps as a means of uplifting oneself. But now I learned, and could not for a moment doubt, that God relates individually, lovingly, to each and every seeker.
Miracles abound in this book. Many of them, I confess, were quite beyond my powers of acceptance at the time. Instead of dismissing them, however, as I would certainly have done had I read about them in almost any other book, I suspended my incredulity. For the spirit of this story was so deeply honest, so transparently innocent of pride or impure motive that it was impossible for me to doubt that its author believed implicitly every word he wrote. Never before had I encountered a spirit so clearly truthful, so filled with goodness and joy. Every page seemed radiant with light. As I read Autobiography of a Yogi, I alternated between tears and laughter: tears of pure joy; laughter of even greater joy! For three days I scarcely ate or slept. When I walked it was almost atiptoe, as if in an ecstatic dream.
What this book described, finally, was the highest of sciences, Kriya Yoga, a technique that enables the seeker to advance rapidly on the path of meditation. I, who wanted so desperately to learn how to meditate, felt all the excitement of one who has found a treasure map, the treasure in this case being a divine one, buried deep within my own being!
Autobiography of a Yogi remains the greatest book I have ever read. One perusal of it was enough to change my whole life. From that time on, my break with the past was complete. I resolved in the smallest detail to follow Paramhansa Yogananda’s teaching.
Finding that he recommended a vegetarian diet, I immediately renounced meat, fish, and fowl. He could have recommended a diet of bread and water, and I’d have adopted that diet without a qualm.
For, more than anything else, what this book gave me was the conviction that in Yogananda I had found my Guru, my spiritual teacher for all time to come. Only a few days earlier I hadn’t even known this strange word, guru. I hadn’t known anything about yoga, or reincarnation, or karma, or almost any of the basic precepts and terminology of Indian philosophy. Now, incredibly, I felt such deep and utter trust in another human being that, ignorant of his philosophy though I was, I was willing to follow him to the end of life. And while I had yet to meet him, I felt, as I had on seeing his face on the cover of the book, that he was the truest friend I had ever known.
The day after becoming a vegetarian I was invited by friends of my family, Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Gibson, to lunch at their home. To my combined amusement and dismay, the main dish consisted of chicken a la king. Not wanting to hurt my friends’ feelings, I compromised by pushing the chicken bits to one side and eating the vegetables in their chicken sauce.
George Calvert, on whose father’s farm Bob and I had worked after my graduation from high school, had invited me the following day to lunch at his parents’ home, and to a polo game afterwards. This time I had no choice but to refuse the thick, juicy hamburger sandwich that his mother offered me. To make matters still more awkward, George had considerately provided me with a date! I must have seemed strange company indeed, eating hardly anything, and paying as little attention to the girl as politely possible, from the opposite end of the room. (Yogananda was a monk: I, too, would be a monk.) The polo game gave me an opportunity for a little surreptitious meditation, so I didn’t view the game as a total loss.
Later that day I met my brother Bob and Dean Bassett, a friend of ours, at Nielson’s, an ice cream parlor in Scarsdale village. Dean had been voted the “biggest wolf” in my senior high school class. He and Bob were discussing Dean’s favorite subject: girls.
I listened in silence for a time. At last I protested, “Don’t you see? Desire only enslaves one to the very things he desires!”
Bob and Dean gazed at each other quizzically. “What’s wrong with him?” Dean asked.
It was years before I realized that comprehension, like a flower, must unfold at its own pace. Until a person is ready to embrace a truth, even the clearest logic will not make it acceptable to him.
As soon as I finished reading Autobiography of a Yogi, my impulse was to jump onto the next California-bound bus. But I didn’t want to be impulsive, so I waited a whole day! I even debated for several hours whether it might not be wiser for me to go to sea, as I’d first planned, and there meditate a few months before making such an important decision. But of course I knew already that it was the right decision. The following day I packed my bag and took an early train into New York City.
My godfather, Dr. Winthrop Haynes, had been sympathetically concerned for my future. He and his wife were like second parents to me; I didn’t feel I could leave New York without bidding him farewell. On my way to the bus station, therefore, I stopped by his office at Rockefeller Center. Finding him out of his office, I left a note on his desk with the message, “I’m going to California to join a group of people who, I believe, can teach me what I want to know about God and about religion.” This was the first intimation I had given anyone that God was my true goal in life.
I took the next available westbound bus. Thereafter, for four days and four nights, my home was a succession of long-distance buses.
My break with the past was so sudden, so complete that I sometimes ask myself whether some very special grace had not been needed to make it possible. I wonder what I’d have done, for example, if Mother had still been in America. Would I have had the courage to take such a drastic step? Who knows? She would almost surely have opposed my directions, unprecedented as they were. After all, what did I know of the Indian teachings? Nothing! And here I was, planning to devote my entire life to them.
Had Mother been there, would she have succeeded in deflecting me from my purpose? The question has become academic, but even so, wasn’t it remarkable that
it was the very day I put Mother on her ship to Cairo that I discovered the book that was to change my life?
Strange indeed are God’s ways! I was to see much of them in the years that followed. Never have they ceased to make me marvel.
Winner of the Eric Hoffer Award for “Best Self-Help/Spiritual Book of 2010”
Winner of USA Book News “Best Spirituality Book of 2010”
“Reading Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda was a transformative experience for me and for millions of others. In The New Path: My Life with Paramhansa Yogananda, Swami Kriyananda carries on this great tradition. Highly recommended.”
—Dean Ornish, MD, Founder and President, Preventive Medicine Research Institute, Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, author of The Spectrum
“Swami Kriyananda has written a compelling and insightful account of his own life, as well as revealing his remembrances of Paramhansa Yogananda. Completely revised and updated, The New Path is filled with profound reflections, insights, experiences, challenges, and spiritual wisdom. Required reading for every spiritual seeker. I heartily recommend it.”</p
—Michael Toms, Founder, New Dimensions Media, author of True Work and An Open Life: Joseph Campbell in Conversation with Michael Toms
“[T]he teaching, the message, and the life of Paramhansa Yogananda are illuminated in a way that makes it possible for us to not only easily access his timeless wisdom, but—through the elegantly easy-to-follow explanations and the living example of one of Master’s most devoted disciples—actually apply Eternal Truth to our present-day life. It is impossible for me to think of a greater gift that humanity could receive at this critical time in our evolution as a species, and I am personally and forever grateful to Swamji for this blessed offering.”
—Neale Donald Walsch, author of Conversations with God
“Not only did Kriyananda walk in the footsteps of an enlightened master, The New Path makes it obvious that he himself became an embodiment of Yogananda’s teachings.”
—Michael Bernard Beckwith, author of Spiritual Liberation~Fulfilling Your Soul’s Potential
“By following the disciplines in this book, we can experience the realization that we are not our mind, thoughts or feelings but are actually the pure essence of God. . . . Swami Kriyananda’s great work on his life with Paramhansa Yogananda will inspire each person on the journey from avidhya [ignorance] to vidhya [spiritual knowledge].”
—Dr. Vasant Lad, BAM&S, MASc, author of The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies and the “Textbook of Ayurveda” series
“Yogananda was one of the towering figures who first brought the wisdom of the East to Western shores. We are incredibly fortunate to have Swami Kriyananda’s personal account of his experiences with this great master. A highly readable—at times even magical—book, The New Path chronicles Kriyananda’s indefatigable quest for authentic spiritual insight.”
—Linda Johnsen, author of Daughters of the Goddess: The Women Saints of India
“For nearly thirty years the life and teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda have deeply resonated a truth within us as we have read daily from his works. We have felt a great debt to his devoted disciple Swami Kriyananda who has labored so diligently to make his Master’s teachings known to the world. How thrilled we are to learn that after thirty years of memories and additional insights, Swami Kriyananda has given his book The Path a rebirth as The New Path. Our great and earnest wish is that another generation of students will find their own paths greatly illuminated by this deeply moving book.”
—Brad and Sherry Steiger, authors/coauthors of Revelation: The Divine Fire and 170 books of metaphysics and mysticism
“[Swami Kriyananda’s] account of his life with [Paramhansa Yogananda] and his teachings is so candid and engaging it’s a book hard to put down. For spiritual truth-seekers everywhere, this is the definitive sequel to Autobiography of a Yogi.”
—Sandra Briggs, Kindred Spirit magazine
“The New Path is a true masterpiece, a valuable guide for the sincere seeker of truth and spirituality. It addresses the common problems faced by everyone on the spiritual path. . . . [E]very page is a piece of supple, clear, elevating, spiritual literature . . . .”
—D. R. Kaarthikeyan, former Director, Central Bureau of Investigation and National Human Rights Commission, former Director General, Central Reserve Police Force, India
“Autobiography of a Yogi literally changed my life. It was the first book I read when I began my spiritual journey, and now The New Path has reignited my passion for Yogananda and the journey itself. This is a book with rare insights and profound truths.”
—James Twyman, author of The Moses Code and Emissary of Light
“It is not easy to describe this remarkable work with mere words—only time itself can reveal the importance of its ageless message. The New Path gives us a glimpse of Paramahansa Yogananda, one of the most beloved saints of modern times, through the eyes of a direct disciple—and what a view! Lucid, inspiring and life changing, Swami Kriyananda takes us on a journey of tears, laughter and joy. This is a good book!”
—Walter Cruttenden, author of Lost Star of Myth and Time
“[T]his book is . . . a great boon to mankind, as great as the Autobiography of a Yogi which [Yogananda, Kriyananda’s guru] wrote. Kriyananda Swamiji’s mission in life is to bring the glories of his master to the eyes of this new age, and he has indeed succeeded in this wonderful work which gives us an intimate glimpse into the life of that great and noble soul, a true avatar of the rishis of old. I have no doubt that it will inspire as many people in this 21st century as Autobiography of a Yogi did in the 20th century.”
—Mata Devi Vanamali, Vanamali Ashram, Rishikesh, author of The Play of God: Visions of the Life of Krishna and Sri Lila Devi: The Play of the Divine Mother
“Insightful, inspiring and uplifting. A gift, not only for everyone who has been touched by Yogananda and his teachings, but to every seeker on the path.”
—Deva Premal and Miten, musicians, composers of The Essence, Soul in Wonder and other works
“Amazing! The New Path is a wonderful twinning of Swami Kriyananda’s autobiography and Paramhansa Yogananda’s biography! The openness and the honesty of the author are captivating. In deceptively simple words he tells an incredible story. It is hard to believe, but good to know, that such deep and sincere spirituality can flourish in today’s America. The New Path also shows Hindu-Christian dialogue practiced at a depth hardly paralleled anywhere else. This is a wonderful book: a joy to read and a true inspiration!”
—Klaus K. Klostermaier, FRSC, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Former Head of Department of Religion and Director of Asian Studies, The University of Manitoba, Canada, author of A Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism and other works
“The words of Swami Kriyananda lead us to a fearlessness that is without anger, hate and terror. Swami Kriyananda gives us inspiration for introspection. It is like the fearlessness of Gandhi that only inspired love and trust in others.”
—Tara Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, Vice Chairperson, Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust
“The New Path gives voice to why Americans—or modern people of any nationality—become attracted to the path of spirituality set forth in the Yoga tradition. Yoga suggests—even shouts—that the world of the spirit goes far beyond the obvious, the mundane, the trivial. Through stories of personal inspiration, and with great honesty, Swami Kriyananda narrates his relationship with his guru, Paramhamsa Yogananda, and his selfless service within the Self-Realization Fellowship and beyond. Having had the gift of personal transformation through direct transmission from the guru, Swami Kriyananda’s memoir inspires the reader to strive for personal and social betterment, searching for truth, and finding truth in selfless service.”
—Christopher Key Chapple, Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology, Editor of Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology, Loyola Marymount University
“In The New Path we can find the divine wisdom which allows us to understand and heal our lives.”
—Bernie Siegel, MD, author of 365 Prescriptions for the Soul
“The New Path is a Godsend for anyone seeking enlightenment. Every page shines with deep wisdom and integrity, beautifully revealing the timeless principles for finding God. If you enjoyed reading Autobiography of a Yogi, you will find The New Path a deeply moving sequel, as Swami Kriyananda shares hundreds of stories from his life as a close disciple of the great master, Paramhansa Yogananda, artfully including the reader, so that we, too, can be blessed by the great master’s life and counsel.”
—Joseph Bharat Cornell, author and founder of Sharing Nature Worldwide
“Truly a ‘Gospel of Paramhansa Yogananda,’ The New Path makes readers feel that they are living with Yogananda, experiencing his guidance and blessings, basking in his divine radiance. I am deeply grateful to Swami Kriyananda for bringing to life the personality and nature of this great man of God. Just as the disciples of Christ captured in words their spiritual master for the benefit of millions, Swami Kriyananda has perfectly depicted his guru for the ages. What a blessing to encounter a disciple/biographer with such deep attunement and a keen understanding of his teacher’s nature and mission, combined with a profound gift of words. The New Path is a masterpiece, a modern spiritual classic, and one of the best-kept secrets of spiritual literature.”
—Richard Salva, author of The Reincarnation of Abraham Lincoln and Walking with William of Normandy
“Swami Kriyananda has done it again—that is, he has succeeded in writing a book (The New Path) about his guru, Paramhansa Yogananda, that inspires us about the guru-disciple relationship. . . . A must-read for spiritual afficionados.”
—Amit Goswami, quantum physicist, author of God is Not Dead, Creative Evolution, and The Self-Aware Universe
“[The New Path] gives to the reader a rare insight [into] Yogananda’s spiritual journey through . . . stories and anecdotes. The book is full of dialogues between the Guru and [disciple]. As one reads from . . . page to page, one feels as if one is in the company of both Yogananda and Kriyananda. The book makes . . . fascinating reading.”
—Dr. S. B. Mujumdar, Chancellor, Symbiosis International University, Pune, India
“Swami Kriyananda’s narrative is a uniquely American and human story. It affords us a rare first-hand account of the history and development of the religious movement that brought the tradition of Yoga to the West. It is, at the same time, a profound personal memoir of the special relationship of nurture and demand that exists between teacher and student in this tradition. Paramhansa Yogananda’s impact on the religious landscape of the United States is significant and enduring. Swami Kriyananda’s chronicle deepens our understanding of the early origins of this movement and the powerful religious appeal of its founder.”
—Anantanand Rambachan, Professor and Chair, Religion Department, St. Olaf College
“The New Path is a beautiful account of the experience of working with a great master. It’s a book to be treasured for the breadth and depth of its portrayal of one of the great saints of our time as well as the devotion of its author.”
—Swami Chetanananda, Director of The Nityananda Institute, author of The Breath of God
“The New Path completes the spiritual content of Autobiography of a Yogi. Swami Kriyananda reveals the innermost teachings from the wisdom attained by being a close disciple of the Master Paramhansa Yogananda. The inner circle experiences, the Western adaptation to the ancient yogic science, the insightful stories and the presence of Paramhansa Yogananda’s energies make the book the ultimate read for those who are on the path of Light.”
—Nandhi, yogi, artist, musician, and spiritual teacher, Ariven Turiya Sakti Temple
“I had long hungered for a glimpse of what it was like to receive Paramhansa Yogananda’s personal training—as well as a better understanding of Yogananda himself. Swami Kriyananda has provided both more vividly than I would have thought possible. The New Path is invaluable for anyone seeking spiritual growth. Although set in the context of one man’s spiritual journey, it is in fact a priceless guide for us all. This book is a manual for Yoga as it truly is: not merely a physical discipline, but the art and science of finding true, lasting happiness.”
—Gyandev Rich McCord, author, Director of Ananda Yoga Worldwide
“Swami Kriyananda walks us hand-in-hand through the journey of his youthful longing, his incredible discipleship with Paramhansa Yogananada, and his own experiences of sharing teachings with others. Finally, Swami Kriyananda explains the need for cooperative spiritual communities in which we can all move towards Realization. The New Path . . . should be read by anyone who shares a deep longing for the higher, deeper Truths while still living in our modern, often chaotic world.”
—Dandi Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati, yogi, spiritual teacher
“It was a pleasure reading The New Path, Swami Kriyananda’s spiritual autobiography. It is a paradox that although America remains largely devoted to the pursuit of the material, it also welcomes those who are in search of higher truth. Kriyananda’s life story communicates his sense of excitement as he found his spiritual path after meeting Paramhansa Yogananda. It adds to the account of Yogananda’s own story through his last years.”
—Subhash Kak, Professor, Asian Studies and Cognitive Science, Louisiana State University, author of The Wishing Tree, The Astronomical Code of the Rgveda, and other books
“I recommend The New Path to anyone who would like to know more about the life and teachings of Yogananda . . . . Swami Kriyananda did an excellent job writing this important book.”
—Shankerprasad S. Bhatt, reporter and author of Prayers of all Religions of the World
“It was by divine design that I had the privilege in 1958 of drinking the nectar of the inspiring Kriya Yoga message of holistic spirituality in Autobiography of a Yogi by the great, enlightened Guru, Sri Paramhansa Yoganandaji. It is by divine design again that I have the privilege of going through The New Path: My Life with Paramhansa Yogananda by Yogananda’s knowledgeable disciple Swami Sri Kriyanandaji. . . . This illustrious work serves as a guidebook for a peaceful and spiritually, intellectually, and materially prosperous, happy, healthy living—free from overconsumerism and narrow egoistic attitudes—treating the entire globe as one family.”
—Dr. Ram Karan Sharma, Former President of the International Association of Sanskrit Studies, author of Elements of Poetry in the Mahabharata
“Swami Kriyananda has written two autobiographies. The first was entitled The Path and was presented as the autobiography of an American yogi, a direct disciple of Sri Paramhansa Yogananda, a Hindu monk whose Autobiography of a Yogi (New York: Philosophical Press, 1946) has become one of the most widely read and translated works of its genre in the English language. Two years later, another monk, a Christian, published his own autobiography: this is Thomas Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain, which became the Catholic bestseller of 1948-49 and is, like Yogananda’s autobiography, still in print.
“While the Autobiography of a Yogi bore witness to the holiness and virtues of Hindu, Christian, and non-denominational mystics (it is dedicated to Luther Burbank, “an American saint,” and exalts the spiritual greatness of Therese Neumann, the stigmatist of Konnersreuth), Merton’s literary masterpiece was marred by his youthful convert fervor, which impeded him from seeing in spiritual persons of other religions anything but “a certain natural charity.” And yet Thomas Merton matured in his faith, and his later works (see especially his posthumous Asian Journal) show a heart grown compassionate and all-embracing, through intense and sincere dialogue with Buddhist masters, such as D. T. Suzuki and the Dalai Lama.
“Kriyananda’s dialogue is mostly interior, between his soul and the abiding spirit of his guru, Sri Yogananda. Of all those who lay claim to Yogananda’s lineage and transmission, Kriyananda is the only one who gives us a three-dimensional portrait of the man whom he and others call Master. The devoted disciple presents Yogananda to us as an avatara, a descent of the divine image into creaturely flesh, but he also makes the guru’s human image more real than that depicted either by other devotees or by critics.
“Above all, we rediscover in Kriyananda’s book the swami whose hermitage was the
whole world. Yogananda did indeed call some of his disciples to a monastic form of life, but others he ordained as yoga-teachers in the married state, who would help him build colonies for families and solitaries, united in the practice of Kriya Yoga, devout meditation, and service to humankind.
“Having known Swami Kriyananda since my freshman year at Occidental College, when I was initiated into Kriya Yoga ten years after he was, I admire the constancy of his quest for divine union, as he shared the human journey of many friends who joined with him to form the Ananda community. We met again when I was a novice at the Camaldolese hermitage in Big Sur (his gentle allusion to our conversations there is no longer in The New Path), and years later in Italy, where I spent more than half of my adult life. I feel I know Swamiji well, and I understand the humility that guided the writing of his second autobiography. The disciple chooses to be shadowed behind the great figure of his guru. The New Path once again shows us, within a totally American context, how ‘The characteristic features of Indian culture have long been a search for ultimate verities and the concomitant disciple-guru relationship’ (Autobiography of a Yogi, page 1).”
—Father Thomas Matus, Camaldolese-Benedictine Monk and Kriyaban, author of Yoga and the Jesus Prayer
“Don’t you find it interesting to read about the spiritual journeys of well-known people? If so, you’ll love this 529-page narrative by a direct disciple of Yogananda. Swami Kriyananda is the founder of the Ananda Church of Self-Realization and in this autobiographical work he tells the story of his life before meeting his guru as well as what occurred afterwards.
“The book . . . is filled with stories and spiritual teachings and is much more than a book to read and set aside. I suggest an initial read to get the overall story and then a second one with marker in hand to note the many deep spiritual truths that are shared. I copied some of them into another notebook, one such as this: ‘As long as you are making the effort, God will never let you down.’
“There are also wonderful pictures of Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda as well as of other people and places of importance to the stories of these spiritual giants. If you read Autobiography of a Yogi, you will thoroughly enjoy this book that pretty much takes up where that book left off. And if you haven’t read it, The New Path will make you want to!”
—Krysta Gibson, New Spirit Journal