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
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
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."—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