Bestselling ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ Turns 70

Autobiography of a Yogi, one of the most recognizable books on the topic of yoga and India’s spiritual wisdom, is celebrating 70 years in continuous print this December. Written by Indian guru Paramahansa Yogananda and published by the spiritual organization Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), Autobiography of a Yogi depicts Yogananda’s childhood, miraculous interactions with saints and sages, 10 years of training in the hermitage of a revered yoga master, and a lifetime of searching for divine truth.

 “It tells the life story of Yogananda himself, as a seeker of spiritual wisdom and higher consciousness,” said Brother Chidananda, a monk in SRF’s monastic community who serves as editorial director of its publishing arm.  “It’s a universal story—applicable to millions of people with the same aspirations.”

Autobiography of a Yogi has benefited from the increased popularity of yoga and meditation practices in recent years, and in 2013, sales for the book nearly tripled after former Apple CEO Steve Jobs requested that it be gifted to everyone attending his memorial service. Sales spiked again in 2014 with the release of the documentary Awake: The Life of Yogananda. Current trends in religion and spirituality, including the growing number of nones, or religiously unaffiliated people, have also boosted the book’s ongoing relevance. 

The SRF estimates that there are several million copies of Autobiography of a Yogi currently in print around the world. This year alone, the publisher printed 90,000 copies in English, while 85,000 copies ran in 45 other languages.

 

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