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Man's Eternal Quest (Collected Talks & Essays On Realizing God In Daily Life)

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Item Code: NAG909
Author: Paramahansa Yogananda
Publisher: Yogoda Satsanga Society of India
Language: English
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 9788189535032
Pages: 520
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.0 inch X 5.5 inch
Weight 570 gm
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Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
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Book Description
About The Book

Paramahansa Yogananda's Collected Talks and Essays present in-depth discussions of the vast range of inspiring and universal truths that have captivated millions in his Autobiography of a Yogi. Readers will find these talks alive with the unique blend of all-embracing wisdom, encouragement, and love for humanity that have made the author one of our era's most revered and trusted guides to the spiritual life.

For all who have ever sought to understand the enigmas of life, for those who have held within their hearts an uncertain hope about the reality of God, and for seekers who have already turned toward the Supreme in their quest, this anthology of talks offers practical guidance and illuminating insights.


The first time I beheld Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, he was speaking before a vast, enraptured audience in Salt Lake City. The year was 1931. As I stood at the back of the crowded auditorium, I became transfixed, unaware of anything around me except the speaker and his words. My whole being was absorbed in the wisdom and divine love that were pouring into my soul and flooding my heart and mind. I could only think, "This man loves God as I have always longed to love Him. He knows God. Him I shall follow." And from that moment, I did.

As I felt the transfiguring power of his words on my own life during those early days with Paramahansaji, there arose within me a feeling of the urgent need to preserve his words for all the world, for all time. It became my sacred and joyous privilege, during the many years I was with Paramahansa Yogananda, to record his lectures and classes, and also many informal talks and words of personal counsel-truly a vast treasure-house of wondrous wisdom and God-love. As Gurudeva spoke, the rush of his inspiration was often reflected in the swiftness of his speech; he might speak without pause for minutes at a time, and continue for an hour. While his hearers sat enthralled, my pen was flying! As I took down his words in shorthand, it was as though a special grace had descended, instantly translating the Guru's voice into the shorthand characters on the page. Their transcription has been a blessed task that continues to this day. Even after such a long time-some of my notes are more than forty years old-when I start to transcribe them, they are miraculously fresh in my mind, as though they had been recorded yesterday. I can even hear inwardly the inflections of Gurudeva's voice in each particular phrase.

The Master seldom made even the slightest preparation for his lectures; if he prepared anything at all, it might consist of a factual note or two, hastily jotted down. Very often, while riding in the car on the way to the temple, he would casually ask one of us: "What is my subject today?" He would put his mind on it, and then give the lecture extemporaneously from an inner reservoir of divine inspiration.

The subjects for Gurudeva's sermons at the temples were set and announced in advance. But sometimes his mind was working in an entirely different vein when he began to speak. Regardless of the "subject for today," the Master would voice the truths engrossing his consciousness at that moment, pouring forth priceless wisdom in a steady stream from the abundance of his own spiritual experience and intuitive perception. Nearly always, at the close of such a service, a number of people would come forward to thank him for having enlightened them on a problem that had been troubling them, or perhaps for having explained some philosophical concept in which they were particularly interested.

Sometimes, while he was lecturing, the Guru's consciousness would be so uplifted that he would momentarily forget the audience and converse directly with God; his whole being would be overflowing with divine joy and intoxicating love. In these high states of consciousness, his mind completely at one with the Divine Consciousness, he inwardly perceived Truth, and described what he saw. On occasion, God appeared to him as the Divine Mother, or in some other aspect; or one of our great Gurus, or other saints, would manifest in vision before him. At such times, even the audience would feel deeply the special blessing bestowed on all present. During such a visitation of Saint Francis of Assisi, whom Gurudeva deeply loved, the Master was inspired to compose the beautiful poem, "God! God! God!"

The Bhagavad Gita describes an enlightened master in these words: "The Self shines forth like a sun in those who have banished ignorance by wisdom" (V:16). One might have been over- awed by Paramahansa Yogananda's spiritual radiance, were it not for his warmth and naturalness, and a quiet humility, which put everyone instantly at ease. Each person in the audience felt that Gurudeva's talk was addressed to him personally. Not the least of the Master's endearing qualities was his understanding sense of humour. By some choice phrase, gesture, or facial expression he would bring forth an appreciative response of hearty laughter at just the right moment to drive home a point, or to relax his listeners after long and intense concentration on a particularly deep subject.

One cannot convey in the pages of a book the uniqueness and universality of Paramahansa Yogananda's vivid, loving personality. But it is my humble hope, in giving this brief background, to afford a personal glimpse that will enrich the reader's enjoyment and appreciation of the talks presented in this volume.

To have seen my Gurudeva in divine communion; to have heard the profound truths and devotional outpourings of his soul; to have recorded them for the ages; and now to share them with all-what joy is mine! May the Master's sublime words open wider the doors to unshakable faith in God, to deeper love for that One who is our beloved Father, Mother, and Eternal Friend.


This volume of talks by Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda is for all who have ever known disappointment, dissatisfaction, discouragement, sorrow, or an unfulfilled spiritual longing. It is for those who have sought to understand the enigmas of life; for those who have held within their hearts an uncertain hope about the reality of God and the possibility that He could be known; and for seekers who have already turned toward God in their quest. May it be, for each reader, a ray of divine light on the path, bringing new life and inspiritation and a sense of direction. God is all things to all people.

Man's Eternal Quest is a book about God: about God's place in man's life; in his hopes, will, aspirations, accomplishments. Life, man, achievement-all are but manifestations of the one omnipresent Creator, as inseparably dependent on Him as the wave is dependent on the ocean. Paramahansaji explains why and how man was created by God, and how he is immutably a part of God, and what this means to each one personally. Realization of the oneness of man and his Creator is the whole essence of Yoga. An understanding of man's inescapable need for God, in every aspect of living, removes the otherworldliness from religion and makes knowing God the basis of a scientific and practical approach to life.

As a man of God, and as an authority on the ancient divine science of Yoga, Paramahansa Yogananda has received the highest credentials from his spiritual contemporaries, and from readers of his works in all parts of the world-the literary and general public as well as his followers. That he has also received the ultimate commendation from the Supreme Authority is amply attested to by the manifest blessings of God on his exemplary life, and by the infinitely beautiful, uniquely edifying responses he received from God in vision and divine communion. This comment in Review of Religions, published by Columbia University Press, is typical of the acclaim received by Paramahansa Yogananda's earlier work, Autobiography of a Yogi: "There has been nothing before, written in English or in any other European language, like this presenta- tion of Yoga." The San Francisco Chronicle wrote: "Yogananda presents a convincing case for yoga, and those who' came to scoff' may remain to pray." From Schleswig-Holsteinische Tagespost, Germany: "We must credit this book with the power to bring about a spiritual revolution." Of Paramahansa Yogananda himself, Swami Sivananda, founder of the Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, said: "A rare gem of inestimable value, the like of whom the world is yet to witness, Paramahansa Yogananda has been an ideal representative of the ancient sages and seers, the glory of India." His Holiness the Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram (1894-1994), revered spiritual leader of millions in South India, wrote of Paramahansaji: "As a bright light shining in the midst of darkness, so was Yogananda's presence in this world. Such a great soul comes on earth only rarely, when there is a real need among men. We are grateful to Yogananda for spreading Hindu philosophy in such a wonderful way in America and the West."

Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda was born in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, on January 5, 1893. He had a remarkable childhood that clearly indicated his life was marked for a divine destiny. His mother recognized this and encouraged his noble ideals and spiritual aspirations. When he was only eleven, the loss of his mother, whom he loved above all else in this world, made firm his inherent resolve to find God and to receive from the Creator Himself the answers yearned for in every human heart. He became a disciple of the great Jnanavatar (incarnation of wisdom) Sri Sri Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri. Sri Yukteswarji was one of a line of exalted gurus, with whom Yoganandaji had been linked from birth: Sri Yogananda's parents were disciples of Sri Sri Lahiri Mahasaya, guru of Sri Yukteswarji. When Yoganandaji was an infant in his mother's arms, Lahiri Mahasaya had blessed him and foretold: "Little mother, thy son will be a yogi. As a spiritual engine, he will carry many souls to God's kingdom." Lahiri Mahasaya was a disciple of Sri Sri Mahavatar Babaji, the deathless master who revived in this age the ancient science of Kriya Yoga. Praised by Bhagavan Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, and by Patanjali in the Yoga Suttas, Kriya Yoga is both a transcendent technique of meditation and an art of living that leads to union of the soul with God. Mahavatar Babaji revealed the sacred Kriya to Lahiri Mahasaya, who handed it down to Sri Yukteswarji, who taught it to Paramahansa Yogananda.

When in 1920 Paramahansa Yogananda was deemed ready to begin his world mission of disseminating the soul-liberating science of Yoga, Mahavatar Babaji told him of the divine responsibility that was to be his: "You are the one I have chosen to spread the message of Kriya Yoga in the West. Long ago I met your guru Yukteswar at a Kumbha Mela, I told him then I would send you to him for training. Kriya Yoga, the scientific technique of God-realization, will ultimately spread in all lands, and aid in harmonizing the nations through man's personal, transcendental perception of the Infinite Father."

Paramahansa Yogananda began his mission in America as a delegate to the International Congress of Religious Liberals in Boston in 1920. For more than a decade he travelled the length and breadth of America, speaking almost daily to capacity audiences in all the major cities. On January 28, 1925, the Los Angeles Times reported: "The Philharmonic Auditorium presents the extraordinary spectacle of thousands ... being turned away an hour before the advertised opening of a lecture with the 3000-seat hall filled to its utmost capacity. Swami Yogananda is the attraction. A Hindu invading the United States to bring God .... " It came as no small revelation to the West that Yoga-so eloquently expounded and clearly interpreted by Sri Yogananda-is a universal science, and that as such it is indeed the" essence" of all true religions.

In Los Angeles in 1925, Paramahansa Yogananda founded the international headquarters for Self-Realization Fellowship, the society he had started in India in 1917 as Yogoda Satsanga Society of India.

In the late 1930s Paramahansaji began to withdraw gradually from nationwide public lecturing. "I am not interested in crowds," he said, "but in souls who are in earnest to know God." Thereafter, he concentrated his efforts on classes for serious students, and spoke mostly at his own Self-Realization Fellowship temples and the international headquarters. The selections in this volume are talks given primarily during this period.

Paramahansa Yogananda had often voiced this prediction: "I will not die in bed, but with my boots on, speaking of God and India." On March 7, 1952, the prophecy was fulfilled. At a banquet in honour of the Ambassador of India, B. R. Sen, Paramahansaji was a guest speaker. He delivered a soul-stirring address, concluding with these words from a poem he had written, "My India": "Where Ganges, woods, Himalayan caves and men dream God- I am hallowed; my body touched that sod!" He then lifted his eyes upward and entered mahasamadhi, an advanced yogi's conscious earth-exit. He died as he had lived, exhorting man to know God. The Guru's talks in the earliest years of his ministry were recorded only spasmodically. But when Sri Sri Daya Mata became a disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda in 1931, she undertook the sacred task, faithfully recording, for the generations to come, all of her Guru's talks and classes. This volume is but a sampling: under the direction of Paramahansa Yogananda, many transcriptions -particularly those containing private instruction and meditation techniques and principles given to Yogoda Satsanga/Self-Realization class students-were compiled along with some of his writ- ings into a series of Yogoda Satsanga Lessons; other talks appear as a regular feature in Yogoda Satsanga annual-series booklets. Second and third anthologies, The Divine Romance and Journey to Self-Realization, are companion volumes to Man's Eternal Quest.

As most of the talks set forth in this book were presented before audiences familiar with Yogoda Satsanga/Self-Realization teachings, some clarification of terminology and philosophical concepts may be helpful to the general reader. To this end, many footnotes have been included; also a glossary explaining certain Sanskrit words, and other philosophical terms, and giving information about events, persons, and places associated with the life and work of Paramahansa Yogananda. It may be noted here that unless otherwise indicated the quotations from the Bhagavad Gita in this volume are from Paramahansa Yogananda's own translations, which he rendered from the Sanskrit sometimes literally and sometimes in paraphrase, depending on the context of his talk. For most Gita quotations in this edition of Man's Eternal Quest, we have used the definitive version given by Paramahansaji for his comprehensive translation and commentary: God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita-Royal Science of God-Realization (published by Yogoda Satsanga Society of India in 2002). In talks where he was rendering a Gita passage more freely in order to emphasize a specific point, the paraphrase has been retained and noted as such in the footnote citation.

Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda could have said, with Jesus, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (Matthew 5:17). Paramahansaji honoured all religions and their founders, and held in respect all sincere seekers of God. Part of his world mission is "to reveal the complete harmony and basic oneness of original Yoga as taught by Bhagawan Krishna and original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ." (See Aims and Ideals, Page 465.) Far from introducing a divisive dogma to the world, Paramahansaji showed that the practice of yoga establishes an inner attunement with God that constitutes the universal basis of all religions. Abstractions of theoretical religion pale before actual experience of God. Truth cannot be wholly proved to any seeker by anyone else; but by the practice of yoga, the aspirant can prove truth for himself through his own experience.

God is; and each man who will seek Him sincerely will know Him. Man can have no life or power to act, think, or feel without borrowing that power from God. Therefore, Paramahansaji pointed out, knowing God is not only a privilege and a divine duty, but a practical necessity. Why should man grovel in self-insufficiency when he can tap the Source of all power and fulfillment?

The wisdom in this volume is not the studied learning of a scholar; it is the empirical testimony of a dynamic spiritual personage whose life was filled with inner joy and outer accomplishment, a world teacher who lived what he taught, a Premavatar whose sole desire was to share God's wisdom and love with all.


1How Seekers First Found God3
2The Universality of Yoga13
3The Infinite Nature of God21
4Answered Prayers32
5Making Religion Scientific44
6Understanding the Unreality of Matter55
7Man's Greatest Adventure60
8Self-Analysis: Key to the Mastery of Life73
9Healing by God's Unlimited Power81
10Eliminating the Static of Fear From the Mind Radio91
11Nervousness-Cause and Cure98
12The Physical and Spiritual Rewards of Fasting102
13Self-realization: Criterion of Religion108
14The Desire That Satisfies All Desires121
15In God Is All Happiness133
16How to Be More Likable139
17Developing Personality149
18The Divine Art of Making Friends155
19The True Experience of Spiritual Ecstasy160
20Three Paths to Cosmic Consciousness165
21Be a Smile Millionaire172
22Lord, Possess Us With Thy Love180
23Controlling Your New Year's Destiny184
24How to Outwit Temptation192
25Curing Mental Alcoholics199
26Overcoming Malignant Moods203
27Reincarnation Can Be Scientifically Proven211
28Reincarnation: The Soul's Journey to Perfection216
29Will Jesus Reincarnate Again?229
30The Dream Nature of the World237
31God's Nature in the Mother and the Father246
32Looking at Creation With Seeing Eyes251
33The Invisibal Man261
34What Are Ghosts?269
35Jesus: A Christ of East and West283
36Christ and Krishna: Avatars of the One Truth294
37The Ten Commandments: Eternal Rules of Happiness308
38How to Read Character317
39How to Be Happy at Will324
40Steps Toward the Universal Christ Consciousness328
41Even-Mindedness in a World of Change337
42The Balanced Life (Curing Mental Abnormalities)347
43Increasing the Power of Initiative353
44Who Made God?360
45The Missing Link Between Consciousness and Matter364
46Is God a Father or a Mother?370
47The Art of Developing Memory380
48Man's Eternal Quest386
49The Art of Living399
50Habit-Your Master or Your Slave?404
51Creating and Destroying Habits at Will410
52Developing Dynamic Will420
53Seek God Now!431
54Why Waste Time? God Is the Joy You Seek439
55God as Light and Joy448
56Have I Found God?455
57The Purpose of Life Is to Find God457
58God! God! God! (poem)462
**Contents and Sample Pages**

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