New Thought Library is an online public library with free eBook and audio downloads.
Links to downloads for Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda are at the bottom of this web page
This library should make your reading, research and writing projects easier.
Fully processed books have yellow page scan links to check text accuracy.
File numbers for .jpg and .htm files etc... match the original page numbers for accuracy and ease of use.
This enables writers to create reference links for research or publication. Use it, send in additions and keep in mind that your support means more free books, better processing and more downloads.
I Return to the West
"I have given many yoga lessons in India and America; but I must
confess that, as a Hindu, I am unusually happy to be conducting a
class for English students."
My London class
members laughed appreciatively; no political turmoils ever disturbed
our yoga peace.
India was now
a hallowed memory. It is September, 1936; I am in England to fulfill
a promise, given sixteen months earlier, to lecture again in London.
is receptive to the timeless yoga message. Reporters and newsreel
cameramen swarmed over my quarters at Grosvenor House. The British
National Council of the World Fellowship of Faiths organized a meeting
on September 29th at Whitefield's Congregational Church where I
addressed the audience on the weighty subject of "How Faith
in Fellowship may Save Civilization." The eight o'clock lectures
at Caxton Hall attracted such crowds that on two nights the overflow
waited in Windsor House auditorium for my second talk at nine-thirty.
Yoga classes during the following weeks grew so large that Mr. Wright
was obliged to arrange a transfer to another hall.
tenacity has admirable expression in a spiritual relationship. The
London yoga students loyally organized themselves, after my departure,
into a Self-Realization Fellowship center, holding their meditation
meetings weekly throughout the bitter war years.
weeks in England; days of sight-seeing in London, then over the
beautiful countryside. Mr. Wright and I summoned the trusty Ford
to visit the birthplaces and tombs of the great poets and heroes
of British history.
little party sailed from Southampton for America in late October
on the Bremen. The majestic Statue of Liberty in New York
harbor brought a joyous emotional gulp not only to the throats of
Miss Bletch and Mr. Wright, but to my own.
The Ford, a
bit battered from struggles with ancient soils, was still puissant;
it now took in its stride the transcontinental trip to California.
In late 1936, lo! Mount Washington.
holidays are celebrated annually at the Los Angeles center with
an eight-hour group meditation on December 24th (Spiritual Christmas),
followed the next day by a banquet (Social Christmas). The festivities
this year were augmented by the presence of dear friends and students
from distant cities who had arrived to welcome home the three world
Christmas Day feast included delicacies brought fifteen thousand
miles for this glad occasion: gucchi mushrooms from Kashmir,
canned rasagulla and mango pulp, papar biscuits, and
an oil of the Indian keora flower which flavored our ice
cream. The evening found us grouped around a huge sparkling Christmas
tree, the near-by fireplace crackling with logs of aromatic cypress.
Presents from the earth's far corners --- Palestine, Egypt, India, England,
France, Italy. How laboriously had Mr. Wright counted the trunks
at each foreign junction, that no pilfering hand receive the treasures
intended for loved ones in America! Plaques of the sacred olive
tree from the Holy Land, delicate laces and embroideries from Belgium
and Holland, Persian carpets, finely woven Kashmiri shawls, everlastingly
fragrant sandalwood trays from Mysore, Shiva "bull's eye"
stones from Central Provinces, old Indian coins of dynasties long
fled, bejeweled vases and cups, miniatures, tapestries, temple incense
and perfumes, swadeshi cotton prints, lacquer work, Mysore
ivory carvings, Persian slippers with their inquisitive long toe,
quaint old illuminated manuscripts, velvets, brocades, Gandhi caps,
potteries, tiles, brasswork, prayer rugs --- booty of three continents!
One by one I
distributed the gaily wrapped packages from the immense pile under
Gyanamata!" I handed a long box to the saintly American lady
of sweet visage and deep realization who, during my absence, had
been in charge at Mt. Washington. From the paper tissues she lifted
a sari of golden Benares silk.
you, sir; it brings the pageant of India before my eyes."
The next parcel contained a gift which I had bought in a Calcutta
bazaar. "Mr. Dickinson will like this," I had thought
at the time. A dearly beloved disciple, Mr. Dickinson had been present
at every Christmas festivity since the 1925 founding of Mt. Washington.
At this eleventh annual celebration, he was standing before me,
untying the ribbons of his square little package.
cup!" Struggling with emotion, he stared at the present, a
tall drinking cup. He seated himself some distance away, apparently
in a daze. I smiled at him affectionately before resuming my role
as Santa Claus.
evening closed with a prayer to the Giver of all gifts; then a group
singing of Christmas carols.
and I were chatting together sometime later.
he said, "please let me thank you now for the silver cup. I
could not find any words on Christmas night."
the gift especially for you."
years I have been waiting for that silver cup! It is a long story,
one I have kept hidden within me." Mr. Dickinson looked at
me shyly. "The beginning was dramatic: I was drowning. My older
brother had playfully pushed me into a fifteen-foot pool in a small
town in Nebraska. I was only five years old then. As I was about
to sink for the second time under the water, a dazzling multicolored
light appeared, filling all space. In the midst was the figure of
a man with tranquil eyes and a reassuring smile. My body was sinking
for the third time when one of my brother's companions bent a tall
slender willow tree in such a low dip that I could grasp it with
my desperate fingers. The boys lifted me to the bank and successfully
gave me first-aid treatment.
years later, a youth of seventeen, I visited Chicago with my mother.
It was 1893; the great World Parliament of Religions was in session.
Mother and I were walking down a main street, when again I saw the
mighty flash of light. A few paces away, strolling leisurely along,
was the same man I had seen years before in vision. He approached
a large auditorium and vanished within the door.
I cried, 'that was the man who appeared at the time I was drowning!'
and I hastened into the building; the man was seated on a lecture
platform. We soon learned that he was Swami Vivekananda of India.1 After he had given a soul-stirring talk, I went forward to meet
him. He smiled on me graciously, as though we were old friends.
I was so young that I did not know how to give expression to my
feelings, but in my heart I was hoping that he would offer to be
my teacher. He read my thought.
son, I am not your guru.' Vivekananda gazed with his beautiful,
piercing eyes deep into my own. 'Your teacher will come later. He
will give you a silver cup.' After a little pause, he added, smiling,
'He will pour out to you more blessings than you are now able to
Chicago in a few days," Mr. Dickinson went on, "and never
saw the great Vivekananda again. But every word he had uttered was
indelibly written on my inmost consciousness. Years passed; no teacher
appeared. One night in 1925 I prayed deeply that the Lord would
send me my guru. A few hours later, I was awakened from sleep by
soft strains of melody. A band of celestial beings, carrying flutes
and other instruments, came before my view. After filling the air
with glorious music, the angels slowly vanished.
evening I attended, for the first time, one of your lectures here
in Los Angeles, and knew then that my prayer had been granted."
We smiled at
each other in silence.
eleven years now I have been your Kriya Yoga disciple,"
Mr. Dickinson continued. "Sometimes I wondered about the silver
cup; I had almost persuaded myself that Vivekananda's words were
only metaphorical. But on Christmas night, as you handed me the
square box by the tree, I saw, for the third time in my life, the
same dazzling flash of light. In another minute I was gazing on
my guru's gift which Vivekananda had foreseen for me forty-three
years earlier --- a silver cup!"
1 The chief disciple of the Christlike master Sri
Back to text
Links to Additional Media for Keep A True Lent by Charles Fillmore such as audio and ebooks are located at the bottom of this web page.