Twice, I’ve struggled with reading Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi (AY).
I get to a certain point -somewhere around page 200- and it’s boring. So boring, I simply put it down as I can’t derive anything from it. Now, I feel more than a little guilty about this. When I look at other people’s most loved book lists (and after shuddering at their choice of Eat, Pray, Love), AY is often listed – right up there with the Yoga Sutra.
Now, I’m a tenacious little blighter. I persisted with Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time for five books before coming to the conclusion that the series was like Days of Our Lives in fantasy form (incidentally, Jordan died before he completed the series). I’ve patiently read Kate Elliott’s Crown of Swords series (much better than Jordan if you’re into epic fantasy). Hell, I’ve persisted with my PhD thesis for eight years, which includes a second block of fieldwork and a complete re-write.
I’m not a quitter.
…but when it comes to Autobiography of a Yogi, I hit a wall. Page 200. Smack! And I can’t do it anymore.
As soon as I put the book down, I start to wonder: am I missing out on something? Others seem to adore this book. People claim that it changes their lives. Yogananda outlines his Kriya Yoga system in there. There must be some reason others find it so enlightening. Perhaps I should just head-butt my way past reader’s block?
Another part of me says: chill out. You’re not really finding anything life changing in the text, so read something else.
Is it because I know Yogananda’s story from other biographical accounts? Or is it that his words simply don’t speak to me in the same way that the Yoga Sutras, or Desikachar or Mark Whitwell’s words do?
Whatever it is, I’m feeling a bit left out. Why don’t I get the special message, the vibes, the wisdom from his book? What’s wrong with me that I find it ho-hum, and tune out at page 200? Where’s my bite of the cherry?
Or is it that it’s simply not my cherry to bite?