OMTimes Radio Archives

Philip Goldberg - The Life of Yogananda

May 30, 2018

Aired Wednesday, 30 May 2018, 8:00 PM ET

Philip Goldberg – The Life of Yogananda

The word guru is used frequently in modern vernacular to imply an expert or master in a field. We hear about financial gurus, tech gurus and fashion gurus. The word guru comes from Sanskrit and translates as “spiritual teacher” and literally, a dispeller of darkness. When we think of modern gurus, perhaps Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Satya Sai Baba and Swami Satchidananda come to mind, but the first modern “superstar guru” was Yogananda. Ninety-seven years after his arrival in the United States and 65 years after his transition, Paramahansa Yogananda remains the best known and most beloved of all the Indian spiritual teachers who came to the west. This is because of the durability of his teachings and the institutions he created and inspired, including more than 600 centers worldwide, and his landmark memoir, Autobiography of a Yogi. The book has sold millions of copies since its publication in 1946, but there are huge gaps in the story it tells. Yoganada spent more than 39 of his 59 years in America, yet that period takes up less than 10 percent of his book. Major events in his life, including challenges, controversies, relationships, formative experiences, are still unknown even to the most ardent of his devotees.

My guest this week on Destination Unlimited, Philip Goldberg, has meticulously researched the life of Yoganada to share the rest of his story. Philip grew up in Brooklyn, New York and now lives in Los Angeles. A professional writer for more than forty years, he is author and co-author of some 25 books published in more than a dozen languages. He is also a skilled public speaker, workshop leader, spiritual counselor and the co-host of the popular podcast, Spirit Matters. He blogs at Huffington Post and Spirituality and Health, and contributes to other publications. His previous book, American Veda, chronicled the impact of India’s spiritual teachings on the West and was named one of the top ten Religion Books of 2010. His website is and he joins me this week to discuss his just published book, The Life of Yogananda – The Story of the Yogi Who Became the First Modern Guru.