One of Yogananda’s early disciples was named Brahmacharini Radhalila. She was a person with a very strong personality. And she frequently would say, during the last years of her life, “One day I am going to write a book called The Real Yogananda.” She was living at the SRF headquarters, and everyone would panic at the thought of what she might write, because she was the type of person she was, and also because they wished that a public image of Yogananda be created that would supposedly fit in with people’s spiritual ideas. And just also with the image that they wanted people to have of him.
So there are a lot of stories that people have never heard, because of the intention that Yogananda be sort of a cross between St. Francis and St. Teresa of Avila, rather than the very unique personality that Yogananda had. So here are some things that were told to me by direct disciples of Yogananda who were there when these incidents took place that you might find interesting. Some devotees were visiting here at our monastery, and one evening I just started telling these stories. And here they are.
These include the following stories:
- Brother Bimalananda’s story of how Yogananda surprised the young monks calling out to him at his window.
- The special gift Yogananda gave to an overly-fervent “devotee.”
- How Yogananda would have fun with the disciples at Mt. Washington and how things took a surprising turn.
- How Yogananda would entertain visitors with a drunk act.
- The story of Yogananda and the oversized tricycle in a department store in Los Angeles.
- Yogananda’s mercy to a shop owner down on his luck.
- The SRF nuns with Yogananda at a roadside watermelon stand.
- Why Yogananda stopped driving a car.
- How Yogananda worked a miracle when late for an event.
If you do not see the podcast player above, you can listen to The Real Yogananda–8 Stories of Mischief and Mercy here. The podcast is just under 15 minutes.
NOTE: This is the first of several podcasts from conversations with Abbot George about Yogananda, Gyana Mata, Sri Yukteswar, Babaji, Yogananda devotees, Anandamayi Ma, and other spiritual figures Abbot George has met or has stories about.
Listen to more instructive podcasts on our Podcast Page.