We were discussing some major themes in Autobiography of a Yogi with a group of close friends. This great spiritual classic is so rich in expansive wisdom that every time I open it, I find some new truths revealed. It no doubt provides unique inspiration for each person who reads it, according to the level of their own spiritual understanding.

During the discussion, one of our friends shared a thought that had never occurred to me. “The Autobiography,” he said, “can be seen as a Dwapara Yuga epic in which many problems occur, but are all resolved with the understanding that energy and consciousness, not matter and form, are the ultimate reality.” What a brilliant insight!

Throughout the book, Master faces many challenges large and small, all of which are overcome by faith and divine intervention: being healed of deadly cholera by Lahiri Mahasaya’s intercession through his photo; passing his high school exams through the help of a scholarly friend and a Sanskrit verse in an empty lot; finding his guru standing before him in Benares after desperately searching for him; overcoming his brother Ananta’s skepticism through his courage and faith during his penniless journey to Brindaban.

Through these stories and many more like them, Master is teaching us invaluable lessons. First, don’t expect life to be easy, even for devotees. Here is a wonderful affirmation Master gave us: “Life is a struggle for joy all along the way. May I fight to win the battle on the very spot where I now am.” Accept that difficulties are a part of the spiritual path, and go into the fray with strength and courage.

yogananda painting of strength and faithMaster is also showing us how to detach from any problem and approach it with the understanding that only consciousness is real. Another affirmation he’s given us is: “When fear or anger or any kind of suffering comes to me, I will view it as a spectator. I will separate myself from my experiences. At all costs I will endeavor to retain my peace and happiness.” Behind the form of every test is the opportunity to transcend it and to grow spiritually. By holding firmly to this thought, we come to understand what Master also teaches us: “There are no obstacles, only opportunities.”

Finally (for the purpose of this brief blog, because one could go on at length) his autobiography shows us that, come what may, God is always protecting and guiding us. Faith in Him/Her is the best tool we have to face and overcome all of our problems.

Speaking for each one of us, Yoganandaji declares: “My earthly experiences serve as a process of destruction of my limiting mortal delusions. In God even the most ‘impossible’ dreams are realized. (‘I will give him the morning star.’ —Revelations 2:28)” This “morning star” is the divine light which shines within us, revealing God’s unwavering presence in our life.

As I write these words, Jyotish and I are in Mumbai for the last few days before returning to America after four months of traveling and teaching. My heart is filled with gratitude and joy as I realize how smoothly everything has gone. In the face of a myriad of possible problems, each step has been filled with protection and grace. When challenges have come, we’ve been given the strength to face them with joy.

In part this is true because we’ve offered our life and our service to God and Guru. Perhaps the Autobiography’s most important lesson for overcoming problems is this: Give your service, your devotion, your life wholeheartedly to God. In time you will behold, hidden behind every test, His smiling face.

With love and joy,

Nayaswami Devi

P.S. Watch this video of children from an orphanage near the Mumbai ashram, who are being taught by devotees according to Education for Life principles. Their song seems to fit perfectly with the thoughts I’ve been sharing.

Listen to Devi as she first reads the blog, then expands on its meaning and messages for readers with behind-the-blog commentary. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (9:33):


  1. Perfect timing from you and Master thankyou that eased my evening so much 🙏☮💜

  2. Thank you for your joyful presence in India. Wishing you a safe journey back. Wishing you ever more joy and light.💕🌷🙏

  3. I wonder if you, beautiful soul, as a representative of Ananda could offer me some guidance. In 2017 I had a profound spiritual awakening, and since have encountered myriad trials and tribulations, but yet the call remains. I do not know in which direction to go as my home is in Northern MN, and this country, this place does not offer me the opportunities in education, certification, or training that I believe is my next step to teach the truth I believe which is the same Truth that Paramahansa Yogananda came to those many years ago. I am college educated and believe in the power of that to get to where we are each intended, but the ministry programs in the United States are all focused on Christianity, which is not in alignment with my beliefs. Do not get me wrong, I would have loved to meet Jesus and believe in him and all the angels and saints that surround him, but my true core belief is in self-realization. To that end, I am wondering if you feel to share any words of wisdom or advice with me. I am ready to advance to the next portion of my journey. As a teacher by heart and training, that is where I am feeling called. Is that as a pastor, a guide, an educator, I know not.

    Thank you for reading this lengthy inquiry. I did not know where else to turn.

    In humble gratitude & honor,
    Jill Bellefeuille (formerly Eidenschink)

  4. Oh boy, I thought that was a private comment. Sorry dear readers.

  5. 🙏 So inspiring! Thanks Devi! Have a safe flight to USA. Many blessings to Jyotish and you 🙏

  6. Grazie ,grazie, grazie “dietro ogni sfida c’è il Volto di Dio” .Che meraviglia e che sollievo! grazie

  7. Beautiful!

    Jai guru devs
    Jai Sathya Sai
    Jai Yoganandaji
    Jai Holy Spirit

    Thanks so much, your reminder comes at just the right time

  8. Beautifully written and the perfect reading to wake up to. The day will be bright.

  9. Yes, God is protecting and guiding us, as one can see in one’s own life. Let us not turn away from that and stay open for this fact.

  10. Finding my way, finding my way.
    What are the words to the song the children are singing at the orphanage.

    It is a beautiful video.
    Thank you.

  11. mm

    Thank you 🙏 for this ray of divine love and light that comes through your blog! In the deepest gratitude and love 🕉🕉🕉

  12. I love so much the film of the children! All Joy and Happinez.
    I have the Autobiography of my father translate in Dutch in 1954.
    The old Dutch language it is written is very flowery. It is different as the translations in new release. But the stories are the same.

  13. Thank you Devi. That video is so cute! I watched it like 7 times in a row.

  14. Dear Devi,
    Thank you once again for advice to live by. I can hardly wait to greet you later today and welcome you home.
    I know we need to share your wonderful love and energy with others, but miss it when you are gone.
    See you soon.


  15. You’re words are always such an inspiration to me. You must be so close to Master to be so helpful to us all. Thank you for being a voice of truth and love which the world needs so much today.

  16. Wow, if that video of the children from the orphanage singing doesn’t put a smile on one’s face I don’t know what will! Lovely to see some familiar, beaming faces from Mumbai. Well, it’s good to be back in the USA and great to have you all back in the village- welcome home, friends 💙

  17. Invaluable wisdom!
    Thank you, Bless you, Welcome home!

    Beautiful children filled with Light!

  18. All problems are there to test us and show us the ultimate reality.
    Thanks for the timely reminder.

  19. Thank you so much for reminding us that every challenge is actually to be seen as an opportunity.

  20. This email blog feels like a confirmation from Life/God.
    The part about separating oneself from the suffering you experience and viewing it as a spectator is a thought that seems to have just ‘dropped’ into my consciousness a short while ago – I even had a dream about this.
    I am grateful to have read this.
    Thank you for sharing with us 🙏🏽

  21. Thank you so much. You’re words are always so comforting and inspiring! I loved the video too! 💖

  22. Thank you very much for sending this email. It is very valuable to me. ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ is a great book to understand the Power of Spiritualism. It is helping me to go into deeper understanding. I am into my own research of certain aspects of Life & it being a part of Universal Spiritual Force.
    I could resolve so many questions myself but trying to know more for my Book.
    KL Prasad

  23. Love this , a very timely reminder of what’s important and everything is done for a reason ,this is exceedingly hard to fathom at times ,however with patience and an open heart the road forward is easily seen .

  24. Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,

    Thank you for sharing this blog.
    “That is right”… I am exclaiming this and it’s wonderful to reflect on the accounts from AY after reading the blog from the perspective you shared.
    The video was amazing… thank you for sharing… what a wonderful seva.
    Safe travels back to the Village.


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