Chris Grosso – The Indie Spiritualist – Ep. 76 – The Life of Yogananda with Philip Goldberg

Chris Grosso - The Indie Spiritualist - Ep. 76 - The Life of Yogananda with Philip Goldberg

Chris sits down with Philip Goldberg to talk about the life of Paramahansa Yogananda and the yogi’s impact on Western spirituality.

Philip Goldberg is the author or co-author of numerous books; a public speaker and workshop leader; a spiritual counselor, meditation teacher and ordained Interfaith Minister. Philip cohosts the Spirit Matters podcast, leads American Veda Tours and blogs regularly on Elephant Journal and Spirituality & Health. Learn more at

Show Notes

East Meets West (Opening) – A child of the 60’s, Philip shares how the culture of activism he was raised informed his outlook and opened him to practices from the East that he has dedicated himself to studying and sharing with others. He and Chris talk about their experiences of first approaching spiritual practice from a position of non-belief.

“There was something about the exposure to Eastern philosophy, in my case from Alan Watts and Aldous Huxley, that resonated with me and I was drawn deeper into it. Even though I had this anti-religious upbringing there was something beyond religion in Eastern practices; it was not Dogma or even speculative philosophy, it had the ring of rationality to it.” – Philip Goldberg

Life of a Yogi (16:55) – Philip looks at the life and teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, the subject of his most recent book. He discusses the unique impact in the West that Yogananda made ahead of the boom of Eastern teachers that would surface in the 1950’s and 60’s.

“Yogananda’s autobiography is so popular even today, 72 years after it was published. One of the reasons for that is that very few renunciates, like he was, write about themselves. They write about knowledge and maybe they write a little bit about themselves and their time with their Guru. Yogananda also wrote about growing up in India and all of these miraculous things he witnessed, there was a taste of a personal quest that you don’t usually get.” – Philip Goldberg

The Message and the Messenger (29:15) – We hear some of the inside stories about Yogananda’s life and approach to practice. Philip and Chris talk about some of the scandals that arose around Yogananda and have a frank conversation about accusations toward spiritual leaders, including Osho (aka Bhagwan Rajneesh) from the recent Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country.

The Real Yogananda (50:15) – Philip shares some of the previously unpublished details about Yogananda’s life that he uncovered during his research. He talks about Yogananda’s struggles around the money needed to so widely share the philosophies of yoga with the Western world.

“Yogananda had to deal with all of the organizational responsibilities of a CEO and entrepreneur when he would much rather have just been meditating. However, he never stopped meditating. He never stopped his sādhanā, that was always his priority but he also had to do this other stuff.” – Philip Goldberg

Mukti, from Open Gate Sangha, shares the impact of Yogananda’s teachings in her practice on Ep.15 of the Shakti Hour Podcast
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Image via Good Chillz