After Yogananda's Passing
states that Yogananda made "further revisions" after the publication
of the 3rd edition, and instructed that these be included in a subsequent
edition. But could these "further revisions" have numbered well
When? How? Why? A careful look at the next editions of Autobiography
of a Yogi after his death will hopefully be helpful in clarifying
The 4th (1952)
edition was also published by Philosophical Library in New York.
Its wording is identical with the 3rd, 1951 edition.
In those days,
as one reads in a later publisher's note, the retypesetting of a
book was costly and difficult. For this reason, SRF explains, the
New York publishing house did not include the revisions which Yogananda
had desired before his death. In fact, the only change one can find
is the addition of an account of Yogananda's mahasamadhi. That page
had been left blank in the 3rd edition.
In late 1953
SRF bought the publishing rights to Autobiography of a Yogi,
and from that time on has published and sold the book. In this 5th
edition one finds only a few changes. Since these changes are the
first ones published after Sri Yogananda's passing, one would assume
that any changes which he had specified would be made in this edition.
Surprisingly, one finds (comparison by hand, not computer) only
four text changes, all regarding footnotes (two deleted and two
added). They concern yoga postures, Yogananda's school, and information
about the Bhagavad Gita.
The 5th edition
carries a new publisher's note. It mentions that SRF bought the
rights to Yogananda's autobiography; the passing of Yogananda and
his phenomenal after-death state; his founding of SRF/YSS to spread
Kriya Yoga worldwide; and Rajarsi Janakananda as the new SRF/YSS
A text, "In
Memoriam," which had appeared in the 4thÝ edition, is deleted.
One finds 27
illustration changes: photos cropped, deleted and added, put in
different places of the book. Lahiri Mahasaya now appears dressed
(a painting, even though Yogananda writes that his "photograph"
is reproduced in this book).
In the 6th edition
one finds that the changes are increasing. As an observation, some
editions of Autobiography of a Yogi mention their changes
in the publisher's note, while others do not. The 3rd and 7th editions
contain such references, and the 5th, 6th, and 8th do not.
mention by the publisher, about 31 text and footnote changes were
made in the 6th edition. The last chapter has been quite condensed,
reducing 4‡ pages to 1‡ pages (mostly the description of Lake Shrine,
"India Hall," and Yogananda's varied activities).
During the opening
ceremonies of Lake Shrine, in 1951, "the audience then witnessed
a remarkable demonstration of SRF boys of scientific asanas (postures)
for health of body and mind." Mention of these asanas is deleted
in this edition.
Two of Yoganandaji's
poems were deleted from this edition: "God, God, God," and "The
Soundless Roar." These poems-considered by many to be among his
most powerful and inspirin-are now gone without explanation.
A new publisher's
note was printed. It adds the death of Rajarsi Janakananda, and
mentions the new president, Sister Daya.
photo changes were made (deleting, adding, cropping, moving, etc.).
In this edition, Sister Daya's photo appears, as the new SRF president.
So does Rajarsi Janakananda's photo.
The SRF "Aims
and Ideals" appear for the first time in this edition. Some
interesting changes are made to these in later editions.
of Gurus of Self-Realization Fellowship
The line of
Gurus now appears at the end of the book, with an explanation of
how to pronounce their names. It is interesting to note that the
guru-line is presented as including five gurus (without specific
mention of Krishna), just as Yogananda had taught. During his lifetime,
he had explained that Krishna was an earlier incarnation of Babaji,
and in his discourses addressed them together, as Krishna-Babaji.
Editions 6-11 of Autobiography of a Yogi describethe line
as consisting of these five gurus. Then, suddenly, many years after
the author's death, changes were made, increasing this original
five to six, including Krishna. The first Autobiography of a
Yogi to mention Krishna as part of the guru-line is the 12th
edition, which was published in 1988.
At this point
one has to take a deep yogic breath. The flood of changes in this
7th edition is quite impressive. One finds over 850 paragraphs and
footnotes with thousands of words now changed. The types of revisions
include grammatical changes, text additions, text deletions, word
changes and rearrangements-with many of these revisions resulting
in major changes to spiritual concepts presented during Yogananda's
lifetime and in earlier editions of the book. Hardly a page is left
finds two explanations in the publisher's note:
1) It first
states that this 7th edition contains revisions made by Paramhansa
Yogananda in 1949 for the London (Rider) edition. The truth that
our study reveals is that of those 495 "Rider changes," only 127
are included in this 7th edition. The natural question is: Why were
only a small percentage of the changes included in this edition?
Yogananda had already included a handful of these "Rider changes"
in his 3rd American edition in 1951 (24 of 495). And, interestingly,
one of these Rider changes had already been included in both the
5th and 6th editions. One might be led to believe by the blanket
statement of the publisher's note that all the changes from
Rider are included in this edition, which would explain over half
of the major changes. An actual comparison reveals that such is
not the case.
2) The publisher's
note states that Yogananda's later revisions, made in 1951, had
not been incorporated into the 5th and 6th editions, because during
those years other duties prevented the SRF editorial department
from undertaking the formidable task of incorporating the author's
revisions on the electrotype plates, and that the work had now been
accomplished in time for this 7th edition.
the earlier editions, one naturally asks, why were other editorial
changes made in the 5th and 6th editions, while Yogananda's "intended
changes" were not incorporated into these editions? Were
the changes made to these editions not Yogananda's? Does
this mean that the editor chose to make her own changes instead
of Yogananda's? If Yogananda had made changes in 1951, why wouldn't
the editor have included them right away, as soon as she started
making any changes in the book? Why this trickle of unimportant
Why were the
changes in the 5th and 6th editions not mentioned anywhere? Was
it because the earlier changes would make it hard for the readers
to believe that the changes in the 7th edition were really Yogananda's?
If we carefully
consider Yogananda's past "revising-behavior," we observe
that for the 1949 Rider-edition (as he wrote) he added material
to the last chapter, and otherwise added footnotes. Similarly, for
the 3rd American edition he added a new chapter, but otherwise he
basically only added footnotes. Is it at all plausible that he later
created this flood of changes, on almost every page?
"That he requested
more than a handful of these changes is a myth," Swami Kriyananda
states. "SRF has effective control over his material, and can make
changes in it with impunity, with the claim that he authorized them.
I was there at the time myself, however, and was actively involved
in editorial activities. I know that the greater part of those changes
were not authorized by Master."
big question: When one finds important changes in content
among a flood of grammatical changes, are they really Yogananda's
creation, or the work of an ambitious editor? Certain of these changes
especially do not reflect Yogananda's generous and universal spirit
which one enjoys in the earlier editions.
explanation that the changes in the 7th edition were made by the
author does not explain the obvious new direction which the book
It is significant
that the later the edition of this universal book one reads, the
more restrictive its language becomes, and the more magnified the
importance of the organization. Some have suggested that editorial
institutional emphasis was not possible under Rajarsi Janakananda's
presidency (1952-1955), since he so greatly valued the universal
spirit of Yogananda's teachings.
of Changes in 1956 Edition