It has fascinated me since I was eleven or twelve years old. No matter what kind of magazine I picked up, there he was, staring benevolently into my eyes from a small ad in the back- Paramhansa Yogananda. You know the ad. Autobiography of a Yogi. The whole thing seems to disappear every decade or so. Of course I've been trying to read it since I first became aware of the thing.
I've had a giant lecture poster with his picture on it hanging on my wall for years.
Turns out that he writes the same babble that I do. Oh, he's got better stories and he turned himself into a major rock'n'roll star in his day.
While some of it seems dated and some of his scientific "facts" have since been disproven, Yogananda weaves all kinds of magic and wisdom into his life story. First published in 1946, yes '46, not '47, his story is compelling and timely.
Just the idea of ignorance disguising itself as faith has explained southern voting in this country to me far better than any editorial in the New York Times.
As a poet I know. I know love, I know peace. As a hillbilly who struggles with science, peace and love elude me.