Philip Goldberg has been studying India's spiritual traditions for more than 45 years as a practitioner, teacher, and writer. He is an ordained interfaith minister, spiritual counselor and meditation teacher. The author or co-author of more than 20 books, his last one, American Veda, charts how India's traditional teachings have transformed America.

One of the leaders of that transformation, Paramahansa Yogananda, is the focus of this book. He is considered by many to be the father of modern yoga; the Los Angeles Times called him "the 20th century's first super-star guru." In this biography, Goldberg has been forced to present material not covered in Yogananda's hugely popular Autobiography of a Yogi. Although he claims not to be a disciple of this Hindu guru, the author calls him "a teacher for the ages, whose contribution to the transmission of India's ancient wisdom to the West was incomparable."

It is a delight to read about Yogananda's ecstatic childhood and equally appealing to learn that this gifted boy was conscious in his mother's womb. Throughout his life, his soul was pulled in a struggle between renunciation and engagement. Goldberg gives an interesting glimpse of Yogananda's spiritual deepening.

Yogananda's spiritual life was practical, meditative, and method-oriented. His devotional life centered around Kali and he created icons of the deity for use in his prayers. Three standout things about Yogananda's work are his belief in courses, the establishment of 13 functioning centers with appointed leaders and regular meetings, and last but not least, a mission statement wherein Good Fellowship in Sat Sanga is the key ingredient along with "a better understanding between the East and the West."