Why a biography of Paramhansa Yogananda, when he himself wrote a world-famous account of his own life in the book, Autobiography of a Yogi? The answer is, quite simply, that he wrote his book in a spirit of such humility that the reader could only intuit the author's spiritual greatness from his perfect attitude toward every life situation.
The advantage of this book is that it is written from firsthand knowledge. The purpose of this book, then, is to tell you how he was perceived by others, and especially by his disciple, Swami Kriyananda. Paramhansa Yogananda was a towering giant among saints—one of those few who come from age to age, having been sent by God with the divine mission of guiding mankind out of the fogs of delusion into the clear light of divine understanding. The incredible depth of his compassion for suffering mankind is evident in these lines, from a poem he wrote, named, "God's Boatman" :
Oh! I will come back again and again!
Crossing a million crags of suffering,
With bleeding feet I will come,
If need be a trillion times,
As long as I know that,
One stray brother is left behind."
That compassion is what Swami Kriyananda saw in his eyes every time he gazed into them deeply