A special book review today from an anonymous reader of our spiritual biography, “The Guru Chronicles.”
She begins: First and foremost, I truly enjoy every page of it! Such a gift to the world. It is the next best book after Merging with Siva. At times it reads like the Autobiography of a Yogi, at times like a history book on the Parampara, and most of the time as a loving tribute to Gurudeva. Readers who already know and others who want to learn about your mission and philosophies will find a gem on each page.
For example, we all know at an intellectual level about Gurudeva’s mission to provide unity within the diverse Hindu world. We all had the privilege to hear Bodhinatha talking about Vedanta and Siddhanta, immanence and transcendence, and so on. We all know about the Church and see pictures of the Spiritual Park on the beautiful island of Mauritius. But why? Why devote so much energy to these efforts, both at the intellectual and material levels? Reading the detailed history of how each concept evolved in Gurudeva’s realizations made me understand that I always had this nagging little question in the back on my mind. The issue was that I only saw scattered 2D pieces of the puzzle that the Guru Chronicles put together into an astonishing 3D artwork.
The evolving materialization of Gurudeva’s extraordinary visions, all leading to the realization of a dream that nobody in their everyday mind would have dared to undertake: truly uniting Hindus around the world and revive this profound religion. An originally Western person who is succeeding at uniting people from such diverse countries and cultures…The book made me experience this vision, truly participate in its creation through Gurudeva’s and the swami’s words. In this context, I understand even more the monks’ amazement and joy at seeing Hinduism Today being translated into Tamil and published in India!
Another “Aha!” moment came when looking through the early Innersearch pictures, when traditional Hindu attire was not yet required or strongly encouraged. The group looked new age. The current appearance of our Innersearch group is defined by its attire, a definition that obviously derives from its firm roots in orthodox philosophy. My unspoken “why do we wear Hindu attire?” was answered: otherwise we look, think, and feel new age. New age is ok, but it is not what Gurudeva’s vision is about.
My favorite part so far? In the Mission Goes Global chapter, an insert from Gurudeva on seeing God everywhere. I don’t remember reading this section in the Trilogy. It felt spontaneous, an urging advice on how to see God when His presence is not as obvious as it could be. I read it many times, gratefully.
Now that I’m looking at my notes, I found this other gem: “Association with orthodox Saivites of India and Sri Lanka allows Westerners to absorb the subtleties and depth of this refined culture, and Gurudeva encouraged it at every opportunity”. This is It, the essence of what we visually see at the monastery and keep coming back for! The innate refinement of this amazing culture, mixed with true spiritual connection with the inner worlds via Kadavul Temple, explained by Gurudeva’s and the monks’ originally Western minds that probe and explore -- what a treat for the soul.
I have many other highlights, most on the printed copy left at home. Recently I bought the Kindle version of the book, to read anywhere and anytime. The pre-Gurudeva era was full of spiritual gems, especially the section on Yogaswami. One of my plans is to bring over the highlights from the printed copy to the Kindle version, to be accessed anytime.”
Key concepts: Naalupadasaivam: "A Saiva doctrine that the initiate should pass successively through charya, kriya, yoga and jnana stages and thence obtain moksha." The charya pada, the dasa marga, path of servitude. Sharing the world of God. The kriya pada, satputra marga, true son's way. Nearness to God. The yoga pada, sakha marga, way of the friend, experiencing inner light, sharing the superconscious mind. We talk to God. The jnana pada, san marga, sayujya patavi, union with God. There is no difference between Siva and the soul. God is our dearest Beloved. The three types of temples provide training and experience leading to worship and meditation in the Atma kovil.