By Tara Katir

The ancient practices of yoga and Hindu philosophy, experiencing the summit of philosophical truths, that God and man are one, and one man’s personal reflections of a spiritual journey form a unique perspective on Hindu spirituality in the book, The Song of Ribhu (759 pages, Society of Abidance in Truth publishers, United States, 2000, us$39). This scripture is profoundly metaphysical, yet poetic, in the style of the Tirumantiram. It boldly says that God and man are one. An exposition on Advaita set in the midst of the epic Sivarahasya, The Song of Ribhu is an articulate interpretation of Sanatana Dharma’s deepest truths. The history of Sage Ribhu is obscure, but it is believed the teachings within this scripture date to Vedic times. “This makes it possible to say that Ribhu must have lived during very ancient times, but impossible to ascertain even an approximate date.” Ribhu expounds: “The world and beings and others seen in Consciousness are not apart from Brahman, which is of the nature consciousness. I am not apart from that Brahman. Likewise, Brahman is not apart from me.”

Society of Abidance in Truth, 1834 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 USA Ph: 831.425.7287 []

The Basics of Hinduism

From the vast library of the Idiot’s Guide series comes a well -done look at Hinduism. Pundit Vamadeva Shastri calls The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hinduism by Linda Johnson (408 pages, Alpha Books publishers, USA, 2002, us$18.95) “The best introduction and overview of the Hindu religion available in English today.” This book is humorous, yet enormously informative (including references to Hinduism Today) and full of interesting factoids. Besides the excellent chapters on what Hindus believe, Hindu worship, lifestyle and Hinduism in today’s world, there are four useful appendixes. A new word glossary, who’s who in Hinduism, additional reading and a good Hindu resource list provide seekers excellent information to explore. Encompassing the fact that “Hinduism is not a “one size fits all” religion, and there is something in it for everyone, Johnson’s book gives an excellent picture of a vast and seemingly contradictory religion. From the “new word alert” to quotes from sages, old and new, this book will make you chuckle while you learn.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hinduism, Alpha Books, 201 West 103rd Street, Indianapolis, Indiana 46290 USA []

Journey to Mount Kailash

The mystical Mount Kailash is the source of four of India’s mighty rivers Karnali, Brahmaputra, Indus and Sutlej and is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites for Hindus, Tibetan Buddhists, Jains and Bompos (Tibet’s pre-Buddhist religion). The many monasteries around Kailash and the Lake Mansarovar are testimony to the continuity of religious passion that yet resides there. “For Hindus, Kailash is the Sumeru Parvat, the spiritual center of the world around which all the earthly powers revolve. Kailash/Mansarovar is the abode of Lord Siva, Parvati, Ganesha and Subramuniya,” notes Nilesh Nathwani, author of the delightful travelogue, Kailash Mansarovar, Diary of a Pilgrim (99 pages, New Age Books publishers, India, 2002, Rs. 195). What follows is an enthralling tale of not only the expected hardships, but the life-changing spiritual experiences one encounters on a journey to these divine lands. Nathwani’s openly personal account of the pilgrimage is accompanied by stunning photos of Kailash, Lake Mansarovar and Mount Everest.

Kailash Mansarovar, Diary of a Pilgrim, New Age Books, A-44 Naraina Phase I, New Delhi, 110028, India []


Here are four sweet little books by Dr. Rama Pemmaraju Rao: Be “Self” Centered (not self-centered); God is Simple, Everything Else is Complex; Beneath the Umbrella’s Edge: An Intimate Dialogue with the Divine Mother; and Raindrops Upon the Parched Fields of My Heart (1st Books Library publishers, USA, 2001 us$9.95 each). Each gives an intimate look inside one man’s personal spiritual journey. Written in a semi-diary form, one almost feels like a voyager while reading Rao’s intimate thoughts, his personal reflections on life, dharma, good conduct and God. An engaging introduction for any spiritual seeker.

1st books library, 2595 Vernal Pike, Bloomington, IN 47404 USA. Ph: 812.339.6000 []