Autobiography of a Yogi, Book Review, christopher isherwood, Guru Gita, Hagiology, Hamsa Yoga, Indian spirituality, kriya yoga, One Master One Disciple by Jyotii Subramanian, Ramakrishna and His Disciples by Christopher Isherwood, religion, Spirituality, Yogi Impressions, Yogiraj Gurunath Siddhanath
If you found the “Pray” section of “Eat Pray Love” absurd ,or the coincidences Gilbert refers to ( her husband signing the divorce petition or the effect of her chanting of Guru Gita on her nephew far away) way too much to handle, then this book “One Master One Disciple” is not for you. In fact this is a book not for any sceptic but for a hard core believer and not even someone who is just dabbling in meditation or some form of new age healing . To be able to read, let alone appreciate this book, you need to have Faith- in every sense of the word. Faith that there is a Power above who manifests Himself in various ways; faith that this Power is all pervasive though we may not be able to see or feel it with our blinded eyes; faith that human life is but an episode in a long karmic chain; faith that the ultimate aim of human life is God realisation and most importantly faith in a Guru- that when the time is ripe and your search genuine, a Guru will come to guide you, show you the way and that this “guru-shishaya” bond is something that cuts across life spans. If the reader has this kind of faith, then this will be a worthwhile reading. Or else, as the author goes on to recount her journey and her experiences on the spiritual path, it will sound like nothing more than ramblings and imaginings of a fevered mind. Out of body experiences, astral travel, divine interventions, past life revelations, black magic, visitations by Divine souls- all this and much more is a part and parcel of author’s daily life. Unless the reader too is a “sadhak”, a seeker on the spiritual path, all this will be enough to put him off rather than make him read.
Jyotii Subramanian’s book belongs to the same genre as Paramhansa Yoganananda’s “Autobiography of a Yogi” and Christopher Isherwood’s “Ramakrishna and His Disciples”. Same genre though not the same league for those were all time greats Saints, Gurus who have inspired millions down the ages and continue to do so. And, to her credit, the author makes no attempt to claim a place among them either. All that this work seeks to do is present a straight from the heart account of her own wanderings in the wilderness, her phoenix like resurrection from the depths of despair under the guidance of her Guru , Yogiraj Gurunath Siddhanath.
What strikes one immediately is the author’s alarming honesty. Anyone who is familiar with Chandigarh, the city that the author has been residing in and still does, will also know that for all its modern exterior, Chandigarh is a very small, closely knit conservative society organised unofficially into cliques. People who have been residing here for sufficiently long period of time, like the author herself, know everyone else in the city. In this kind of a society, for the author to openly admit to her own and not simply her husband’s extra marital dalliances, is nothing short of social hara-kiri. Yet she does so, not to incite gossip, but to show her path to salvation and therein give hope to all sincere seekers. And if the reader is willing to lap up all of these personal details and believe them, why not believe her spiritual adventures as well?
The style is very matter of fact and straight forward, nothing really to write home about. In fact at times the descriptive passages may not seem interesting enough. But the worth of such works lies not in their style, plot, characterisation or other such standards used for judging works of literature but in their insights into the spiritual life of the protagonist-author and whatever they can contribute towards the spiritual yearnings of the readers. The reader, even the genuine seeker, may not agree with her understanding of spirituality, her reflections that are interspersed throughout the book, may even argue whether experiences such as those that she has described should in fact be shared with the world at large. But what one cannot argue with is her genuine quest and the blessings of her Guru that keep her going- achieving and reaching out for more. And for that alone, it is worth reading.