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Meditation and mantras unveiled (Book Review)

Posted on Mar 16 2014 | IANS

By M.R. Narayan Swamy, Title: Meditation and Mantras; Author: Swami Vishnudevananda; Publisher: Penguin-Ananda; Price: Rs.250; Pages: 300

Spiritual well-being books are dime a dozen. This is one of the best I have read. The late Swami Vishnudevananda, of the Sivananda Ashram, explains everything about meditation in the most easy-to-understand language devoid of mumbo jumbo. He says the book is meant to dispel the cloud of confusion that has enveloped the subject of meditation.

Vishnudevananda, who died in 1993, dwells on meditation in its uncorrupted form but with an eye on the questioning Western mind. This makes the book all the more lucid.

The author, born in Kerala in 1927 as Swamy Kuttan Nair, warns adherents not to be fooled by quick-realization gurus who sell magic mantras and instant insight. Protracted practice of meditation stills the outgoing mind, develops intuitive abilities and cements one's spiritual path. Meditation must become a part and parcel of everyday life.

The book covers all aspects of meditation: the why, other basics, concentration, the various forms of yoga and, most important, the obstacles to and experiences in meditation. A person who meditates can banish lethargy and turn out more work in less time - besides embracing the path of God realization.

The book also includes numerous mantras suitable for meditation. Vishnudevananda dispels the secrecies surrounding the mantras, telling us that there are no spiritual injunctions against discussing them. The book is indeed an invaluable addition to the world of Indian spirituality.

(M.R. Narayan Swamy can be reached on )

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