In the pages of this book we are taken on a profound pilgrimage of spiritual discovery. With our guide, Malcolm Tillis, we wander the length and breadth of India in search of other Westerners who, like him, have forsaken their old lives in the West for totally new, dramatically more meaningful ones in the East. By seeing Indian spirituality through the eyes of outsiders who were not born into the ancient culture, but found tremendous personal meaning therein, we discover it new and fresh with each individual Malcolm interviews. Each of these individuals has discovered an enormous spiritual wealth in India that makes the material prosperity and technological “advancements” of the West seem obscenely desolate and primitive in comparison. Contemporary Indian readers should find this particularly relevant, as India becomes more “modern” and on par with the West, and as they find themselves increasingly in a similar position with regard to rediscovering their own heritage.
Some of the people interviewed, renowned today, have remarkable life-stories:
Vijayananda met the great saint Anandamayi Ma with whom he found all he had hoped for. He moved into her ashram to live the life of a contemplative reununciate, where he remains to this day, now a revered and venerable teacher himself.
Ani Tenzin Palmo (Diana Perry) spent much of her time residing and meditating in a cave in the Himalayas at an altitude of over 12,000 ft. Today she is one of the better known figures in contemporary Buddhism.
The Swiss Swami Jnanananda took the formal vows and garb of a Hindu monk and then spent years wandering and meditating in the Himalayas in the company of saints and yogis. Today he is a beloved teacher residing in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Bill Aitken is a noted author of books about his adopted homeland.
Atmananda, an Austrian classical pianist, translated and edited the primary works about her Guru Anandamayi Ma into English, and ultimately became a Hindu sannyasini.
Lucia Osborne, wife of the writer Arthur Osborne, was a close follower of the great sage Ramana Maharshi.
Father Bede Griffith, the Benedictine monk and well-known author, spent his life formulating a synthesis of Christianity and Hinduism.