Book Review

elmec elmec at GIASBG01.VSNL.NET.IN
Thu Jul 27 23:04:38 CDT 2000

Hari Om,

>From the description given, the book really seems very interesting and educative
Thanks for such a detailed review, Shri Subrahmanian. I would love to have a
copy of it. I shall make enquiries regarding its availability.

Latha Vidyaranya

"S. V. Subrahmanian" wrote:

> Dear members (especially new to Vedanta):
> I read the book "Wanderings in the Himalayas" by Swami Tapovan Maharaj.  The
> original was in Malayalam called "Himagiri Vihar" which was later translated
> into English by Chinmaya Mission and presented as "Wandering in the
> Himalayas".  I would recommend it to students of Vedanta.  The highlights of
> the book are:
> 1.  Written by a Swami who was both a Srotriya and brahmaniSta.  He had
> committed his life to Vedantic study and preaching.  He spent all his
> spiritual life in the Himalayas and if I remember right, after he went the
> Himalayas in his 30's he never returned back to the plains.  I think
> Srinagar or somewhere in Punjab was the farthest he ever traveled away from
> Himalayas.
> 2.  He was a perfect scholar in both Sanskrit and Malayalam.  He was a true
> ascetic, who had (really) renounced worldly life and spent his life in the
> contemplation of Divine.  He traveled to all places in the Himalayas
> practically with no paraphernalia.  He is supposed to have weathered cold
> breezes with just a blanket and survived many days with just one meal etc.
> 3.  He uses real life incidents as pretext to explain Vedanta.  Some of the
> discussions I can recall are his explanation of the 6th Canto of Chandogya
> ie., discussion between Swetaketu and UddAlaka, discussions of works of SrI
> Harsha and others.
> 4.  He was a perfect example of the amalgam of Bhakti and Vedantic thought.
> People who have confusion regarding the reconciliation of the two would find
> in this book, a man who had a happy reconciliation in himself.  Also a
> Vedantin by study, practice and achievement, he worshipped God through the
> beauty of nature.  He is at his best when he describes the beauty of nature.
> 5.  He touches upon topics like : importance of Shastras, rituals, need for
> Sraddha, nationalism, rejection of materialism (totally), severe in his
> condemnation of Western influence in thought process, also discusses about
> false gurus, decay of Vedic culture etc among other things.
> 7.  He seems to have truly loved God.
> 8.  We are only used to travel adventures written by Westerners.  Now for
> those who thought so, here is a Swami who has written his travel adventures
> - both gripping and well presented.
> A good reading for all who have not read it yet.  Don't blame me if you fall
> in love with either Himalayas or Vedanta after reading the book
> -:).
> Note: He was the Guru of Swami Chinmayananda.  The book is published by
> Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, Mumbai.
> I am presenting here a brief synopsis directly from the cover page of the
> book:
> In this book you read how a man of Divine vision beholds Truth everywhere.
> Be it in the lifeless stones, or in the dumb trees, or among the singing
> birds, in the roar of the animals, in the silent womb of the jungle, in the
> bright expanse of the summer sky, or the whispering darkness - everywhere,
> at all times, here is a master mind who detects and perceives the play of
> the unseen in and through the seen.
> Wanderings in the Himalayas gives poetic descriptions of places of
> importance in the Himalayas, sacred in their cultural lore and in the
> traditional faith of India.  And it is at once as many pictures that smile
> forth their infinite beatitude - all captured and framed by Swami's mighty
> pen.  The sincerity of the writer lends a secret charm to his words and
> conveys truly the same feelings to the readers to enjoy the vision of the
> Infinite that plays in and through every form.
> Good luck for your reading.
> Regards.
> S. V. Subrahmanian.
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