Monday, August 15, 2005

Title: This House is on Fire - The Life of Shri Dhyanyogi
Author: Shri Anandi Ma
Publisher: Dhyanyoga Centers, Inc.
ISBN: 1-883879-50-5 (Hardbound), 1-883879-51-5 (Softbound)
Category: Spirituality / Yoga / Meditation
Pages: 448 (144 in color)

My review of this book is based on a Galley Copy (with photos in Black and White) and with a few editorial slips, which would certainly have been corrected in the actual print edition. The book is scheduled to be released shortly (in, the date given is September, 28, 2005). I was probably too late to get my review on to the back cover, but I do hope that my review will help you to decide whether the book is for you or not.

"This House is on Fire" can literally set your own spiritual house on fire and burn down all the karma to ashes! If you have any interest in spiritual matters, if you ever felt suffocated by the materialistic desires which bind you, if you ever felt that your present life is rather empty or is not fulfilling, if you have at any time felt like exploring Kundalini, Hatha Yoga, Meditation (Samadhi), Bliss etc., this book is for you. If you enjoyed reading "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Paramahansa Yogananda and "Living With The Himalayan Masters" by Swami Rama etc., you will enjoy this book too.

Narrated by His Spiritual Heir, Shri Anandi Ma (not to be confused with Shri Anandamayi Ma and Mata Amrutanandamayi, who are Masters in their own way), this book brings to the reader a fairly detailed, vivid portrayal of a great Master, Who has attained enlightenment and Who decided to share His experience with all others, who came to Him. Born in a highly pious family in Bihar in 1878, the boy Kashinath left his house at the age of 11 and then again at 13 (this time for good) and went through various spiritual processes for 30 years to finally achieve the Ultimate Reality of Samadhi and Bliss. He served a small rural community in Bandhwad, Gujarat for several decades and then the call to go to USA to serve the spiritually hungry children of that country came, after a OBE (Out of Body Experience) - or Near Death Experience, if you prefer that word. Heeding that call, He goes to USA along with His carefully prepared Spiritual Successor Asha Devi, now known as Shri Anandi Ma. He is ably assisted by another disciple, Shri Deepak Parekh, now rechristened as Shri Dileep ji (ji is an honorific suffix to Indian names to show reverence).

Pl. check out to know more about Dhyanyoga and the Dhyanyoga Centers set up to continue with the work started by Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudhanadas ji (as He was renamed after renunciation). He took Mahasamadhi (left His physical body) at the ripe age of 115 years, but continued to be available to His disciples in His subtle body.

There is a saying that unless a Saint wishes it, we cannot go to Him. Though I have been born and brought up in India, I did not know about the existence of this great Mahatma (great Soul) all these years and it is again a quirk of fate that I came into contact with Him (in a subtle manner, since reading about Him and seeing His photographs is in a way meeting Him), after all these years, that too because of my hobby of reviewing books. This book came to Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India all the way from USA! Strange are the ways of the One who became many for Leela (Sport, Play). Thanks are to Adrienne Biggs of, for sending me this beautiful book.

While reading this book, I was constantly being reminded of my own Master, Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi, Maharashtra, with whom I came into contact (though He took His Mahasamadhi in 1918, nearly 30 years before I was born physically), in 1998, though I have seen a film depicting His life in 1984, been married to His devotee in 1978 and though I have been in general interested in Gods and Saints for a long time. Sai Satcharita, the Life Story of Shri Sai Baba and the present book have many parallels. Check out for a good introduction to Sai and to read Sai Satcharita and Shri Guru Charitra on line. Similarly, "Autobiography of a Yogi" has some common features with this book. As mentioned in this book, all Sadgurus (True Gurus, Masters) have many common features. I was also reminded of Bhagawan Ramana Maharshi ( and Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, His Spiritual Heir Swamy Vivekananda etc. I also found a lot of parallels between the life story of Shri Dhyanyogi and Shri Shankaracharya of Hampi Virupaksha Vidyaranya Peetham, Hampi, Karnataka, with Whom (and with His successor too), I have the Guru-Sishya (Master-Disciple) relationship.

This book will come into your hands and you will read it if you have some connection with Shri Dhyanayogi or if you are already connected to another great Master, who decided that you should read this book.

An important note: My name is Venkateswara Swamy Swarna. I was named after Lord Sri Venkateswara Swamy, also called Lord Venkateswara, Srinivasa, Balaji etc., Who is the presiding Deity of the famous Tirumala Tirupati temple. I am not a monk or a Sanyasi, though as mentioned, I do have strong spiritul leanings. I am married and have a family, full time job etc. Pl. see to know more about me. Thanks.

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