Book Reviews - A magical life
by Suma Varughese
Road to Shirdi; Author: Kaushalya Kuwadekar; Published by: Wisdom Tree; Pages: 170; Rs. 242
It’s amazing how one can meet a person who seems just like you – ordinary – and then you read her book and find out how extraordinary she is. Or at any rate, her life is. What does one say about a woman who goes to the famous St Michael Church in Mumbai to attend the novena and as she enters the church something catches her eye and behold – there is the statue of Mother Mary and child smiling at her! And it goes on in this vein. Her dead father appears before her, her dead grandmother takes possession of her, a ghost mentors her for 22 years, she buys an altar and a procession of ancestors line up for grace. As if these minor apparitions were not enough, the Almighty Himself makes contact with her – through illuminating conversations where he clears her doubts and guides her personally! These nuggets of wisdom are sprinkled across the book and give it the necessary philosophical ballast.
Kaushalya’s book is chockful of delicious experiences like the ones described above and reading it is akin to reading a suspense novel; you never know what will happen next.
No wonder I could not put the book down until I finished it. All spiritual autobiographies that share the author’s experiences make compelling reading: witness the perennial attraction of Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi, or Swami Rama’s Living with the Himalayan Masters.
But quite apart from the surreal experiences, the book has a strong core of spiritual work. For me at least the most touching parts of her book dealt with her capacity to transcend her anguish and grief over the ill-treatment meted to her by her parents and grandmother. That she was able to do so is a testament to her spiritual maturity. The apex was when she nursed her mother lovingly through her last days and as she said, “rejoiced in looking after her like a queen.”
To transcend the conditioning of this primal relationship is never easy, and to return good for evil is pretty much the acid test of spiritual growth. Anyone who has accomplished this is deserving of respect and acknowledgment.
I enjoyed this book and I should think you will too.