Psychology meets spirituality
When the soul heals
Author: Pulkit Sharma
Publisher: Auro Publications
Many a time, our emotions take control of us and rule our actions. Anger, doubt, sadness, jealousy, fear, and other strong emotions deter us from changing our lives for the better. One notices that despite having a wealthier, more secure, and technologically advanced lifestyle, there is widespread discontent. The human psychology of perceiving things has transformed over the decades, and so has the study itself. When the soul heals outlines the current scenario of modern psychology and explores its spiritual aspect.
Pulkit Sharma, a clinical psychologist and spiritual counsellor, has compiled this book based on his personal observations and years of experience. It offers readers an insight into their own minds and possible underlying explanations for their behaviour. He has analysed the role of spirituality in psychology, using perspectives from Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Jainism, Sikhism, Taoism, Judaism, Baha’ism, Zoroastrianism, and the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, along with the revelations of various other spiritual masters. Divided into eleven parts, the book delves into prevalent issues such as stress, anger, addictions, depression, beauty obsessions, anxiety, grief, and caregiver burden. In each part, the book carefully analyses the current understanding of the given problem and then goes on to inspect the spiritual pathway to heal.
Pulkit has quoted various researches in the field of psychology and how they have paved new ways through discoveries and revelations. When the soul heals discusses the causes of stress from a broader perspective, where materialistic possessions create a feeling of constant dissatisfaction. Overreaction, low tolerance levels, and narcissism are a few factors that increase the level of stress in the masses.
One of the most beneficial messages the book tries to convey is that one should learn to detach oneself from superficial endeavours. Real-life inspirational stories, step-by-step strategies, and guided meditations are provided to help readers experience self-transformation in its truest sense.
– Annesha Banerjee
But the flesh is weak
When Life Cartwheels: Tumultuous Love Story of a Sannyasi
Author: Raj Supe
Publisher: Platinum Press
Raj Supe’s novel opens with the sannyasi (renunciate) protagonist, Shaman, expressing his view of Jaydev—the 12th-century poet known for his devotional masterpiece Geet Govindam. Shaman believes that Jaydev is not a man of spiritual merit, let alone one of towering spiritual accomplishments, as considered by many. He may be considered a man of letters who had a way with sexual metaphors that are used to describe transcendental realities, but he is definitely not a man who has anything of value to teach to a monk or a celibate anchorite who has renounced all desires.
Shaman reminds the reader of the old Sufi proverb: ‘We become that which we mock.’ He, who has been a favourite disciple of the Guru—an evolved sannyasi, a champion in articulating subtle spiritual concepts and experiences, a devout sadhak (spiritual aspirant), and chief-to-be of the ashram—falls in love with a girl much younger than him, leaves the ashram, gets married to her, and loses her. The story is structured as a conversation between two friends. It is about the heartbreaking journey and the struggles of a monk who believes that he has overcome desires and attachment. But, when life shows the mirror, he realises who he is and how arduous the journey is.
In quite a dramatic way, we see how the circle of life completes for a sannyasi. First, Shaman feels that he is torn apart between his duties, the spiritual vows, and the desire to be with the young girl, Shambhavi. Feeling confused, frustrated, and guilt-ridden, he hurts her and accuses her of seducing him.
In due course, however realisation hits him like a sledgehammer. He concedes that he is in love with her but has stubbornly refused to see it for what it is. The union lasts for only a few months and, finally, we see the pain of separation that he has to bear. For the first time, he feels the bottomless depth of pain which he never experienced before. But, in the end, the guru’s grace prevails.
There are interesting moments of sheer confusion, anger, frustration, guilt, and clarity, which I lived while absorbing his story, and my heart sank when he was enduring the pain of separation. The only concern I have is that the book should have been two-thirds of what it is now.
If a profound understanding of the inherent struggle between maya (the snare that keeps us entangled in the world) and Ram (the transcendental reality beyond) is what you seek, then this is one book you have to read.
– Rishi Rathod
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