It began in
the weakest moment of my life. I had the habit of running away from difficult
life situations and each time I ran, the situations came back to haunt me.
During one of those moments, I happened to pick up Gandhi the Man at a
bookstore in Kolkata, India. The way Easwaran described Gandhi's fears and
transformation seemed like he was speaking to me. I was moved enough to read
deeper about Easwaran and practice the eight-point program.
and Easwaran led me to the Bhagavad Gita. I had heard of the Gita but for
the first time, I read Easwaran's version seriously. I started
understanding that there is more to life than the senses and the material
world. As mentioned in the foreword to the Bhagavad Gita – “We spend our
days in the familiar world of the five senses but what lies beyond that, if
anything, we have no idea”. The Gita helped me explore this world beyond.
I started understanding the concepts of dharma,
gunas, karma, selfless service and
the supreme goal. Essentially, the meaning of life was unfolding right before
my eyes. I understood that I was responsible for everything that was happening
to me, and I could change my life situation by changing myself. I finally
understood why situations I ran away from kept coming back and how I could fix
The best part of Easwaran’s commentaries is that he uses examples from different mystics to
convey the teaching. As I started reading more, Easwaran introduced me to
the teachings of the Buddha and Sri Ramakrishna. Understanding how similarly
these mystics describe the purpose of life, the power of concentration, will
power, training the mind, and selfless service, removed all doubts in my mind
about the truth of these teachings. The Buddha's teaching that “All we are
is the result of what we have thought” reinforced for me the idea that I
could change my situation by changing my thoughts.
has led me to explore the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, Sri
Aurobindo, Mother Teresa and Sri Ramakrishna among many others. He inspired me
to visit Sri Ramakrishna's temple in Kolkata where I had the chance to passage
meditate. I have to admit, I was overwhelmed. All this knowledge but where do I
start, how do I apply, and how long will it take? I continue to draw
inspiration from all mystics, but I realized that Easwaran's Classics of
Indian Spirituality capture the essence of all teachings. I don’t need to
read every text out there till I focus on understanding and applying in my
daily life the principles of a few.