by John David
“You can call it Stillness, Emptiness, the Self, you can even call it God, and we can come to it just by being quiet. In that place there is overwhelming Love flowing like a spring from the mountain side.”
8 talks from Arunachala, South India, in which John David lovingly and humorously guides us to see that we are not the experience ‘my life’, but rather the awareness in which the experience happens.
These talks begin the demolition of the prison created by the mind, removing anything in the way of any seeker who wishes to step out of the illusion. The talks discuss the effects of Devotion, Trust and Destiny, bringing us to Presence.
I came to understand the great value of Self-enquiry, as proposed by Ramana Maharshi. ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Be as you are’, are the main components of the message I wish to share and are the essence of the talks in this book.John David
John David tells of a moment with his Master Papaji: The Self revealed Itself and it was seen that this was my True Nature, which had always been known. That meeting marked a total change in my life. Instantly the identification with John David and the story of John David were completely cut. From one moment to the next there was an enormous shift, which can only be described as an Awakening to the Self.
Heiko Geritzman –
I read this book after I visited the community where Premananda teaches, and found it to match pretty well, the way he writes the book, and the way he is with his students. I think the book is good as an intro to the whole subject of Satsang and inner freedom, and what is interesting about the book, is that it goes a bit further than that, because it takes place during a retreat with a group of people who are in some sort of process with Premananda. He gives them advice about a variety of topics, and it’s actually great because you get a sense of what ‘spiritual work’ really means – and it’s not always nice. I felt it a little vague at some times, as if Premananda is not really realistic as to where people actually are on their path, and is telling them to just ‘drop their story, and realise who they are’. It feels to me that many people can’t just drop their stories like that, and that this kind of absolute teaching is not helpful for them, even though they may relax hearing it in that moment. However, it’s clear from other parts of the book and from what I now know of Premananda, that he does in fact work with people wherever they are on their path, sometimes guiding them through really the beginning steps of becoming Self-aware, and at other times using an absolute teaching to point to some other possibility. Through it all you can feel that Premananda cares about who he is talking to in these dialogues, and I often had very good insights about myself from this book.
6 months ago I stayed at the community where Premananda lives and gives wonderful meetings about spirituality.
He kindly gave me this book as a gift. It is a beautiful little book, that covers everything from the nature of our true Self, to sex and love affairs! The underlying message is the incredibly simple suggestion to surrender into the moment, into what is. Premananda gently repeats this again and again, reminding us that if we actually look for an ‘I’ who is doing something and who can struggle with tough decisions, and dramas, we find that there is nothing there, just memories and old reactions.
The book contains a series of 8 talks that were given in Aunachala, a holy mountain in India, where the renowned Sage Ramana Maharshi lived. The talks were spontaneous, so the reader really feels the power in the words, and how they come out of the presence of Premananda. The talks take the form of dialogues with people attending the retreat, and is really moving to see the progression of the conversations, and how they are guided into the simple message of surrender. In this surrender, Premananda speaks about ‘Authentic Love’, a state of being which is prior to our sense of self, in which there is no struggle, and just Being itself, with no separation.
The book is also lovely to look at, with paintings and photos by Premananda appearing throughout the book, marking new chapters.
Above all, the wonderful thing about this book is that you need no particular understanding of spritual terms or ideologies, just the openess to meet yourself as you are in the present.
In the words of Premananda, when asked how to get to the Source of life and love:
‘You are the Source. If you would just stop, and do nothing, you would see it. If you absolutely surrender to this moment you can’t avoid realising that you are the Source, right now, here, in this moment. You see the illusion of this movie that plays, and you realise ‘that’s not me’.
I am now living in the community.
Enjoy the book!