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Autobiography of a Sadhu: A Journey into Mystic India Paperback – February 22, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Rampuri’s search has carried him into the very depths of one of the great ancient wisdom lineages of India. He has gone where very few Westerners have gone.” (Krishna Das, “Chant Master of American Yoga” (New York Times))

“An authentic and fascinating account of a Western yogi who has made India his home for his body and his spirit. Autobiography of a Sadhu is bound to challenge your view of reality and the spiritual life. It is not just the story of a personal quest but of a journey beyond the Western civilization mind-set to the real India of the yogis, where the limitations of both our cultural ideas and our egos are continually exposed. An adventure into a different kind of reality.” (David Frawley, director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies and author of Yogi and Ayurveda a)

"Personally, I found reading Autobiography of a Sadhu enlightening and educational. Knowing very little of this specific sect, I was enthralled with the mysticism. I'm grateful the author included a glossary because some of the terms used were beyond my knowledge. I certainly recommend this book to anyone willing to expand his or her knowledge of another culture." (Irene Watson, Reader Views, March 2010)

"At the end of this compelling autobiography, the author says that he hopes readers will be edified and entertained by his quest for Truth and his adventures in the Extraordinary World. We are." (Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice, April 2010)

"Rampuri's account of his spiritual journey is an intentionally entertaining story with personal accounts of many fascinating characters that changed him completely. He also gives the reader valuable glimpses into authentic life in India." (Allyson Gracie, New Age Retailer, June 2010)

"Highly Recommended." (Light of Consciousness, October 2010)

"Whether he is truly a holy man or a real-life Indiana Jones, Rampuri's journey looks like a compelling read." (Whole Life Times, October 2010)

“Lovers of imagery and the sounds of words will be mesmerized by Autobiography of a Sadhu.” (CurledUpWithAGoodBook.com, April 2011)

“This book will entertain and enlighten you. A bold journey that explores the true intersections of Eastern and Western thought.” (Deepak Chopra, author of The Book of Secrets)

From the Back Cover

SPIRITUALITY / MEMOIR 

“This book will entertain and enlighten you. A bold journey that explores the true intersections of Eastern and Western thought.”
--Deepak Chopra, author of The Book of Secrets

“Rampuri’s search has carried him into the very depths of one of the great ancient wisdom lineages of India. He has gone where very few Westerners have gone.”
--Krishna Das, “Chant Master of American Yoga” (New York Times)

After traveling at age 18 from his native California to India in 1969, Rampuri was drawn to the Naga Babas, an ancient and wild order of naked yogis whom he calls the “Hell’s Angels of Indian Spirituality.” Organized into a sect by Adi Shankara in the 5th century BC, the Naga Babas see themselves as the ultimate protectors of the Sanatan Dharma, or what we call the Hindu religion. Rampuri became a disciple of a Naga Baba--a master shaman sadhu--from Rajasthan and, as foretold by astrological prophecy, soon found himself the first foreigner to become an initiate of the Juna Akhara, the oldest and largest grouping of Naga Babas with more than 50,000 sadhu members.

From drinking the “Nectar of Immortality” at the source of the Ganges River to allegations of tantric murder, this autobiography is filled with true accounts of magic, miracles, ghosts, and austerities, with lessons on Hindu gods, ayurveda, mantra, and Indian culture woven throughout. Through his journey of extremes, Rampuri takes us into the mystic heart of India.

RAMPURI is the first foreigner to be initiated into the ancient society of yogis and shamans known as the Renunciates of the Ten Names, or Sannyasis. He has been a Naga Baba since 1970. A yogi and teacher who gives workshops and retreats around the world, he established the Hari Puri Ashram, in Hardwar in northern India, in 1984, where he continues the oral tradition of his lineage. In 2004 he was admitted to the Council of Elders of Datt Akhara in Ujjain, India. He lives in India.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Destiny Books; 2nd Edition, First Paperback Edition edition (February 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594773300
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594773303
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #797,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

In 1968, at the age of 18, I left my comfortable home in Beverly Hills fuelled by the naïve exuberance of the sixties and searching for truth. I was pulled deep into India, into an ancient order of yogis, into a mystery school not unlike Harry Potter's, where I was initiated and eventually possessed by a master shaman-yogi, a baba. I was the first foreigner ever initiated into the order of Naga Babas, and I am still there today. The world has changed a lot, perhaps gone upside down, and I never expected nor intended to become an elder in the order, nor a guru. I was taken into the Extraordinary World, where things work a bit differently than the Ordinary World, I was given some insights and revelations, and now I do my best to give blessings to those who come to me, and teachings to my students, some of whom are Indian Naga Babas, some are foreigners. In 2005, Random House released my book, BABA, Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Yogi, which has now been translated into German, Russian, and Serbian, and has brought people from many different countries and cultures to me. These last couple of years I've been making retreats both in India and Europe, in which I bring the participants into the Extraordinary World for a week, and give them a glimpse of oral tradition, which, I've discovered, is practically unknown in the west - as it is rapidly disappearing from India.
In 2010, at the Hardwar Kumbh Mela in India, I was honored with a seat in the ruling council of the ancient order of Juna Akhara with its 200,000 Naga Babas, naked yogis, and given the title, "Shri Mahant."

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Christian Mollenhoff on May 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
For those seeking the essence of yoga, Baba Rampuri is a goldmine. He is one of few westerners who has had the courage and the steadfastness to venture into the very heart of the sadhu tradition. He has an extensive knowledge of indian spirituality, magic and yoga that one can obtain only by living a life time in the midst of it.

In his book Autobiography of a Sadhu: A Journey into Mystic India, Rampuri generously shares the joys, doubts and frustrations of his life as a Baba. Although written much like an adventure novel, this book offers a precious taste of a different and fascinating way of perceiving the world.

Christian Möllenhoff - Yoga and meditation teacher
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Yogananda Puri on May 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
A rare and fascinating story of a young mans journey to the unknown in his search for knowledge.
One of the few books and maybe even the only one, about Naga Babas (sadhus) and the magical world they live in, that is actually written by a Naga Baba.

"... Sadhu: A Journey into Mystic India" takes you on a pilgrimage into the extraordinary world of the Naga Babas. It questions many of the thoughts, ideas and beliefs that we have adopted in modern western discourse and it is filled with teachings and knowledge from an obscure and ancient oral tradition. Like all old traditions, the teachings are given in the form of storytelling and Rampuri is a very articulate and captivating storyteller.

I read it in less than two days and have enjoyed reading it again, it's as if there are hidden words, content and story inside the pages of the book that only unfold when you read it again.

The book is a must read for anyone interested in Naga Babas, Indian thought, esoteric knowledge or yoga.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Savitri Puri on May 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have read this book several times, and it only gets more and more interesting and profound. It contains so many different layers, it has such a depth, so anyone that is interested in the esoteric world, almost regardless of your playing field will have huge benefit from reading his book.
This book is a blessing in disguise and rare opportunity to have a glimpse of the world of Naga Babas.
Reading it many times has made it possible for me to see some of the marks and signs in the book where more esoteric wisdom and knowledge lyes. Baba Rampuri has a brilliant and extraordinary mind that goes beyond most peoples understanding and conception of the world. He is a true storyteller and is definitely able to articulate his knowledge and wisdom!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Melissa on October 1, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book about 15 months ago and have read and re read it many times since. It is so insightful and has so many layers of teaching and energy. It effects you on many levels of being simultaneously. It is the true account of a fascinating and amazing journey of a man from California who plumbs the depths of the Mystic Heart of India, the Naga Babas! This tradition is largely unknown outside India as it has an oral history reaching back into the very indigeous beginnings of man. Highly recommend!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sivakumar Patibanda on September 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had been searching for a book that would provide me with a closer perspective of the Naga Babas' way of seeking. In his book -"Autobiography of a Sadhu", Rampuri, gives us an insider's view of this tradition.
As I quickly progressed through this racy narrative, I found that my embarrassment with these naked, ash covered seekers had changed to respect. Rampuri takes us beyond "savage" appearances and brings us closer to "devotees" who had sacrificed the conditionings of a civilized world in order to experience real freedom. Rampuri's love and reverence for his teachers is awe inspiring.
I am mildly disappointed at the authors seeming reluctance to elaborate at certain places in the closing chapters of the book. I thought that there were incomplete pieces - almost like someone overdid an editing job. I hope that Rampuri would bring these unfinished threads to a logical conclusion sometime. (Is there going be a sequel?)
This well told narrative is replete with humor and intrigue that make it a book that you would want to finish in one sitting.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By GregJS on December 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
Autobiography of a Sadhu is a strange, surprising mix of the superficial and the deep. For the greater part of the book, we tag along with Rampuri (a westerner) on his journeys through India (starting in the early 1970s) as he seeks acceptance and insider status with - somewhat ironically - a group of extreme outsiders: the dreadlocked, ganja-smoking, ascetic, ancient renunciate order of Naga yogis. This quest for acceptance dominates the first three quarters of the book. And the quest for acceptance - even if it is acceptance into a group of spiritual renunciates - is, let's face it, by its very nature, somewhat superficial feeling. So if you are expecting to be blown away by one inspiring and profound spiritual miracle and truth after another - or even if you just want insight into the authentic spiritual traditions and mysterious world of the Naga Babas - you may be disappointed much of the way through. Sure, there's plenty of spiritual talk and interaction with colorful spiritual masters throughout this part of the book; there are hints and flashes of light; but they never really add up to anything and, to me anyways, it all feels awkward, stilted, and forced. Rampuri seems to be trying too hard, is too self-consciously focused on whether or not he is "pulling it off" as a "real" Naga Baba. It was actually a bit painful for me to look in on at times - no doubt because I myself, as a westerner, would probably act very similarly if I were in his shoes - and it is uncomfortable to face this western form of longing for acceptance, knowing how foolishly it has made me act many times throughout my life.Read more ›
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