“Too often, on any yoga path, we either have the total beginners guides, á-la Feng Shui for Dummies, or the classic sacred texts, which have stood the test of time, yet may be hard to penetrate (try reading any classic commentary on the Yoga-sutra orUpanishads to see what I mean). Karnamrita’s book falls in between these extremes. Despite the fact that the book has plenty of quotes from the classic bhakti texts, it is not heavy reading. Karnamrita never uses the quotes to place himself on a pedestal, nor to hit the reader on the head with the Truth. Throughout the book he is with the reader, explaining his personal realizations about the particular ideals he has found relevant on his journey. And quite often, he speaks to us not as a teacher, but rather as a friend, who wishes to share something wonderful he has found. We may even recognize: “Oh, I have experienced something similar. How wonderful to hear how he has gone through the same tribulations that I am currently struggling with!” And after all his struggles, Karnamrita is still there, continuing on his path, making further progress and full of optimism. I found the book to be a diamond—and not an uncut one—and the fact that it could be further polished does not in any way diminish its value. I hope that sincere spiritual seekers will find this book. I do believe that despite speaking from the perspective of an insider in a particular spiritual tradition—bhakti-yoga as presented by Iskcon—Karnamrita’s writing will have much to offer to seekers on other paths as well. And if I am right on this, then Karnamrita is after all also partly right when he states that he intends to write to those new to bhakti. But I do think one needs to have some experience on some spiritual path in order to be able to appreciate the depth of Karnamrita’s ideas." Excerpts from a review by Janne Kontala on the Harmonist website.
About the Author
Karnamrita Das was born on June 22, 1950 in Los Angeles California, U.S.A with the name Christopher John Cox. His life as a child, though certainly a mixed experience, was often painful, confusing, and ultimately unsatisfying. All in all, it proved a catalyst for him to search out other alternatives to the materialistic status quo of the time and continue the unfinished spirituality of his previous lives. Although not a spiritual family, it turned out to be favorable for a spiritual quest when mixed with the youth movement of the late 1960’s. After a year of college, an existential crisis prompted him to begin a full-time search for the meaning of life. Becoming a vegetarian, he spent much time in the redwood forest in Muir Woods in Marin County, California studying the cycles of Nature and books from various spiritual traditions. He concluded that he needed to be a monk in some tradition to immerse himself in spirituality. Upon coming in contact with the books and disciples of Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, he began visiting a Krishna temple in Berkeley, California. Soon he experienced that this tradition spoke deeply to his soul. It felt like home, and he became a brahmachari, receiving diksha in 1970. He was given the name, Karnamrita Das (a servant of the sound nectar of immortality, or Krishna lila) to symbolize a “second birth” into spirituality. For his first three years he primarily studied and distributed his guru's books. Gradually he became involved in temple services or puja (Deity worship), becoming a head cook and pujari (temple priest), which he continued for the next eleven years at various centers in America, Asia, and Australia. The service, realizations and feelings he derived from worshipping Krishna in his many Deity forms has provided him a deep foundation for his continued spirituality, enabling him to function in many different cultural and social arenas. Trained in many energy-healing and alternative health modalities such as Reiki, hypnotherapy, Emotional Release Therapy, and healing prayer, he incorporates healing into his life, work, and service. He often works with his wife, Archana-siddhi devi dasi—a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), in couples therapy and in facilitating spiritual themed workshops. They both write and teach extensively, and are working on several books.