25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant and Life-Changing,
This review is from: God without Religion: Questioning Centuries of Accepted Truths (Hardcover)
This is undoubtedly one of the best written, most thought provoking and enjoyable books I have ever read. Sankara Saranam examines religion in philosophical, sociological, scientific and historical context, and critically evaluates dogma according to its ultimately unsatisfactory hypothetical nature, and dangerous societal implications. Rather than simply knocking the idea of spirituality, however, Sankara Saranm proposes an intriguingly testable philosophical and mystical alternative happily devoid of the necessity of belief.
The ideal of the spiritual colloquium which Saranam endorses is vital to well functioning societies inasmuch as it necessitates at least the amount of tolerance and flexibility required to welcome and consider dissenting views. This open attitude is antithetical to the rigidity and potentially violent intolerance that the ideal of blind belief in the assumed superiority and exclusivity of various, but equally un-testable theologies promotes. Organized religions are formed when someone's private revelations are accepted without challenge or criticism. Progress is furthered when ideas are not unquestioningly accepted, but examined and tested openly. Such is the ideal of the colloquium.
Rather than promote one set of religious beliefs over another, or come up with a new one, Sankara Saranam offers a set of non-religious, progressive ideas and affirmations, and a system of theoretical mystical techniques designed to impart direct experience of God as an infinitely expansive sense of self. The Pranayama Institute connected to God Without Religion provides such experimental techniques freely to those interested while not only eschewing requests for money, obedience or belief, but actively discouraging such authoritarian attitudes.
There have been only few books that I feel have deeply inspired me, and God Without Religion is certainly one of them. I strongly and unreservedly recommend this book, as well as experimentation with the mystical techniques described therein. I have been very pleased to find a form of spirituality that requires no belief, encourages skepticism and scrutiny, promotes ethical conduct and good health, and offers methods of testing theoretical models of physiology and cosmology related to spirituality. All around, this is a great book.