A young man grows to understand his spiritual identity in Yin’s debut biography.
Before future yogi Altair Shyam was born, his mother, Mary, encountered a Maori elder in Nelson, New Zealand. The elder revealed that she would have a son of great spiritual importance, who would share with her visions of his past lives and his future. When Shyam was 13, Yin writes, he encountered Hannah, “goddess-like” figure in her 20s, who introduced him to the secrets of “the stars” and “magic,” by giving him a book by Paramahansa Yogananda and another called the Kybalion from her library. Yin then asserts that Hannah was an extraterrestrial being who led Shyam, blindfolded, to a pyramid, where a “Master R” revealed that the young boy had spiritual powers, including his ability to “speak to dolphins, snakes, and beings from other worlds.” Shyam later visited key spiritual centers across the globe, including in Japan and Nepal; along the way, Yin says, he had personal encounters with spiritual beings, such as Jesus Christ and Babaji. Yin, who says that she met Shyam “very early on in his travels,” writes this book in the third person; as such, it’s a biography, rather than a diary, despite the title, although there are rare extracts from Altair’s own diaries. Shyam’s transcendental practices are often imparted in dialogue: “When I make my mind still by breathing in the central spine…patterns become clear in my mind like a matrix. They look like energy grids, sparkling paths of the soul which appear like pictures connecting one to another in my mind.” Such passages may be deeply insightful for yoga practitioners. However, it’s unclear whether these are Shyam’s exact words, as there are no references or citations provided. The prose is crisp throughout, but readers won’t get the high level of intimacy that they may expect from a diary. The author asserts that all the experiences in this book are real; each reader’s enjoyment will be tempered by whether he or she believes in their veracity.
An inaccurately titled work, but one that may expand the consciousness of yoga aficionados.