One part memoir, one part spiritual guide, this debut interfaith self-help book aims to lead readers to a deeper relationship with God.
Married couple Sarojini and Shyam Kanagala, devotees of the late Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba, here present their debut work on spirituality, focusing on methods for bringing people closer to God and stories that illustrate this process. The couple split the work into two parts. The first, mainly by Sarojini, with chapters by Shyam, uses autobiographical anecdotes to show how the pair found God in even their most difficult moments. It follows them from their marriage (arranged by their guru) to their difficult immigration to the United States from India and through career and family issues, such as lost jobs and loved ones, all while showing the Kanagalas’ strong sense of faith in God’s power to provide for their needs. Both authors invest even the smallest occurrences and coincidences with divine meaning: Shyam, for example, finds it in the appearance of Sai Baba on television during a patch of homesickness, while Sarojini reports hearing quiet communications from God during a drive through a storm. The latter section of the book focuses primarily on interfaith teachings, with Shyam as the main author, using the wisdom of Sai Baba as a foundation for his metaphysical explorations. This section could be more tightly organized than its loose metaphysical and moralistic structure allows. However, Kanagala does offer some valuable wisdom in a digestible form, such as his acronym “WATCH,” indicating that one should observe one’s words, actions, thoughts, character, and heart. Despite the Kanagalas’ sometimes-zealous admiration for their guru, the book is refreshingly honest about their own struggles to realize the wisdom they describe: “The ego needs to be transcended….For all my lifetime of work on that project, I am still a work in progress in this regard.” The authors’ credulity in mid-20th century perennial philosophy does occasionally limit their teachings to basic, universal concepts, but some of these, such as the importance of love, remain timeless and crucial.
A book that, despite its moralism, may offer much comfort and aid to everyday seekers.