Step out of the illusion
Published by: Osho Dhyan Leela Foundation
Price: INR 495
Every thinking person has pondered over his existence at one time or another. Every intelligent individual has raised questions such as, “Who am I?” “Where have I come from?” “What is the mystery of life and this universe?” Many people look to science for answers. Yet, in spite of its giant strides, scientific inquiry has its limits—it is outwardly directed hence can never answer questions about the subject, about the inquirer with the same approach it uses to understand the objective world.
The basis of scientific truth is that, once proved, a postulate should stand the test of experiments consistently. In this respect, the experience of those who have discovered the mystery of life is consistent and can be considered scientific. Shivoham Shivoham by whosoever is only the latest “proof” of this.
This is not a typical book—its presentation, layout, language is as unique as its message. A transcription of discourses the author gave over a 10-day meditation retreat, Shivoham Shivoham gives its readers a taste of the live retreat by retaining the original flavour as much as possible.
The book derives its name from an ancient poem by the great advaita sage Adi Sankaracharya. The first chapter starts off with an exposition of this poem and sets the tone and expectation of what is to follow—a radical insight into the nature of reality. This exposition is in itself capable of triggering a deep shift in the reader and makes the book worth having.
In subsequent chapters, whosoever gently but firmly carries the readers into the inner world of self-realisation, a world that is so close and yet so totally unfamiliar to us. As you read, you get a glimpse of this most precious world and wonder how you never noticed it. To those of you who have never been introduced to Advaita Vedanta concepts, the words in the book will come as a grand revelation. If you are well-versed with the Vedic teachings, you may find the ideas familiar. But even then, the book will be a beautiful reminder of what we miss by being immersed in an illusory world.
What makes Shivoham Shivoham endearing is the way whosoever uses everyday metaphors and examples to explain otherwise abstract ideas. Consider this: “Light does not become dirty when it falls on a dirty wall, the wall cannot even touch the light. In the same way, nothing can touch the person who is stabilised in his being; he remains untouched by attractions and repulsions, rights and wrongs, greed and attachment, by all kinds of inter-related opposites and dualities.”
Apart from Sankaracharya’s poem and a few references to his master Osho’s teachings, whosoever does not use too many quotations from scriptures or other masters; he prefers to talk directly and tries to provoke the reader into self-reflection via meditation. He emphasises the role of meditation for self-realisation enough times to make you want to try it.
The entire book is an effort in reinforcing the core message of why the illusion of the world arises and how you might transcend it. The essence is the same as that of masters like Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, Sri Ramana Maharshi and Osho. There’s a fair amount of repetition, as is expected in a transcription of a live talk, but this repetition serves an important purpose—that of demolishing your old habitual way of identification and introducing you to your real Self. The language, too, is not refined but that doesn’t hamper the flow in any way. However, if you are a literary purist, be prepared to overlook occasional grammatical gaffes and knotty sentence structures for the sake of the deeper meaning that those words convey.
Overall, the book has a fresh fragrance to it, and will delight genuine seekers, whether beginners or advanced. It can be read by anyone, regardless of your religious or cultural background. All you need is an open mind.
One piece of advice: don’t try to get over with the book from cover to cover. Approach it with patience and enjoy the path of self-discovery that it points to. This might well be a turning point in your journey to self-realisation.
The publisher of Shivoham Shivoham is offering a 20% discount to Complete Wellbeing readers in India. To order, contact Manoj – 9370678113 or Jaidev – 9370678114