Professor Yogi Trivedi’s ‘In Love, At Ease: Everyday Spirituality with Pramukh Swami’, released this month by Penguin, is described as the first heartfelt recollection of the life of Pramukh Swami – one of the most prominent cultural ambassadors of India, a master builder of temples, a humanitarian and social reformer, and a spiritual master who connected with millions from various religious and cultural communities.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj is the guru and administrative leader of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha known for its iconic Akshardham temples and their social and humanitarian activities across the world. Trivedi’s book goes beyond the Swaminarayan community and Hinduism to use Pramukh Swami’s inspirational life and interactions to paint a roadmap to successful, balanced living. It has been hailed as a unique way of weaving together the life story of a Hindu spiritual guru who has made a positive impact on humanity.
It is a story that captures the essence of every person’s journey and struggles — birth, growth, career issues, illnesses, familial difficulties, letting go, and even embracing death. Its timely release coincides with the major celebrations in Amdavad, Gujarat, for the centennial birth anniversary of the inspiring guru that attracted millions of visitors from around the world.
Prof. Yogi Trivedi, a former journalist and scholar of media and religion at Columbia University, takes the reader on a journey from the foothills of the Himalayas to Syrian Refugee camps with anecdotes, history lessons, and musical poetry that are relatable to teens and youth looking for answers on human interaction, spiritual progress, and overall development. His time with the guru and his background as a journalist and scholar add a distinct flavour to the narrative. His mission was to make the spiritual master’s life relevant to even those searching for faith through doubt.
About the Book
Spirituality often seems unattainable and otherworldly. Spiritual masters who connect with the real world ground this spirituality in everyday life. They take spirituality beyond any race, religion, caste, creed, colour, and gender. They make spirituality everyday and universal.
His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj was one such universal spiritual master who transcended his own identity as a saffron-clad, Gujarati, Swaminarayan Hindu monk and guru. His ability to connect with people, living beings, and the world he lived in with a sense of selfless service and devotion and with a sense of humility and inclusivity made him one of the more prominent spiritual masters of his time.
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In other words, he was ‘In Love, At Ease’ with himself and those around him, and it was this natural organic version of himself that made him accessible. The new book looks at everyday lessons of spirituality from his life that help the reader think about being a better father, mother, wife, husband, son, co-worker, and employer — a better human being. It is a personal heartfelt collection by the author that will take the reader for a journey from the foothills of the Himalayas to Syrian Refugee camps with anecdotes, history lessons, and verses of bhakti love poetry that are relatable to teens and youth looking for answers on human interaction, spiritual progress, and overall development.
The Foreword by Pramukh Swami’s spiritual and administrative successor carries the weight of spiritual authority from within the community, and the global anecdotes and register by the author carry the accessibility necessary to speak to people outside of the community.
About the Author
Yogi Trivedi took his first steps and his first fall in Pramukh Swami’s presence. He travelled intermittently with the guru for almost three decades after that and eventually even served in his personal waiting staff.
The moments he witnessed in the guru’s presence created a lens for him to see the world with an open mind and heart. These spectacles became the means for him to engage with journalists, heads of state, and even notorious terrorists in the coming years as a broadcast journalist, professor of journalism at Columbia University in New York, scholar, and mediator and political consultant.
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His new book weaves in stories from his interactions with these people in over 70+ countries along with the frame for spirituality and personal growth set forth by his own guru. His experience as a performer and commentator of bhakti poetry and music adds to the flavour of this poetic and musical personal heartfelt recollection.
The proceeds from this book will be used for tribal healthcare and education in Poshina, Gujarat.