from LIVING TRADITIONS, October, 2001
The Avadhut is a challenging, intelligent and engaging work of literature; it combines both high quality fiction with a slow revealing of the essential teachings of non-dualism. The success of the Avadhut is impressive as it is exceedingly difficult to write a good book, never mind a good story as well as a good educational title. The author has combined an interesting story, with sub plots, good character development and a great mood and atmosphere with an extremely erudite outline of non-dualism.
The teachings contained as outlined piecemeal and are outlined through the reflections, reminiscences and memories of the central character, the Avadhut. This allows a powerful central focus to develop; we have both the Avadhut as goal, free from the pains of attachment and the Avadhut as student, learning his way. As individuals we hence have a "hero" figure we can aspire to and a figure that voices our questions, concerns and enquires. Since they are both the same character the possibility of in individual spiritual achievement is emphasized.
The atmosphere created throughout the volume is engaging, the travels of the Avadhut are interesting and the use of twenty four different "teachers" - some human such as the arrow maker and the child and others non human, such as the earth, the moth, the ocean, and the elephant allow the teachings to be presented from many different perspectives. This really assists the learning process, to be honest non-dualism in its many forms can be a difficult wisdom to truly understand, hence by looking at its many facets from different angles and perspectives we gain a real insight into its secrets. The teachings include dialogues, scriptural discussions, stories, tales and poetry, so the wide range of writing sustains interest throughout the volume. In addition, much of the teaching is voiced through different characters and hence has different tones and personality that again assist in the unfolding of the ancient wisdom.
The use of dialogue is especially successful. When the Avadhut reflects on this youth, we can resonate with his questions and learn the teachings as though we were the student. By giving them bit-by-bit, punctuated with comments, question and queries the essential truth is really driven home.
It is clear that the author is not simply repeating "book knowledge", though his erudition is obvious, to be able to transmit the ancient knowledge in such a refined and condensed manner shows that the author has experienced much of what he is communicating and is writing from experience. This makes the Avadhut all the more powerful, what is being taught is real, what is discussed has been experienced, this is not dry repetition of others visions but is the distillation of wisdom from one who is far along the way on the great journey.
At the same time by embedding these within a fictional work, the reader is able to enjoy the process, appreciate the characters and sustain a strong focus throughout. It is a large work and some chapters are solid enough that they make take a couple of readings. My advices is read it right through once and then take one chapter every two weeks and take a year long pilgrimage into the wisdom of non dualism. It is impressive that a volume such as this can be a great work of fiction, a good educational device and, in my view, an excellent course in non-dualist teaching.
There are many books on the market covering the different branches of non- dualism, what impresses me with this volume is that the author avoids sectarianism, avoids doctrine and dogma and emphasizes the universal nature of the Sanatana Dharma.
The Avadhut is a superb volume that appeals on many different levels. It is great literature, superb teaching and an inspirational read, it is the distillation of a important teaching which in this present age desperately needs to be heard and applied.
Reviewed by Dharma Sivan, editor,
from Metaphysical Reviews, 1999
Ekanta (the protagonist in this fine book) was born into a time when the old ways of life were being displaced by the advancement of the technical age. This threatened to destroy the timeless tenets which had fostered and maintained harmony for so many centuries. Ekanta was born to be a free soul who is beyond dualities though still abiding in human form as an example for others. Ekanta is the Avadhut.
The Avadhut is about the vital lessons Ekanta learned that added immensely to his understanding of The Universal Form and how It expresses Its infinite, indivisible and formless Essence during extended periods of manifestation. And it may be that Babaji Bob Kindler is the only person on Earth who could set down these 700 pages in such an orderly and understandable format, and have the vast religious training to write it so well.
Ekanta learned about forbearance from Earth; concentration from the Arrowmaker; peace from the Maiden; heedfulness from the Moth; detachment from the Elephant; discrimination from the moon; renunciation from the Osprey and contendedness from the Python.
Equanimity from the Ocean; greed from the Fish; expectation from the Courtesan; freedom from the Wind; grace from Fire; nonattachment from the Pigeon; unity from the Sun and moderation from the Bee.
Meditation from the Brahmara-Kita; transcendence from the Sky; bondage and liberation from the Spider; purity from Water; avarice from the Honey-gatherer; solitude from the Snake; delusion from the Deer and innocence from the Child.
Babaji Bob Kindler was initiated into the Ramakrishna Order by Swami Aseshananda, a direct disciple of Sri Sarada Devi, wife of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa; is founder of the SRV Independent Associations; ...as well as teacher, musician and extremely prolific and powerful writer.
The Avadhut, in this reviewer=s opinion, is the means to find a better way of life, a life we were meant to lead, but lost our way. This is a book to embrace, devour and let its wisdom nourish you to enlightenment!