Books about the Ashram

When I write “the Ashram” I always mean Saccidananda Ashram, also called Shantivanam, in Tamil Nadu, Karur District, not far from the large village (small town) of Kulittalai opposite Musiri, on the sacred river Kaveri (the river is also spelled Cauvery, and is conventionally given an accent on the first syllable; it is sometimes called “the Ganges of the South”).

In the last two years, I have published two books that convey, among other things, the sense of my bond with India and with this particular spiritual community, the Ashram that often has an adjective or a possessive preceding it: Benedictine Ashram, or Bede Griffiths’ Ashram, etc.

Last year’s book was entitled Ashram Diary: In India With Bede Griffiths (O Books), and is a narrative of my first retreats at Shantivanam, from 1984 through 1993, the year of Bede’s passing. The book combines travelogue, journal intime, essays on comparative spirituality and monastic life, and philosophical musings.

This year’s publication is entitled Yoga and the Jesus Prayer (O Books again), and contains substantially the scholarly content of an earlier book, Yoga and the Jesus Prayer Tradition: An Experiment in Faith (Paulist Press, 1984), but is enriched with some personal narrative and practical instruction on kundalini yoga and meditation oriented toward the contemplation of God as Trinity in the Christian sense.

About ashramdiary

Thomas Matus, who blogs this Ashram Diary, was born 1940 in Hollywood, California. Academics: A.B. in music from Occidental College (Los Angeles); S.T.L. in ecumenical theology from Athenaeum Anselmianum (Rome, Italy); Ph.D. in comparative mysticism from Fordham University (New York). Initiated into Kriya Yoga (by direct disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda) in 1958. Became a Catholic in 1960 and entered New Camaldoli Hermitage (Big Sur, California) as a novice monk in 1962. Lived for more than 30 years at the Monastery of Camaldoli in Italy. Traveled to India some 20 times; made frequent retreats at Saccidananda Ashram (Shantivanam) in southern India. Was in Brazil, off and on, from 1999 to 2006. Now back in California, he lives at the Hermitage in Big Sur and Incarnation Monastery in Berkeley, California. See: http://www.youtube.com/user/thomasmatus
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