Book review of an upbeat introduction to India and its spirituality: This is a great book if you want to go to India yourself – especially if you’re interested in India as the home of spirituality. I read the book in one go: couldn’t put it down. It’s interesting as a story of personal and spiritual growth and as a catalog of some of the spiritual teachings India has to offer.
I loved this book and read it out in three nights of reading. I’ve studied India in college and went there myself some time ago – yet I could not find many mistakes. Given the size and variety of the country – that’s quite an achievement.
This book really is great for those who are thinking of going to India to grow spiritually – it will get you out of your romantic haze. It’s also great for those who’ve been there – a feast of recognition. And if you aren’t spiritually inclined – this may just change your mind.
Going to India just married
The next scene, ten years later, is Sarah coming back to India because her new Husband, Jonathan, has a job here as a journalist. She has given up her own high profile job as a journalist to be able to follow him there.
We follow Sarah as she gets close to death, dives into the main religions India has to offer, tries to learn Hindi, makes friends, follows Indian fashion and watches Bollywood movies.
Sarah leaves India pregnant and sad to leave India for her native Australia. Even though she knows how much easier things will be there.
Some of the more interesting moments in the book:
- When Sarah lost all her hair
She almost dies of double pneumonia
- When Sarah went to Afghanistan with Jonathan
- When the Twin Towers get hit
Sarah and Jonathan face the horrors religion can bring
- When Sarah got cursed by an Indian begger
- When Sarah got a quick hug from Amma
- When Jonathan and Sarah went to see Sai Baba
Book review of an upbeat introduction to India and its spirituality
Great book if you want to go to India yourself – especially if you’re interested in India as the home of spirituality.
I read the book in one go: couldn’t put it down. It’s interesting as a story of personal and spiritual growth and as a catalog of some of the spiritual teachings India has to offer.
Another reader of this book says:
Couldn’t put it down. I was done reading the book in two sittings. Hilarious and informative. I wouldn’t call the book inspiring or superficial but just a honest take on India and the enigma it portrays.
Excellent portrayal of a personal journey. Every person who comes in touch with India cannot help but notice something deep be it the abject poverty, the confusion, the simplicity of life or the daily struggle with a deep philosophical attitude and the list goes on. This book is just that.
Sarah finds the most famous spiritual teachers and spiritual traditions in India and gives each a try.
- Mata Amritanandamayi
The hugging Amma. Her unjudgmental love for everybody
- Sufi Love in Pakistan
The center of spirituality for Sarah is Love for a more…
- Ganga – the sacred river
Sarah is both repulsed and fascinated by this sacred river
- Astrologer Rakesh
Who prophesies the year Sarah and Jonathan have come to India
- S.N. Goenka
The Vipassana teacher who is only present on video…
- the Sikhs
The religion of perseverance and protection.
- Islam in India
Devotion to God instead of doubt in everything
Religion of tolerance
- Dalai Lama
Tibetan Buddhism made easy. Main message: find happiness
Food as spiritual service and living life with passion.
- Parsi’s followers of Zarathustra
- Kryon, space guru
Sarah goes new age in India
The Indian variety
- Satya Sai Baba
The guru who supports various charities and has great charisma.
Zoroastrianism / Parsis
This is the only religion where the descriptions went off a bit. I was taught, in my ancient religion class, that Zoroaster lived around 1000 BC. Certainly not 600 B.C. Also – the Parsis are in trouble and deal with their dwindling numbers in a variety of ways. Sarah is most sympathetic to the people who marry outside the tribe. But their choice makes it even harder for the rest to keep going.
Sarah MacDonald’s book really is great for those who are thinking of going to India to grow spiritually – it will get you out of your romantic haze. It’s also great for those who’ve been there – a feast of recognition. And if you aren’t spiritually inclined – this may just change your mind.
India – a complicated country
My review: a balanced picture
India is a country like other countries: it has bad people and good people. It has poverty (lots of it) and wealth (lots of that too). It has technological innovation and people living in hunter gatherer type groups.
India is the largest democracy in the world. It’s also the home of yoga, Buddhism and Hinduism. These religious/spiritual traditions have moved west in the last century.
Some of the people who describe India just ignore one or another aspect of it. It’s all divine yogi’s, or all poverty, all technology or all Dalai Lama type Buddhists.
Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure actually gives a decently balanced picture, even though it can be seen as too superficial. Well – there isn’t a book out there that can do India justice, there’s just too much of it. But this book does do a good job of introducing India to Westerners in a way that does it justice enough, I feel.
- Buy now: Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure, by Sarah MacDonald
- Paperback: 291 pages
- Publisher: Broadway Books; 12th edition (April 13, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0767915747
- ISBN-13: 978-0767915748
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches