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Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

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11:39p
The other ...
This is the other book by Prakash (although going by his "real name" here) that I got the other day. Every now and again I hit one of these "meditational" books and realize that my reading habits and the book's structure are just going to be in conflict. I plow through books, and some really ought to be read in dribs and drabs. This one, for instance, is comprised of about 140 "lessons" which would likely be best approached by reading one in the morning or at night and rolling it around in one's head for a day before moving on to the next one. Unfortunately, the structure here meant that it was just a "quick read" for me, with many of the subtleties involved in the individual chapters (most a single page or less) no doubt blurring as I sped by.

Kevin Edwards' The Master: Parables For Enlightenment is certainly easier to find than his "Almost Home" book, being on LibraryThing.com, and available (if only via the new/used guys) on Amazon, and one wonders "what the story is" on the different situations on the two books. Like the other, there is a good deal of quality material here, but in a somewhat odd format. This is set up a bit like a collection of wisdom stories from a "Master", although the situations (and gender) of "The Master" keeps changing. While not all the sections specifically conform to it, each is, generally speaking, comprised of a title, a paragraph-long "parable", some brief statement related to the story, and then a quote from some notable source. I don't know why, specifically, but the tone here reminds me of Thich Nhat Hanh's writings. Anyway, here's an excerpt that I (for some reason) found particularly clarifying:

The Movers

* After making every conceivable effort to move the odd-shaped desk through the doorway, the movers decided to take it apart. Within seconds, they dismantled the desk and carried it through with ease.

As a skilled mover takes apart furniture to
move freely through the doorway, a wise man
dismantles beliefs to pass easily through life.


* * * *

Every time you make sense out of reality,
you bump into something that destroys the sense you made.

Antony De Mello

Now, obviously, this one doesn't have "The Master" figuring into the story line (even as narrator), but this is the way most of these play out, with story-saying-quote being the pattern of most of these. The quotes come mainly (about 1/3rd of them) from The Bible, but the rest range from Hafiz to Eleanor Roosevelt, and from the Buddha to Voltaire.

Again, this would probably prove the most valuable to one if one was taking it nice and slowly and "savoring" the small readings here on a daily basis. Obviously, the form of the structure is intended to give the reader several "angles" on a particular problem, which then allows a certain triangulation on the "truth" involved. As noted in my previous review, this Kevin Edwards "Prakash" fellow seems to have a lot of knowing at his command, but I'm still somewhat questioning what he's specifically about. His writing has a delightful and effortless eclecticism about it, but I do find his "Dominican roots" (his main credential seems to have been from the "Angelicum" in Rome, which turns out to be a "Pontifical University" connected to the Vatican!) somewhat troubling. His "Enter The New" program appears to be based, however, in Vedanta concepts, and he certainly is well versed in various forms of Buddhist thought as well, so I'm suspecting that he's not a "closet inquisitioner" (but, then again, "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!").

While The Master can be found via the "usual channels", your best bet might be via Edward's website, http://iamprakash.com ... which also has more info on his other projects. I always feel somewhat churlish to be pointing readers off to "cheaper" sources of the books I review here when I've been given them by the author, but the Amazon "aftermarket" guys do have new copies of this for a very reasonable price (and Amazon proper does not seem to be specifically carrying it, even though bn.com does have it available). As noted, I wish I had more of a "dossier" on place the author's coming from, but I've been impressed with his vision, and would certainly recommend his books if you're looking for something a bit more meaty than simply "inspirational" in a metaphysical read.


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