These are figures that have millions of devotees and whose words have revelatory and evidentiary status. Two Saints: Speculations Around and About Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Ramana Maharishi, by Arun Shourie Harper Collins, Rs 515 Arun Shourie’s new book, Two Saints, is an intriguing and, often, fascinating journey into the minds and lives of two particularly revered saints in India — Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Ramana Maharishi. But it is far from your typical hagiography. Instead, Shourie focuses on interpreting their mystical and spiritual experiences in the context of modern neurology and psychology. These are figures that have millions of devotees and whose words have revelatory and evidentiary status. What they say, so it must be. Two Saints, however, is an in-depth narrative and analysis of what are referred to as “out of body”, “near-death” experiences, altered states of consciousness, and the mesmeric power these men held over their disciples. While careful not to cross lines that could be construed as critical of these much-revered figures, Shourie’s primary interest is clearly along the lines of rational, scientific investigation of these phenomena. While he acknowledges the possibility that these experiences could be the result of mental ailments, neurological damage, and other psychologically […]
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