Torah and Veda are two ancient sources of spirituality still vibrant today. Torah is conveyed through the sacred language of Hebrew and Veda is conveyed through the sacred language of Sanskrit. The focus here is on meditation, mysticism, philosophy, psychology and the underlying spirituality that has been incorporated into religions, and not as much on the religions themselves. Your comments and posts are welcome.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bibliograph/Book Review; Castaneda, Carlos; The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, A Separate Reality; Journey to Ixtlan, et al.

Bibliography/Book Review;
Castaneda, Carlos; The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge; A Separate Reality; Journey to Ixtlan, et al.

I am aware of the controversies surrounding Mr. Castenada and the chronicles of his adventures and apprenticeship with a Mexican Yaqui Indian sorcerer by the name of Don Juan Matus, all presented as true stories, although there is significant evidence that they were mostly flights of fancy, borrowing heavily from other sources without attribution, amounting to plagiarism. In this light, it is unfortunate that he chose the medium of non-fiction. His books may have had the same popularity and effect without the controversy if he had couched it all in terms of fiction, whereby his tales may still have taken their place alongside similar inspiring fictional works set in other realms, such as The Lord of the Rings, Dune, The Chronicles of Narnia, and more recently, the Harry Potter series. Because for me, it is of little matter whether Castaneda’s stories were literally true or not, just as these others were not. They all exist in some world, and I am happy that they do.

When I first heard of these books, back in the 70’s, I hungrily consumed them and eagerly awaited for news of the next installment. Of course, the first book was a great hit among those in the drug culture, with its seeming endorsement of the use of hallucinogens as a tool for self-development. Castaneda quickly burst that bubble with a subsequent message that the hallucinogens were of a limited use and eventually unnecessary. But the tales, teachings, and wisdom were often profound, moving, humorous and poetic, and they had a deep and positive influence on my young and growing psycho-spiritual being. I feel deeply grateful for having been exposed to them and highly recommend them to anyone looking for spiritual teachings and inspiration couched in a captivating story-line about an apprentice and a master involved in extraordinary powers and events.

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