Mystics & Sceptics
It is best, in one’s sojourns across the Himalaya, to be cautiousin chance encounters, for one could well encounter a saint, a siddha, a madman or a charlatan. Mystics and Sceptics, edited by Namita Gokhale, comprises essays on all of these.
This uniquely insightful anthology traverses the sacred geography of the Himalayan range, encompassing different cultures and religious traditions in its living legacy. Through myth, legend and anecdotal memory, it includes narratives of wanderers and seekers, gurus and enlightened souls, tricksters and delusionists. The spiritual seekers include among others, Guru Milarepa, Neem Karoli Baba and Siddhi Ma, Paramhansa Yogananda, Swami Rama, Guru Nanak, Swami Vivekananda, Haidakhan Baba, Yeshe Tsogyal, Lal Ded and Shri Madhav Ashish. Also discussed are the sacred traditions of the dhuni and chimta, the shakti peeths in the Himalayan region, trance runners of Tibet and Bhutan, and the Khasi rituals of divination and prophecy.
The stories herein are as varied as the flora and fauna of the mountains. Some of them display the resilient scepticism that is the foundation of true belief; others take a leap of faith. There are encounters and quests, wanderings and lost paths, disappointments and betrayals, but they carry the spirit of the seeker, of the search and the continuing journey within them. This book is a tribute to the mysteries of the Himalaya and the mystic secrets it contains.