Secret Traditions

Autobiography of a Sadhu: A Journey into Mystic India

Secret Traditions

Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views (03/10)

We often hear of secret traditions in religions or groups but because of the secretive nature it is difficult of find information to give us further insights. I often wondered about some aspects of the Hindu religion and especially some of the yogis. Rampuri, in “Autobiography of a Sadhu,” has given this insight into what I was wondering about.

A Sadhu is a term used for a mystic or a wandering monk. They meditate and contemplate to reach their final goal in life: liberation. They wear ochre-colored clothing which symbolizes renunciation.

Baba Rampuri, as he is known now, travelled to India from California in 1969 to delve into the ancient order of the naked yogis. He became a disciple of a master Sadhu and then the first foreigner to become initiated into the Juna Akhara, one of the oldest Sadhu groups.

Rampuri tells of his experiences, inner conflicts, meeting devotees, receiving initiations, and his personal journey to his higher state of consciousness. As well, Rampuri informs the reader about the Indian culture as well as rigor of the belief system.

Personally, I found reading “Autobiography of a Sadhu” enlightening and educational. Knowing very little of this specific sect, I was enthralled with the mysticism. I’m grateful the author included a glossary because some of the terms used were beyond my knowledge. I certainly recommend this book to anyone willing to expand his or her knowledge of another culture.