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Ashram Diary: In India with Bede Griffiths
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Ashram Diary: In India with Bede Griffiths (Paperback)

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"Ashram Diary" accompanies the reader to Shantivanam, an ashram (hermitage) in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Shantivanam began in 1950 when two French priests put on the orange robes of Hindu renunciants and initiated their life of meditation by the sacred river Kaveri. In 1968, an English monk, Bede Griffiths, became the ashram's guru and taught there until his passing in 1993. During the last nine years of Griffiths' life, Thomas Matus listened to his teachings and shared in the life of the ashram.In this book, Matus recounts his experience of India, its people, and its spiritual culture during frequent retreats at Shantivanam. He narrates his travels to sacred Hindu and Buddhist shrines and his conversations with fellow seekers on the path. Honestly examining his own faith and vocation as a monk, Matus invites the reader to share his quest: to rethink Christianity in Indian terms and India in Christian terms, in order to discover the one Reality beyond all names and forms, in which faith and spiritual searching reach their ultimate and blessed end.

At the age of eighteen Thomas Matus received initiation into Kriya Yoga from the disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda. He made a personal vow to remain celibate, searching for God through the practice of meditation. As he continued his studies at Occidental College in Los Angeles, he began to experience the ever-new joy that Yogananda said would fill the heart of a faithful yogi. Then one day, during his evening meditation, Matus heard a call to accept the Catholic Church as his guru. After many years of rigorous monastic training at Immaculate Heart Hermitage in Big Sur and the ancient Monastery of Camaldoli in the Apennines of central Italy, he made his way to India, where he sat at the feet of Bede Griffiths in the "forest of peace" called Shantivanam. In 2006 he returned to the United States and now lives and meditates in a small, urban monastery in Berkeley, California. Matus has composed much liturgical chant and instrumental music, and publlished a number of titles, including Bede Griffith's Essential Writings, Belonging to the Universe, and Yoga and the Jesus Prayer Tradition.

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