About the Authors
Shree Maa has been devoted to God from her childhood. Leaving home at an early age, she performed sadhana in Kamakhya, in the regions of the Northeastern State of Assam in India. She sat most of the time in the silence of deep meditation, speaking very little, and eating practically nothing, only sandal paste mixed with water, basil leaves and occasional juice fed to her by devotees. Her body weight reduced to little more than sixty pounds. People who saw her in deep communion with God for hours and days at a time, called her the Goddess of the Mountain, the Goddess of the River, or simply Shree Maa, the Respected Holy Mother.
After several years, she began to roam throughout India worshiping in temples, forests, fields and homes. And she began to sing. Sometimes she would sing all night, and devotees would gather to be in the presence of this holy woman whose entire life is worship.
In 1984, she came to America, and now lives a very simple life dedicated to daily worship. Fame and wealth could easily be hers, but she wants nothing to do with them, preferring to own very little, and to offer all to God.
Like Ramprasad, she declines the offers of temples and ashrams, preferring the solitude of her spiritual discipline. She chooses to spend her days in worship, meditation and service, teaching that all the acts of life can be service to God and expressions of devotion. Shree Maa’s realization is an example, an inspiration, a gift. Like Ramprasad, her bhava comes from pure intuitive experience. Her message transcends all boundaries as she builds bridges across continents, cultures and creeds.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Swami Satyananda Saraswati is considered to be one of the foremost Vedic scholars and Sanskrit translators in the West. He is the author of nearly 60 books in nine different languages representing a significant contribution to the understanding of Hinduism and Vedic religious practices.
Swamiji comes from the Dashnami lineage of Adi Shankaracharya, and belongs to the Saraswati tribe of renunciates and scholars who are living the life of a teacher and a knower of wisdom, worshiping with both spiritual knowledge and devotion. His Guru, Swami Amritananda Saraswati, initiated him into the Vedic Knowledge, Sanskrit, and the Chandi Path and sacred fire ceremony as his primary system of spiritual discipline in 1971.
He practiced the recitation of the Chandi Path in the Himalayan snow and in the hot springs of Bakreswar. Through this rigorous penance, he became impervious to the influences of heat and cold. Through his experiences walking the length and breadth of the Himalayas over 15 years, Swamiji fell in love with Sanskrit and became proficient in numerous languages including Bengali and Hindi. Wherever he went he would learn the local systems of worship and inspire those around him to participate. Swamiji’s expertise and experience spans many different religious traditions. His realizations and teachings make him a living example of Ramakrishna’s Gospel, “as many as there are individuals, so many are the paths to God”.
In 1979, Swamiji met Shree Maa when he was performing a vow of worship in a small temple in the interior of West Bengal. They toured India, spreading their divine love and inspiration by performing pujas, homas, and sharing their realizations, and teaching their methods of spiritual practice. In 1984 they came to America and established the Devi Mandir, where he and Shree Maa shine their beacon of light from Napa, California. Today, they share all their resources to give every individual an opportunity to access these spiritual teachings.
- Paperback: 717 pages
- Publisher: Devi Mandir 1st Edition (2011)
- Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15 ounces
Book Reviews of From Birth to Death
By Julia Doughty
There are two threads of the Book to Death book. It is a manual of spiritual techniques for life’s passages/phases that allow us to align ourselves with the heart and soul of life’s meaning. Equally, throughout the book is the message of devotion, what Shree Maa and Swamiji offer us, this continuum of devotional ecstasy that runs into and through and beyond all practices and time.
By Hanuman DasWhat a huge collection of rites of passage! The breadth of this book truly takes the reader through initiations that include every aspect of life. I really love the question and answer section because it addresses so many issues relevant to living a meaningful and fruitful life. All I can say is WOW! Thank you Swamiji for such a concise, beautifully translated, all encompassing presentation.