A personal portrait of India

A Benedictine monk's diary of his visits to India

Ashram Diary by Thomas Matus. O Books. ISBN: 978 1846941 61 0. £11.99.  Diaries and journals have a particular attraction. Informality, intimacy, and immediate impressions open up the writer’s mind and heart to the page.  These diaries cover the years from 1984 to 2004, years during which Matus, a Benedictine monk from the New Camaldoli community in Big Sur, California, spent long periods in India, and most particularly at Shantivanam. A Christian ashram in Tamil Nadu, the distinctive character of Shantivanam stems from its integration of Hindu and Buddhist practices and, above all, during his lifetime, from the powerful presence of Bede Griffiths. It is a place that has drawn many (including myself) and particularly Matus, whose initiation as a sannyasi (renunciant) is described in the pages of this book.

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