India Trip Notes
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David Godman dot org
3-28-11 - As mentioned before, I am here because I read a book on Ramana Maharshi by David Godman (as revealed in 2-28-11 - How I Came to Arunachala in Tiruvannamalai), David Godman who's been here since 1976 and whom I've had the pleasure of meeting. He's at the puja or service every evening at the Ramana Ashram circumambulating Ramana's altar with a host of others walking at varying rates, Godman's rather slow.
I met him by email first and mentioned I was here for a while and he responded to meet him after the puja which I did after a couple of tries. We sat on the porch of the office as people walked by, some stopping to say hi to him. I told him about reading one of his fourteen books on Ramana Maharshi, said I knew it was his because of the appropriateness of his name, and he knew right away it was the one published by Penguin. I told him about it being Ananda's favorite and mine to in the three plus years I read to him and how I choose to come here because of that book.
He said that when he first came in 1976 that this was a bucolic area with almost no traffic or visitors and that sometimes he wonders about his role in contributing to the volume of foreigners that live and visit here now.
His sister who's living in Iceland joined us. I gave him a brief idea of what I do. He's winding up on a sizable translation project of another earlier Advaita guru from this mountain. He said he self publishes now, indicating no interest in dealing with the publishing biz to any further extent. He says that New Leaf does a good job of distributing his books in America. He doesn't do print on demand. He said he'd print 1000 copies of the new translation and it would be available here and there. I'll come back later with who it is. I'd imagine it's on his website.
I asked him what he'd suggest I read and he said why not go for the ultimate, Guru Vachaka Kovai, his latest and most complete translation of teaching personally authorized by Ramana Maharshi. Even though it's 600 pages and hardback, it's only 150 rupees in the bookstore, a little over three dollars. I haven't bought it yet but plan to as soon as I finish a book on Arunachala and another on Narayana Guru. I consider that my assignment and will try not to bother him till I've completed it (or read the Cliff Notes)
Niels Holm got into Advaita because of reading Nothing Ever Happened, Godman's three volume biography of Poonja-ji (also called Papa-ji) which was also praised this morning by twelve year Tiru resident Chris Boys (who hails from Santa Barbara).
Godman's website features A Reforestation Project at the Foot of Arunachala which I mentioned in an earlier post about circumambulating the inner path of the mountain.[3-13-11 - Walking the inner Circle]
Godman's website and books are full of gems. Explore.
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