A Walk with Four Spiritual Guides: Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, and Ramakrishna

A Walk with Four Spiritual Guides: Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, and Ramakrishna

By Andrew Harvey
Woodstock, VT: Sky Light Paths, 2003, Hardcover, 240 pages.

If you are not familiar with the work of Andrew Harvey, this book offers a wonderful way to meet him. He begins by recounting his 1992 conversation with the mystic monk Bede Griffiths. "You know of course, Andrew, that we are now in the hour of God ... Very few people are prepared to look without illusion at our time and see it for what it is-a crucifixion on a worldwide scale of everything humanity has expected or trusted or believed in every level and in every arena. To look like this requires a kind of final faith and courage, which few have as yet. You and others like you will have to live and write in such a way as to help people to such a faith and trust."

"Do you think humanity can get through?"

"Of course, ... but it will cost everything, just as Jesus had to go through death into the new world of the Resurrection, so millions of us will have to go through a death to the past and to all old ways of being and doing if we are going to be brought by the grace of God into the truth of a real new age. The next twenty years will unfold a series of terrible disasters, wars, and ordeals of every kind that will reveal if the human race is ready to die into new life or not."

Always, Harvey's words, spoken or written, echo the conviction of Griffiths's words, while filled with his own broad and deep wisdom and passionate urgency. Here his reflections illuminate selected texts about Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, and Ramakrishna, assuring that "we will learn priceless and practical lessons, inspiring us to become warriors of love and knowledge and servants of that one transformed future that could enable us to survive."

A helpful page-facing commentary accompanies each text's English translation. In addition, insightful essays from others invoke a zone of consciousness to help us connect more deeply with each guide and selection.

For example, "one moment in the company of an enlightened master is more valuable than a hundred years of sincere worship .. , even a written account ... can impart to us the fragrance of their divine companionship." And, "always read a (mystical writing) as if it had just been written ... referring to what is going on in the world right now. If you do, you will find that its power to initiate and inspire is constantly astounding ... each different cycle of world civilization will find in it new truth, expressed with permanently fresh urgency."

Harvey begins his discussion of probably the most revolutionary mystic of the past 150 years with this assertion: "If I had to choose one book to take with me to a desert island to contemplate for the rest of my life, or pick one book to give a seeker today to help guide him or her into the joys and mysteries of the mystical life, it would be The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna."

For Harvey, nevertheless, "the world's supreme mystical revolutionary" is the teacher known as Jesus, and the Gospel of Thomas is the clearest guide to his vision of each person finding the truth and power of human divinity within themselves.

This volume is a very satisfying “sampler” of the other books in Skylight Paths' spirituality classics collection, which present the work of one guide in more detail.


July/August 2004