2 out of 4 stars
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A Thousand Seeds of Joy: Teachings of Lakshmi and Saraswati is the first book in the Ascended Goddesses Series. Author Ananda Karunesh takes his readers on a spiritual journey as he summarizes his discussions with Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Lakshmi. The book is divided into seven parts and thirty-three chapters. In each chapter, the author asks the Goddesses a series of questions that seek their insights on leading purposeful lives, rich with joy and happiness.
Hindu Goddesses have always been admired and revered for their valor. Yet, several questions can occur to an inquisitive mind. Why was Sita made to take the Fire Test to prove her chastity? Did Siddhartha (Buddha) leave Yasodhara alone when he left the palace to find enlightenment? Such questions arise because most scriptures have been interpreted in a way that relegates women inferior to their male counterparts. In the prologue, the author has expressed his optimism about women empowerment positively impacting social and political systems. He argues that women will undo traditional and regressive patriarchal systems to heal the divisions that have caused the world around us to crumble. Through his conversation with the goddesses, the author discusses the inspirational lives of ladies like Sita, Draupadi, and even Mary, and Eve. The aim is to revive the original teachings of not only Hinduism but also of Buddhism and Christianity. The teachings of the Goddesses will not only offer new insights on bringing about a joy-centered consciousness on Earth but also point out the aberrations in the scriptures perpetrated by their male authors.
I anticipated that Karunesh must have compared the bygone matriarchal era with the current patriarchal era to analyze the causes of disruption in the socio-political order. Instead, I found myself stuck in a loop of poorly discussed concepts like heavenly realms, body chakras, ascension, karma, nirvana, etc. Though these are spiritually relevant concepts, their explanation was divorced from practical applications. What I liked about the book was that the questions the author has asked are both, philosophical, and practical. For example, he asks how the ago arises, what is the need for suffering, why humans suffer from the greed of power and money, etc. However, I felt like the answers were very abstract, revolving around the same themes of paths of enlightenment and activating different body chakras. There were only a few answers that I found offering practical solutions to common issues.
The overall theme of the book might seem unique to the readers who have not read much about Hindu spiritual philosophies. The concepts of striking a dialogue with Goddesses through meditation and the convergence of religions can be further enticing. However, religious skeptics might not find this to their taste. I personally like discussions on spirituality that are not pivoted by any religion. I also felt that the author has left several loose ends. For example, those who are not aware of the Mahabharata might wonder why Karna is particularly discussed in this book. To elaborate, Karna is considered the most controversial figure from the Mahabharata. A lot of literature is dedicated to investigating his actions and their repercussions, by both, his proponents, and opponents. So, a simple discussion on how his chakras were not correctly activated and how his enlightenment was delayed, would not appeal to readers who have read considerably about the Mahabharata. One would have to do considerable research to have a holistic understanding of the concepts and stories narrated by the author.
Overall, I would rate the book 2 out of 4 stars. Though the book seems to be professionally edited, I was not happy with the content of the book. I even found some content controversial. For example, in one section, Goddess Laxmi casually remarks that in one of the author’s incarnations in Egypt, he had caused trouble to many women. The immorality of the soul is central to Hindu spirituality, however, I found it far-fetched that a Goddess would pinpoint specific incarnation. Maybe, it is only a religious skeptic in me talking, and those extremely religious would find this relatable. I, therefore, recommend this book to only those who are deeply religious or are new to Eastern spirituality.
A Thousand Seeds of Joy
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