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Travel: Books

From Here to Nirvana

by Anne Cushman and Jerry Jones

(Rider Book, pounds 12.99)

For those who are deep, deep into spirituality, this guide to the yogis, gurus, ashrams and temples in India may represent, almost literally, a new bible. combines an introduction to Indian religions and philosophies with a guide to the best gurus and spiritual communities in India. Along with practical information about packing, health, itineraries and other logistics, the main section of this book is a vast directory of ashrams, yoga schools, meditation centres, classified alphabetically by state, and then by cities.

is meant to make you discover the real India, to drag you off the beaten track of the touristic path, miles away from the package tourist. Different from a traditional guide book to India, with no train schedules or hotel rates, the book sketches the spiritual route throughout the country. In the first chapter, we learn that its confessed aim is to "give the illusion that you know where you are going. The illusion, we say - because a spiritual journey to India is inevitably a swan dive into the unknown".

A book to change your life? A temptation to enter into a parallel universe? I think not. For those who are already seriously into meditation, this book contains plenty of useful information. But if, like me, you are completely uninitiated, you may need a little more persuading.