Book review : TRANSCENDENCE By APJ Abdul Kalam


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A concise guide to spirituality

By Vish Viswanathan

‘To the Righteous People of the World’ is the dedication that prefaces Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s final book titled, ‘TRANSCENDENCE – My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji’, which he co-authored with Arun Tiwari. The late Dr Kalam, former President of India and renowned scientist recounts his experiences with spirituality and the role played by Pramukh Swamiji of the BAPS organisation in his spiritual quest.

Tiwari too, dedicates the book with the caption, ‘Let peace be upon all the readers of this book. Providence will decide when it will reach their hands’.

The book is divided into four parts, Experiencing the Presence, Spirituality in Action, Fusion of Science and Spirituality, Evolution of Creative Leadership and is a spiritual journey in itself for the reader. It provides not just insights into Dr Kalam’s childhood, life and career, but also the not insignificant role that Pramukh Swamiji played in inducting, inspiring, mentoring and motivating him.

Interspersed with anecdotes from his childhood and career, Dr Kalam confronts experiences with success and failure in a down to earth manner that brings alive the great man’s limitless humility.

The book recounts how Dr. Kalam’s pursuit of spirituality grew vigorously on meeting Pramukh Swamiji in 2001 when presenting Vision 2020, on how to turn India into a developed country. Swamiji’s advice was invaluable: “…along with five important areas to transform India: education and healthcare, agriculture, information and communication, infrastructure and critical technology, add a sixth one faith in God and developing people through spirituality. This is very important”. Their relationship was based on mutual respect and understanding, and resulted in the creation of TRANSCENDENCE.

The book concludes in summarising the life and messages of Pramukh Swamiji, which is like a scientific formula of spirituality

‘In the good of others lies our own, / In the progress of others lies our own, / in the joy of others lies our own.’

An excellent read by an author who continues to inspire mankind through his words.

The Indian Telegraph Sydney Australia

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