54 Interviews with Westerners
on their search for spiritual fulfilment in India

Compiled, Edited and Mainly Photographed by
Malcolm Tillis

Why is this site here?

An explanation by the author...

Although these 54 Interviews were recorded in India as far back as 1980-81, the ageless life-enhancing spiritual wisdom which was discussed and explored -- the purpose behind collecting the Interviews -- is even more appropriate today. A small selection of 21 Interviews was first published in book form under the title, TURNING EAST, in New York in 1989. A fuller selection of 50 was printed in Varanasi, India in 2004 by Indica Books under the collection’s original title, NEW LIVES.

But here – on this web site -- the complete collection of 54 Interviews appears for the first time as revised by the author. Many more photographs are being used to illustrate the text. This version, therefore, should now be considered the definitive version, the copyright of which remains with the author.

It has also given him the opportunity to do more research and add much needed-updates to what subsequently has been happening to many of those featured in the text – “Where are they now?” information. Inevitably, some of those who gave the Interviews are no longer in the physical body. Some, like the author, no longer live in India. One couple, for instance, now head a successful publishing house for spiritual books in USA. Others, who remain in India, have become distinguished in various fields, as gurus, teachers, writers, and in one case, a world-travelled lecturer and founder of a Buddhist Nunnery in North India. These boxed details follow each person’s Interview. As more information is collected, inevitably these updates will also need updating, and for this purpose to aid more research and the checking of dates and facts, a message board will be added.

The original transcripts of these Interviews, collected when I lived in the foothills of the Himalayas so many years ago, started life on a portable Olivetti typewriter. They have been resurrected, repolished, and now appear here in the form originally intended by the author. All this would have come to nothing without the care, the patience, and the computer wizardry of Alan Peacock, who has transferred the text onto this web site. He has also designed the layout, and by rescuing the wilting original negatives, has given new life to many photographs appearing here for the first time. I owe him a tremendous depth of gratitude.

I also wish to thank my most loving and respected friend, the Swiss born Swami Jnanananda Giri who has now lived in India for over 50 years. His Interview is outstanding in its breadth of spiritual wisdom, compassion and inspiration. His recently published autobiography, “Transcendent Journey” illustrates his longing since childhood for, and his momentous search leading to his spiritual goal. From the moment the idea for collecting these Interviews came bubbling up in 1980 when we both lived in the foothills of the Himalayas, Swamiji has been a guiding light unshakable in his conviction that the venture would bear fruit if done as part of my sadhana – spiritual discipline. Even now in his letters, full of spiritual nourishment and light, he has offered advice and much needed information.

Finally I wish to thank Ram and Parvati Alexander whose wedding I may have missed at the Theosophical Society in Adyar during my Interview-collecting tour, but who have remained committed to the project from the beginning. They have now contributed invaluable information for the updates, including a brilliant personal account of the decline, imprisonment and death of one of the most colourful characters you, as the reader, will meet during your journey through the text - the Texas-born barefoot roving-sadhu, Charan Das. Charan, constantly journeying along the myriad Indian Ashram roads, conveniently materialized several times during my own journey (sometimes as if out of the blue) always ready to help with a list of exciting new candidates worth interviewing. He never let me down. Alas, he too, at the age of 50, has departed off into the blue.

So in the generous spirit in which all these Interviews were given, they are now offered here free of charge with the one wish that they continue to give hope, direction, and inspiration.

Malcolm Tillis
Shrewsbury, England, January 2007


Sant Kirpal Singh (1894 – 1974)


his noble son
Sant Darshan Singh (1921 – 1989)
lyric poet
perfect disciple
humble guru