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,
Shrewsbury, England, January 2007