|The true devotee has
only one aspiration: to postpone liberation and love God forever.
1: Forming our Own Paradigm
The book opens with the theme that there are numerous options available
to the spiritual traveler in Hinduism, some of which include what God
means to us, what we call him, the favorite forms of God we worship,
and how we define our relationship with him. Together with some beliefs
that are more or less universal within the Hindu world, these choices
outline the spiritual model for a seeker – the paradigm used for
finding God. The intricately interdependent beliefs of karma,
reincarnation, and the formation of karmic impressions, which are based
on the eternal nature of the soul, are explained. The reader is also
introduced to the goals of Hindu life and the classical paths to God,
including the yogas of karmic surrender, love, and knowledge. This
introductory chapter concludes with the notion that God is beyond
theoretical explication and this understanding should be an inherent
part of our spiritual paradigm.
Chapter 2: Getting
Started: The early Impressions for Love
The reader is introduced to chanting, the
most popular God remembrance technique. Why does a saint
believe that a single chant of the Divine’s name is enough for
liberation? How does regular remembrance differ from the selfless
remembrance needed to reach God? Other popular devotional techniques,
(collaboration with the righteous) and community
service, are discussed.
Chapter 3: Developing the
Feel for His manifestations
This chapter introduces the reader to the popular forms of God in
contemporary Hinduism: Vishnu and his incarnations, Shiva, and Shakti.
What are their attributes and what do people like about them? What is
(vision of God) and what is the feel of the devotee behind it?
How does worshipping an idol develop impressions for actual
transcendence? How our own desires define the form of the Mother
Goddess we worship? Why do Hindu festivals revolve around the
manifestations of God?
4: Realization for the Career Conscious
This chapter is about spiritual awakening for the professional and
opens with a revision of karma and karma yoga, the path of selfless
action to God. Numerous hypothetical professional-world scenarios are
used to provide pointers on how karma yoga can be incorporated into
modern-day settings. How can choosing the ‘appropriate’ course of study
(major) in college be an advantage for our spiritual realization? Can
we initiate karma yoga by engaging in a vocation that does not interest
us or is labeled ‘unrighteous’ by our mind? Why ‘planning the future’
with a desire for promotion in the corporate world becomes a hurdle for
karma yoga? In the later part, the chapter explains how destiny
connects our instincts with our workplace and how God turns out to be
the actual doer of all karma.
Chapter 5: Monitoring our
This chapter answers why monitoring spiritual progress is important.
Our levels of adherence to non-violence and six other classical
impulses, including anger and jealousy, which are said to hold us back
from our divinity, have been presented as behavioral indicators that
may be used to analyze our progress. If we believe that we are the
“real force” behind our good actions, we may be far from being
selfless. How we respond to our own good deeds and how we feel on
receiving monetary gifts can also be used to estimate our spiritual
level. Similarly, care for our environment and participation in
humanitarian global efforts also demonstrate spiritual advancement, for
such activities help us recognize the inherent oneness among all
Chapter 6: From
Remembrance to Love and Surrender
Focusing more on the devotional feel in contemporary Hinduism, this
chapter illustrates the transition from simple remembrance to total
surrender. It begins with an introduction of the difference between
typical remembrance and bhakti (selfless love of God) and a highlight
of Krishna’s statements in the Gita that have made an impact on how
Hindus connect to him. How does love of God originate in the mind? Why
do saints keep asking for more and more bhakti? What are the common
moods of devotion in Hinduism? How can we use our creativity to make
our own alterations on the path of love and surrender? Does ‘love of
God’ include the path of selfless karma? What happens when love becomes
complete surrender? How is the Lord expected to reciprocate our love?
Chapter 7: Understanding
The chapter opens with what ‘Nature’ means in Hinduism and what is the
relationship between God, Nature and the individual soul. In the Hindu
context, interacting with nature comprises of worshipping Nature as a
form of God, forming a harmonious relationship with the environment,
and embracing her higher instinct (goodness as opposed to passion and
ignorance). The ultimate aim remains the same: development of surrender
to God so that all the modes of nature, including goodness, can be
transcended. How do Indian naturopathy and the creative arts aid Hindu
spirituality? How does Nature bind us and why is interacting with
family and friends selflessly a part of achieving realization?
8: The Last Few Days: A Paradigm Shift
This concluding chapter intends to explain what is so distinctive about
saints. It begins with the theme that as we approach God, whether we
see oneness with God (monism) or have completely surrendered ourselves
to the Personal God, we lose our individuality. As our spiritual
paradigm is completely transformed, we realize that all our initial
spiritual selections were not our own; they were all works of the
Divine. What makes saints unique? In spite of initial oppositions from
members of the community, why do saints opt to fully interact with us?
Do saints perceive suffering as we do? How do they spend their last
moments on earth? What happens when they reach spiritual perfection?
A Some initial choices involved in making a Spiritual
B Various Interpretations of Karma Yoga
C Lord Krishna’s assurance to His Devotees in the Bhagavad
- The book relevantly links spiritual
evolution to professional life and
- Makes ancient wisdom more
accessible to the modern-day reader.
- Assumes no background in philosophy.
- Offers popular, contemporary
- Integrates ‘how Hindus adore the
Divine’ with their practices,
routines, and social behavior.
- Couples popular beliefs and
philosophical principles from the Bhagavad
Gita (and the devotional saints of India) with the writer’s personal
observations and novel inferences.
- The major part of the book is not
about understanding Hindu theory but
on incorporating spirituality into our lives.
- Though the focus is on
duality-flavored surrender-based approaches, the
book leaves philosophical differences (monism vs. dualism) open-ended
for readers as choices to reflect the co-existence of diverse Hindu
Devotional Hinduism: Creating Impressions for God
Author: Mukul Shri Goel, PhD
Religion & Spirituality/ iUniverse, Inc.
Trade Paperback / 126 Pages / 6” x 9”
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