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Beyond the Illusion Paperback – 18 Feb 2012

3.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: A. Vidor Publications (18 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615567029
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615567020
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,119,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Born in 1927, Antonia Vidor grew up amidst the glamour of Hollywood's Golden Era. After college, she became a healer and riding instructor. In 1974 she met the American-born spiritual master, Adi Da Samraj, and has since lived as his devotee. Now retired, 'Toni' lives in Hawaii.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have been reading Adida material for approximately 18 months and I have seen various short testimonials of devotees who lived with him for many years and met one devotee who lived his whole adult life with him. However, this is the first book I have read from a devotee.

I also have to say that the devotees I have met have all been impressively ordinary. After 18 months of intensive study and research by going our of my way to source some of the material I am satisfied by the integrity of the community. In fact, having been a christian, heavily involved for many years in every aspect I can only compare Adidam as more authentic and favourable.

The book therefore was read by me with this background.

I agree that the book lacks a sort of coherence at some points but I could see no reason to disbelieve anything she reports as I have heard the same stories from others with direct involvement. Likewise, her journeys to India and in search of Shakespeare all make total sense when the background of the Guru-devotee relationship is understood.

As I am genuinely interested in Adi da and considering being a devotee myself, I found this was a helpful book on my list of fact finding and authentication from a feeling as well as a hard evidence point of reference.

He book has many interesting and controversial (small c) moments (just to wet your appetite). Mostly I found her candid and authentic. She is simply presenting herself and this I find to be truly brave.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, I'll probably receive a load of abuse from people for giving this book only 1 star, but there you go. For me I'm afraid the author is terribly annoying, self absorbed and desperately missing the whole point. Although that could also of course be down to Adi Da's partially brilliant but also partially misleading teachings. Vidor gives no objective picture of life with Adi Da and is, I'm afraid, one of those devotees totally under the awe of her master, with no independent mind of her own. Adi Da was indeed an amazing "avatar" and has had profound impact on my own life on more than one occasion, but I have never been able to join his outfit precisely because it seems filled with unintelligent people such as Antonia Vidor. Far from giving me greater insight into Da and his teaching, it sadly only confirmed for me that his Sangha are enough to put one off for life. Still, one can benefit very much from reading Adi Da without joining his organisation thank goodness, but it's a shame there seems a shortage of really good written material from present devotees of his. I was hoping this book would be different - but I'm afraid it isn't. I don't recommend.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is no doubt a well-written and intriguing book by a woman with a remarkable life. Having spend her childhood and youth in a Hollywood milieu as daughter a renowned dirctor and a movie star mother. And later becoming a pioneer in yoga, health food, home birth, in other words new age before new age was born.

But the real topic of the book is her devotion to her spritual master Adi Da Samraj (aka Franklin Jones aka da Free John aka ...). And certainly Antonia Vidor seems to have an unusual degree of surrender, almost complete surrender, for a Westerner. Never apparently questioning any of Da's peculiarities and getting blissful by massaging his feet for hours. And totally accepting Da's rather pompous claims about himself as the ultimate Avatar, seeing him as "an enormous sphere of indescriable immensity that encompassed everything and everyone and was indefinetely above but included the tiny speck of his body.."(p.293).

Antonia seems to be a human with an inborn capacity for access to 'higher' realms, communicating with spirits of the death and able - later on in life - to guide them through the afterworld. And endowed with strong healing gifts. But for a more mundane/profane person like myself it all becoms a bit flimsy and very hard to discern what's real and what is dreams and fantasy. In this aspect it's perhaps telling that her quest - instigated by Da - to discover by spiritual means some original manuscripts settling the authorship questions about the works of Shakespeare turns out to reveal nothing at all. Despite her spending years with this, travelling to England and Denmark and even getting permission to do excavating work in some British cathedrals. And that she seems just as unable as I was to deal with her dement mother in her last days.

But one things is undoubtable - this is a very honest and captivating description of a highly unusual life and a highly controversial master.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a fantastic book! 22 Aug. 2011
By Judy Wendling - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I highly recommend it. The title is perfect. Toni was born into fame and riches but felt the need to go beyond the illusion of that life to find real and lasting happiness and fulfillment. She became a serious spiritual practitioner under the guidance and blessing of her guru and is very honest about the struggles with her egoic tendencies. Her transformation over time is very impressive. Her life is a fascinating story as well as very inspiring.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing life 5 Feb. 2012
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book could have been solely about the glitz and glamour of life as a child of two powerful pioneers of Hollywood, but instead, and thankfully, most of the book is about Antonia's spiritual journey with her spiritual master. When I first started reading I thought what relevance is this old-bitty going to have with my life, but this is one of the charms of the book. Even though many of the ordeals that the author goes through are personal, they are also universal... part of the human condition. No magic tricks are offered, no secret formulas, no ancient prayers to help through life's ordeals except for one... resort the the spiritual master, give everything to him.
Antonia is an amazing person with more energy in her 70s than I have in my 40s. Any serious spiritual seeker, anyone on their own spiritual journey must read this book at least once.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gift to You About a Life Completed and Happiness Uncovered. 11 Mar. 2012
By Ginger Sugar Blymyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Why does any Westerner look for a Guru and stay with HIm for 35 years when she has had just about anything one could imagine in the way of glamour, riches, adventure and different life styles? What could have been lacking? That is the question Toni Vidor asked herself. Her father was a director, King Vidor, her mother a silent film star. Although she seemed never to lack for anything, deep inside she knew something was missing. Like many of us, she searched here and there, trying different Teachers, different Teachings, but they all ended at some point. She was still alone. And then she Found Adi Da Samraj, an American born God Realized Teacher. She had prepared for this meeting, longed for it, and after she discovered His Teaching she struck the match and was with Him to the end of His life on Earth.
You have to be "there" to understand and Toni has given us a complete picture of her ordeal and difficulties and her utter happiness and wonder and joy and the acceptance that this was where she belonged. The only place she belonged.
I think we want our spiritual teacher to be beautiful benign, only bestowing love as we imagine it should be. In truth Growth in our life is about getting rid of the barriers we have built to protect ourselves. Her journey so honestly teaches us that the journey is anything but easy or even always happy. She went through many challenges and difficulties that tore down her barriers to happiness. We spend our lives distracting ourselves from our pain, and without a Teacher like Adi Da Samraj, we continue suffer in ignorance. Two of the important things she learned was that we become what we mediate upon and we are already happy. This sounds so simple but it is not.
She meditated upon her Teacher, did service of so many kinds, including travel to India, to London. At the end of her life she finally surrendered to the Gift Adi Da offered her in every moment. I recommend this book to anyone, who finds that "something" missing in their lives, even though they have "everything" read this book and understand what is actually missing, and how to uncover it though the Teachings of Adi Da Samraj. Toni's book leads the way. Her truth and the generous sharing of it is a true gift to us. And even if you are not looking for spiritual guidance it is great reading.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a fascinating movie 21 Mar. 2012
By Ruy Carpenter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
King Vidor, William Randolf Hearst, Howard Hughes, Greta Garbo, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Artur Rubenstein, Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Swanson, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Tallulah Bankhead, Zazu Pitts, David Selznick, Joe Cohn, etc, etc, etc. These early day Hollywood elites are the beginning background cast of characters of the real life story you are about to read. And readable this story is. The story is the ancient story throughout the ages of true love, of love's spirit that is truly Spiritual and Sacred which comes alive in Toni with such force as to move her and live her in honoring and serving that which is truly Spiritual and Sacred. For those of us who are heart inspired and uplifted by Sacred Love's Play with an interesting person, enjoyment awaits in your reading.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book full of heart and marvels 1 April 2012
By M. LATORRA - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ms. Vidor's story of her years with her spiritual Master is deep in every sense. Her life story is deep with Hollywood events that few of us share, as well as with the sort of life struggles that most everyone can relate to. It is deep with the marvelous events of her spiritual quest with a number of teachers and paths. But it is deepest of all in her heart connection with her Guru, Adi Da Samraj. This is a love that breaks her heart open. It is a love story of an extraordinary kind, far different and far deeper than any storybook romance. This is a love of God-Reality-Truth. And it's full of humor to boot! Who could ask for more?
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