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SWAMI Hardcover – 1976

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Inc; 1st Edition edition (1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394496035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394496030
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14.2 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 500,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a different sort of going-to-India-to-look-for-a-guru book in that journalist Boyd starts out in Topeka, Kansas at the Menninger Foundation with Swami Rama (of the Himalayan Institute). The year is 1970 and the Swami has come from India to show the good doctors how he meditates and slows his heart beat, etc. Only later does Boyd go to India to look, as a Hindu guide phrases it, "into this swami business." One recalls that during the sixties it was all the rage to go to India and find a guru.

This book is partly a follow-up to Boyd's very successful "Rolling Thunder" which was about a Native American medicine man. Like "Rolling Thunder," "Swami" is engagingly written and aimed at a popular readership. Boyd, like a novelist, sprinkles the text with color, atmosphere and recreated dialogue. The best part of the book is the interesting portrait of the charming and almost mesmerizing Swami Rama that emerges. He is a rather young swami with a great zest for life, a man wise in the ways of the world but still vigorous with something to prove.

Perhaps the main value of the book, at least for today's readers, is the insight provided about the traditional disciple/guru relationship in the broader experience of Hinduism. We can see how the system works. We have the church system in Protestant Christianity, the monastic system in Buddhism and elsewhere, but in Hinduism traditionally there is the guru system. These various systems are ways to maintain and pass on religious knowledge, rituals and practices.

The rest of the book leaves a little to be desired, especially Boyd's lack of yogic sophistication and a "country boy" arrogance that sometimes creeps into the narrative.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
interesting book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9ac02de0) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a0e2eb8) out of 5 stars Doug Boyd's books are awesome! 4 April 2005
By Dwight - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book explores extremely fascinating possibilities of the mind, body and spirit. I found it to be an enthralling read. I wonder if maybe the previous reviewer may have been disappointed for s/he was expecting a thorough examination of swamis or their lifestyle in general, and this book's purpose is neither. Rather, I feel Boyd invites us to challenge our beliefs and wonder about the potential we possess and sadly disregard.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a38545c) out of 5 stars A popular look at "this swami business" 10 April 2010
By Dennis Littrell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a different sort of going-to-India-to-look-for-a-guru book in that journalist Boyd starts out in Topeka, Kansas at the Menninger Foundation with Swami Rama (of the Himalayan Institute). The year is 1970 and the Swami has come from India to show the good doctors how he meditates and slows his heart beat, etc. Only later does Boyd go to India to look, as a Hindu guide phrases it, "into this swami business." One recalls that during the sixties it was all the rage to go to India and find a guru.

This book is partly a follow-up to Boyd's very successful "Rolling Thunder" which was about a Native American medicine man. Like "Rolling Thunder," "Swami" is engagingly written and aimed at a popular readership. Boyd, like a novelist, sprinkles the text with color, atmosphere and recreated dialogue. The best part of the book is the interesting portrait of the charming and almost mesmerizing Swami Rama that emerges. He is a rather young swami with a great zest for life, a man wise in the ways of the world but still vigorous with something to prove.

Perhaps the main value of the book, at least for today's readers, is the insight provided about the traditional disciple/guru relationship in the broader experience of Hinduism. We can see how the system works. We have the church system in Protestant Christianity, the monastic system in Buddhism and elsewhere, but in Hinduism traditionally there is the guru system. These various systems are ways to maintain and pass on religious knowledge, rituals and practices.

The rest of the book leaves a little to be desired, especially Boyd's lack of yogic sophistication and a "country boy" arrogance that sometimes creeps into the narrative.

By the way, "swami" is an honorific title signifying someone who has reached "sannyasa," the fourth stage or ashram of life in Hinduism. Traditionally such a person becomes a wandering mendicant. Swami Rama "wandered" to America while running the Himalayan Institute and writing books. His charm might remind the reader of a style perfected by Deepak Chopra.

(Note: My book, "Yoga: Sacred and Profane (Beyond Hatha Yoga)" is now available at Amazon.)

Yoga: Sacred and Profane: (Beyond Hatha Yoga)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a874d68) out of 5 stars Swamis, Sadhus and Sannyasins 10 Oct. 2011
By Bobbananda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. Personal experience, well written, many dimensions.
The first part is about Boyd's time at the Menninger Foundation in Topeka assisting Swami Rama during his tenure there. The reader can gain insights into the many sides of a holy man.
Part two is even better, when Boyd goes to India on his own and enters into the worlds of lesser known but highly developed yogis.
HASH(0x9a874f18) out of 5 stars good book 24 April 2013
By Amy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
good book, I really enjoy doug boyd books, this was my 3rd book of his & now ive ordered a 4th & looking forward to reading it to.
HASH(0x99f7a768) out of 5 stars spirits ofvthe native americans 20 Nov. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anything by doug boyd is worth the read. It has to be in your interests. There are more good ones too.
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