front cover image for devi showing photo of rishikesh and painting of the goddessI prob­a­bly had more fun writ­ing this book than any­thing else I’ve ever worked on. Three sto­ries, all inter­twined and dove­tail­ing at the end: the narrator’s real life as he sits in an ashram in India and grad­u­al­ly finds him­self caught up in the spir­i­tu­al quest; the dream life that he records in his dream jour­nal, where he is a priest in a Hin­du tem­ple in some past cen­tu­ry; and the nov­el that he is writ­ing, fol­low­ing the adven­tures of his char­ac­ters and dis­cov­er­ing as he goes along that they are far more than mere inven­tions. I sto­ry­board­ed this nov­el before I began, scene by scene—it was too com­plex a sto­ry to attempt writ­ing with­out a detailed plan — but even so it was full of sur­pris­es. The scenes remained the same but the hid­den log­ic behind them only became appar­ent to me as I watched the sto­ry unfold, month by month, draft by draft. At times I felt like an amanu­en­sis, tran­scrib­ing scenes that were float­ing untend­ed in the Cos­mic Imag­i­na­tion. It end­ed up being a very long book — 272,000 words — but that was how long it took to com­plete the jour­ney. I remem­ber feel­ing both grat­i­fied and grate­ful when I reached the end of the final draft — this one real­ly felt like it land­ed in my lap. I was also writ­ing the biog­ra­phy of my spir­i­tu­al mas­ter, Anan­damur­ti: The Jamalpur Years, at the same time that I was writ­ing Devi — work­ing on one book until the cur­rent draft was fin­ished and then lay­ing it aside and mov­ing to the oth­er, com­ing back fresh some months lat­er to begin the next draft — and I’m sure that the inspi­ra­tion I gained from being immersed in my guru’s life had a great effect on the writ­ing of Devi. It still brings a smile to my face when­ev­er I think back on the four years it took me to write those two books.

Book Descrip­tion

Fresh from a painful divorce, Rodri­go Arroyo boards a plane for India where he plans to spend his one-year sab­bat­i­cal writ­ing his long-dreamed-of first nov­el, a work of his­tor­i­cal fic­tion set in India that he hopes will final­ly launch his quest for artis­tic immor­tal­i­ty. He finds the per­fect place to write: a clean, qui­et ashram in the foothills of the Himalayas where no one will both­er him as he sends his thoughts into the clear moun­tain air. He soon finds out, how­ev­er, that the god­dess has oth­er plans for him. A chance encounter with an Indi­an holy woman and the unsought-for com­pa­ny of seek­ers and yogis soon trans­form his artis­tic quest into a jour­ney of spir­i­tu­al awak­en­ing, and his search for per­son­al redemp­tion into a tryst with the laugh­ing eyes of the goddess.

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Devi Sam­ple Chapters