Death of a Guru Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Death of a Guru

This is the sober but astonishing account of a man who grew up in Trinidad in the 1950's with the pundits and pujas as a Hindu of Hindus, a Brahmin of the highest caste. His father was revered as a god and avatar, having declared Brahmacharya just days after his marriage, and who henceforth never spoke as he meditated without ceasing until his death. Rabi explains his family life and the culture he grew up in with great clarity and detail, which forms a fascinating insight into the Hindu culture, the good and the bad. The beliefs and practices of the society are illustrated with the rituals and the worship of the snake, the cow, the sun. (There is a glossary at the back of the book defining all the terms used.)
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All the pundits (Brahmins most learned in Hinduism) predicted that he would be a great pundit and guru himself. From the earliest age he strove to emulate his father and please his mother: he meditated, worshipped, and studied as hard as he could. His karma seemed good. However, his meditation with its psychedelic experiences and visions did not bring him the peace he sought. As a youth he found he could not control his temper, his self-centredness, or the chain-smoking which made him ill. As predicted, he himself began to receive the rich living of a pundit and guru; he even gave blessings to his worshippers as a godling himself. But he found he had many bad experiences, and many hard questions to answer. Then one day a voice told him that he was "not god".

His soul-searching eventually brought him to the Christian faith, and also most of his family. He came to London in the late sixties to become a doctor, where he found the hippy culture, dropping acid, and having the same experiences that he had been used to, using transcendental meditation. This led him to give up his medical training and become a missionary, which has since taken him all over the world, preaching and speaking.
The review of this Book prepared by Michael JR Jose

Chapter Analysis of Death of a Guru

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Plot & Themes

Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Kids:    -   trouble in college    -   trouble in high school    -   rebelling against parent's expectations    -   general coming of age story job/profession:    -   religious figure Job/profession/poverty story    -   Yes Kind of living:    -   general poverty story

Subject of Biography

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   religious figure Ethnicity    -   Indian Indian


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   6 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK    -   Switzerland    -   Germany The Americas (not US):    -   Yes The Americas:    -   The Caribbean Island?    -   Yes Island:    -   Caribbean Islands City?    -   Yes City:    -   London Century:    -   1960's-1970's

Writing Style

Book makes you feel?    -   spiritual Pictures/Illustrations?    -   None How much dialogue in bio?    -   significantly more descript than dialog How much of bio focuses on most famous period of life?    -   0-25% of book

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Rabindranath R. Maharaj Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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