Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Real Secret

In Conjunction with Sutapa prabhu's post -  - about The Secret, just want to share an article I wrote back in 2007. entitled Listen, Do You Wanna Know A Secret

Several months back the Times ran an ad for a DVD of the book The Secret. The Secret is the newest sensation and darling of the New Agers. It's beyond the New Age. I'm sure the Neocons are reading it behind closed doors. It's a hot seller with the Walmart crowd. Oprah, on her show, made a big deal about it.

I had an occasion to see The Secret video last year. I can only describe it as a testimonial to materialism. The height of Me-ism. At one point on the video there’s a women standing in front of a jewelry store longingly looking at a necklace displayed in the window. The next minute she’s wearing the necklace. There’s another scene where a kid wants a bike and then you see him happily riding the bicycle. This goes on to a woman being attracted to a man and later she’s walking with him hand in hand.

The Secret views the earth as just one big Kamadhenu cow ready and eager to supply everyone’s desire, as opposed to the paradigm of The Sri Isopanishad which tells us that everything in the world is controlled and owned by the Supreme Lord and that we should only accept what we really need for ourselves and not take anything unnecessarily, knowing well to whom it belongs. There is a delicate balance in nature and we should fulfill our needs and wants with the utmost care. Native American wisdom tells us that we must take into consideration the impact of our actions on the next seven generations.

But The Secret, endorsed by the "good guys," would have us believe that the earth can completely satisfy our every desire and that we can have a fairy tale life wherein all wishes are fulfilled (that may have been the case in the Satya-yuga). The ad in the paper reads that The Secret can give you "...unlimited joy, health, money, relationships, love, youth, everything you ever wanted." Yes. It's all yours!!!You have just hit the jackpot, won the lottery, beat out everyone on The Idol, been invited on Oprah, postponed death indefinitely, moved into a new mansion and made a million new close friends. (This sounds better than all the snake oil remedies the quack doctors used to sell in the wild west.)

In these times, however, is it responsible to have a mindset and live a lifestyle advocated by the Secret? This type of unrestricted consumerism is the very mentality that has put us in the precarious situation we’re in today. Is the The Secret going to stop the ice caps from melting or bring back the ozone layer? Is it going to stop people from getting blown up? Is it going to stop disease and death? The Secret doesn’t mention that ultimately we cannot control what happens to us. We can only control our attitude and our intentions. As the ancients, to live peacefully, we must learn self control, to conquer our greed and anger, to respect all life and the environment we live in, and to offer ourselves in service to the Creator of all things.

One of the appeals of a secret is that people like to be in on something that’s exclusive. The Secret is special, and they are special and their knowing the Secret gives them a special advantage over everybody else. Of course, everybody else is thinking the same thing. Basically, the secret of The Secret is the law of attraction, when you think positive thoughts you get positive results. And when you know this “secret” you can have it all. And to prove that The Secret is bona fide, the narrator in the video (DVD) summons up some of the big movers in history like Jesus, Buddha, Lao-tzu, Confucius, Socrates, Shakespeare, Newton. They all knew The Secret, and that’s what made them so famous, successful and spiritual. I wonder why they didn’t mention Gengis Khan or Rocky Balboa.

Because of its popularity, I think devotees have a great opportunity to offer people an insight into the real Secret (In marketing this is called positioning - that you position your product with, or against, a product that is popular). Real knowledge is not on how to acquire material things and get a beautiful body, but how to distinguish between matter and spirit.

“This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting and it is joyfully performed.” Bhagavad Gita 9:2

Award winning book by Sankirtana das

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mahabharata Receives Two Awards

Just received two Finalist Medals for my book Mahabharata: The Eternal Quest  from the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.  They had notified me last month about an award.  When two medals recently showed up in the mail I thought they had made a mistake. Looking at their letter again I realized I received the Finalist Award in two different categories – Spiritual & Religious Non-Fiction.

Also, I recently posted the first part of a talk I gave at the Wheeling library back in February about the book.  See my site  The other two parts are on YouTube.

My intent in writing the book was three fold: 1) to deliver the story as good literature 2) to give it a cinematic slant, as potentially the basis for a film 3) to keep it at a length that could easily be studied in high school and  college classrooms.” Beside the Finalist Awards, the book has received acclaim from scholars across the country and is being used in a couple of courses.

Now the goal is to surpass William Buck's impersonal Mahabharata as the go to book in the academic community. You can help by simply using Google to access my Mahabharata site above.  That will boost the book's visibility. Thanks so very much. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mahabharata Talk on YouTube

Earlier this year I gave a talk  about my book Mahabharata: The Eternal Quest,  a ‘fast-paced, cinematic’  rendition of India’s ancient epic. You can watch the first part at: 

Andy Fraenkel's talk at the Ohio County Public Library in Wheeling, WV about his book Mahabharata: The Eternal Quest. The book received a Finalist Award from...

It’s in three parts - on Youtube search for Andy Fraenkel to access the other two.

The book just received two Finalist Medals from the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.  The term ‘Indie” refers to Independent artists. The book awards are mainly selected from small presses, independent publishers, books published by universities  and self published authors. It’s said, “If its cool, creative and different, it’s Indie.”

My hope is that MahaTEQ will eventually replace William Buck’s ambiguous rendition of Mahabharata that so many professors are accustomed to using. To bring this goal one step closer, I am asking for your help.

If you googled Mahabharata, my site comes up on pg 3. Buck’s book is on page ONE.  Please help MahaTEQ  get more visibility.  I humbly request that  you visit my site - -  to help bring it up to page one next to Buck's. You might also do a search on Google for it.

A big - THANKS!
Ys, Sankirtana Das