Hollywood to the Himalayas by Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati
My take on the book:
Hollywood to the Himalayas is memoir of Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, who came from California to Rishikesh upon insistence of her husband Jim. The reason she would like to call herself a reluctant spiritual seeker, as her arrival in India was not her calling. However, the first sight of the mighty Ganga changed things forever — she entered a trance like out-of-the-world experience the first time she stepped into the water.
Meeting her future Guru, guide and mentor also happened in a similar fashion when she was pulled by an invisible power to the Ashram. Thus started Sadhviji’s spiritual journey that she recounts in this memoir — her dark days of struggling to forget the childhood abuse to being treated for Bulimia as a young adult, to healing of all her troubles by the mere touch of her Guru and by soaking in Ganga.
The book is a comprehensive retelling of her journey over the decades from 1996 to present time. There are a total of forty-eight chapters coupled with multiple pictures of Sadhviji with international dignitaries. The book is easy to read even by novice readers as the language is simple and the chapters are short and concise.
While the happenings are from late nineties and the next couple of years and India in those days is much different as a country from what it is today, I felt uncomfortable reading few portions that highlighted how India is different from the developed countries, not in a good way. Though few of these characteristics of the country are true, when seen through the eyes of someone who arrived here for the first time from the West, I did flinch reading it, especially in the initial chapters.
If you can overlook this one aspect of the book and would not mind it, then this memoir will make for an interesting read.