Shiksha Patra - 41 Letters of Spiritual Counsel
The books written by Shyam Das, made available by the Jivamukti Shop have the knowledge, love and wisdom and lifework of Shyam Das. Shyam Das is an American bhakti scholar and teacher who spent more than half his life in India practicing Pushti Mārga, by living a life of seva/service, meeting teachers, saints, poets and philosophers of the Vaishnav traditions in the Vrindavan area. Notably he was the first westerner to have been embraced by the traditional and ancient order of Sri Vallabhacharya, the last of the 5 renowned Achāryas from India. An Achārya is a teacher and philosopher of the highest order who is respected for their contribution to Indian spiritual and religious traditions.
These books are not ordinary books printed by a large western publishing house! These are sacred works written by a divine being who spent his life immersed in bhakti who practiced and taught a unique way of life even for westerners. These books are printed in India about 15 years ago by a small publisher who themselves are traditional bhakti practitioners. It is said that these books just by keeping with you, even if you don't read them, will allow a yoga practitioner to feel the energy and make the right decisions in life !
Some of the books appear to be damaged or not look brand new. This is because they were stored in a 500-year-old temple in India for many years after Shyam Das died in 2013. But trusted friends and family members of Shyam Das have worked to preserve these precious works and reprint some of them.
These books are not for everybody, they are not entertaining in a casual way! They are for students and teachers of Yoga who have tasted the nectar of Bhakti and are looking to experience more of that bhāva (divine mood and sentiment) and enrich themselves!
Shri Harirayaji (1590-1711) composed this series of Sanskrit letters sometime in the 17th century.
The 41 Letters cover a vast array of spiritual subjects such as, how to live a devotional lifestyle, how to live the lila of life, and how to make the necessary adjustments to the various situations that arise in the course of one's personal journey.
This English edition of the Shiksha Patra is the fruit of Shyamdas' lifelong engagement with sacred literature and is the last fully completed translation he has left us with. It includes the most extensive and personal introduction of any of his books.
To learn more about Shyamdas (Stephen Ted Schaffer), visit The Shyamdas Foundation