Om Swami is a yogi, a monk and a prolific blogger who lives in an ashram in the Himalayas. I was first introduced to Om Swami through his blog Om Swami – A Mystic’s Viewpoint. The blog struck a chord with me, as it explored interpersonal relations, emotion management and self-care. The author’s writing is engaging and always carries a story or a fable in them. I picked up If Truth be Told: A Monk’s Memoir as I wanted to know more about this monk, who could also write so well.
The book begins with Om Swami’s search for a Guru as a seeker and a renunciate. The author recollects his growing-up years in a simple modest household. This introduces the reader to a multifaceted, multitalented person who had a spiritual bent of mind since his childhood.
We then travel with the author to Australia where through sheer hard work, diligence and sacrifice, he earns a degree and gets a job. Om Swami actually lived a fast-paced corporate life with all its trappings of materialism. Despite his success as the Chief Executive Officer of a multi-crore business, he gives up his career at its pinnacle and takes a journey to the world of meditation and self-realisation.
To sacrifice his wealth, in order to delve deep within the spiritual self–at an age when most people would be seeking more–is not the choice of many in this world. There are innumerable yogis and monks who have recorded their life stories, but this book gives the reader access to the personal story of a soul in touch with the divine. We understand the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of an arduous journey that few would take, in a language that is simple, yet evocative.
Suddenly the skies roared, the clouds broke and rain came pouring down. Streams of tears continued to roll down my cheek; the more I cried, the closer I felt to the Divine. They were not tears of pain, they were not tears of joy either; they were tears of love and surrender. The door hadn’t opened for me yet but I knew I was home.
What is profound about the book is the strong message that the author conveys–to seek your own truth and to redefine yourself the way you want and imagine. If Truth be Told: A Monk’s Memoir reads like a novel and is recommended for those who enjoy autobiographies and to those who have an inclination towards a spiritual path.