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Eileen Reviews: Time to be Holy

a deeper look into a timeless classic

June 16, 2010 by Eileen

“Take time to be holy”, Swami Radha says on the first page of her book of the same title. “Make this one of your key sentences for conducting your future life.”

I look up after I read this, to think about what she has said.  She would be very happy to know that I have stopped to reflect.  Taking time to be holy is not what you might assume. It is not prayer, or mantra, or attending church, nor is it singing a hymn or meditating.  Swami Radha defines it further.  “Take time off to think, to reflect….don’t be so busy that you don’t have time to think.”

For several years, I was intimidated by the title of this classic volume from timeless publishing. I steered away from pulling it off the shelf in the Ashram bookstore and cracking the spine. ‘Holy’ is a daunting word for the modern, secular culture in which I live, much like the words ‘soul’ or ‘worship’.  But it turns out that in my avoidance, I have been missing something priceless, both in the contents of the book itself — these sixty-four satsang talks given by Swami Radha over the course of many years — and in being able to achieve a more refined understanding of what ‘holy’ might mean.

Taking time to be holy is not a matter of asking what I will cook for supper this evening, whether or not it will rain today, or even when I will retrieve the precise word I am searching for. Taking time to be holy is a different quality of mind-work. According to Swami Radha, this time is for reflection on one’s conduct, on the impact of one’s actions, words or thoughts. The process of reflection is, for her, inherent in the self-development work she modeled and taught while she was alive. Reflection continues to be the backbone of Ashram courses and programs, fostering awareness and clarifying the mind so that we can, as Swami Radha herself says, “remember our true natures”.

I never knew Swami Radha.  My first visit to the Ashram took place a few years after her death in 1995.  I know people who did know her, and I treasure those moments when they share with me a particular memory of her, or a cluster of words she spoke that had a large impact on them.  These words gleam and sparkle. She was, by all accounts, an entirely remarkable human being who inspired a great many people to achieve their potential.

Because I did not know her during her lifetime, I must come to know her through her writing, through the audio recordings and the video files that she left behind.  Nowhere have I found a richer trove of her voice and her wisdom than in Time to be Holy. Her voice in these satsang talks is immediate. It brims with truthful certainty. She is at times firm, at times fierce, at times deeply human, fallible and loving.

“Don’t concentrate on what you have to complain about…..Look at what you already have.” I stop reading, feeling sheepish about a particular situation I have been complaining about to myself for the last two days.  I underline the words and flip the pages again until they stop, it would seem arbitrarily, at another talk.  “It’s often that we are trapped by our senses not because we are so weak but because we are so forgetful.” I reflect on how often my mind lays the same trap for me, how I seem to fall into it yet again. Remember to remember, I scribble in the margin.  Easier said than done.

As I read, hopping back and forth from one talk to another, I encounter many topics that are obviously spiritual, such as Christian Myth and Symbolism or Using the Divine Light Invocation. These I would have expected. Yet there are other talks that surprise me, topics ripe with meaning and guidance for everyday life: Human Mothers, Self-Development, New Year’s Resolutions. On page after page, I find the trademark practicality of Swami Radha’s teaching, a co-mingling of Eastern and Western perspectives that forms the foundation of her gift to this world.

I close the book, happy to have overcome my intimidation about reading it. I will reflect more on that tomorrow.


EILEEN DELEHANTY PEARKES was a regular contributor to ascent magazine for many years and is the author of The Glass Seed, a lyrical memoir offering insight into the nature of memory and the power of the human heart to heal.

“Pay What You Can” for a PDF version (digital download) of Time to be Holy.

For the next 21 days, you are free to choose your own price to download the PDF version of Time to be Holy. Feeling grateful? You can offer as much as you want! Feeling a bit tight in your budget? You can offer a minimum of $1! Any contribution you can make will support new publications of Swami Radha’s teachings.

Time to be Holy is an opportunity to discover Swami Radha’s wisdom through 64 of her satsang talks. This portable PDF resource is one you can take anywhere. For teachers, these talks can be a source of inspiration for your classes and satsangs.

We are extending this “Pay What You Can”  invitation to everyone ~ so please let others know.

This special offer is a sustainable publishing initiative from timeless publishing. Never before have our personal choices and business practices had such an enormous impact on our environmental and global connections.

‘Sustainable publishing’ for us means that on one hand we are reducing our ecological footprint by becoming a carbon neutral publisher; and on the other hand, we’re creating a sustainable financial model in today’s print industry. Time to be Holy is now offered as a print-on-demand book and downloadable PDF – the choice is yours.

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