My Guru and His Disciple
From the libary of, and signed by, Swami Vidyatmananda, Isherwood's friend and spiritual inspiration
First edition, first printing. Hardback in dustwrapper. 22.5 × 14cm, 338pp.
This copy comes from the library of, and has been signed by, Swami Vidyatmananda. Vidyatmananda was John Yale (1913–2000, also known as Prema Chaitanya) an American who found faith in Hinduism. He corresponded frequently with Isherwood, and Isherwood wrote the introduction to his "What Religion Is: In the Words of Swami Vivekananda". He was also the editor of Vedanta and the West. John Yale has numerous appearances in the book and index. Provenance: Trevanion and Dean (Whitchurch) from Swami Vidyatmananda's Paris library.
My Guru and His Disciple is a sweetly modest and honest portrait of Isherwood's spiritual instructor, Swami Prabhavananda, the Hindu priest who guided Isherwood for some thirty years. It is also a book about the often amusing and sometimes painful counterpoint between worldliness and holiness in Isherwood's own life. Sexual sprees, all-night drinking bouts, a fast car ride with Greta Garbo, scriptwriting conferences at MGM, intellectual sparring sessions with Berthold Brecht alternated with nights of fasting at the Vedanta Center, a six-month period of celibacy and sobriety, and the pious drudgery of translating (in collaboration with the Swami) the Bhagavad-Gita. Seldom has a single man been owed with such strong drives toward both sensuality and spirituality, abandon and discipline; out of the passionate dialectic between these drives, My Guru and His Disciple has been written.
The book is in very good condition, the dustwrapper has a little sun-fading to the spine and light wear to the edges but has not been price-clipped and is now within a protective sleeve.