The Secret of the Mantras is an exceptionally-written first-hand account of author Richard Blakely’s three-month teacher training course in Transcendental Meditation with the Maharishi Yogi in India in the late sixties. The book starts out in Paris where the author is a young American making a living by teaching English while he pursues his writing dreams. After attending a lecture by the Maharishi, he finds himself invited as a guest to attend the course in India.
It is written in a clear, conversational way. The descriptions are vivid: “What we could see were the lights of Rishikesh in the distance, with a few others twinkling nearby, and straight above us an array of stars that looked like fireworks frozen in midair.”
For people seeking an unpretentious look at the attitudes and vibe of the late sixties, this book is a must. While it deals with heavy issues—people seeing a deeper spiritual connection, the angst of falling in love, disillusionment, deep-set abandonment issues—it never loses its sense of humor. Surrounded by many who are probably taking everything too seriously, the author’s sense of humor and skepticism serve(d) him and the book well.
A bonus for Beatles fans: Mr. Blakely was in India at the same time the Beatles were. Fans will relish the first-hand encounters with the Beatles and members of their entourage. The anecdotes about those encounters are seamlessly woven into the narrative so as not to dominate or shift the book’s direction to the famous musicians
Some people are gifted storytellers, and this book reads like an evening listening to one of those gifted storytellers spin interesting, exciting, meaningful tales of a time in his or her life.