Sunday, February 16, 2014

God: A Story of Revelation by Deepak Chopra

God: A Story of Revelation by Deepak Chopra

In Deepak Chopra's powerful, groundbreaking, and imaginative new work, a unique blend of storytelling and teaching, the New York Times bestselling author explores the evolution of God. By capturing the lives of ten historical prophets, saints, mystics, and martyrs who are touched by a divine power, Chopra reveals a riveting portrait of a constantly changing God. Our belief—and therefore God itself—transforms with each passing century. In this new novel, Chopra brings to life the defining moments of our most influential sages, ultimately revealing universal lessons about the true nature of God.

Job in the Old Testament experienced something completely different from Paul in the New Testament, Socrates chased a mercurial spirit almost unrecognizable to the strange voice that called to Rumi, and Shankara moved from town to town sharing the truth about a God that stood in marked contrast to the one that guided Anne Hutchinson—yet one sees an undeniable pattern. These visionaries took the human race down unknown roads, and Chopra invites us to revisit their destinations. Tearing at our hearts and uplifting our souls, God leads us to a profound and life-altering understanding about the nature of belief, the power of faith, and the spirit that resides within us all. (blurb from Goodreads)

Ratings: PG, 4 stars
Trigger warnings: violence

This book was not at all what I expected, and I’m not even sure what, exactly, I was expecting. I suppose I was anticipating either a straight novelized narrative, or a nonfiction analysis of the mystics in this book. What I got was a strange mixture of both. Each chapter in this book starts out by narrating a scene or two from the mystic’s life. It starts off very specific--for example, the chapter on Anne Hutchinson starts with her seeing a beached whale with her children. After the specific scenes, the narrative continues on for a bit in a more general light. The second half of each chapter provides analysis about what that individual can tell us about God, both in general and in context of their life and historical era. I suppose, in a way, it was little bit like the gospel and homily part of Catholic mass--first you get the story, then you get the application of the story.

This unexpected formatting did make the book slow-going at first, but once I got into it, I really enjoyed the format. The chapter-by-chapter focused allowed Chopra to introduce the reader to a wide variety of mystics from a wide variety of religious traditions. Each individual that the book covered caught my interest, often for different reasons.

I know that Deepak Chopra has written other books in a similar vein to God, and I now look forward to reading them. God is an interesting read from both spiritual and historical perspectives, and if the format doesn’t bother you, I highly recommend it.

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