“Generation after generation of readers have been inspired by Whitman and Thoreau, and millions of spiritual paths have been illuminated by them. But, because the mystical experiences that gave rise to their deepest insights have not been fully appreciated, their message has often been diluted. By correcting this shortcoming, Paul Hourihan’s penetrating book does a great service.”– Philip Goldberg, author of American Veda and The Life of Yogananda
“… Hourihan does us a great service by showing us the true religiousness of Whitman, set against the American Romanticism of Transcendentalism. Hourihan has an invaluable background in Indian spirituality, which allows Whitman’s mysticism to emerge, free as it is from what Whitman called ‘ecclesiasticism.’ It is only when set against the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita or the Advaita Vedanta that one can see the religiousness of Whitman, who otherwise calmly dismisses the Christian tradition of his land.
“…He regarded Thoreau’s early experience on Walden Pond as transformative, though one he never fully recaptured, trying instead to refine the written account. Hence the title of the book, suggesting Thoreau’s ‘quest’ remained relatively unfulfilled next to Whitman’s ‘self,’ a self that had approached the full realisation that is the focus of Vedanta.…
Any work on Thoreau and Whitman that explores their spirituality is welcome, but it is particularly so when it comes from an author with a doctorate in Western literature.” (Read the full review: “Ramakrishna and Christ” and “Mysticism in American Literature” Book Reviews by Mike King)– Dr. Mike King, Independent Scholar, formerly Director for the Centre for Postsecular Studies at London Metropolitan University
“I believe in you, my soul…” from “Song of Myself,” Walt Whitman
David Henry Thoreau, most famous for his philosophy of “Simplify, simplify,” lived his own dream for only a few years. Traveling to Walden Pond where he wrote his most profound works, he later obsessed over it for seven years until it was in his opinion perfect. Perhaps this obsession is what led to his own loss of the enlightened state that he sought for so long.
Walt Whitman’s greatest work, “Song of Myself” gives the impression of a highly enlightened man in touch with the infinite Truth, but his later works depict a man who has found but not held on to, the absolute Truth.
Paul Hourihan dissects the lives of these two men with a deep spiritual understanding…. Although great writers and revered philosophers, both died after long periods of attempting to once again regain that feeling of absolute enlightenment that was once theirs. Samples of their works are sprinkled throughout, tempting the reader to do their own research.
Written in true literary style, yet in layman’s terms as readers will find many of Hourihan’s works, the author delves into the personalities, lives and successes of these two great men. This reviewer found it a fascinating read, being a fan of both. Illuminating, informative and insightful, highly recommended.– Shirley Roe, Allbook Reviews
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
These words by Henry David Thoreau could not come at a better time than now, when we all hear the sound of a different drummer who sometimes seems so far away. The works of Thoreau and Walt Whitman are interpreted from a mystical standpoint, making it possible to understand the deeper meanings of their writings. A must-read.– Rahasya Poe, The Lotus Guide, Chico, CA