Five Years, Eleven Months and a Lifetime of Unexpected Love: A Memoir Info

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"Brilliant photographs ... a talented writer ... her
descriptions are lyrical and evocative." — Kirkus Reviews"This makes
Eat, Pray, Love look like a summer vacation ... An important historical
and spiritual journey told seamlessly." -- The BookLife Prize 2017, Ten
out of ten rating.In 1971, at age 20, Visakha had just published her
first book and was beginning her ascent to fame and fortune through a
career in photojournalism. She dreamed of bringing the people of the
world closer by sharing their common kinship and values through her
photographic essays. Then, at the invitation of her college boyfriend,
who was working on his MFA thesis in India, Visakha traveled east, where
she first learned about bhakti yoga – the yoga of devotion – from a
simple Indian sage. The bhakti tradition seemed irrelevant to Visakha,
and she rejected it. Five Years, Eleven Months and a Lifetime of
Unexpected Love is Visakha’s deeply personal account of the emotional
upheaval caused by her doubting her own cherished convictions, by her
discovery that the alarmingly unreasonable – bhakti – could gradually
become alarmingly reasonable. Visakha portrays her own and others’
experiences in India, Europe, and the United States as they grapple with
knowledge and a culture that is at once utterly foreign yet also
resonant with their hearts. And she reflects on the profound,
life-altering questions that we all sometimes ask. Written by a fellow
seeker who maintains a healthy dose of skepticism, this is the
heartwarming, funny, colorful, bizarre, surprising, informative, and
upending true story that will help questioner-skeptics see life from
another perspective, one likely different from their own. In Five Years,
Eleven Months, Visakha beautifully weaves together her personal losses
and gains with an age-old tradition that enfolds her, creating a moving
narrative for anyone who has ever asked, “Why?”

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.66

152 Ratings

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Reviews for Five Years, Eleven Months and a Lifetime of Unexpected Love: A Memoir:

5

Jan 04, 2017

I enjoyed watching Visakha, a successful young photographer with grand horizons, trained in the ways of skepticism and atheism, travel to India to be with her first love. There the boyfriend and girlfriend travel to exotic destinations. But instead of being taken in by the sights and sounds, which Visakha writes eloquently about, the two fall in love with an exceptional saint, surrender to him, and the Bhakti path. Young Visakha, however, does not enter as easily and seamlessly as her boyfriend. I enjoyed watching Visakha, a successful young photographer with grand horizons, trained in the ways of skepticism and atheism, travel to India to be with her first love. There the boyfriend and girlfriend travel to exotic destinations. But instead of being taken in by the sights and sounds, which Visakha writes eloquently about, the two fall in love with an exceptional saint, surrender to him, and the Bhakti path. Young Visakha, however, does not enter as easily and seamlessly as her boyfriend. Indeed, I kept wondering when Visakha would leave him, India, and the saint. But this author's honest, rigorous self-examination leads her in surprising ways. Her brave movement toward her calling is both frightening and wonderful. I am moved and grateful to have read this person's inner exploration of the self. ...more
5

Mar 15, 2017

Literate and introspective, Visakha 's memoir is a joy to read. Especially engaging is her running account of the tension within herself between her spiritual path and, on the other side, her persistent doubts, her skepticism, and a rational mind always on guard against being spiritually duped. And hers is an extraordinary story. As a young photojournalist, still in college, she journeys first to Nepal and then to India, where she meets a spiritual teacher who shows her much more than she Literate and introspective, Visakha 's memoir is a joy to read. Especially engaging is her running account of the tension within herself between her spiritual path and, on the other side, her persistent doubts, her skepticism, and a rational mind always on guard against being spiritually duped. And hers is an extraordinary story. As a young photojournalist, still in college, she journeys first to Nepal and then to India, where she meets a spiritual teacher who shows her much more than she expected to see in her viewfinder and changes the course of her life. Now, nearly fifty years later, she shares with us her adventures, her insights, her reflections, her wisdom. A splendid book! ...more
5

Jun 08, 2018

Such a wonderful journey to undertake with this incredible author. Truly one of the best books I have ever read! Visakha's writing is so engaging. Her detailed descriptions transported me into her world, where I shadowed her quest, echoed her doubts, and experienced her bliss. Her dry humor and wit made me laugh with her, and her honesty made me love her.
I read this book in three days, and have reread it twice.
5

Mar 15, 2017

I was mesmerized by the candor, picturesque detail and superb writing style of Visakha’s autobiographical adventure of her almost six years with A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami (aka Prabhupada). Visakha is multi-talented (I had used her book on macrophotography as a reference during my graduate school days in the 1970s). She applies her photo skills to the written word, composing a complex mosaic of her time with Prabhupada and her personal struggle with her latent atheism, encounters with misogyny, I was mesmerized by the candor, picturesque detail and superb writing style of Visakha’s autobiographical adventure of her almost six years with A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami (aka Prabhupada). Visakha is multi-talented (I had used her book on macrophotography as a reference during my graduate school days in the 1970s). She applies her photo skills to the written word, composing a complex mosaic of her time with Prabhupada and her personal struggle with her latent atheism, encounters with misogyny, austerities of India in the '70s and difficulty of opening of her heart and trusting. I knew Visakha during those fascinating and exciting years. Her memoir preserves the actual tensions, exhilaration, doubting and heart-wrenching of the times. Five Years Eleven Months is required reading for those who want to understand the source of her awakening, the tumult of the times and the open-hearted love she felt for Prabhupada (and Prabhupada for her). The book is a page-turner. ...more
5

Jul 06, 2018

Great Must Read

It is almost an autobiography of Vishka journey with her Guru, her seeker's pang to understand and know her equation with her Guru / Krishna.
4

Jan 12, 2020

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about Prabhupada and his institution, Iskcon, from the perspective of one of his intimate devotee.
The book is written very honestly, describing the shortcoming of an ordinary human on the spiritual path and that makes the book more interesting as the reader could relate to his or her own delusions while trying to make progress in spiritual life.
2

Sep 29, 2019

Interesting at first

But I began skimming to bypass the theology to get to the human journey. This memoir brought back memories of my childhood and LAX airport.

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