Avatar of Night
Special Millennial Edition
by Tal Brooke
The one-time Indian Bestseller, Avatar of Night, was released in December of 1999 through End Run Publishing and is the most complete version ever published, with 180 photographs and graphics.
As Woodstock and the Apollo moon landing lit up the skies of history, Tal Brooke flew to New Delhi, quickly becoming immersed in the vast subcontinent of India as he pursued a radical pilgrimage of consciousness. After quickly exhausting the "Grand Tour" of landmarks popularized by the spiritual tourists of the West, Brooke plunged into wilderness India, and the journey shifted into high gear.
From their first meeting, Brooke was heralded by Sai Baba, India's greatest miracle-working godman, as the inner-circle disciple who, like Oppenheimer at Los Alamos, would help trigger the explosion of India's ancient mystical tradition into the Western world.
Within Baba's enchanted realm, Brooke saw and experienced things that seemed to obliterate all Western conceptions of reality as his journey vectored further into an alien universe. What had appeared as the prized state of godlike enlightenment, which seemed just within reach, became a precipice-not of enlightenment-but obliteration, even possession. Brooke was becoming a captive soul of an ancient inner transformation, while Baba's outward divinity concealed a timeless, demonic presence.
After two years of surrender to a Being who claimed to be God on earth, something remarkable happened. The end-game of spiritual powers ensnaring one man's soul turned abruptly and miraculously. Poised on the edge of a precipice, Brooke was rescued from above.
With hauntingly vivid images, unexpected humor, and a profound passion for truth, Brooke lays bare the powerful reality of good and evil and of things beyond the familiar realm of the senses, in a book that will not be easily forgotten.
(A review of Avatar of Night from Amazon.com written by a British Journalist.)
Reviewer: Nigel Parry, December 28, 1999
It is not surprising that the first review of this book was overwhelmingly negative. Sai Baba, after all, has millions of disciples, and this book stands alone as the only comprehensive and credible, dissenting account of Baba's claims to be God.
The story is cinematic. The narrative is evocative and immersive, and is begging to make the transition to feature film. The book, written by a child of the sixties, tells a tale common to the era - a search for spiritual truth - but an uncommon tale in that the author went on a road less traveled, journeying to India and ending up as an intimate disciple of the country's most popular and charismatic guru, whose devotees include members of the Indian government.
But it is more serious than that. Baba is more than a guru. Baba claims to be God. The God. Your God and my God. That he can appear to back up this claim by performing dramatic miracles - materializing solid objects from thin air is one example - and having some undeniable level of revelatory knowledge into people's thoughts, makes him a very dangerous person if his claims are false.
To call this book 'one-sided' is completely missing the point. The book, if anything, tells two sides of the story in its answering the question about Baba's divinity.
The first half of the book is an account by an intimate disciple convinced of Baba's divinity. The second half recounts in great detail the gradual process of revelation of another side to Baba - a 'spiritual detective story', if you like - ultimately leading up to a powerful and dramatic conclusion.
When people set themselves up with any kind of power over us, whether politicians or spiritual leaders, it is important that their lives and their beliefs that influence and affect us are transparent and open for examination. In other words: if God gave us minds, presumably he would want us to use them.
The fact is that this book is the only chance that most worshipers of Baba around the world are going to get to hear an informed, alternative opinion of Baba's claims. And that the opinion is offered by one of the few people who can claim to have known him closely for two years requires them to pay attention.
I first read this book ten years ago, when it was available in the West as 'Lord of the Air'. It is one of the few books that I have read many, many times - no small praise from an English graduate and journalist.
The literary quality of the account, the intense and gripping story, the integrity of the investigation Brooke undertakes, and the personal suffering Brooke later underwent to get the text published in the West after the Indian government banned it, make this one of the few books that you absolutely have to read. Whether you have any interest in Baba, or just enjoy a good real-life adventure story, this book is highly recommended.
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