Do you think spirituality is a waste of time? Do you think it is NOT your type?
Or, you wonder the hype around it? And, want to explore this spiritual world?
If these are some of your mind wanderings, here we are with the experiences of none other than late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam sir.
Today, we will discuss “Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences With Pramukh Swamiji” book by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam sir has been the President of our country and an esteemed scientist. He has achieved many significant achievements in his life. He tells how he had a relationship with Pramukh Swamiji to move ahead in life.
Abdul Kalam Sir and Pramukh Swamiji had their first meeting on 30 June 2001 in New Delhi. On meeting him for the first time, Kalam sir was very impressed; his life was straightforward and peaceful.
He straightforwardly led his life and used to wear simple clothes. He did not even keep much wealth with himself. He says that the credit for this goes to Pramukh Swami Ji.
He learned this art from him only. Abdul Kalam Sir was born in Rameshwaram in a Muslim family. His father used to sit and drink tea every evening with the priests of the temples and discuss the issues of the day, which instilled a feeling of spirituality in him since childhood, and he believed in this since childhood.
So, when he met Pramukh Swamiji for the first time, his feelings intensified, and he wanted to know more about it. Due to this, a good friendship developed between Abdul Kalam and Pramukh Swamiji.
Why read the summary here?
Spirituality is one such niche which I as a reader, keep on exploring. This is mostly because of the strength it delivers to me for fueling my other activities.
When I read this book “Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji”, something moved inside of me and I felt myself evolving.
The result is the summary of this book that will indeed help you evolve, too, as a human being!
This personalized account of my experiences of this book is what your are reading here which differentiates it from other summaries of this book available in plenty online.
Chapter 1: Experiencing the presence
Between 2001 and 2014, APJ Abdul Kalam met Pramukh Swami Maharaj. In this chapter, he tells how Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s presence around him affected him. He was very much attached to spirituality since childhood.
When he became the President of India, he learned about Pramukh Maharaj Ji and expressed his intention to meet him. APJ Abdul Kalam met Swami Maharaj for the first time in 2001.
Abdul Kalam sir says that Pramukh Swamiji has a big hand in whatever success he got in politics. He always showed Abdul Kalam Ji the right path and helped him with difficulties. He says that people often look at spirituality in the wrong way.
They see that spirituality is done by the one who wants to become a saint. Still, spirituality can be adopted and benefit everyone, whether it is a child going to school, a person working, or a woman working in the house. Spirituality can be helpful for all because you feel the powers hidden inside you and find yourself connected with God.
Kalam sir had spirituality from childhood, but when he started paying attention to spirituality, he did it by accident. Once Kalam Ji was very upset about something. He could not find a solution to that problem, so the colleagues who worked with him started getting angry with him. So he started living very angrily and became a victim of depression.
Then, he learned about Pramukh Swamiji, sat at a place, and meditated on God for half an hour. Then, closing his eyes, he started taking deep, deep breaths, and after some time, he felt excellent. At that time, Kalam Ji felt that there was such a thing that he always found missing in himself.
But today, when he associated himself with spiritual power, he liked it very much, and after that, he made up his mind to meet Swami Pramukh Ji from time to time.
Chapter 2: You are not who you think you are
He explains this with an example. Saying that everyone in the class feels that he gets the most marks. And in his eyes, he is the brightest student.
But when the exam is held, and the result comes, it is known that three people were studying more who have topped apart from him. After this, he realizes that he needs to work harder.
We should never think that what we are doing is right. If we continue to be happy seeing our work, we may not be able to improve. That’s why it is essential to take feedback from people better than us; otherwise, we will be unable to understand our mistakes and will be won only by our illusions.
It is most visible in today’s generation if we understand this thing carefully. Today’s generation does not want to listen to anyone else; they feel that what they are doing is right, whereas it is only sometimes the case. In some places, one is correct, but in some areas, one is also wrong.
They do not want to believe they are wrong, so they can never correct their mistakes, and they see failures in life. For this, Kalam Ji tells us that we should always look at ourselves from a second point of view, which means looking at our work from such a point of view. If you were a spectator, you would have liked that work that way. If the answer is yes, then you are on the right track.
Chapter 3: Peace grows when it is shared
Often we see that whatever we have, we want to keep it to ourselves. Some people do not want their knowledge to be known to anyone else, but the reality is not like this. Kalam Ji always believed in helping others, so he devoted his life to his country.
They say that just as knowledge grows by sharing, in the same way, peace also grows by sharing. Therefore, peace is such a thing that can bring growth in ourselves and society.
Abdul Kalam Sir asked Swami Ji what peace means, and he said peace does not mean that if you sit on a mountain, you will get peace, or else you will attain peace by becoming a saint.
Instead, you get peace from your work. Therefore, you will find peace if you are happy with your work.
If we see today, there is no peace in the life of most people because they are either bored with what they are doing, or they never liked that work. Still, they have to do that work.
Therefore, they do not have peace of mind, are always troubled, do not like anything, and cannot remain active.
Abdul Kalam sir says that you must keep yourself calm if you want growth.
You have to keep your heart happy. Then, you will only be able to start something good. You will always be where you are.
Abdul Kalam Ji had to face many troubles in his office, so he used to get angry sometimes. But as he started enjoying his work, he started doing more in his career.
He started paying attention to the good things about the staff. With this, he was able to gradually reduce that anger and do his work in a better way.
The main lesson of this chapter is that whatever position you want to take in life, you should do it according to your choice.
Chapter 4: The confidence that we can do it
In this chapter, Kalam sir says that another essential thing he learned from Swamiji was confidence. Abdul Kalam sir explains that he faced many challenges in his career. He even left them many times, but after meeting Swami Pramukh Ji, he learned how important it is to accept challenges.
Swamiji explains that if you have challenges in life and accept it, two things will happen: you will either win it or lose it.
If you win, you will reach a different level; if you lose, you will learn something from it. But you will neither win nor lose if you are yet to do it.
You will remain where you were. And you will not be able to learn anything new in your life. Only people who have known something new daily, can do something big.
From this, we should also think that there will be challenges everywhere. If you accept the challenge and move forward, then there are more chances that you will be successful. But if those challenges are ignored, they will remain there forever.
The most prominent example is Abdul Kalam Ji. Since childhood, Kalam Ji wanted to become a pilot in the Indian Air Force but could not fulfill his dream.
So he accepted the challenge of becoming a pilot. But he did not give up and kept trying. After that, he became the President’s secretary of DRDO and later accepted the challenge of becoming President.
And he became the President of India. Kalam Ji took many challenges in his life and learned from all those challenges, and kept moving forward.
We should also do the same in life, accept the challenge and keep moving forward, which will give us the confidence that we can do anything.
Chapter 5: Self-discipline is the only path to success
Abdul Kalam Ji says, “With self-discipline, almost anything is possible.” Meaning no work is challenging with self-discipline. Abdul Kalam Ji was a very self-disciplined person since childhood. He used to do the job that he had to do then, which is why he achieved so many achievements.
After meeting Pramukh Swami Ji, his thoughts about self-discipline increased even more. Swami Pramukh Ji says that self-discipline eliminates laziness inside a person.
Discipline means doing the work you do not like to do, but you will be very successful by doing this work. The most significant example of this we can see from student life is that any student likes to read less, but he studies to get good marks in the examination.
In the same way, it is essential to have self-discipline in us. Swamiji further explains that human beings live on happiness and pleasure, but the only difference is that joy will be with them for a long time.
For example, if you are obese and want to be thin, you must stop eating the food you want and exercise. If you prefer to avoid doing both things now, which will make you thin in the future, you may become fat in the coming time.
But by doing this work simultaneously, you will be healthy. For example, you have to be thin, but you eat your favorite food and do not exercise daily, then you will be happy for a while doing this, but later, when you find yourself a fat person, again you will not feel good at all.
That’s why we learn from this chapter that we should prioritize happiness, not pleasure, and be a self-disciplined person.
Chapter 6: A fearless look
In this chapter, Abdul Kalam tells how you become a person according to your thoughts. Pramukh ji was a good friend of Abdul Kalam sir and a good mentor.
He used to tell Abdul Kalam sir that you should always be fearless even if the most significant difficulties come. You should never be afraid of that difficulty, and you should find a solution.
When Abdul Kalam Ji became India’s President and made new policies to change India, he faced many problems. So he decided to talk to Pramukh Swamiji. The question was how we could remove poverty in India, and it is challenging to remove poverty in India.
Pramukh Swami Ji had told Abdul Kalam sir that there is a challenge in front of you; if you do it, you may reach a different level, and if you do not, you will remain on the same level. Believing Pramukh Swami Ji, Abdul Kalam sir accepted, and he created Vision 2020, in which we wrote many things to remove the poverty of India.
Pramukh Swamiji has contributed a lot to Kalam sir’s life in every way. Even in his political life, Pramukh Swamiji taught him many things.
It would help if you also adopted these things that, instead of never being afraid of any situation, we should calm down and find a solution. Only then will you be able to move forward. Kalam Ji explains this with an example.
He says, suppose there is a massive mountain in front of you. Now you can do two things, either you remove the idea of crossing the mountain from your mind and keep getting upset seeing it, or sit calmly and find a solution.
Think about how to break it so you can cross that mountain. People who always choose the other option in life to move forward.
Friends, I hope that you have learned a lot from all these chapters. Whatever we have learned, let’s look at it once again:
- We should always focus on the present and not worry about the future.
- You are not what you think.
- We should always think from the point of view of other people
- We should recognize the mistakes inside us.
- Peace increases by sharing, among others.
- We should accept challenges.
- If we take the challenge, then either we will win, or else we will learn something new.
- To be successful in life, it is essential to be a self-disciplined person.
- Self-discipline keeps laziness away from us.
- We should never be afraid of any situation.
Now apply all these things in your life, and move forward and kiss success.
Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji Book Review
“Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji” is a memoir by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India, about his experiences with Pramukh Swamiji, the spiritual leader of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.
The book details Kalam sir’s encounters with Pramukh Swamiji and the impact the spiritual leader had on his life. Kalam sir shares his thoughts on topics such as religion, spirituality, and the importance of compassion and service to others.
One of the strengths of the book is the way Kalam sir presents his experiences with Pramukh Swamiji in a personal and reflective manner. He shares his own thoughts and emotions, and the reader can feel his admiration and respect for the spiritual leader.
Additionally, the book provides insights into the principles and teachings of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, which may be unfamiliar to some readers. Kalam sir explains these principles and their significance in a clear and accessible way, which allows the reader to gain a better understanding of the organization and its beliefs.
However, the book is not without its flaws. Some readers may find the language and tone overly sentimental, and the book’s focus on Kalam sir’s personal experiences may not appeal to everyone. Additionally, the book may not provide much insight for readers who are not already familiar with the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha or Hindu spirituality.
Overall, “Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji” is a well-written and engaging memoir that provides a unique perspective on spirituality and the teachings of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. While it may not be for everyone, those with an interest in spirituality or Hinduism will likely find the book insightful and inspiring.
Our summaries are also available on all Podcast platforms, named “Kitabein” which recently won India’s best educational podcast award. The link is just down below: