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  BOOK REVIEW

 

Live Louder, Laugh Longer

By TIM GERCHMEZ

 

 

 

DUCK SOUP FOR THE SOUL:
The Way of Living Louder and Laughing Longer

By Swami Beyondananda (Steve Bhaerman)

Paperback --160 pages
April 1999 Hysteria Publications
ISBN: 1887166289
Dimensions (in inches): 0.35 x 9.96 x 5.78

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Duck Soup for the Soul is without a doubt one of the duckiest books I've ever read. Swami Beyondananda really has a way with words, and in this book he demonstrates that he also has a way with birds. Not that it's nice to actually make duck soup (ducks really feel more at peace swimming in a pond than in a pot of boiling water), but this particular soup is indeed good for the soul. If you don't enjoy it, you can at least use it for a doormat and say it's good for the sole.

Swami Beyondananda attained Fool Realization and became a FUNdamentalist after meeting his guru, Harry Cohen Baba, the Garment Center Saint. After some needling by his guru, the Swami was struck by Enlightening and his clown chakra opened fully, giving all of existence access to his constant tendency to upchuckle. He teaches us how to release jestive blockages, overcome gravity through levity, and cure our chronic irony deficiency.

On a more serious note (do I have to?), Swami Beyondananda's main target audience in Duck Soup for the Soul seems to be those of us on a spiritual path. All too often, the path becomes something of a struggle and we become the victim of too much seriousness. Duck Soup is a delightful and welcome relief from reading the Bhagavad Gita or Tao Te Ching for the 10,000th time. Laughter and joy are indeed vital aspects of life, whether one is realized or not. So many of today's (and yesterday's) gurus appear as scowling, grumpy old men telling us not to have sex (Beyondananda deals with Sects Appeal in detail), not to eat certain foods, not to do this, not to do that. Swami Beyondananda only tells us not to take anything too seriously. Oh, how welcome such a message is!

Some people may stumble upon Duck Soup for the Soul and begin to investigate the spiritual path. What a way to start! There is one thing to be aware of, however -- deep belly laughter may interfere with contemplating one's navel. For those who encounter this problem, I'd recommend a brief stint in the armed forces, so as to fill the Navel Reserve beforehand. Then, allow the Swami to become your guru. He knows well that he's a fool -- and fool of levity, at that. Through direct transmission, his levity will overcome your gravity, and because you are no longer grave, death will lose its hold upon you.

Ahem... but seriously -- Duck Soup for the Soul is a hilarious and wonderful book for anyone and comes highly recommended, especially if you like plays on words. The Swami is a master at wordplay, and he will hook you! His teachings may even be attractive to masters -- one might say the Swami is a master baiter, among other mentionable things. And really, we're all masters who don't know it yet. Swami Beyondananda's hook is in the water, and his book is on the market. My strong recommendation: Bite! Enlightening such as this never strikes twice.

 

 LINKS 

 


Swami Beyondananda's Website




Tim Gerchmez is the publisher of The Core. He has been interested in nondual spirituality for about a year. He is an on-and-off member of the Nonduality Salon mailing list. When asked for biographical information he replied, "My life occurs from moment to moment. What happened in the past is unimportant dead information. All I can say is that there is understanding here, but how much I cannot say. I sense that nondual understanding cannot be quantified and defies all attempts at assigning numbers, formulas or words."

 

This page was published on January 25, 2000.

 
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