Book Review: Nectar of All World Religions: 1000 Selections from 11 Spiritual Traditions by Ishwar Joshi Awalgaonkar

Religion can be a tricky path to navigate, because the more you discover, the more you tend to become confused as to which is the right one. But there is no right one. Just one that you feel most comfortable and at home in, which helps you grow and makes you a better person as much as it pulls devotion out of you. So what do we do when we are this confused? Should we flit from religion to religion? Or should we randomly choose a religion based on how many tenets of it we like? Or can we get the best of all worlds?

Ishwar Joshi Awalgaonkar answers these questions by answering in the affirmative to that last question. In the book, Nectar of All World Religions: 1000 Selections from 11 Spiritual Traditions, the author has listed out 11 world religions, explained what they are and their origin stories, and the most important tenets from all of them. He writes from a neutral perspective, putting it out there for us to read all of these and then pick and choose whichever ones suit our mindsets.

But that’s the question: if everything is an explanation of goodness, doesn’t it become easy for you to choose?

The answer is yes. But there’s no global good per se. What suits someone in, say, Australia, might not suit someone living in India. What suits a Buddhist belief might not suit a Christian belief. Yes, the Venn diagram is perhaps larger than we might think it is. But in order to sift and sieve our lives into a semblance of peace and what we hope it might be, we sometimes need to diligently go through our principles. And this book gives you the facts without embellishing any details.

The number of religions in the world is a testament to the fact that our love and belief in God is limitless. But more than that, it is the belief, the confidence in humanity and the spirituality that we are capable of, that makes us so resilient. Ishwar Joshi Awalgaonkar has selected 11 of these religions to talk about and contains the teachings of 11 Gods/spiritual leaders: Bahaullah, Buddha, Confucius, Guru Nanak, Jesus, Krishna, Lao Tzu, Mahavir, Moses, Muhammed and Zoroaster.

God’s wisdom is infinite but the author, in this compilation of 1000 selected verses from across sacred religious texts, brings together the basics in a nutshell. Even if you read a verse a day, as the author recommends, this book will tide you over for about 2.5 years! This tactic of reading a verse a day and then thinking about its meaning is one that the author found useful. Through this, one can perhaps glean the meaning of life, if done with enough determination.

Nectar of All World Religions: 1000 Selections from 11 Spiritual Traditions is a well-intentioned, well-written, well-structured book that smashes religious barriers and brings them together, if only to show that they aren’t all that different from each other. The number of highlights I’ve made in my Kindle copy is testament to the fact that you will find something to learn in every page of this simple yet profound book.

Would highly recommend!

Rating: 4/5 stars

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