Vanamali Gita Yogasram

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Sri Krishna Lila: The Play of God

New US Edition!
The Complete Life of Krishna:
Based on the Earliest Oral Traditions and the Sacred Scriptures

2000; pp 432; Size 16cm x 23cm; ISBN-81-7035-181-X
8 Color Illustrations

Lila Library

Sri Krishna Lila Paperback


The Complete life of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

(U.S. Edition : The Complete Life of Krishna: Based on the Earliest Oral Traditions and the Sacred Scripture)

In India: Please email Vanamali Ashram to purchase
 Internationaly: Please Purchase US Edition which is widely distributed throughout the world by Inner Traditions Books

Editorial Reviews

 "Highly recommended as a fresh and readable presentation, in English, of the life and meaning of Krishna."                                            Library Journal.  David Bourquin

"This is a valuable treasure to be cherished."

                                                              Swami Chidanada, Divine Life Society

Just as the call of Krishna's heavenly flute is irresistibly attractive, so this book will enchant and uplift its readers.

Never before has the complete life of Krishna been told in a way that is so engaging and understandable, yet so faithful to the ancient epics of India. Spiritual seekers of all traditions will find inspiration and revitalized faith in these pages.

The Play of God is the account of a spiritual phenomenon. It describes the extraordinary manifestation of the divine that was Krishna, the playful and enchantingly beautiful deity who epitomizes the highest principles of India's spiritual vision. While the usual Western image of God as father or monarch is represented in this story, readers will also find here much more -- a refreshing and powerful picture of God as child, playmate, lover, friend, and teacher. They will discover how India conceived the most intimate and joyous experience of God, using the seductive metaphor of the Divine Beloved. What is evoked here is not a religion of moral law and stern obligation, but a spirituality of joy and true desire, love and beauty, contemplation and inner awakening.

This life of Krishna expands our concept of divinity and raises our thoughts to a higher spiritual plane. What does it mean to conceive of God as warrior and king? What does it mean to relate to the Infinite as friend or husband? Such experiences are vividly portrayed in these pages. We are uplifted as we contemplate the unlimited joy of the Eternal, appearing to us in a form combining beauty, strength, and irrepressible playfulness.

Just as the music from Krishna's heavenly flute is irresistibly attractive, so this book will entrance its readers. Never before has the complete life of Krishna been told in a way that is so engaging and understandable, yet so faithful to the ancient epics of India.

"The Play of God" describes the extraordinary manifestation of the Eternal in the realm of time that occurred in Krishna, the playful and enchantingly beautiful Deity who embodies the highest truths of India's spiritual wisdom. While the typical Western image of God as Father and Monarch figures in this story, readers will find here powerful visions of God as child, playmate, friend, and teacher. Further, they will discover that India conceived the most intimate and joyous experience of God in the fascinating metaphor of the Divine Beloved. What is evoked here is not a religion of moral law and stern obligation, but a spirituality of joy and true desire, love and beauty, contemplation and inner awakening.

Darling Devi:

The wonderful way in which Mataji Devi Vanamali has presented to us the multifacetted life of the Poorna Avatar-Shree Krishna is really amazing-there is no episode however small which has not been touched on from His Advent to His departure in just 373 pages. The language is superb & the extreme devotion all through the book gives every Krishna Bakta a sense of great bliss. I have read the Shree Krishna Lila many times & each time it has elevated my spirits & given me much happiness.    Dr. Lila Menon,

"Hari Aum.

Dear Devi Vanamali ji, I have read your book - The Play of God - Visions of Sri Krishna. It is one of the most wonderful books I have read in the recent years. Now I have bought another one of your book - Devi Lila. I am yet to begin reading it.  Your narration is wonderful. It will evoke Faith and Love in the God even in the hearts of the so called atheists. For me, it created so much of love that I did what I thought was impossible for me - learning Vishnusahasranamam. Your book on Sri Krishna was the reason for me learning that slokam. Thank you very much. I look forward to read many of your books and teachings.

I need your blessings, Vanamali ji." -Nandini

Amazon Customer Reviews:

Delight in God's Play, Natalie Brown (San Diego, Ca. USA)

This book is a delight. Although I possessed little knowledge of either Krishna or Indian spirituality before reading it, I finished the captivating story feeling happily enriched and awakened to a broader conception of what `God' and `divinity' represent to me. More than just the traditional Western view of God as an old man or "heavenly father," divinity expresses itself in the form of a playful child, a friend, a warrior, a lover, (and, ultimately, in everything and everyone.) No figure better illustrates this conception of the divine- or God-within than the wonderfully vital and vibrant Krishna, who is all of the above and more. Each chapter of this book, which is a chronicle of the eventful life of Krishna, is an engaging adventure. Whether taken as allegorical or historical, the tales that comprise Krishna's biography are not unlike Biblical stories in that they have a timeless relevance to the human experience. They are relayed, due to the evocative writing of author Devi Vanamali, in a joyful and celebratory, rather than stodgy or dry, tone. Vanamali is an unfussy yet faintly flowery writer who clearly rejoices in and excels at lively, magical descriptions. As a baby, Krishna has "rose-petal feet." When he plays his enchanted flute as a boy, the mesmerized "calves stand pinned to the spot, forgetting even to swallow the milk and eat the grass in their mouths, fixing their gaze on Him as if they would drink Him in through their eyes."

This is the ideal book from which to read a chapter each night with your beloved or even your child. The rich, colorful prose, the journeys, battles, beauty and infallible love present in the story will captivate anyone, regardless of their spiritual or religious background. Its chief asset, however, is neither the engaging writing nor the many adventures, but in the underlying message that the hero's existence-be it real or invented- embodies. Doesn't everyone, no matter what their role in this life may be, contain within them an essence or aspect of the divine? Another widely loved religious figure, seemingly aeons apart from Krishna, is reported to have said, "The Kingdom of God is all around, but men do not see it." This book is a treasure that helps to open our eyes to and delight in that often unseen divinity (Kingdom) of which Jesus spoke, which both encompasses and is all things and people. In one of her more prosaic moments, Vanamali writes, "The melody (of Krishna's flute) was the call of the finite to the infinite, and it awoke the chords in even the most sluggish hearts and made them yearn for union with the infinite, which is the hidden desire of every heart. This yearning is present in every human being, but sometimes we are too engrossed in the world or too poor of understanding to know what it is. Sometimes a touch, a glance, or a word spoken by some great sage is enough to loosen our bonds and open our eyes, and then our heart leaps forward to meet its maker." For some, this book may be just such an illuminating "word." For others it will be pure, escapist enjoyment. For myself, it was both.

The many faces of the Divine, April 25, 2004, Anyechka (Rensselaer, NY United States)

I read this book at the age of twenty-two, having been deeply interested in Eastern religions (including Hinduism) since studying them in my Global Studies class at age fourteen. This book reawakened my interest in Hinduism, particularly the Krishna sect. Vishnu had always been my favorite of the three major Hindu gods, since he preserves life, so it was a real treat to read a book about his eighth and greatest/most popular avatar. Most people in the Western world are used to imagining God (who is incorporeal anyway, anthropomorphisms aside) as an old man and stern judge and king, but the Krishna story teaches one how to relate to the Divine on so many other different levels. The people in Krishna's life see him as a baby, sneaky little boy, lover, dear friend, guardian and savior of his village in boyhood, young cowherd, daring hero, father, husband, grandfather, warrior, charioteer, teacher, bestower of enlightenment, brother, grandfather, godfather, uncle, and the list goes on and on. Viewing him in these multifaceted ways is so much more emotional and personal a view of the Divine than the tired old image in the West of a stern old man with a long white beard and golden trident. And unlike Christians and their belief in Jesus, the author, Ms. Vanamali, says that Hindus would hardly care if it came to be shown that Krishna as an actual historical person did not exist and he were just a myth or wild elaboration on an important figure who really did exist those thousands of years ago in ancient India.

It's what Krishna taught, what he represents, that matters, not whether these beautiful lessons came from a real man who lived long ago in the past, a man whose life story has become mostly the work of myth, or someone who is entirely a fictitious creation. Vishnu decided to take on this avatar for the same reason he always decides to take on a human (or earlier, animal) avatar-not to try to save the world and to redeem humanity from sinning, but to help people, to teach them, to be a hero when a very horrible time is upon the world and they need someone to get rid of that evil (in this instance, Krishna's evil uncle Kamsa, and in the incarnation just prior to Krishna, the horrible demon king Ravana).I find it really beautiful, touching, and true what Krishna says to his dear friend Arjuna during the course of the sermon which has come to be known as the Bhagavad Gita. He, Krishna, Vishnu, has many names and forms to many different people; one need not be a Hindu to properly worship him or to find enlightenment. However one sees the Divine, be it Krishna, Jesus, the Tao, Great Spirit, the Goddess, the traditional Western view of God, kanji, local spirits, a special rock, even the broader realms of Nature or Science, is how he will come to that person, and in that guise he is being worshipped. Krishna acknowledges that there are many paths to him, none of them incorrect if approached with a pure and devout heart. If only more people would care to learn this beautiful ancient story, there might be less religious intolerance and bigotry in the world and more love and understanding. If God can understand that all of these different religions ultimately lead up to the same Divinity, then why can't ordinary human beings?

Very well written,"ravi_dev" (Fort Worth, TX United States)

 This book is one of the most well written books I have read in a while. It covers the entire life of Lord Krishna in one place while also covering all relevant aspects of the War (the precursors leading upto the war, the conduct of the war and the aftermath of the war). The information contained in the book is nothing new, (people familiar with the great epic of Mahabharata already know the plot, the principal characters, etc.). Yet, when I was reading it, as I finished each chapter, I could not wait to read the next chapter (knowing very well what would happen next). That is how powerfully this book is written. However I give it 4 and not 5 stars because, the final few chapters are more abstract (indeed as can be expected of any profound discourse material, as the chapters contain) and do not maintain the same tempo or grip as the earlier chapters do. Familiarity with (at least) the principal names and characters of the Mahabharata is highly recommended before reading this book.

Bhagavan Krishna devotee, Saurav B. Prasad (Lorton, VA United States)

This is an excellent book and I recommend it to others. It's written in a very emotional way, which reflects the love the author has for Bhagavan Krishna. It also has a good glossary in the back for those who are unfamiliar with specific terms. I'm a strong devotee of Bhagavan Krishna and I adhere to His words in the Bhagavad Gita. I wanted to find out about His life and this book has given me an excellent background.

It irks me to have to give any book about lord Krishna just 4 stars. Especially when written with such skill and poetry by a saintly and wonderful devotee. I am forced to drop a star simply because the author has fallen into the Diety is ultimately formless trap. Yet again another aspirant who hasn't yet grasped the unbecoming nature of absolute reality. (Ie does not change, devolve or evolve). God in the supernal realms did not become form, nor were the eternal realms constructed or created. Never mind I am sure that the Author Devi Vanamali will achieve the highest spiritual heights, her devotion to the wonderful primal Lord Krishna is clear and unmistakable. There can be no fault in such a person, they are already liberated.

 A Must Read For Everyone Seeking God, October 13, 2000

Reviewer:    darkambient (Lawrenceville, GA USA) - See all my reviews

The Play Of God is not just for Hindus, but is for anyone interested in seeing a new, playful, joyous and loving side of God. The author reveals the easiest path to God is through discovering him in your heart and clinging to him in joy and love --- not through rituals or philosophy. All of this is conveyed through the wonderful stories of Krishna's (the Hindu Christ)mischevious childhood and his adulthood as the warrior-king of the Mahabharata epic. It is impossible not to love this book.

Krishna's earthly sojourn told with remarkable clarity, October 6, 1999

Reviewer:    Anish Patel ( (California) - See all my reviews

Vanamali's experential knowledge of the divine source is obvious and her loving relationship with the Supreme is relayed in a understandable style, and with deep devotion. Into this well may we fall, only to be caught by the outstretched arms of His floating lotus leaves. This book encompasses His entire incarnation, displaying His cosmic dance as the observer and the Master. The book expands our ideas about Divinity and elevates our minds to higher levels of consciousness for all spiritual seekers.

A MUST READ FOR ALL HINDUS, December 30, 1998

Reviewer: A reader

Devi Vanamali has done an ecxellent job. Finally all hindus can access the life of Shri Krishna through this remarkable book.

 Read this book and fall in love, December 14, 1998

Reviewer:    Govind Rajesh (Yonkers, NY USA) - See all my reviews

Presents Krishna as He is to the reader, giving a complete and uncut picture of his entire life as it is found in the principal Hindu scriptures. A must read for any student of Spirituality, Hinduism or India. The best source to understand Sri Krishna in all his totality I have come across so far. Superbly written and, without a doubt, divinely inspired this book is the only one of its kind. No sectarianism or religious hard-sell of any kind, just pure spirituality at its best.

Sri Rama Lila

The Song of Rama: Visions of the Ramayana

Sri Ram Lila

2000; pp 304; Size 16cm x 23cm; ISBN-81-7035-180-1

7 Color Illustrations                        Hardcover

In India: Please email Vanamali Ashram to purchase
 Internationaly: Please Purchase US Edition which is widely distributed throughout the world by Inner Traditions Books

Sri Ram Lila Paperback

Sri Rama Lila
U.S. Edition: The Complete Life of Rama: Based on Valmiki’s Ramayana and the Earliest Oral Traditions

In India: Please email Vanamali Ashram to purchase
 Internationaly: Please Purchase US Edition which is widely distributed throughout the world by Inner Traditions Books

Sri Rama Lila

"Meditate on the long-armed Sri Ramachandra,

Who is cloud blue in color, has matted hair,

And is adorned with all accouterments.

Who wears the yellow clothes and is holding,

The bow and arrow and is sitting in a lotus pose.

His lotus petal eyes are turned to the left,

And are gazing at the lotus face of Sita."

  " Another delight by Devi Vanamali,

Vanamali is a unique writer. She brings to life the story of the Ramayana in a readable form.

She never forgets that this is a religious story, the story of one of the avatars of Vishnu,

but she shows her religious feelings in a way that should not offend followers of other faiths.

I found the story quite touching. "

"The beauty of this book is that it is  written by one who has great love and devotion for Sri Rama.

It touches some subtle chords in the readers heart and makes him ecstatic.

The more we read it, the more devotion we develop".

Sri Swami Satchidanandaji Maharaj,  Anandashram,  Kanhanghad

The Taste Divine

 Indian Vegetarian Cooking the Natural Way


Taste Divine

2011 Hardcover; pp 138; Size 23cm x 18cm; ISBN-81-7035-206-9

8 Color Illustrations

In India: Please email Vanamali Ashram to purchase

Taste Divine
  Easy, simple, and delicious recipes based on the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.

Intended to support a yogic lifestyle or for anyone who appreciates healthy, flavorful food.

This book is perhaps one of the few cookbooks which can be read with interest even by those who have no interest in cooking!

 The reason is that the book does not merely cater to the palate but also to the spirit.

 The author tries to project a new way of life rather than a few recipes.

Food is a necessary evil or a necessary delight, depending upon whether you eat to live or live to eat.

Whatever the choice, food would be doubly delightful it it was capable of evolving the individual at the same tie as giving delight in the mind.

This is why this book is unique since it endeavors to do both. It also shows us how food can be both tasty and healthy at the same time.

In olden times, children were named after Gods, so that each time we called them, unconsciously we world also be repeating a mantra.

Here many of the recipes are called after the names of Krishna and others, by various aspects of Yoga.

Just the repetition of these names would elevate our level of consciousness.


Tasmai Sri Guruave Namah

Vanamali Gita Yogasram
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