PhD chemist and AIDS researcher Li Guang Shi has returned to Beijing, where he is visited by a group of American friends, led by his spiritual teacher, Sanatan Swami, who gives a series of talks relating Indian and Chinese philosophical traditions. Joined by a diverse cast of Beijingers - including a traditional doctor and his offbeat assistant, a hotel receptionist raising an infant she found abandoned in the forest, an elderly Taoist master, and an ambitious young entrepeneur and his fashion-model girlfriend - Guan Shi's friends tour the city while also navigating their own paths, one absorbed by the sacred wisdom of Sanskrit texts, one tempted by attractions of Beijing's night life, another lured by the enigmatic aphorisms of the Taoist monk. In the meantime, Guang Shi, feeling encumbered by his professional responsibilities, becomes increasingly aware that the real cure for what ails humanity will be found not in the labs of his institute, but in the Vedic precepts of ancient India.
Back Home, Part 1 engages us with stories and lessons from the Vedas as we follow Guang Shis and his friends' struggles to meet the challenges and avoid the snares of contemporary material - and ethereal - life.
Softbound, 511 pages, 5.5" x 8.25".
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