Pilgrimage on the Path of Love is the story of a woman on the spiritual path who travels alone to India. Arriving in New Delhi, expecting to be her publisher's guest, she finds herself instead in a Buddhist guest house with lamas from Ladakh. There she is introduced to Tibetan Buddhism and befriends a lama. Traveling to a Himalayan hill station to write, and living very simply, she meets people from all over the world who share their wisdom of life. While living in a Buddhist monastery, she experiences a deepening of faith in the eternal harmony of creation. Finally, she embarks on a momentous journey to Ladakh, The Last Shangri-La, to await the lama she loves. There, her faith is severely tested, but in the end, she emerges as a fuller human being with a more mature understanding of the true nature of life and love.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
This is an excellent first novel. It is well-written with a multi-layered plot all on the theme of love but in different ways. It is part travelogue and part story. ~ Barry Spivack, Oxford University graduate
"I loved this book. Pilgrimage on the Path of Love is one of those rare novels that manages to combine great storytelling with genuine and profound spiritual insights and experiences in a completely natural way. The essence of the book is about the search for the truth of life, and for supreme love, both human and divine.
Written in autobiographical style, I found the prose so vivid and immediate, that I really entered into the experiences of the narrator, Shantila Martin, an American woman writer living in the UK. She visits India for the publication of her first book, and finds herself on an unexpected journey.
Her experiences of the vibrancy of Indian life in Delhi, and later in Manali and Ladakh, are vividly depicted, and descriptions of the scenery of the Himalayas are breathtaking, reminding me of the wonderful paintings of Nicholas Roerich. The writing is so alive that we feel every bump in the road, every intense discomfort of life in this extraordinary country, and all Shantila’s responses. We are also able to share in her experiences of its astonishing beauty and spirituality, and enjoy her many meetings with interesting and remarkable people.
There is real spiritual poetry in this book, in the descriptions of nature, and in Shantila’s profound experiences during her visits to Temples and Monasteries, often reverberating with the devotional chanting of Buddhist monks. The descriptions of the transcendental nature of her own meditation are beautiful, and one feels this must be the first hand experience of the author.
As the book gains momentum, all of her experiences together - painful, blissful and reflective, combine to help her unfold deeper and deeper layers of realisation of the true nature of love, and of the ultimate unity of all life. I feel it’s a strength of the book that the narrator is depicted as a woman with normal vulnerabilities, rather than as a superwoman. It shows that genuine desire for spiritual growth can transform all our lives to higher states of consciousness.
This book was a really inspiring read. It’s a heartfelt book - full of enjoyment of the beauty of life, and a celebration of the highest spiritual values of human consciousness and its relationship to the Divine. I missed it when I had finished it, and am looking forward to more from this author." ~ Sally Brighouse, UK
" Whether you read this book or not, this is a journey everyone is going to have to take. Truthful, touching, vulnerable always to an impossible ideal, until that ideal undergoes its inevitable transformation and finds fulfillment. You can't imagine this story, it has to have been lived. Beautifully and honestly told."
~ HWB, Architect,UK
A Journey Through Divine Love
“So many times, we look outside, searching for a perfection which already exists inside us all the time. I realised that each moment contained all we could ever seek to know, to feel and to believe. Each moment contained perfection. I remembered who I was – a simple child, an aged pilgrim, a Mother of Creation, a human being made in the image of the Eternal Being, That One, unbreathed upon, ever giving life to all, ever reborn, ever the same,” says Shantila Martin, the protagonist of Barbara Briggs’ book Pilgrimage on the Path of Love.
Written lucidly, this book is the perfect amalgamation of spiritual awakening and self-discovery. The protagonist found herself by connecting to her inner Divine, at every challenge she faced in the new land. Coming to India to get her first book published, Shantila expected to be hosted by her publisher, who later refused to let her stay with him. Looking for shelter, she eventually becomes a guest at a Buddhist Center in Delhi. Surrounded by lamas, she finds herself nestled in Divine love. Seeking solace in this very Divine love, she travels to Manali, Manikaran and finally, Ladakh. Travelling through the northern landscape of India, she meets strangers who become channels of divine for her – a love she had set out to seek in India. As she experiences spirituality through paths like Buddhism and Sikhism, Shantila’s faith in the Divine begins to strengthen.
What stands out in the narrative is her utmost optimism and unshaken faith in God. When faced with difficulties, she surrenders herself to Him and derives energy from her firm belief that the right path will be illuminated by the Creator.
The book is also filled with vivid and detailed descriptions of Shantila’s transcendence during meditation. While meditating, she delves deep within to reflect on her painful past. This helps her understand the true nature of the unfulfilled love she had experienced in her life. In understanding its true nature, she is provided with a strength to move ahead on her path of spiritual fulfilment.
Written eloquently by Briggs, the book paints a vivid picture of Indian landscapes, temples, and even ordinary bustling roads, enabling the reader to journey with the protagonist. Her astute description of life in India and its people can make one fall in love with this land and its healing grounds. The ordinary character of Shantila becomes extraordinary because of her zeal to grow and seek the Divine.
Having read a few books on esoteric spirituality, this book came to me as a breath of fresh air, with its simple narrative and profound spiritual insights. Pilgrimage on the Path of Love introduces the spiritual ethos of India to the world, and even to Indians who have forgotten the sacred presence of Divinity in this land.
~ Muskaan Sharma, Life Positive Magazine
This is a stunning novel.
When I read a novel, I expect escapism, diversion, entertainment and sometimes upliftment.
'Pilgrimage on the Path of Love' soars above these expectations. I can only describe it as a meditation. As I read it, I entered the world of the protagonist, Shantila Martin. I traveled with her, felt with her and scaled the heights with her, smelling the Deodar trees, seeing the Divine pattern in rocks, mountains and people. Sometimes I read of faraway places and want to go there. In 'Pilgrimage on the Path of Love', the scenes were painted with the eye of the soul and were so visceral and full, I was there.
I missed it when I had finished. ~ Amazon Customer, UK
Love Saves Us From Wrong And Guides Our Path In Life
"Pilgrimage on the Path of Love" is the story of Shantila, a courageous woman, travelling alone in India in search for the true meaning of life. The path she follows is the path of love. With almost no money in her pockets, she lets all-knowing mother nature guide her each and every step and provide meaningful experiences very useful for individual evolution.
Shantila falls in love with a Tibetan buddhist lama, only to find out that this kind of personal love has to develop into unbounded universal love. Universal love and knowledge, which the ancient Rishis of India express in the words: “Aham Brahmasmi, Tat tvam asi, Sarvam kalv idam Brahm” - [I am Brahm (Totality), Thou art That, All this is Brahm]. By the grace of God, Shantila is blessed with glimpses of this exalted state of consciousness, filling her heart with love for whole creation.
"Pilgrimage on the Path of Love" is written by Barbara Ann Briggs in skilfully refined and easily flowing words. The reader will be absorbed in adventurous real-life stories, leading to deeper understanding of progress and evolution towards the highest goal.
Dr. Herbert Gerstendorf ~ Dr Herbert Gerstendorf, Germany
Pilgrimage on the Path of Love is a wonderful spiritual book which is easy to read and contains,at the same time, many profound spiritual insights which are helpful for our own path. Barbara Ann Briggs combines in her book spiritual values and the relationship to the Divine. Her book is full of human love which is transformed into divine love and enables us, not only to read the story, but also to live it. ~ Inge Quatraro, Belgium
Pilgrimage on the Path of Love, a spiritual odyssey, delivers the richness and complexity of life in India, and brims over with convincing, memorable characters, not the least of which is her narrator/protagonist Shantila, a seeker after something we too seldom see in literary fiction - spiritual awakening and liberation. Through many suspenseful twists and turns of fortune, a reader follows Shantila's journey with the certainty that the outcome of her story will enrich his or her own meditations on the timeless question of why we are here, and how we can follow a spiritual path in a world so stained by suffering. This is a book I would recommend for everyone who loves wisdom and wishes to live an examined life. ~ Dr Charles Johnson, Ph.D. , Professor Emeritus, University of Washington, author of Middle Passage
Reading through Pilgrimage on the Path of Love by Barbara Ann Briggs gave me the feeling of moving gently on a canoe in a beautiful lake on a bright sunny evening when the approaching twilight leaves you nostalgic to see the day coming to an end. Making lucid use of the confessional mode of expression, her debut novel remarkably captures the spirit of the times. The quest that Shantila, the chief protagonist, undertakes on the path of love unveils to her not only the agony of pain and suffering implicit in meetings and partings but also the ecstasy of understanding and appreciating the intrinsic beauty of the landscape of the soul, the true nature of life as we live it. Her rumination at the end of the journey: "The pilgrimage I sought to complete has been completed, not to the temples of Rishikesh, Haridwar, Badrinath or Gangotri, but to the omnipresent God, to the temple hidden within every human heart" - comes as a potent antidote to growing intolerance bordering on clash of cultures and civilizations that characterizes a world in individual as well as collective distress. The charm of the novel lies in its ability to capture the attention of the reader from beginning to the end as it takes us over picturesque rivers, dales and hills to experience a kind of peace that defies understanding. I wish her maiden venture all success! ~ Dr Nibir K. Ghosh, D.Litt., UGC Emeritus Professor, Dept of English Studies & Research, Agra college
Pilgrimage on the Path of Love by Barbara Ann Briggs is a loving account of a woman's quest for spiritual fulfillment. At heart is a palpable undeniable love for the country of her adoption, its multitudinous life, its minor duplicities and wider generosities are so fondly captured with a liveliness, both authentic and amusing, that I felt fresh love gushing for this crazy country of mine. In the book, we travel from Dubai to Delhi to Manali and Leh with its far flung monasteries and brooding temples, and with each ascent, the protagonist is symbolically nearing that state which neither gains nor wanes, where plenitude and beatitude are suffused. These visitations are presented with gossamer delicacy, the author's luminous prose spreading its lacy veil over creation till creation becomes a salutation and a benediction. The inherent discipline encourages emulation. The devotion which the author brings to her enterprise and the serenity that follows are an inspiration. ~ Dr Shernavaz Buhariwalla, Ph.D., Retired Professor of English Literature, Nagpur University, Nagpur, Maharashtra (India)
Reminiscent of Irina Tweedie's Daughter of Fire, Herman Hesse's Siddhartha, and Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle, Pilgrimage on the Path of Love is a tale of human love transformed into divine love, of desperation into exaltation, of darkness into enlightenment. Barbara Briggs writes with a poignant, transcendent grace that enables us to experience the story, not merely read it. And this is an experience to treasure. ~ William T. Hathaway, author of Wellsprings: A Fable of Consciousness