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#3006 - Tuesday, December 4, 2007 - Editor: Jerry Katz  

Read the book inspired by the Highlights, ONE: Essential Writings on Nonduality:    


Sati, by Christopher Pike, was introduced in issue #2991:

Now that I’ve read the book, I have written a short review with a lengthy excerpt. There are no spoilers in any of the following.

Sati, first published in 1990, is a great nondual novel. Two elements are given the highest regard: the art of the novel and the teaching of nonduality. The book’s dedication reads, “For Maharishi,” telling us that the author has investigated truth.

Christopher Pike is the pen name (taken from a Star Trek captain) of Kevin McFadden, who was born in New York in 1954. He currently lives a private life in Santa Barbara, California. Pike’s dozens of titles have sold millions of copies. He is considered the master of teen horror. Sati is one of his few books written for adults.

Sati is a mass market novel. Advaita scholar and author Dennis Waite, recommends Sati in the same breath as Jonathan Livingstone Seagull and Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, along with some of Herman Hesse’s works.

Because this novel is for the mass market, emotional strings are pulled, there are plot twists, suspense is created, and the semi-hard side of nonduality finds a setting within a semi-soft spiritual culture, if that makes any sense. In other words, this book takes the teaching of nonduality as far as it can and still appeal to a mass audience. In this case it's pretty far.

After reading this book, if you start wondering whether Sati could ever be real, and if you start missing the characters, the settings, the locations in the story, you’ve been totally sucked into the novel. And why not? That’s exactly what a good novel is supposed to achieve, and Christopher Pike is a master. Let yourself be taken into this fantastical fictional story while reading some of the best descriptions of nonduality you’ll find anywhere.


I leave you with an excerpt. There are no spoilers. Sati, we know right away, is a twenty year old blonde blue eyed girl who declares herself God, The following is from a meeting, a satsang, she held:


“Sati welcomed everyone and proceeded to cover the same points as before: she was God; life was meant to be enjoyed; and it was in everybody’s best interest to realize their inner being, which was the source of all enjoyment. Her talk lasted maybe five minutes. When she was done she sat waiting, not speaking. Someone raised a hand. It was Reverend Green. Sati nodded slightly. The preacher got to his feet.


“Prove it,” he said, and then sat down.


“The silence experienced in my presence is my proof,” she said.


“I didn’t experience anything,” Reverend Green said.


“Silence is subtle,” Sati said. “It generally dawns in life without fanfare. Yet it is the most intimate aspect of life. Your inner self is nothing but pure silence. And awareness of silence is the only genuine spiritual experience. Talking in tongues or talking to spirits, healing people or reading another person’s mind – these abilities are insignificant compared to the bliss of silence. Be happy with what has happened for you tonight. Contact with me never goes to waste.”


Before Reverend Green could argue the point, Sati took a question from a young man who had been to the first talk. He had previously caught my eye. He looked intelligent, like a young math major or something.


“You mentioned talking to spirits,” he said. “By that do you mean channeling?”


“Describe this channeling,” Sati said.


The young man made a vague gesture. “It’s really big in California. All the celebrities visit channels. It’s where a person goes into a trance and a disembodied person speaks through them. “


Sati nodded. “These sorts of things – yes, that is what I meant.”


“Is it bad, then?” the young man asked.


Sati shrugged. “Not bad. Not necessarily.”


“Is it good, then? I mean, is it valid?”


“I will ask you a question,” Sati said. “Say you know a mechanic who lives on the corner. His name is Joe. But he isn’t a very good mechanic. You don’t have him fix your car when it breaks. Then one day he dies and he begins to speak through a channel. You didn’t trust Joe to give your car a tune-up when he was alive. Now are you going to trust him to explain the mysteries of the universe to you just because he’s dead?”


The group laughed. The boy smiled and blushed. “Are any of the things that come through channels worthwhile?” he asked.


“Sometimes, yes, you might hear something beneficial.”


“How can I tell a good channel from a bad one?” the young man asked.


“It is difficult.” Sati said. “Avoid those sources that reflect ego. If a discarnate spirit tell you that you have been chosen for a divine mission, choose to leave the room.”


A well-dressed middle-aged Japanese man raised his hand. He had come with his wife and baby daughter. The baby must have slept through the period of silence. I hadn’t heard her.


“Sati, could you speak about free will?” the man asked.


“I am free to speak,” she said. “What should I speak?”


“Do we have free will? Or is everything destined?”


Sati stared off into empty space for a long moment. The sense of deep silence in the room was still strong. Yet I could not say that it appeared to emanate from her alone. All of us seemed to be contributing to it in some small way. Sati’s answer surprised me.


“Everything is inevitable,” she said finally.


~  ~ ~


Sati, by Christopher Pike


Out of print, but good chance a copy can be found locally, and lots of inexpensive used copies through the following links:

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