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The Nirvana Express: How the Search for Enlightenment Went West

by Mick Brown

Hardback £25
Published 7th September 2023
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The captivating story of the West’s love affair with Indian spirituality—from the orientalism of the British Empire to modern counterculture. In 1897, an Indian yogi exhibited himself at London’s Westminster Aquarium, demonstrating yoga positions to a bemused audience. Four years earlier, Hindu philosopher Swami Vivekananda spoke at the first World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, where Annie Besant extolled the ‘exquisite beauty’ of his spiritual message. The Victorians were fascinated by, yet suspicious of, Indian religious beliefs and practices. But within two generations, legions of young Westerners were following the ‘hippie trail’ to the subcontinent, the Beatles meditating at the feet of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Journalist Mick Brown’s vivid account charts this eccentric history of Western obsessions with Indian faith, through a curious cast of scholars, seekers, charlatans and saints. From bestselling epic poems on the Buddha to murder plots, magic and the occult, The Nirvana Express is an exhilarating, sometimes troubling journey through the West’s search for enlightenment.


The Nirvana Express: How the Search for Enlightenment Went West
by Mick Brown


C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd


Publication date
Sept. 7, 2023