Celebrity Sadhana

Or How to Meditate With a Hammer (1) (The Paparazzo Poet Meditations)

Poetry - General
60 Pages
Reviewed on 02/17/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Celebrity Sadhana or How to Meditate with a Hammer by Vijay R. Nathan is book one in the poetry series, The Paparazzo Poet Meditations. The compilation comprises three parts: Pathways to the Breeze, The Veil Between, and How to Meditate with a Hammer, with a total of thirty poems. Written in free verse where the stanza formations are as brilliantly irregular as the meters themselves, Nathan delivers an entertaining tongue-in-cheek anthology with an artistic expression that is rhythmic (even within an unstructured scheme) and satirical, playing off pop culture's hunger for all things divine, metaphysical, and spiritual.

Vijay R. Nathan has written an intelligent and provocative compilation of poetry in Celebrity Sadhana. Many of the themes interconnect alongside a wide-ranging cast of famous and infamous characters that run the gamut from Natalie Portman and Jeff Bridges to Shia LaBeouf and Sasha Baron Cohen. My personal favorite involved Keanu Reeves (initially sad and sandwiched, but ultimately in a loincloth), as he attempts to intercede while Winona Ryder is in Saks, doing what we all know Winona Ryder did. This time, Johnny Depp is a guard. The writing and imagery invoked are exceptional, as is Nathan's ability to churn the Hollywood stories we've been told (true or not) and remold them to reflect the transient, intermittent, and—frankly—disrespectfully appropriated notion of spirituality. It's absolutely brilliant.

K.C. Finn

Celebrity Sadhana: Or How To Meditate With A Hammer is a collected work of poetry penned by author Vijay R. Nathan. Forming the first volume of the Paparazzo Poet Meditations, this book contains some sexual imagery and content that may not be suitable for younger or more sensitive readers. The work focuses, as its title suggests, on the spiritual practice of sadhana, a meditative practice that has become something of a celebrity culture. Taking elements of Eastern wisdom and a little bit of imagination, the poems take us on a visit to some of Hollywood’s more spiritual souls and suggest the kinds of meditative moments they may find.

Connecting celebrity culture to poignant wisdom about the nature of meditation and the notion of spirituality is no mean feat, and author Vijay R. Nathan presents some really interesting ideas about reconnection with the natural and spiritual worlds, through the practices which some major celebrities have talked about in their biographies and interviews over recent years. Knowing a little about Joaquin Phoenix and his biography, I found many of those references quite interesting when combined with the teachings of the sadhana and the Eastern wisdom from which they are derived. In a ‘pick and choose’ culture of spirituality where everyone takes a little from everywhere, Vijay R. Nathan’s compositions indicate that a more committed viewpoint is sorely needed if we are to truly reactivate our beliefs. Overall, Celebrity Sadhana: Or How To Meditate With A Hammer will be a really interesting read for anyone who wants to know more about this type of meditation.

Marta Tandori

Celebrity Sadhana, Book 1 of The Paparazzo Poet Meditations by Vijay R. Nathan, explores celebrity worship with a spiritual twist – or with some humorously twisted spirituality, depending on one’s perspective. Featuring some of Tinseltown’s most eclectic celebrities like Winona Ryder, Natalie Portman, Sacha Baron Cohen, Joaquin Phoenix, Shia LaBeouf, Keanu Reeves, Angelina Jolie, and Jodie Foster, Celebrity Sadhana is a collection of fan fiction and fan poetry that embraces and celebrates each actor’s unique qualities.

Nathan references performance art pieces, draws from news articles, online articles on celebs as well as lines from actual song lyrics, rearranged and excerpted, and has come up with unique titles for each piece such as The Supernova Seduction Plan, Glimpses of Winona Ryder’s Ass, Shia LaBeouf Feeds Stray Dogs and Sacha Baron Cohen Performs as Divine Madman Drukpa Kunley. With some vignettes “directed” by the likes of Terrence Malik and David Lynch, Nathan does his best to satirize our collective cultural fascination with fame by showcasing decidedly controversial celebrities in his fan fiction and poetry.

What makes each vignette and poem so interesting is that Nathan has managed to capture the quirky personality of each celebrity, while not shying away from their unique brand of differences for which they have become known. Ironically, each vignette “fits” the celebrity and there’s an organic feel to each piece. With a healthy dose of twisted spirituality and sexual edge, Celebrity Sadhana is not for everyone but those who “get” Nathan’s particular brand of unique writing style will be entertained.