Empire of the Soul

empire of the soul

Paul William Roberts’s journeys through India span twenty years, and in Empire of the Soul, he creates a dazzling mosaic, by turns tragic and comic, of the subcontinent and its people. From the crumbling palaces of maharajas to the slums of Calcutta; from the ashrams of holy men to a millionaire drug dealer’s heavily guarded fortress on India’s border with China, Roberts captures the lure of this enigmatic land?this empire of the soul. “India is a harsh mistress,” he writes. “She seems to appreciate individual sacrifice so little. Yet she has never wanted for lovers…”

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6 thoughts on “Empire of the Soul”

  1. Hello Sir,
    I recently watched a documentary made by you- The Myths of Mankind- Mahabharata. I must admit it was a treat to watch the international troupe coming together and put up such a great show. But more than it, I learnt a few more things which I didn’t know about my own culture and civilization. Thank you!

    Sir, would like to know if you have any plans to visit India in near future? It will be a lifetime opportunity for students like me to interact and gain knowledge from you. Looking forward to one such moment like this soon.

    • Glad you got something out of the documentary. Because of my eyesight it’s very hard for me to come to India, but I do plan to come one of these days with my wife to prepare a new forward and chapters for my book, Empire of the Soul, because I notice the country changes dramatically every time I visit. It would be very charming to meet you when I am there.

  2. Aditya Patel said:

    Hello Paul,

    i just watched the documentary on you tube about The Mahabharata. I love reading about ancient history books related to any religion. I have been reading the Mahabharata since last 6 months. I am also reading book on Kabool. Being from the state of Gujarat, where Dwarka, the city of Lord Krishna, I have also visited the excavations sites. I am living in USA since last 8 years. I was just reading about you on Wikipedia, and came to know that you have lost your vision. I am really sorry to hear that. It would be the most unique experience for me if I can meet you in person ever. Me and my friend, we are trying to start writing blog on History, so it would be a lot help if can get your email or phone number.

    Again, i hope you get well soon and best of luck for your future endeavors

  3. Hi Paul, I just started reading Empire of the Soul and am thoroughly enjoying your writing. After reading the paragraph that includes, “The decline of the West has been slow but steady, helped along by America’s embarrassing performances on the world’s stage….” I said to my wife that this is already my favourite book.
    I spent three months in India with my wife and two kids several years ago and did a lot of writing while there. I’ve recently rewritten a fair bit of that work and published it, and I am finding myself reading your book and laughing out loud on several occasions because of the similarity of our experiences. One of my favourite lines in the first hundred pages:
    “Luxury bus?”
    “Complete luxury.”
    It’s not so much that the same thing happened but I can hear the voice in my head that says ‘complete luxury’ and I am taken right back to certain moments.
    Us trying to get on a train but the door is closed and locked:
    I turn to a police man standing behind us. The door is locked, I tell him.
    “Sir, you must get on. The train is moving.”
    We turn, and sure enough, the train has started to pull away.

    Looking forward to the remaining chapters.
    And I read with great interest your most recent entry on this blog. Well said.

  4. and wow, trying to post on a wordpress (or is that word – hyphen – press?) blog is really quite the ordeal.

  5. Debashish said:


    I just finished reading your book “Empire of the Soul” and enjoyed it immensely. I have a query though.

    In the Prologue, you mention how George Harrison showed you the book “Autobiography of a Yogi” and that the face on the cover (presumably Paramahansa Yogananda) was that of the same man you had encountered earlier during your swim (was it years ago?) at Tintagel, Cornwall. Unless I am mistaken, there seems to be an anachronism here since you then go on to mention later that Yogananda died the year you were born! Which leads me to conjecture….was your earlier encounter with the yogi an LSD-induced dream? Or did I miss something here?

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