The book is a true and vivid account of the last twenty years of the life of a God-realised Mahatma - Shri Dada of Aligarh (1854-1910), a life given to sharing his knowledge of ultimate reality and relieving distress in whatever form it confronted him.
Unlike many of the great spiritual figures of the time, Shri Dada remained in the world as a family man, earning his livelihood and bearing his share of life's trials. His short sermons, and his response to events and to people, give the surest indication of how to advance one's spiritual progress in daily life, 'intent on expanding your limited experience of a fraction of the finite world to consciousness of infinity, perfect peace, bliss and love'.
Shri Dada was known as the Saint Universal, who saw that all religions lead to the same goal, and for whom 'Hindus and Moslems, Christians and Jains are waves and bubbles of the same water of love'. There are several interchanges with people of other faiths, and the book is an antidote to religious narrowness of any kind.
'...Atman is all-Bliss, for Bliss is its nature, as heat is the nature of fire. When the radiations of pure Bliss are observed through the prism of rajas, tamas and sattva, they are experienced as the delight evoked by good food, music or the beauties of nature. It is a distorted view and hence short-lived, and when the rays are intercepted by the increasing opaqueness of the prism, the resulting experience is called pain. In other words, when Atman is obscured by the veil of avidya, the absence of its brilliance is called suffering; just as, when the sun's rays are obstructed at one season of the year, the earth becomes colder and it is known as winter.
That the nature of Atman is Bliss is perhaps the greatest lesson which the Upanishads teach, and it is no wonder that the jiva is restless when Atman is obscured; for who, save the tamasic animals, can rejoice in darkness? How astonishing that Atmananda, which is above all limitations, should be sought by Guru-less people in sense objects, in power, in magic, in Hatha-Yoga practices and in certain psychic experiences which exist only in the realm of avidya! Whereas, in the words of the holy Paramahansa, it is contained in the light of Atman, pure, unalloyed, unassociated with the intellect, desires or volition, shining forth independent of any plysical or intellectual medium either for its origin or continuance.
What you call joys, my children, are adulterated with excitement, thrills, emotion, efforts and anxieties; but the Bliss of Atman, of which these joys are distorted and imperfect experiences, is eternal, permanent and free from modifications, untouched by anxiety and want, carrying in it no seeds of pain. My children, it is the unique glory of the Upanishads that they blazon forth this truth of 'Atman is Bliss'; I can only describe it as a mass of cool light, vibrating peace, infinite, and not the object of any conscious striving...'