Literature Study GuidesEat Pray LoveBook 2 Chapters 52 54 Summary

Eat, Pray, Love | Study Guide

Elizabeth Gilbert

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Eat, Pray, Love | Book 2, Chapters 52–54 | Summary

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Summary

Book 2, Chapter 52

Now Gilbert moves on to the other obstacle blocking her from the spiritual success she seeks. It turns out that she detests another key part of the ashram day, the daily chanting of the Gurugita, the 182-verse work considered an especially sacred text. She dreads it so much that she has taken to skipping this part of the discipline. Richard notices, and he chides her for it.

Gilbert goes to her favorite teacher at the ashram, an American monk. The monk is easy on her at first, saying she can skip the sessions if she wants, even though the guru has identified it as a key practice. But when he sees how truly agitated she is about the Gurugita, he feels obliged to tell her, "if something is rubbing so hard against you, you can be sure it's working on you." His advice is to stick with the chanting for the seven days she has left at the ashram.

Book 2, Chapter 53

Gilbert complies and continues chanting the Gurugita, but her anger in response to it grows daily. She directs her fury at Swamiji, her guru's guru.

In an aside from her own story, Gilbert gives a mini-lesson on Swamiji's life and rise to power, along with some information about her guru's relationship to him.

Book 2, Chapter 54

When Gilbert oversleeps one morning, she awakens to find her roommate has accidentally locked her in the room. She decides to jump out the window in order to make it to the Gurugita on time. She falls hard onto a concrete sidewalk, ripping her shin open on the way down, but she makes it to the temple just as the chant begins.

Bleeding and chanting she thinks, "I don't want to be here." The humorous reply she hears from Swamiji is, "That's funny—you sure act like somebody who wants to be here." Gilbert grudgingly admits that he has won. Since she can't seem to find it within her to sing the chant as "a hymn of pure love," she decides to dedicate her chanting to someone she does love fiercely, her nephew Nick. Nick is eight years old, and life is not easy for him. He takes everything very seriously and is having a hard time sleeping. Offering her chanting for Nick, Gilbert fills the song with "everything I wished I could teach him about life." She surrounds him with love and blessings, and she soon finds herself weeping. Time flies by, and she realizes that as she has tried to help Nick, he has helped her.

As a result, Gilbert's difficulties with the Gurugita end. And so, too, Nick's difficulties with sleeping end, as reported by Gilbert's sister, Catherine, during a phone call the following week.

Analysis

The feeling in these chapters is that a shift is occurring inside Gilbert indicating she is getting close to meeting the goal she has for herself at the ashram. It's not unlike the feeling at the midway point of Book 1 when she has a crisis moment over David and from that point on she feels freer to relax into her pursuit of pleasure in Italy. Readers will have to wait and see if Gilbert will similarly relax into the daily practices of the ashram, deepening her spirituality, and giving in to her pursuit of devotion. She certainly has plenty of support from empathetic people around her, just as she had the support of the friends she made in Italy. The difference is that here she even seems to have the support of the ultimate guru in her branch of yoga, Swamiji. His support is often given in a humorous way, though, and does not come across as some sort of intense religious experience. This tone helps keep the experience itself accessible to readers so that it does not cause them to recoil from what might seem strange to them.

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