Book Reviews

Book Review: Candles on the Ganges by Peter E. Upton

Screenshot_20180414-185617_Adobe Acrobat
Title: Candles on the Ganges
Author: Peter E. Upton
Genre: Autobiography / Memoir
Pages: 248
Published: June 30, 2016
My Rating:
5 stars PicsArt_06-03-01.44.45
Following the tragic death of his young son and armed only with a basic belief in life after death the author set off on a six year search for his son. The journey was to take him deep into the spiritual world of mediumship and meditation and as he trained in these, other doors opened, with those higher spiritual beings we call angels intervening in his life and guiding him on his journey to understanding.
The author tells the story of this inner journey as he travels through the holy places of India seeking a rishi to take him to a higher level during meditation so that he can once again feel his son’s presence and know that he is happy. As he travels, the loving people he meets, with their innocence and joyful laughter, warm his heart while his little son sits, just out of sight saying, “I am here with you dad!” Ultimately he finds what he is searching for in a most unexpected place and from a completely unexpected source.
As you follow the author on his journey he gives clear, logical explanations for much of what we would call the occult or the mystic; from ghosts and poltergeists to levitation and psychometry and as he delves into the blurred boundary where science and religion come together he even explains his theory on eternal life.
Candles on The Ganges is about the illusion that we call life and the reality that lies beyond it. It is a book of spiritual growth and understanding wrapped up in an enthralling journey through India.

“The shock of losing him had filled me with tidal waves of conflicting emotions. The constant emotional agony was almost physical, as though a spear had been thrust through my chest, impaling me to the wall but not kind enough to kill me. The need to run in panic, to search for him and bring him back to safety. The inability to comprehend the hole in our lives where he should be. The anger and fury that I had been denied the right to fight death for the life of my child. All of these emotions were churning around inside of me but with no constructive way to use any of them.”

I find it quite difficult to write a review for this book for I am afraid I won’t be able to do it justice. So here I am going to try my best.

This is an autobiography of author, Peter E. Upton. He wrote this book after the tragic death of his 7 year old son, Michael. Through this book, he shared his grief and the struggle to be able to somehow connect to his departed son. The heart of father could not be contented until he could make sure his son is safe and happy in the afterlife.

“You never get over losing a child. You learn to cope with the pain, each person developing their own strategies.”

So, basically, this book is about:

1. The love of father for his son and his strategy to comfort the empty feeling and pain in his heart.

2. His training and experience as a medium in England where he also learned meditation and psychometry.

3. His journey to India for spiritual enlightenment.

4. If your search for God is pure, vigorous and untiring, the spiritual world would lead you to Him.


He trained as a medium and learned meditation. For further spiritual enlightenment, he travelled to India. He visited different cities and its temples to find God but later finds that God is within himself. This reminded me of Rumi’s quote:

“I searched for God and found only myself. I searched for myself and found only God.” -Rumi

Many kids in India reminded him of his son Michael. Their mischievous smiles. Their care-free laughter. He tells us more about Michael. His mischievous smile and how pleased he was when he tried to trick his dad. How wise and considerate of him to tell his father that he should not be angry over things if they are lost.

A calm little voice answered me, “Please don’t get angry over it, Dad. I’d rather lose it than see you get angry. It is only …….” he paused looking for the right word. “It is only a Thing, Dad. It is not worth getting angry over.”

While in India, he encountered both fake and spiritually elated gurus. He learned from both. From former he learned to be grounded and truthful to oneself (to preserve spiritual sanctity), from latter he learned to reach higher levels of spirituality.

He was a taxi driver in England and a natural medium. His friend Joan helped him to hone his mediumship skills. The learning process of meditation, the sessions of mediumship at church and the practice of psychometry were my most favorite parts.

I loved how he has explained things with scientific reasons. The emission, absorption and exchange of energy between objects and mediums. How one can tell about a person by just touching any object he possess.

Except for once, he never succeeded in connecting to his son himself. However, Michael would send him messages through another medium.

This book is full of wisdom-filled quotes. While reading, I bookmarked many parts of it but I am sharing here only a few that I liked most.


“Material things are ultimately unimportant. Love is the only thing that counts. We are born alone. We die alone. We bring nothing into this life and can take nothing out when we die. It is only when two people share pure unconditional love that they walk together through this life and this is the only bond that will keep them together in death.”


“How can we be kind to others if we are not capable of being kind to ourselves? Trying to be a better person is as important as being a better person.”


“The problem with many religions is that they look up to the founder of the religion as some sort of God figure. Placing this person on a pedestal to be worshipped creates a psychological barrier. A feeling that it would be hopeless trying to rise to their leader’s level of spiritual understanding and compassion because He is divine and His level is unattainable for mere mortals so there is no point trying. All they can do is put their faith in Him and hope this is enough to ensure their own salvation, rather than using Him as an example of the level they might be able to aspire to if they are prepared to devote the time and effort.”


I received an ARC of this book from author in exchange of an honest review.




6 thoughts on “Book Review: Candles on the Ganges by Peter E. Upton

  1. “I find it quite difficult to write a review for this book for I am afraid I won’t be able to do it justice. So here I am going to try my best.” <<< Yes! I completely understand this feeling when reviewing certain books.

    Liked by 1 person

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