top of page

Michael Shandler

Michael Shandler

Karma and Kismet A spiritual quest across continents, cultures and consciousness. A Memoir of Adversity and Triumph

One man’s journey of struggle, self-acceptance and success.


Author Michael Shandler writes about his life growing up as ‘Gary Fuchs’, in South Africa, and his journey across the ocean to North America as a young man. Part one (‘Karma’) focuses on his early life in 1950’s Cape Town, where he lived in constant fear of his violent father. At age thirteen, he was sent away to an all-boys boarding school, where he was regularly bullied by other students. After leaving school at eighteen, he was drafted into the all-White South African army but struggled to find his place: “I’m not a proud South African. The country’s history is alien to me. I love the land and the sea, but I’m a Jew. An outsider. Bullied by Afrikaners and English alike”. After he is discharged from the army due to medical reasons, he joins a training program in Johannesburg, but he remains sad, lonely, and depressed. Part two (‘Seeking’) focuses on his early twenties, as he leaves South Africa in search of new opportunities. Following the outbreak of the Arab-Israel conflict in 1967, the twenty-one-year-old volunteers to work in a kibbutzim to support the war effort. When he receives cash from his uncle's in Canada, he decides to emigrate to Vancouver. He takes several jobs, and experiments with psychedelic drugs. He soon discovers a love of yoga, which he later teaches and develops a friendship with Ram Dass, a spiritual teacher and yoga guru. He is given the spiritual name Ravi Dass, and he joins an intensive ‘Arica’ enlightenment training program. He later marries Aparna, and they have a daughter named Manju. In the late 1970’s he writes a yoga journal and publishes his first book. In Part three (‘Kismet’) he publishes several other books with his wife, under the names Michael and Nina Shandler. Aparna gives birth to their second daughter, Sara, and Michael reconciles with his estranged father.


Karma and Kismet A spiritual quest across continents, cultures and consciousness: A Memoir of Adversity and Triumph is an absorbing and heartfelt memoir by author Michael Shandler. Shandler shares his personal journey from Cape Town to Canada, chronicling key personal, social and political events during his life. Shandler escapes a violent and controlling father, and builds a new life in a new country, where he finds peace and a sense of purpose through yoga and spiritual practice. This is a deeply moving, honest, authentic and courageous memoir, exploring the complexity of the human experience and the basic need for love and belonging. It offers a beacon of hope and healing for anyone recovering from childhood trauma.


Star rating: 5 Stars


Summary: A deeply moving, honest, authentic and courageous memoir, exploring the complexity of the human experience and the basic need for love and belonging.

Michael Shandler
bottom of page