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Shiva Trilogy 1:The immortals of Meluha – Amish


I bought this book only at the third try -

First time, when I spotted it in Crosswords at Bangalore Airport, it was the cover which captured my attention – I glanced through the summary and the  review on the back cover – When I read the two line review in the back cover  from Business world “Amish……. is well on his way to becoming the Paulo Coelho  of the east…”, I started contemplating –  Should I drop the already selected “I have a Dream  – Rashmi Bansal” and go for this book -  I may get time only for one  book during the travel…..!!!   Given that Rashmi Bansal was already recommended by Shiva himself (it is my friend’s name,  pun intended though!), I decided for her book.

Second time, I got an offer from a blog community to review the two books of the Shiva Trilogy (second one is “The secret of Nagas”). If I agree to review and post the review in my blog, the blog community will ship  those two books to me free of cost.  I  was tempted but there was a catch -  they  wanted the review to be completed within 15 days…I just dropped this offer, given  that I do not even know if I will like this book to make me read the second one  ….and 15 days is  too short for my speed!!

Third time, we were in Landmark and picking some books on my kid’s birthday…while both the kids were skimming through the rows of book, I  was doing my rounds and saw this book again…the cover continued to seek attention…and then I saw this 3 for 2 offer in landmark………..and this came as  the third one…..though it is reasonably priced at Rs. 195/-, getting something  free makes a feel good factor……and finally I got it.

Given that I got it over a weekend, I started reading it  immediately and at the middle of first chapter, I WAS HOOKED.  Not sure if it was the influence of the  review comparing Amish with Paulo Coelho OR it is the effect of living in a  Temple town of Siva for a considerable part of my life and  being  in the family of shiva worshippers, I took to fancy this setting.  The story is set in 1900 BC, what is the era  of Indus valley civilization.  The  settings are very familiar if you know the history and geography of North  India  -  Mansarovar lakeMount Kailash,  Srinagar, Hariyuppa (Harappa), Mohan jo daro, Karachapa (Karachi?), Devagiri,  Ayodha,  Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi,  Beas, Sutlej, Yamuna, Sarayu, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Narmada.  The characters are again very familiar  for all who would have heard Indian mythology  -  Siva, Sati, Daksha, Nandi, Lord Ram,  Brahaspathi, Veerabhagu,….

So, what is new?

I think it is the way Amish has treated the subject  -  he  has the right mix of action, love and adventure which is required for a  fiction, used facts from religion and folklore and has the right mix of mythology and history, and then……….the messages for the reader, through the all-powerful character Shiva (which probably gets an edge of advantage over other characters) ….every passage is open to interpretation………and makes it interesting  to  contemplate on the facts  -  Few of the notes from this book depicting the interesting mixture…

SPIRITUALITY:  Siva  himself advocates that, God is everywhere.  When asked about his belief in God, Siva responds “I don’t believe in  symbolic Gods.  I believe that the real God exists all around us.  In the flow of the river, in the rustle of the trees, in the whisper of winds,.  He speaks to all of us all the time. All we need to do it listen.”

“His burden did not feel any lighter.  But he felt strong enough to carry it.”

“They are not evil. They are just different.”

HEALTH AND SCIENCE: When Amish shares the  Oxygen/anti-oxidants theory  (refer “Radical Proposal” by Kathryn Brown in Scientific Americana) it gels so well with the story and the context ….  “  What keeps us alive?  Energy is a fundamental thing to keep us alive.  We use energy  when we do anything.  This energy comes  from food we eat.  Food stores energy, which we can expend in our body.  The conversion of food to energy in our body is done by the air we breathe.  Oxygen in air helps to release energy from  food. The very thing which keeps us alive is also what causes us to age and eventually die.  When oxygen reacts with food to release energy, it also releases free radicals called oxidants which are toxic.  Any fruit left outside rot as the oxidants react with it. We also rust from inside out and age and die.  Body stores food/water – you can survive  without food for few days or few days of thirst will not kill you.  But body does not store oxygen, the most crucial component of staying alive.  The explanation is that body realises that despite being an elixir, oxygen is also a poison.

LOVE:  When Daksha  says  “Man has the intense desire to impress the person he loves most”, it is justified why he is hoping Siva will marry Sati.

WOMAN:  This is a stunner …when even experienced intelligent souls are struggling to understand woman,  this simple definition really fits the requirement well – if only all men understand this secret….”The most powerful force in a woman’s life is the need to be appreciated, loved and cherished for what she is”

SOCIETY:  This is in line with what I went across my mind in the context of marriage Vs Osho’s suggestion.   Amish consolidated it well “What any successfully society needs is “Flexibility with Stability”.  Flexibility is required because every single person has different dreams and capabilities. Flexibility in a society allows change3, so that all its members have the space to discover their true selves and grow to their potential. And if every person in a society achieves his true potential, society as a whole also achieves its true potential. Society must remain stable so that we don’t put each other in a situation of having to fight for survival. People can pursue their dreams only when they are living in a society where survival is not a daily threat.

The lengthy description of some of the events could have been more crispy and would have helped to keep up the tempo……………..Nevertheless,  a  decent book to read!

Unique prayer – KURAI ONRUM ILLAI


Music is a way of life…….it is the meaning of life for many

It made a big difference……..when u hear such a positive song, especially from the legendary karnatic singer MS…

If you understand the lyrics, the uniqueness hits u on the face that there is nothing requested to the great Lord……there is no sorrow that he did not grant the wishes, he did not come in front of you…………nothing , nothing at all……

You hear the song and you feel that these can be words which can come only from a sage…..or a person who has understood life, seen the ups and downs, understood the purpose of it…….a great song to listen and lose yourself to

If you are interested in the lyrics…here it is!!   The lyrics are by the great leader Rajaji and this song is rendered by none other than the legendary MS.

Pallavi (Sivaranjani Raagam)
KURAI ONRUM ILLAI MARAI MOORTTHI KANNAA
KURAI ONRUM ILLAI KANNAA
KURAI ONRUM ILLAI GOVINDAA

Anupallavi (Sivaranjani Raagam)

KANNUKKU THERIYAAMAL NIRKINRAAY KANNAA
KANNUKKU THERIYAAMAL NINRAALUM ENAKKU
KURAI ONRUM ILLAI MARAI MOORTTHI KANNAA

Charanam 1 (Sivaranjani Raagam)
VENDIYATHAI THANNTHIDA VENKATESAN ENRIRUKKA
VENDIYATHU VERILLAI MARAI MOORTTHI KANNAA
MANIVANNAA MALAYAPPA GOVINDAA GOVINDAA

Charanam 2 (Kaapi Raagam)
THIRAIYIN PIN NIRKINRAAY KANNAA, KANNA
THIRAIYIN PIN NIRKINRAAY KANNAA, UNNAI
MARAI ODUM NYAANIYAR MATTUME KAANPAAR
THIRAIYIN PIN NIRKINRAAY KANNAA, UNNAI
MARAI ODUM NYAANIYAR MATTUME KAANPAAR
ENRAALUM KURAI ONRUM ENAKKILLAI KANNAA
ENRAALUM KURAI ONRUM ENAKKILLAI KANNAA

Charanam 3 (Kaapi Raagam)
KUNRIN MEL KALLAAKI NIRKINRA VARADAA
KUNRIN MEL KALLAAKI NIRKINRA VARADAA
KURAI ONRUM ILLAI MARAI MOORTTHI KANNAA
KURAI ONRUM ILLAI MARAI MOORTTHI KANNAA
MANIVANNAA MALAIAPPAA GOVINDAA GOVINDAA

Charanam 4 (Sindu Bhairavi Raagam)
KALI NAALUKKIRANGI KALLILE IRANGI
NILAIYAAGA KOVILIL NIRKINRAAY KESAVAA
KALI NAALUKKIRANGI KALLILE IRANGI
NILAIYAAGA KOVILIL NIRKINRAAY KESAVAA
KURAI ONRUM ILLAI MARAI MOORTTHI KANNAA

Charanam 5 (Sindu Bhairavi Raagam)
YAATHUM MARUKKAATHA MALAIYAPPAA – UN MAARBIL
EDUM THARA NIRKUM KARUNAI KADAL ANNAI
ENRUM IRUNTHIDA EDU KURAI ENAKKU
ENRUM IRUNTHIDA EDU KURAI ENAKKU
ONRUM KURAI ILLAI MARAI MOORTTHI KANNAA
MANIVANNAA MALAIAPPAA GOVINDAA GOVINDAA
GOVINDAA GOVINDAA
GOVINDAA GOVINDAA

Conflicts


Probably, identifying a definition to find GOD happened with little effort  -  but, here I  struggle a lot to define ME for MYSELF -  who am I?.   While I think I am figuring it out, i never realized it will take 40 long years to even understand that I am yet to find out ME!

An easy definition of SELF   can be ‘you are what you do when you know no one is watching you!’…………While this can be the easiest definition, i explored further to understand it better…

When i look at life, i have been under the constant influence of people who had typical values about the responsibilities of an individual  -  during my growing years, i have consistently been made to appreciate the importance of dispensing one’s duties of life  -  The Hindu mythology and the preaching of Gurus/Saints  -  all of them consistently reinforces these basic life values. Life as defined by theses sounds very simple……even one of the recent books which i read ( ‘FIVE PEOPLE WHO YOU MEET IN HEAVEN’) reflects similar ideas -  when i tried to consolidate those ideas and add my experiences/understanding to those ideas, this is what i got….

“Do your duties  -  KARMA YOGA  -  do your  duties with utmost care, respect –  start every day as new day  -  dispel your duties in the roles you play in this world –  as a child, spouse, sibling, parent, employee, employer and so on………….this slowly turns in as a self – discipline, synergized by family, family values  and the  influence of people around…..this in turns defines who you ARE and also lets you understand the purpose of your life”

 So, i am busy and doing my daily duties in all my roles  – then, i should be able to define ME and understand the purpose of my life!

But then, there are these crazy sides  -  the urge which develops when I watch a Romania travel documentary-  urge to go and sit in the pub with all those foreigners  -  who are laughing, losing themselves in the country music, and getting drunk, living life as though it is their only day to live, showing so much affection to fellow human beings  -  I feel like that probably is what i want to do….

when you share these thoughts, you are not sure about what you are  – are you the individual who puts duty in front of you OR you are the crazy person wanting to live your life?

it goes without saying that we have one life  and it needs to be lived well  -  but at what cost………..we as a society are all taught to be  living to others expectations and in turn performing our duties as children/spouse/parent/friend   -  so, we put others before us.

struggling to do the right things, struggling to be always right  -  putting all the efforts towards this  -  are we missing to experience our life ?  are we missing the experiential learning?

conflict is LIVING FOR SELF Vs LIVING FOR OTHERS…….

But on deeper thought, looks like LIVING FOR SELF is the best policy……….because it always ends up in LIVING FOR OTHERS!!

Gibberish, but makes sense little bit……..a reconfirmation that i have a long way to go before i understand who I am!

GOD! – Now i have a definition to identify YOU!!


Discovered the definition of GOD ……….it is the 7 point definition

  1. You are available to me all time   -  You do not need any formal invitation
  2. You do not get your bad mood come on my way
  3. You listen and give me the confidence that i can share everything with you  -  the  craziest of any thoughts
  4. You do not judge me and accept me as I am
  5. You understand
  6. You do not force your ideas on me
  7. You guide

Now, think of the 7 point definition and check if there is any one person whom we know and fits that defintion  -  it is extremely very likely we are already interacting with that person on a day to day basis -  it is just that we need to identify them……..

So,  GOD is around  in the form which you can identify  -  all the time……..it is just that we got to identify who HE is!

Why did God create this world?


The question popped up suddently – we were in the car, returning home after a long outing (shopping, visiting relatives) and almost too hungry to even talk  -   the little one was all set to sleep on the rear seat  -  shoes out, stretched out….. and then asks  ” WHY DID GOD CREATE THIS WORLD?

I was initially not sure if i heard the question right ……so, i asked “what is the question again?”………”WHY DID GOD CREATE THIS WORLD?”…….

I started trying  -   thinking quickly of any mythological story which can come in handy  -  all  I could remember was HOW the world was created, but not WHY.  Looking at my struggles, the little one starts the answers -  “may be, because after GOD killed all the bad people like ‘asuras’, He was having lot of time and hence created the world?”….”may be, He was feeling bored and wanted some work?”……”may be, He was feeling lonely and wanted people around?”……..

I was getting even more uncomfortable that i could not really think of any reasons and the little one’s imagination was going wild with every option………

I told him that i may have to read in some books – “vedas/upanishds” and let him know without realizing the danger of next question  – “what is written in the vedas?”……….i have to tell him that i need more time.

Now, like any other unknown stuff, i started googling for this question “why god created the world?”  -  I was amazed that wiki has a page on this and quite a few answers were almost on the same thought process of what the little one thought.

I spent quite a bit of time going from one  blog to another and from one website to another  -  to realize that Christianity suggests that God created the world for Himself, for His pleasure  -  Colossians 1:16

I am more interested to find out what Hinduism gives as an answer and how much i could relate to it?

Or is it as simple as what the little one could think of???

All i could conclude is -  it is an overwhelming question,  making us feel that we do not know so many things – and also a bit thrilled/concerned that the 7 year old is coming up with this question  -  I still owe an answer…

…..and I want to strongly beleive  the answer is seeking the seeker!!……..and one of these days, I will be able to understand myself first and then explain to the little one!

God bless!!

Ganesha Habba!


 Swine flu ( hype or real?!)   was kind of sucking the general happiness of Bangalore for the last couple of weeks -  like the dementors in Harry Potter’s magical world!    

Media is all over – reporting every hour on the swine flu, schools are closed down, kids are held back at home with parents, roads are deserted, lots of doctor’s visit for small illness – which we would have ignored on a normal scenario!  I was almost desperate -  ‘Gosh, Bangalore needs a break!’

And then came the most inspiring “Ganesh Habba”  -   real welcome change!   I could see sudden change of mood  -  the festivities, people talking about what to prepare and where to buy the ‘green’  Ganesha!…..There indeed is the much awaited positive energy….like the dementors are pushed away by the power of magic!…

Believers may say it is the presence of Ganesha and Atheists may say it is the positive energy due to the social gatherings!!  Be an atheist or a believer, there is no denying the fact these religious festivals bring in positive energy around!  Ofcourse, these festivities are indeed a great way of keeping the energy levels high!!  I am sure our ancestors are indeed much more intelligent than what we imagine   -  to establish such frameworks to ensure that life’s energy keeps flowing  -   As Paulo Coelho puts it so well in his “Alchemist”   -   “traditions can never go wrong”

Thank you, Ganesha!!

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