Category Archives: Spirituality

‘The Wise Man Said’ by Priya Kumar – a book review

 

 

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  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Books That Inspire
  • Genre: Religion & Spirituality
  • ISBN: 9788193391204, 8193391209
  • Edition: 1, 2017

So its again a wonderful opportunity to review after having read the book ‘The Wise Man Said’ by Priya Kumar.

This is a stellar work in terms of getting so many nuggets of wisdom from far and wide with the character of the Wise  Man through his diary. I am sure you would not dare to take this trip unless we have the time as our investment to go the distance and learn things and sometimes unlearn it the hard way.

The chance meeting with the wise man probably was destined to be since we get to know a lot of stories from all around the world in its unique flavour. Every story / travel of the Wise man is a testament to how we take life and how we react to it in situations that present before us.

I am sure we would not have known about some habits from far and wide unless the wise man decided to trek them and give us the wisdom in a power packed paper back.

That the man decided to tell us some unconventional stories is something we need to cherish with this book. The sense of gratitude or a sense of deja vu is evident when he sees some personal achievement which are bound by ethical behaviour even when they are in high seas.

That spirituality is a part of our living is evident irrespective of it being given in non religious way across the world and ofcourse that is a proof that world is a better place than we imagine.

P.S: I have to admit I wasn’t able to finish this review long back. But the best part is I am able to recall those mystery stories and also how impactful they are.

P.P.S: Also keep track of the author on her social media handles and Youtube channels.

P.P.P.S: In case you want to pick up a copy.. at Flipkart / Amazon 

Vishnu by Subhadra Sen Gupta – a book review

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  • Language: English
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: RUPA
  • Genre: Fiction
  • ISBN: 9788129147370, 8129147378
  • Edition: 1, 2017
  • Pages: 48

So this is the second book in the series after Ganesh which has already been reviewed earlier.

Now I can foresee many more stories being told to kids this way and they don’t disappoint, and imagine the story telling with telling illustrations for kids and the setting is going to get better and enjoyable.

So here the author presents three different stories we normally identify with Vishnu the protector of the trio, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

In this land of India if you want to achieve seriously powerful weapons and sometimes even immortality there is an way to go about it and quite often the asuras or the opponents of devas as we know them, do it with finesse that they will end up with some of the best wishes granted to them.

So in the first story titled How to fool an Asura is that of Bhasmasura as his name suggest the asura with ashes, invoked Shiva and got his prayers answered and in that he wanted anyone he touches  with his hand to become ashes.

This as usual was a problem for the Devas led by Indra and they take refuge of Vishnu to somehow defeat Bhasmasura.

Vishnu takes the form of Mohini a beautiful girl and get to teach Bhasmasura and he being very happy about it continues to dance following the steps of Mohini,  till he puts his hand on his head without realising that he would burn to ashes.

The second story Sea of Milk  is that of churning the milk ocean and how Vishnu became the turtle and held the mountain for them to continue churning the milky ocean. He takes the form of again a beautiful maiden to get the advantage to the Gods.

The third story of Vamana is also a great one with the King Mahabali who is also an asura who gets to rule the world with his powers. But then it has to be stopped or else there might be a problem for the devas. When asked for three foot steps of land from Maha Bali, Vishnu covers the earth and sky with two steps and Bali offers his head for the third step.

So we have some nice stories that will enliven the kids during sleep time or when they are seeking fun.

The author has taken liberty to interpret things for kids and in a way it seems it suits the adult audience too. As for me, the kid at home seems to like it with the interesting illustrations and pictures that they identify with.

Tapas Guha has done a commendable job with his illustrations and the cover looks very nice.

Click on these links to pick the copy from Amazon / Flipkart.

Senthilkumar

The Demon Hunter of Chottanikkara – S V Sujatha a Book Review

 

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  • Language: English
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Aleph Book Company
  • Genre: Fiction
  • ISBN: 9789386021090, 9386021099
  • Edition: 1, 2017
  • Pages: 200

The story of the demon hunter of Chottanikkara is a super natural  thriller in a unique way. Probably if you know the place and the temple you would more than easily understand the background and appreciate the story telling. That was one of the reasons that actually got me to read this book.

This is a very interesting read because it bares the human limitations and weakness to a level that it is really scary what people can do in some instances.

The portrayal of Devi is a classic case of the super natural among the human and it is very vivid and down to earth and makes her a hero of the masses with an earthen attitude. The all powerful and the rustic portrayal and especially the food habits etc make it a part of the folklore and how the temple manifestation is a pointer in a way. I loved the fearlessness that is so easy going with the character which makes the people worship her. The background and the minute details especially of the rituals and the way the demon is hunted makes for a great reading. I think the story of Kannappa – a thief turned father here adds to the emotional drama.

The characters are so well sketched to make you sit up and though I would say the plot could have been a bit intense towards the end, the story at some point midway almost give away the secret.

I liked the interlude of Parasurama, for me the mythological aspect of him being a Chiranjeevi and his relationship with Kerala are quite folklore and so loved the aspect of his characterisation.

The author has written a beautiful prose and the story telling is fast paced but could have led to the climax and plot in a more intense way and it would have been a better presentation. As for the pace I took three sessions to finish this book.

I was also wondering the date of this story. Absolutely vivid story telling, and simple narrative prose for reading, this book gives you a different perspective on exorcism and rituals.

This is a part of Flipkart Sponsored Book Review Program. Thank You Flipkart for your copy!

The Story of Hanuman – Mala Dayal #kids #bookreview

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  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications India
  • ISBN: 9788129137173, 8129137178
  • Edition: 2016
  • Pages: 76

Hanuman is an endearing character for all of us. Much to the delight of the kids his avatar has been retold with the kid like Hanuman or the Hanuman who is kiddish overflowing with innocence.

The story which we all know is vastly enhanced in presentation by the illustrations that are beautifully rendered by Taposhi Ghoshal.

The illustrations add the charm to the character that is already a lovable one, I must confess this pictures actually make Hanuman an adorable cute little God.

This book is a art manifestation of the story and the texts compliments the illustrations at times so well that you keep to the page. The kids also love the way the baby Hanuman starts flying into the sun to everything that’s been pictured so beautifully.

You can read this to the kids and also attest the same with the pictures.

For little grown up kids there is a test of what they have got to know of the story in the pages in between. I know its tough to put the whole story into such a small session but the author has been successful in bringing out the Hanuman that we all cherish from the kid to the one who helps Lord Ram rescue Sita from Ravana’s Lanka.

You will be happy having this copy and for sure this will be an entertaining retelling of one of the most loving stories ever heard for us. Being a parent now has made this book a must have / wonderful collection.

You can pick a copy of the book here at Flipkart / Amazon. Am sure you will thank me for this reco.

4 ½ stars out of 5 🙂

Senthilkumar Rajappan

The Calling – Unleash Your True Self By Priya Kumar a book review

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  • Paperback: 166 pages
  • Publisher: Books That Inspire; 1St Edition edition (2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 935258970X
  • ISBN-13: 978-9352589708

At the outset let me thank the author and her team for a very personal way that they sent the book. Yeah that beautiful mug too.

Ever since that I have been following her on twitter and other social media, its has been a great way of looking at her work.

Here let’s look at the book The Calling – Unleash Your True Self, her latest one in print, I am sure she is working on the next, the cover design was a give-away on that.

In everyone’s life there is a purpose and we live half our life not knowing if we are working towards that or if we even think about it. This book will reveal that there is a calling everyone needs to heed. The one calling that will make all the difference and gives you meaning in life. The story of Arjun a corporate honcho who comes across some surprises and ends up doing a trek to Hemakund.

Along the way he gets answers to some of the most perenially thought of pretenses that we have acquired for ourselves. Confusions that we were thinking as clear answers simply because we want to assure ourselves that everything is fine.

Even the so called meditation that we know has a different connotation at that height, if I may put it that way. The heights of the mountains are in a way an ideal to suggest that meaning might differ and you might get to know something that you always thought you know.

The best part is we want to escape from this mundane existance of family for some, career for some and literally run away from all this and expect answers to be what we are and find out the real us.

Quite often till the time we come across those moments of calling all those activities that are tagged spiritual have a totally different meaning and perspectives. Those moments come unasked and unexpected and thats the beauty of this.

The characterisation of Arjun, then Chandu and the sadhu all make for a nice reading and well to get the most of the book I think it should be read and digested and made notes of.

The author has a way with words and its quite straight to the reader and that makes this book easy and relatable to everyone at first instance. We probably don’t know what & how things will be, but if we know the true calling I am sure that will have a bearing on the way we look at this world, the way we interact and they way we live our lives.

We are all Arjuns except that we are in a different role professionally / personally but then the Calling is there for everyone of us.

A great read! You can buy the book here at Amazon or Flipkart.

Senthilkumar

PS: Thanks to the author Priya Kumar for this opportunity and for that wonderful personal message of yours in the book. Feeling happy and that mug will sure serve the message time and again.

The Tantric Curse by Anupama Garg – a Book review

Book Review The Tantric Curse Anupama Garg

The Indian spiritual tradition is always a mystery and that is kept so because people have heard of them only by hear say and never ever tried to find the real body of knowledge.

Quite often it gets twisted simply because the people who want to know it don’t have the patience or would not like to go through the rigour of knowledge seeking.

In this book the author who is a spiritual seeker herself makes a nice attempt to impart those basic understanding of spiritual and the tantric sciences with this novel.

The characters of Krishnam, Rhea make the story and the life and times of Rhea is central to the narration that we have here. The author takes extra care in getting us understand the real meaning of some of the things that are just not true and gives an insight into the lives of sadhaks, gurus and tantra tradition.

The portrayal of Rhea as a common girl and then later getting transformed is one that will leave you  thinking. It’s a rare attempt and a brave one, simply because the author has shown the female as the lead in the story and that helps remove much of the stigma that comes attached to say a Shakthi Dham or a religious place.

The descriptions and definitions at the right places gives us an insight into the real spiritual pursuits rather than those which are highlighted in the normal world and media gets it.

A nice read and a fast paced one could have been a little crisper at places but makes you turn the pages as you go.

Pick this book to know about the real vidya of tantra and how it is practiced and you could remove a lot of misconceptions about the religious and spiritual aspect of tantra.

On a sidenote I really liked the cover page and its got so many things covered.

Buy this book here at Flipkart: http://www.flipkart.com/tantric-curse-english/p/itmecb8fnhc49myu?pid=9788129137524

Amazon link here: http://www.amazon.in/Tantric-Curse-Anupama-Garg/dp/8129137526

The Girl Who Chose – Devdutt Pattanaik

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  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • ISBN: 9780143334637, 0143334638
  • Edition: 2016
  • Pages: 112

I always say this, India is a land of charming story tellers and we will never get tired of telling them. The beauty of this land is the assimilation of the different cultures in the respective retelling of the biggest and impactful epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Devdutt Pattanaik comes again as a winner this time with the tale of Sita and how she chose five things for herself in her lifetime with Ram the prince of Ayodhya. It might have gone unnoticed why the story came about unless we think about it and see the reason around why Sita decided to go the forest with Ram and Lakshman, especially when she was just married and she has been the princess after all. She could have been sending off Ram to deliver the promise that his Dad made.

Again it was Sita during her days at the forest, who chose to cross the Lakshman Rekha, to give food to the ascetic who had come begging. It was a choice that had repercussions again simply because Lakshman had thought about it and drawn a line.

There are three more instances when she chose, get the book to read them and it is a delightful read the way it is presented. The story extends to the time of Luv and Khusha the twins of Sita when she is asked to leave the kingdom due to the way the gossip mongers have a field day.

The time she choses to make an entry into the fireplace is also a reminder of how the character has had an impact in terms of image being built around the royals vis a vis the rules and the fredom to choose.

Ofcourse the rishis and scriptures wanted us to see the characters in us as much as the story was told, here again the author has rekndled the efforts in us to reach out to the Ram, Sita and the Ravana inside us

Beautifully illustrated and narrated with short notes on the sidelines this is a wonderful book to introduce Sita as a woman who should be celebrated equal to Ram and Lakshman.

You will love this book to the core, enjoy it reading it loud to the kids too. Go ahead and take a plunge, there is subtlety in this and there is spiritual offering if in case you want to see it that way. Enjoyed reading this, and Devdutt Pattanaik has recreated the charm of introducing the characters with such conviction in story telling.

This is a part of Flipkart Sponsored Review Program. To buy your copies go here : The Girl Who Chose

Senthilkumar

The search for Indias Most Loved CEO

CEO

CEOs are of different varieties and what better way to recognise them than with a apt title of the India’s Most Loved CEO! There is a sense of excitement and a sense of pride when you see him across the table. A role model refined in a way that you always try to emulate him. All that and more happens. But now it’s time to express those emotions and unleash your love/respect for the CEO in a way make it memorable for both of you. There’s a hunt now for India’s Most Loved CEO. And you just need to nominate your most loved CEO and with real reasons ofcourse why you consider him or why your organisation considers him as the Most Loved one!

But hey wait am clueless as much as you are who this is going to be. Again who is the one, who gets to be the Most loved CEO. Answers to these questions will be there at http://www.indiasmostlovedceo.com/

So it’s time to log in http://www.indiasmostlovedceo.com/ and guess who is India’s most loved CEO. Lot of prizes await you, you could end up with a Moto G or Flipkart vouchers. Just not only that you could be featured on the website – your moment of fame beckons you.

That man in shining armour at the most important time in your life! That could be the best description of the most loved CEO. Now time to spread the word and participate in the process as they unveil them in a few days to go. You could share a bit on your CEO so the world joins in celebrating him.

On the other side am anxious, as much as you are to know how he is going to be selected and will that be a poll or nominations and more. It’s time to watch out and wait for the curtain to go up in 4 days and find out who is India’s Most Loved CEO.

Now what are you waiting go check out and see who is the one and only #IndiasmostlovedCEO…

As for nominations it’s not just the CEO that every company has, he is the CEO in real sense! Time now to go guess who that is!!!

Senthilkumar

Ancient Chants for Modern Living by Aatmanika Ram #bookreview

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Publisher Westland
ISBN-10 9385152602
Number of Pages 168 Pages
Publication Year 2016
Language English
ISBN-13 9789385152603
Binding Paperback

These are fast times and when you have ancient and modern in one single sentence you have a challenge. Here in this book Ancient Chants for Modern Living the author Aatmanika Ram takes us through a thoroughly and easy to digest research of Sholkas of the Ancient times and how we can leverage the same in modern day.

Personally for me, it was a memory down the lane, esp of the shlokas the ‘sahanavavathu’ as we chanted them at the start of every class in school, to the ‘thrayambagam yajamahe’ whenever we had someone have health issues.

It is to the credit of the author that she has deftly wielded the subject with finesse and clearly marked them as topics that would have an immediate connect with the readers.

The shlokas are from the ancient texts to the C Rajagopalachari’s Kurai Ondrum illai, all that have an impact even just by listening and the experience is elevated by having them chanted with proper pronunciation and at the right times.

You also have the yoga postures that you could add to your way of life to maximise the impact of these chants. The suggestion on the audio or video makes for a practical aspect of the book, but I think as a suggestion those should have been added as a reference in the chapters for the readers so it’s easy to follow. You never know our modern habits of skipping things for want of time.

These experiences as I see it has to be tested by individuals by following it very diligently so that they have a real healing effect, since these are always about the faith and the result will be there for all to see.

The challenge of the book is in its ability to cover a wide range of issues and presenting it succinctly, since I am sure the vastness of the ancient text given to its interpretations and commentaries are so huge. A great attempt has actually crystallised into a nice readable form and presented in a manner that its easy to read and easy to implement.

The temple visits could also be generalised since the same form of the God and Godesses are present across the terrain of our country though I am sure those mentioned will have more of spiritual benefit too.

A very concise presentation in what is supposed to be a big set of texts and easy to digest form, the chants should work magic in whatever endeavour you are trying to master or get in.

All in all a nice effort to introduce the importance of chants and the purpose led definitions for the common man who otherwise would be just looking at it from a third man’s perspective as an alien Sanskrit shloka.

For starters this is a very inspiring book that has the magic of healing in truest sense.

Senthilkumar

Ganesh by Subhadra Sen Gupta #bookreview

Ganesh

Welcome to the land of stories, the land which presented the Mahabharata the longest epic ever written. It has so many stories that we know of and so many stories that we don’t know of. Quite incidentally the book that we now are reviewing is of Ganesh.

Ganesh the son of Shiva and Parvathy is the celebrated God in Indian mythology and has expressions in being the remover of all obstacles and we know how grand is the celebration of Ganesh in Maharashtra which has come to symbolise the way Ganesh is celebrated.

The best facet of our Indian storytelling is you could have many an interpretation and many a twist and take in the way the story is presented. That’s the reason we have so many interpretations of Ramayana and Mahabharata.

In this book the story of how Ganesh lost his head is an endearing one. In south it was believed that Shiva was not allowed entry to see Parvathy by Ganesh since he was keeping a watch firmly doing what his mother told him to do. Never let anyone inside till I am done with my bath. Ganesh took this seriously and Shiva has no inkling that the child was Parvathy’s making and he when obstructed to see his own wife, cuts the lad’s head off in anger, only to be told by Parvathy that it her kid and he has done total injustice to the boy.

Now the elephant with its head towards the north was the alternative that we have as common. In this narrative we do have a big ceremony to celebrate and then there is the Shani coming and looking at Ganesh and he gets the head burnt. Therein lies the interpretation of Shani being a part of the story.

A classical story for night read for the kids and the way its has been illustrated makes for interesting read aloud stuff for the kids.

A new story and a new interpretation is always welcome. The kids I am sure will relish this illustrations and storytelling through the pictures.

Each of the four stories are embedded with nice instances that are easily assimilated by the young audience. The illustrations deserve a great appreciation that has the comic effect and also a story telling way.

The story of Mahabharata is also a nice one wherein Ganesh decides to pull off his tusk to keep writing on the palm leaves.

The illustration by Tapas Gupta add a very nice touch to the already fascinating story of Ganesh.

I enjoyed this book for kids and i tried keeping this book around kids and saw they were pretty involved because of the format.

The author and the illustrator deserve every praise for the work that they have done and it sure will be a great way to introduce them to Ganesh with stories that make for fun reading.