Category Archives: Spirituality

The Story of Hanuman – Mala Dayal #kids #bookreview

the-story-of-hanuman-original

  • 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

calling_

  • 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

the-girl-who-chose-a-new-way-of-narrating-the-ramayana-400x400

 

  • 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

ancient-chants-for-modern-living-400x400-imaehphuebdh9hjz

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.

Ramayana The Game of Life – Stolen Hope by Shubha Vilas #bookreview

cover page with back page_stolen hope

 

Publisher Jaico Books
ISBN-10 8184958242
Edition 1
Publication Year 2016
Language English
ISBN-13 9788184958249
Binding Paperback

This is indeed a great pleasure personally for me to be reviewing the book. As usual the book is replete with lot of insights in ways of stories from all the versions and make for a great read.

The best part is we get to see a lot of folk tales also very well embedded and weaved in to the story and the rhythm of the story goes one step notch more with those inclusions.

On the other side its reflection of our way of getting our life organised in a way that is harmonic with ourselves, the family , the society and more so the nature around us.

This is the third in the series of Ramayana – Game of Life by Shubha Vilas, a retelling of the epic with life lessons that it gives in every page that you read through. Continuing his work of getting the meaning out of the words to get them close to reality, the author gives an insight into how the epics actually gives a taste of the real life.

The reading of this Series had evoked a great interest into the original works of Ramayana – Valmiki Ramayan, Tulsi Ramayana, the tamil original Kamba Ramayana etc. The gathering of stories and the life lessons that it offers to us in real time is what Shubha Vilas brings to the table in a easy to underst

and and appreciate format with references in case you want to look up.

In fact on a personal level I have been lucky to be reviewing these books and I am sure this is a part of the design if I may call it that. This is a must read and I am sure this will help us understand life and its mystical nature and also make us more proactive individual than a reactive individual that we are.

Stories can be just stories just that, but here the author elevates the story to a life transformation mode for those who seek it, and Ramayana and the story of Lord Ram is in full glow and the way his relationship to Lakshmana, Sita and his brothers are all so beautifully  engraved in words for us to enjoy.

The world out there is a bit of deception the maya at work. The way we look at it and how we react makes our life success or failure. Life is about relationships, those relationships that are sometimes ephemeral to the core and yet we need to preserve the aura and work to keep it live.

Even in business relationship we tend to have the loyalties and ethics close to the heart and work it accordingly. It is also a test of managing our conflicts within and come to solutions.

Inner Peace is guaranteed for sure. Pick this up and unravel the Ramayana in a new way, the easy to digest way and also help yourself with some tips to implement the learnings on the go.

Thanks to the author for sending me a nice autographed copy with a message. Will cherish them Shubha ji.

Go here to order this book : Flipkart | Amazon

Senthilkumar

On Wordsworth’s ‘To The Cuckoo’

Dideric-Cuckoo-0010

That’s his name Wordsworth;
Each line of his – gold in worth.
Every reader will rejoice,
At this simple natural choice!

It is his greatness of course;
To make a poetic source,
Of a cuckoo – a common bird,
In its sublimes I have ever heard.

His profound love for nature;
The poetic definition of its stature,
All mixed perfectly in a blend,
To celebrate it would never end.

To me it opened the door,
To a new world a floor,
That a cuckoo – the spring singer,
Can be a subject to linger.

For me seeing the nature so keen,
To laud the creator to be seen,
Those lines of his proved that
A poem can be written on a black cat.

Yet to see, what other cant;
And  try if you want.
That’s the secret of the great poet
William Wordsworth!

Senthilkumar

(Circa – 1995 post reading the poem To the Cuckoo )

Stone or Statue

A stone lay there on the roadside,
None would care to look,
Nor was there any sculptor who took;
It to his imagined world aside.

It lay still for days unseen,
A burden for the earth it had been.
For all who saw it black and hard,
Had never tried to become a bard.

Time did pass, till one day a man;
Saw this large stone as everyone can.
But he saw something more in,
That into his dream world he took the stone in.

Then day and night he worked on,
Till he felt tired and torn.
And for days did he toil,
Like a farmer who does for his soil.

He carved and carved till,
It did his picture fill.
Then, one fine day when he finished-
The people gathered there were astonished.

All gazed and gazed, yet one
Curious, and worthy of none,
Asked the sculptor how he had been,
Able to see the form in the rock hardly seen.

Answered the humble sculptor “I see,
Also the Almighty Lord in thee”.

Senthilkumar R

(Based on stories – Circa 1993)