Suresh Sekharan
Wed, 19-08-2020 05:21:41 PM ;

'I read a book one day and my whole life was changed.' Thus says Orhan Pamuk in his famous book, The new life.

I am experiencing it now. This morning, I completed reading Ashraf Karayath's Novel, JANAKA AND ASHTAVAKRA: A Journey Beyond, and I am changed.

It started when one of my NRI friend from Qatar told me about the book and the Author. Asharaf hails from the village adjacent to mine and known to most of my friends who has a taste for literature. As I was always away from my place of birth, I was hearing his name for the first time. My friend also had shared write-ups on the book appeared in leading newspapers.  "Daa.. you must read Ashraf's book. It will certainly add value.. " my friend told. he knew well about the struggle I am going through for a long time. I ordered the book.

First few pages were hard for me. Slow. But as I tasted the sweetness of the content, pages were turning faster. I always had a liking for spirituality. I too had read western new age thoughts like the law of attraction, creative visualization etc. But I could never draw a line connecting these two thoughts and accept both worlds together. I was in search. I was in search of something which can ease the quest dwelling in my heart and weighing heavier day by day. I knew that there is something existed somewhere which is capable to calm me; to end my misery physical and spiritual. here it is, Ashtavakra's advises; Janaka's realizations.

When I indulged in the pages of Janaka and Ashtavakra, I felt the door, which I was waiting long years in front of, was slowly opening. It was bliss. It was gaining answer fro all the questions one held in the hidden chambers of the heart, unanswered. It was not that I was not asking those questions. I was shouting those questions to all masters I encountered physically or through books. They could not satisfy me.

Here I find the answers. When Ashtavakra instructed the King behind the closed doors of the King's chamber, he was pouring the wisdom directly to my heart. I was taking a bath in pure knowledge when Ashtavakra answered the King's questions. Maybe the universe must have answered my quest and search through this book. Maybe, this book has become a medium for the universe to clarify my doubts. I even doubt if I have grasped the same meaning the author wanted to convey...

How good a literary work is Janaka and Ashtavakra? I have no idea. One thing is sure, the author has succeeded in presenting the subject matter without losing its depth. But I feel he had spent more than sufficient time to create the scene for the Guru and Shishya to meet. Ashtavakra Gita is a profound book which discusses Advaita philosophy. It is considered to be a beautiful gem in the whole spectrum of Indian spiritual teaching. The novel, however, is not going very deep into the knowledge Ashtavakra Gita put forth.

We have seen a surge in the number of books based on Indian ancient texts since the success of Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi. Most of them have the merit of their own. But this one stands apart for quality of the subject matter it attempts to discuss.

When I completed the book, I felt as if the candy that tasted heavenly nectar, melted and disappeared in my mouth faster than I expected.

Thank you, Ashraf.
I owe you...