Adideva

Shiva kathas are strewn like bright gems across the antiquated treasure chests of the Vedas, Itihasas, Maha Puranas, Sthala Puranas, and folklore. Adideva: 25 Legends behind His 25 Names is a collection of twentyfive enchanting legends about Shiva retold in opulent detail keeping true to the original texts and temple lore. Each tale is supplemented by captivating verses of many saint-poets and photos of intricate sculptures and art, illuminating the adoration of our ancestors for each of the divine manifestations of Adideva. From the well-known stories of Neelakantha, Uma Maheshwara, and Rameshwara, the riveting narratives of Tripurantaka, Sharabeshwara, and Kirata, the poignant accounts of Grishneshwara, Mrtyunjaya, and Matrubhuteshwara to the profound contemplations of Dakshinamurti and Arunachala, the chosen stories are filled with navarasas, and evoke wonder and adoration for Mahadeva. Embedded within these narratives are subtle teachings of dharma and adhyatma—inspiring a journey towards selfdiscovery. Most importantly, they are the easiest and sweetest ways to cultivate Shiva bhakti, which is the immediate cure for samsara.

Bharat Rising

India became politically independent in 1947, but for economic freedom it had to wait for another four decades until P.V. Narasimha Rao, in tandem with Dr Manmohan Singh, chaperoned the country’s liberalization process in the summer of 1991. In 2014, another seismic revolution unravelled, the contours of which are still being drawn. For the first time, a ‘new India’ had not just seen an alternative model of governance that is truly divorced from the Nehruvian ethos but also initiated a process of democratization and decolonization of the largely ‘elitist, insular and compromised’ Lutyens’ world.

 

Argumentative and deeply researched, Bharat Rising combines the narrative style of journalism and the rigour and discipline of academia. It is as much about the resetting of Lutyens’ world as it is about a new India shedding its traditional distrust, if not distaste, for the country’s civilizational and cultural past.

Modi’s Governance Triumph

Meticulously researched and analysed, Modi’s Governance Triumph: Reshaping India’s Path to Prosperity delves into the Modi government’s key initiatives, reforms and innovations that have left an indelible imprint on India’s socioeconomic and political fabric. From the ambitious ‘Make in India’ campaign to sweeping changes in the taxation system with the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST), each chapter unpacks the narrative of a leader who has redefined governance in the world’s largest democracy.

 

The book not only examines the achievements but also critically evaluates the challenges and controversies that have marked Modi’s tenure, providing a well-rounded perspective on his leadership. It is an essential read for anyone interested in understanding changes taking place in India and the role Prime Minister Narendra Modi plays in reshaping the nation’s future.

Nastik

Nastik chronicles the transformative journey of a modern Indian sceptic who initially embraced Western neo-atheism. It begins with the protagonist’s disillusionment with religious dogma and his subsequent adoption of Western neo-atheism, characterized by a staunch denial of theism and a critique of religion’s influence on society.

 

As the narrative unfolds, he encounters the rich tapestry of Indian philosophy. He discovers the nuanced perspectives of nastik schools of thought in Indian tradition, such as Charvaka, Jainism and certain interpretations of Buddhism, which reject the authority of the Vedas and the existence of a creator god yet engage deeply with ethical and philosophical questions. His transformation into a nastik and Nirishvarwaadi is marked by an appreciation for the complexity of Eastern scepticism, which often intertwines with spiritual and moral considerations unlike the more direct and often materialistic scepticism prevalent in the West. The book delves into the differences between Western and Eastern scepticism, highlighting how Eastern traditions offer a nuanced view that accommodates doubt within a spiritual framework.

 

As his worldview evolves, he critiques the emergence of neo-atheism’s successor, ‘wokeism’, which he argues marks a shift from scepticism to a new form of dogmatism. He argues that neo-atheism inadvertently paved the way for wokeism by undermining traditional structures without offering a sustainable alternative, leading to a vacuum that wokeism has filled with its own set of moral certainties.

 

At the penultimate stage, the protagonist explores the concept of Hindu scepticism, which is considered part of the broader Hindu tradition. The inclusiveness of this tradition highlights the unique ability of dharma to absorb various strands of thought. As the narration closes, he learns that at the heart of dharmic traditions lies a commitment to mutual respect, reciprocity and ahimsa (non-violence), which have allowed for a diverse array of beliefs and practices to coexist and flourish within the Indian philosophical landscape.

Veda Made Simple

Veda Made Simple is an important book. In a strikingly clear, lucid and straightforward manner, the author reveals the rich and complex philosophy and symbolism of the Veda for anyone who is open in mind and heart to receive the wisdom of humanity’s oldest spiritual scripture. That the author does this in the light of Sri Aurobindo—inarguably among the very few who realized and lived the deepest and highest Vedic truths in their beings—makes it even more significant. This book comes at the right time too, as Indians globally begin to reawaken to their timeless Vedic and Sanatan heritage.

Waiting for Shiva

Few places in the world carry the heavy burden of history as effortlessly as Kashi, or Varanasi, has. The holy city embodies the very soul of our civilization and personifies the resilience that we have displayed over centuries in the face of numerous adversities and fatal attacks.

 

Waiting for Shiva: Unearthing the Truth of Kashi’s Gyan Vapi recreates the history, antiquity and sanctity of Kashi as the abode of Bhagwan Shiva in the form of Vishweshwara, or Vishwanath. Shiva himself assured his devotees of salvation if they leave their mortal coils in the city. The book delves into the history of this self-manifested swayambhu jyotirlinga shrine of Vishweshwara, which for centuries has been both a refuge for the devout and a target of the bloodiest waves of iconoclasm. However, each time an attempt was made to obliterate the temple by demolishing it, it managed to rise and prosper. Every iconoclastic storm was followed by an episode of persistence, tenacity and stubborn resolve. Shrines fell and shrines rose, but the Hindus of Kashi never gave up—not even once.

 

Waiting for Shiva documents these cataclysmic events in the temple’s history. The final death blow was dealt in 1669 by the Mughal despot Aurangzeb, who demolished the temple and erected few domes on the partially destroyed western wall to call it a mosque. The temple complex was desecrated and left strewn with ruins as a grim reminder of the humiliation and insult that Hindus had to face as a consequence of their holiest shrine being torn down to smithereens. The area that is now called the Gyan Vapi mosque and the surrounding land that lies adjacent to the new temple of Vishwanath, which came up towards the end of the 18th Century, has always been one of intense contestation. Bloody riots overran Varanasi over this issue multiple times in the past. During the colonial era, the doors of the British courts were knocked at to settle the occupancy issue, and they adjudicated the matter several times. Post-Independence, too, the desire to ‘liberate’ the complex has been seething in the Hindu imagination. A new suit filed in 2021 before the Varanasi civil court reopened a long-festering historical wound. Despite several appeals right up to the Supreme Court to dismiss the plaint, a survey by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was ordered, which would lay bare the truth in its findings by the end of 2023.

 

Vikram Sampath’s latest offering retraces the long history of this bitterly disputed site and the dramatic twists and turns in the checkered past of this hoary shrine. Piecing together numerous documents and accounts—Vedic and Puranic texts, Sanskrit literary sources, Agama shastras, Jataka tales, Persian accounts, travelogues of foreigners, archival records and copious legal documents detailing the contestation from the British era to modern Indian courts—the book recreates, for the first time with facts and cogent arguments, this stormy history right up to the present times. The long-suppressed secrets that lay hidden in Gyan Vapi finally finds a voice through this book.

Whispers from the Past

Whispers from the Past is an overture to the history and culture of classical Kashmir, which for over a thousand years was one of the most creative places in the world. Through the book, the author hopes to acquaint the reader with Kashmir’s contributions to art and aesthetics, including drama, music, painting, sculpture, sciences, yoga, tantra, literature, and philosophy. The region’s culture was premised on the idea that universal consciousness binds humanity together, and knowing this at the individual’s level is fundamental to self-understanding and for creative growth. Classical Kashmiri artists appreciated great art not merely from its inherent cleverness points of view but for its capacity to inspire audiences to the source of creativity itself, and this entailed devotion to excellence and a robust tradition of criticism. The book explores the currents of intellectual life and the lives of prominent royals, writers, and sages, showing how Kashmiri scholars and travellers came to influence not only southern regions but also far-away lands beyond the Himalayas. It showcases Kashmir’s famed storytelling tradition through abridged tales from the Panchatantra, Kathā-sarit-sāgara, and Yoga Vāsiṣṭha, the last of which is arguably the greatest book of imagination and wisdom ever written on the conundrums of consciousness with unequalled clarity. Kashmiri aesthetics and the search for meaning in life resonate with modern sensibility

Whispers of the Unseen

Whispers of the Unseen: The Quest for Sixty-Four Yoginis redefines spirituality beyond conventional religious norms, rituals and practices. It attempts to forge a connection with the essence of life forms and take the reader through a spiritual exploration of the dynamic interplay and union of masculine and feminine energies. Through her paintings, the artistauthor revisits the cultural significance, richness and symbolism of the sixty-four yoginis. The narrative delves deep into the realm of feminine power, drawing out the most pivotal manifestation of its expressive roles in our lives and integrating the practices of spirituality into our everyday existence. It prods the reader to relish life’s simple moments and to cherish the intersectionality of quotidian life. This will, according to her, allow them access to ancient spiritual practices in contemporary time, leading to increased awareness and mindfulness in daily life. It encourages readers to embrace connecting with the divine, tapping into a higher power and uncovering the creative force within.

जीत मोदी शासन की

गहन शोध और विश्लेषण पर आधारित ‘जीत मोदी शासन की: समृद्धि के अभिनव पथ पर भारत’ पुस्तक मोदी सरकार की प्रमुख पहलों, सुधारों और नवाचारों का व्यापक विश्लेषण करती है, जिन्होंने भारत के सामाजिक, आर्थिक और राजनीति क परिदृश्य को बदलकर रख दिया है। महत्वाकांक्षी ‘मेक इन इंडिया’ अभियान से लेकर वस्तु एवं सेवा कर (जीएसटी) के माध्यम से कर प्रणाली में बड़े बदलाव तक, हर अध्याय एक ऐसे नेता की कहानी को प्रस्तुत करता है जिसने दुनिया के सबसे बड़े लोकतंत्र में शासन के मायने ही बदल दिए हैं।

 

यह पुस्तक न केवल मोदी सरकार की उपलब्धियों पर प्रकाश डालती है, बल्कि उनके कार्यकाल के दौरान सामने आई चुनौतियों और विवादों का भी समग्र मूल्यांकन करती है। यह उन सभी के लिए एक आवश्यक पुस्तक है जो भारत में हो रहे परिवर्तनों और प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी की भूमि का को समझने में रुचि रखते हैं, जो देश के भविष्य को नया आकार देने में महत्वपूर्ण भूमि का निभा रहे हैं।

प्रतीक्षा शिवाची

ज्या सहजतेने काशी किंवा वाराणसी आपल्या इतिहासाचे प्रचंड ओझे वाहते, तशी जगातील फार थोडी ठिकाणे असतील. ही नगरी आपल्या संस्कृतीच्या आत्म्याचे आणि शतकानुशतके आलेली विपरीत परिस्थिती, हल्ले सहन करूनही पुन्हापुन्हा उभी राहत आपल्या अपराजित वृत्तीचे दर्शन घडवते. 

 

 प्रतीक्षा शिवाचीकाशीज्ञानवापीच्या सत्याचा शोधया पुस्तकाच्या माध्यमातून विश्वेश्वर किंवा विश्वनाथाच्या रुपातील शिवाचा अधिवास असणाऱ्या काशीचा इतिहास, तिची प्राचीनता आणि पावित्र्याचे दर्शन घडते. जो या शहरात आपला देह ठेवतो त्याला मोक्ष मिळेल असे वचन प्रत्यक्ष शिव देतो. हे पुस्तक या स्वयंभू ज्योतिर्लिंग विश्वेश्वराच्या इतिहासाचा सखोल शोध घेते. आपल्या भक्तांचे आश्रयस्थान असलेले हे विश्वेश्वर मंदिर हे नेहमीच धर्मांध मूर्तीभंजकांच्या निशाण्यावर राहिलेले आहे. परंतु जेव्हा जेव्हा हे मंदिर उद्ध्वस्त करून त्याचे अस्तित्व पुसून टाकण्याचा प्रयत्न झाला तेव्हा तेव्हा हे मंदिर पुन्हा उभे राहिले आणि भरभराटीला आले. 

 

मंदिराच्या इतिहासातील या प्रलयंकारी घटनांचा लेखाजोखाप्रतीक्षा शिवाचीहे पुस्तक मांडते. जुलमी मुघल बादशाह औरंगजेबाने १६६९ मध्ये या मंदिरावर घातलेला घाव वर्मी बसला आहे. त्याने मंदिर फोडले आणि मंदिराच्या पश्चिमेकडील अर्धवट तुटलेल्या भिंतीवर घुमट उभे करून त्याला मशिदीचे रूप दिले. आज ज्याला ज्ञानवापी मशीद म्हणतात ती मशीद आणि त्याच्या आजूबाजूची आणि अठराव्या शतकात बांधल्या गेलेल्या नव्या विश्वनाथ मंदिराजवळची जागा यावरून नेहमीच वादंग माजलेला आहे. भूतकाळात या मुद्द्यावरून अनेक वेळा रक्तरंजित दंगली झाल्या आहेत. इंग्रजी सत्तेच्या काळातही या जमिनीच्या मालकी आणि ताब्याच्या मुद्द्यावरून अनेक वेळा ब्रिटिश न्यायालयांचे दरवाजे ठोठावले गेले आहेत, त्यासंबंधीचे खटले चालवले गेले आहेत. स्वातंत्र्यानंतरही हा पूर्ण परिसर मुक्त करावा अशी मनीषा हिंदूंच्या मनात कायमच वास करत आली आहे. २०२१ ला नव्याने दाखल करण्यात आलेल्या एका खटल्याने या फार काळापासून ठसठसणाऱ्या जखमेवरची खपली निघाली. भारतीय पुरातत्व विभागाकडून सर्वेक्षण होऊ नये यासाठी अगदी सर्वोच्च न्यायालयापर्यंत वारंवार अपीले करूनही हे सर्वेक्षण झाले आणि जानेवारी २०२४ मध्ये या सर्वेक्षणाने या पूर्ण प्रकरणातील सत्य उजेडात आणले. 

 

विक्रम संपतचे हे नवे पुस्तक या मंदिराचा बहुपेडी इतिहास, त्यात आलेली नाट्यमय वळणे, घडलेल्या गूढ घडामोडी, या जागेवरून झालेले कडाक्याचे वादविवाद या साऱ्या गोष्टी उलगडून दाखवते. कितीतरी काळ ज्ञानवापीमध्ये दडपून आणि लपवून ठेवलेल्या या गुपितांना या पुस्तकाच्या रूपाने वाचा फुटली आहे.