We are fortunate to get a chance to explore many books talking about spirituality from different perspectives. Here are quick links to some such books and our views and review for the same:
- Hinduism: Spirituality for Leadership and Success
- GITA: Spirituality for Leadership and Success By Pranay
- BUDDHA: Spirituality for Leadership and Success By Pranay
- Vivekananda: Spirituality for Leadership and Success By Pranay
- Gita & Vedic Wisdom: Greatest Spiritual Wisdom
- Gita & Vedic Wisdom: Greatest Spiritual Wisdom
- Tantra & Buddhism: Greatest Spiritual Wisdom
- Inner Space
- Soul Selfie
- The Shiva Sutras
Amongst various “isms” that guides us to live a fulfilling life by doing the best not only for ourselves but also for the society, associated with Sanatan Dharma, Sikhism is one of the most prominent ways of living. While “Seva”, “Samarpan”, “Shaurya” and other attributes are at the core of Sikhism, what I like the most about it, is the wise decision of the Gurus to document all the wisdom, guidelines and other important stuff in a book. By considering that, even after taking utmost care, it is possible that during the chronology of Gurus, a person with human limitations might hold the prominent position of the Guru, eventually affecting the entire Sikh society, in a not-so-good way. So, the wise gurus have decided to make this book – The Guru Granth Sahib – and thus the guide for the community. Obviously, it is considered very pious by all Sikh fellows and Hindus.
Like all the holy books, it also contains various myths and folktales from various cultures the Gurus came in contact with, during their respective times. Of course, the most prominent ones are the tales from Ramayana, Mahabharat and other Bharatiya (that is Indian) literature.
|Book Title||:||Demystifying MYTHS & LORE In Sri Guru Granth Sahib
Way to God in Sikhism - 5
|Author||:||Maneshwar S. Chahal|
|Published by||:||Fingerprint! Publishing ( 1 May 2021)|
|# of Pages||:||720 (Paperback)|
Mr. Maneshwar Chahal took on a challenging task to explore The Guru Granth Sahib / Sri Guru Granth Sahib (or SGGS as he refers to it) from a layman’s perspective. And, he wrote a series of books in this journey. We got a chance to read the fifth book in the series – . We are quite fortunate to get a chance to read it. We are thankful to the publishers for providing us with the review copy.
Being a gateway to the virtual world explored within, the cover page is responsible to make its first impression. And, despite believing in the fact that – a book should not be judged by its cover – one cannot ignore its influence.
As you can see, the cover page of this book is well thought and uses cheerful colors. The symbol in the center, the circles around it and the flying letters, all looks really nice. The not-so-yellow border complements it well.
I like the cover page very much.
The Book And My Views And Reviews For The Same:
Usually we talk about the storyline ond our overall views for the book in two distinguished segments. As the nature of this book is little different, we are merging both these segments here.
This book explores the aspects of Shri Guru Granth Sahib in detail and contains a very in-depth exploration of various terms used in the same. It would be a challenge to what points we should talk about and what we can skip. Each and every term is very important. So, I will try to keep it very brief here.
The book is like a large dictionary cum glossary. It contains various important words and phrases from SGGS in A-Z sequence. The author then talks about each of them in detail. And, it not only refers to Sikhism and thus the Sanatan Dharma only, it also refers to various terms influenced from other ways of living. For example, in the initial segment of the book, you will find exploration for “Adam”. Now, we know the story of Adam (and Eve and the garden of Eden). How it is well-mingled within our culture is drawn attention towards by the author, by reminding us for the phrases like “Baba Adam”. For the things that are already there since long, we refer to them as “Baba Adam Ke Zamane se” (Since the time of Baba Adam). The author also draws our attention towards how the word “Baba” is associated with “Adam”, and how accurate it is! In the author’s words:
The story of Adam’s fall and expulsion from Eden is, naturally also part of the Muslim belief system, considering the Semitic origins of the belief system. … the term ‘Baba’ being a respectful way to describe ‘grandfather’. or ‘old man’. As the eldest of all men, the title of course fits Adam only too well.
Similarly, he refers to “Dozakh” (and other concepts) from a different school of thoughts:
… It is interesting to note that Bhagat ji here uses the Muslim concept of Dozakh, even though the conversation is with a Brahmin. This shows that for the saint who is as one with the Lord, these concepts are of no relevance. Heaven and hell are nothing when your mind is fixed on the Lord.
In the same context, when the author talks about the holy city of Kashi (or Banaras), he also refers to “Banaras Kay Thug” as well. You can guess the level of depth the author has gone into, when exploring each point.
While people often talks about Mythology and History in Mythology V/s History perspective; the author uses simple words to elaborate the importance of Mythology in holy books and spiritual literature. He says:
Mythology is a vital tool for understanding and communicating with people. Finnish folklorist Honko offers a widely cited definition of mythology:
‘Myth, a story of gods, a religious account of the beginning of the world, the creation, fundamental events, the exemplary deeds of the gods as a result of which the world, nature and culture were created together with all parts thereof and given their order, which still obtains. …
This also shows how well read the author is. In addition to spiritual books, his exploration must have contained various genres like history, mythology, philosophy and others.
The author also knows the fact that for a layman it is not possible to explore Veda, Puranas, philosophical literature and other stuff due to various reasons. He also tells:
… Since the study of the Vedas was restricted to very small elite, for the common citizen, these popular texts would have acted as guides to the religious, ethical and moral standards expected of the common man. …
While the relation between the soul and the super soul or the greatest energy is direct and there is no intermediator is required. However, as you need to have a coach/teacher to make your learning academics/sports/skills etc.; having a spiritual Guru may make your journey smoother and more importantly can guide you towards the right path. And, some of the gems of wisdom one can learn from the Guru (considering he/she is a real Guru), may not be learnt otherwise. Here is one gem of a segment in the same aspects, from the book:
… the Guru is telling us not to be too proud of ourselves, because when the Lord so decides, event the greatest can err. …
While reading this book you came across many explorations that remain with you even after you complete reading the book. Be it for
- Bavan (Vamana)
- Bisan (Vishnu)
- Bhagavata Purana
- Mount Sumeru
You can also see how some names are changed a little as per local dialect.
The most important part is, the book contains the original lines from SGGS wherever the author feels need for the same. And, for those, who don’t understand it, in the beginning of the book the keys are mentioned. This “Key to Pronunciation” segment is thus important.
In addition to the select biography, the author has also included two Annexures at the end of the book. I consider these segments another positive attribute of the book.
Spread over in 720 pages, this book is quite heavy in terms of size and content both. The author has tried to make the content as simple and understandable as possible.
The author used the perspective, a common man thinks from, before exploring the life lessons to be learnt. Let me conclude with one such example from the book:
Bhishma is considered as a perfect exemplar of devotion and sacrifice. Not only that, he was the premier scholar and an invincible warrior. Yet he was to live a life full of frustration, loneliness and sadness, because that was how the curse of the sage Vasishtha was to unfold. …
Such books are not meant for time-pass reading. The reader has to be open minded and ready to explore the spiritual journeys.
Overall, an informative book about various myths and lore in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. A really nice option for those who seek in-depth exploration of this holy book.
Around 8 stars out of 10.
Quick Purchase Links:
- Buy - Demystifying MYTHS & LORE In Sri Guru Granth Sahib by Maneshwar S. Chahal - Paperback - Amazon IN
- Buy - Demystifying MYTHS & LORE In Sri Guru Granth Sahib by Maneshwar S. Chahal - Paperback - Amazon US
Over To You:
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