The author of Ancient Wisdom to Elevate Your Mind has a doctorate in Leadership Effectiveness from the Valmiki Ramayana. He, a monk from ISCKON, is much more than a monk. He uses the material from his doctorate research during his spiritual discourses and motivational talks.
The book we are discussing today is full of pleasant surprises. It has many unknown stories from the Vedas, Upanishads and Puranas which mystify you. It is a collection of 50 mini stories that have a section called Life’s Musings at the end. Life’s Musings is nothing but moral of the story. Since each story has something to teach… this is mandatory keeping the objective of the book in mind. And the author suggests that the reader can skip through the stories but should surely read the Musings as they are the key, and they are the reason he has written the book.
Some stories might be known, but not in totality. Let’s take the first one for example — The Divine Pact. Everybody knows that Ganesha wrote the Mahabharata while Vyasa dictated it to him. There are many legends about it. One of the lesser known and intriguing legends, included by Shubha Vilas, is the part where both present conditions — to write and to dictate. Ganesha says he will write non-stop and will not continue if Vyasa stops in between. Vyasa agrees adding his own condition that Ganesha must understand what he is to write before he actually writes it. The idea was to buy time to compose the next group of lines — shloka. Both agree to the conditions. Interestingly, quite a few shlokas are kuta shlokas for which Ganesha had to pause to understand and decipher the way to write. For example: A shloka in Virata parv where Drona addresses
Nadi jalam Keshava naari ketur
Naagaahvayo naama nagrisunu
Esho anganaa vesha dharah Kiriti
Jitvaa vayan nesyati caadya gavaah
If written this way — it is ambiguous as Nadi means river, Jal means water, Nagrisunu means son of bugle… leaving the reader frenzied. But, despite the sound being similar, if it is written in the following way, the meaning is crystal clear.
Nadija lankesha vana ari ketur
Nagaahvayo naama nagrisunu
Eso anganaa vesha dharah Kiriti
Jitva avayam nesyati caadya gaavah
Nadija means son of river (Ganga), Lankesha is Ravan, Ketur is flag, Naagahvayo is Arjun, Ava is to protect… and so on. The meaningful translation of the shloka is “O son of Ganga (Bhishma), Hanuman, who burnt the Ravana’s forest, is sitting on the flag of Arjun, son of Indra, who has now aapeared in the guise of a woman to take away the cows; please protects us.”
The moral of the story here is — Challenges imply growth. Growth is never easy and never one man’s job.
Though we have mentioned the moral in lesser words, in the book, the Musings are quite expansive.
The book is something that compels you to just keep on reading. The simplicity of language, the implicit meanings of the stories, just keep you hooked on till the end. You just yearn for more and keep reading till the end. The author is very unassuming as he shares the gems of our scriptures. Simply put, this is a must read for anyone who wants the gist of our scriptures in simple language.
Title: Ancient Wisdom to Elevate Your Mind
Author: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Price: Rs 399
(You can buy the book here)
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