Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Saartha by SL Byrappa

I started reading Kannada novel from 2003. Saartha happens to be my first one. Last week, I finished reading the book for the second time and hence wanted to blog about it.

Saartha is relatively a newer book from Byrappa (written in 1995, while his first one "Vamshavriksha" was published in 1960s). Saartha is rich in Indian history and gives you a good insight of how India was in the 7th century AD. This was the time period when Vedic (Hinduism) was loosing its hold to Buddhism and Jainism. Islam was knocking the doors from the west. It was the time period when Adhi Shankara with his Vedantha, reunited people under Hinduism and popularized the principles across India.

The story is told by the main character - nAgHabhaTa, who is in search of his destiny. Being a well educated brahmin (under Mandana Mishra) and strong vedic follower, nAgHabhaTa still has the desire to travel and see the world. As per the Kings request, he leaves his family and travels with a Saartha (Vaishya's who travel in big group across countries buys and selling goods) to learn commerce and help build the kingdom's economy. He ends up staying in Mathura for a long period learning commerce and understanding trade to a greater depth.

Once he hears that his King has cheated him and has married his wife, his whole life takes a change. He loses his interest of commerce and gets pulled into theater to play the role of Krishna. This helps him see himself in a new dimension of love and worship. This does not stay for long and he get pulled into meditation to gain spiritual power. When he starts using the benefits for a personal gain, he ends up losing meditation. With the sole desire to gain power, he takes on Tantra. The book describes in detail of Tantra practices which would shock the new readers. Later love takes over and he gives up Tantra and adopts to Buddhism. He goes to Nalanda to learn in detail about Buddhism. The books talks about our oldest university and how people from all over the globe flocked in to learn about spirituality a Buddhism.

nAgHabhaTa then meets Adhi Shankara during his famous discussion of Vedanta with Mandana Mishra. The books talks in details about this conversation and how Shankara is challenged by Mandana Mishra's wife on Samsara, and how he manages to learn the same by impersonating the body of the King.

nAgHabhaTa is now in a dilemma between Buddhism and Hinduism. He manages to get back to Mathura, which is preparing for a battle against Islam intruders. He gets captured by the Muslims who torture him to accept Islam. That is the time period when he realizes what his destiny. Amidst all the torture, his strength and love for freedom helps him come out of it. He gains the freedom and manages to escape from the place.

If you are a Kannada reader, I would suggest you to read this.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saartha is a great book. Narration is fantastic. Story touches many sub-stories, you can feel the feelings of Naga Bhatta (Katha Nayaka) in every stage. Great book to read.

8:18 PM, March 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have read vamshavriksha and i really liked it. Ur blog has prompted me to try my hands on Saartha next..........

S.Manohar

10:49 AM, February 13, 2008  
Anonymous Vishwas D K (vishu619@gmail.com) said...

Hey i too started this book yesterday, i must say tat i liked the way things are depicted in such a way tat u feel its happpening in front of ur eyes,actually my friend insisted me to read tis one,this is my second Kannada book 1st one was "Mukkhajjiya Kanasugalu" it was also gr8. After reading this book i feel loads of things to gain about like our ancient culture and people thinking at tat times about trade,i am now a fan of Mr.SL Byrappa. Have u gone thru any of his other books??

5:23 PM, January 15, 2009  
Blogger Perjanya said...

S L Byrappa- is truley a gifted author, the way he he does this ಪರಕಾಯ ಪ್ರವೇಶ is amazing. He has lived in that era, in the characters which he had written yet again in this novel.

I started it reading 2 weeks back.

Same. the one thing which is common for me in all his novel is - during 'the read', you lift your head, see around, you feel that the story is happening around you, specially if you are in bus stand, shopping mall, or beach. - He crafts things as if it is real in all aspects, physically (light, sound, smell) and mentally (psychologically).

that's truely amazing thing about the great, one and only Dr. Byrappa - Sir.

10:07 PM, June 26, 2011  

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