INTO THE GREAT HEART: BOOK REVIEW

  1. Author: Kamla K Kapur
  2. Release:  16th July, 2018
  3. Pages: 281
  4. Genre: Historical Fiction
  5. Publisher: Jaico Books
  6. Language: English
  7. Audience:  Mature/Seasonal Reader 
  8. Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40650644-into-the-great-heart
  9. Buy Here: https://amzn.to/2O2crZW

Blurb

From the bestselling author of Classic Tales from Mystic India, The Singing Guru and Rumi: Tales to Live By, comes the second book in the Sikh saga series about Bhai Lehna’s journey from being Guru Nanak’s constant disciple to becoming Guru Angad (1504 – 1552), his successor and the second Sikh Guru. 

Into the Great Heart carries forward and concludes the stories of Guru Nanak and Bhai Mardana, his favourite minstrel, from the first volume of the Sikh saga, The Singing Guru. History, legend and fiction merge to populate this book with fascinating personalities from Sikh history. Pivotal to this narrative are forgotten female luminaries such as Guru Nanak’s wife, Mata Sulakhni, his sister, Bebe Nanaki, Bhai Lehna’s wife, Khivi and daughter Amro. Brought to the foreground, their wisdom and insights as they overcome obstacles to spiritual growth embody the basic tenets of Sikhism in everyday living. They enhance Guru Nanak and Bhai Lehna’s tale with their diverse approach to life. 

Filled with captivating characters that enrich the tapestry of this compelling narrative, Into the Great Heart is a must-read for anyone who loves a rich story about human nature in its search for spiritual awareness

Review

Into the Great Heart is the book of journey of Guru Nanak and Bhai Lehna who later became Guru Angad, the second Sikh Guru . It is the second book in the Sikh series written by award winning author Kamla K Kapur. According to the author, “the book have main facts and legends in the Sikh Saga, but the books are not hagiographies but fictional recreations”.

Even though the first impression of the book suggests that the book is the story of life of Guru Angad as the second Guru, once I started reading it, I discovered that the story is more about the time of how Bhai Lehna visited Guru Nanak and his eventual transformation to succeed as the second Guru. There is nothing of his account serving as the second Guru, the position that he held for about 13 years. 

Book describes the years of Guru Nanak when he came back from travelling the world and his life at Kartarpur working and preaching the word of the One True Lord. Domestic quarrels between his two sons over the succession of the next Guru is discussed. Last years of life of Bhai Mardana, the beloved companion of Guru Nanak and one of the greatest musician and rabab player of his time is also described.

The book captures the essence of the principles of Sikhism which are narrated by Bebe Nanki, Guru Nanak’s sister and Baba Buddha. The attachment to the worldly possessions, maya of materialistic things and fear of death are all discussed in detail with new, eye opening perspectives.

There has been a conscious effort to incorporate some female narrative with the characters like Bebe Nanki and Bhai Mardana’s grand daughter Aziza. Since Bhai Mardana was a Muslim, Aziza had to wear burka and live in purdah all of her life. It was hear wrenching to see her struggle with the cage that she was confined to for being a female and her longing for freedom. The concept of hukum as described by Bebe Nanki  was the biggest lesson that I personally learnt. To stop fighting and surrendering to the hukum of the All Mighty is empowering and soothing at the same time.

Final Thoughts

I feel it is a good book for anyone curious to know about Sikhism and it would help them know about the facts and legends of Sikhism. But word of caution, keep in mind that there are some fictional aspects to the story that helped the author to create a narrative.

This book gave me a chance to have discussions with my family about our religion and share our views. I feel much more connected with my roots then I have ever felt and am comforted by the fact that the Enlightened One is within me and each one of us.

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