Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Shivaya

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Dec 30, 2016

SPOTLIGHT: ‘The Resurrection of Evil’ - Neelabh Pratap Singh

Spotlight is my small effort to support upcoming authors in their effort to reach their readers. And yes, it is FREE, however to be featured in this section, you need to go through a selection process, please click here for details.

“You cannot question the existence of anything just on the basis of the fact that you haven't ever seen it” - says Neelabh, Author of “The Resurrection of Evil

When I met Neelabh in Story Mirror’s Youth Conclave (The Book is Published by Story Mirror - one of the most vibrant and upcoming Publisher from Delhi), where I was conducting a workshops at Delhi University, he gave me his book “The Resurrection of Evil” to read and review but as the luck would have had it, it travelled from Delhi to Mumbai with another friend. Finally last month, Neelabh caught up with me at Story Mirror office with another book, as he knew that I still have not got it back from its all India tour. During our conversation, I tried to find his views about the book, his style of writing and the purpose he has written the book. So here is the interaction. Hope you will like it.
Me and Neelabh at Publisher Story Mirror's Office

The Resurrection of Evil : A fast-paced mythological thriller weaved around the battle of Good vs. Ancient Evil.

To begin with, I must let you all know that I am biased, as the genre - Mythological Thriller, he has written in, is my favorite genre. As is usual, I always ask any author about the reason he / she has written the book. Is there a purpose behind the book? As Neelabh settled down, he relives his young days. His love for reading developed in his early twenties. he loved to share his interest with his friends. He would gift his friends his favourite books on their birthdays. But later on, he realised that they wouldn’t read the book as they believed ‘Reading’ to be quite a ‘nerdy’ thing. It wasn’t cool. So, when it came to write a book, he wanted to write in a way that makes a non-reader intrigued by the story. It should be as entertaining to a non-reader as they would find a movie or a game.

“In a way, the purpose of my book is to promote reading.” - Neelabh Pratap Singh

He quotes cricketer Yuvraj Singh who said after one of his brilliant T20 knocks, “I just wanted to express myself”, in the same way writing entertaining and interesting stories is a way of expressing myself, And that’s the first and the major reason for him to write. Although he admits with mischievous smile with another quote, this time of George Orwell, “It is humbug to pretend Ego is not a motive, and a strong one,” that In introspection, ego could also be a reason for him to write.

When I asked him, if some one he respects and love a lot, ask him to stop writing, he said that he can not and will try lots of reasoning to convince the person. But if the push comes to shove, he will survive by reading at least.

Neelabh Pratap Singh is a mechanical engineer by profession. He hails from holy city of Varanasi. He has spent his school life in the steel city, Bhilai and pursued engineering from National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra. He has been associated with premium motorcycle manufacturers like Honda and Triumph. Being a technocrat by the day, he has to resort to the nights to follow his passion for storytelling. He is a great lover of action thrillers and is highly impressed by Indian mythology. Hence, his debut book, The Resurrection of Evil, is an amalgamation of both.

I was a storyteller right from the childhood. I would sketch comics on notebook papers, color it with crayons, and would give them to my friends to read. As I grew up, I left comic book making. But the stories would still develop inside my head and poke me to get out in front of the world. That desire of sharing the stories dwelling deep inside my head with the world inspired me to become a writer. Till this date, it is this desire, which inspires me every day to write.

I had no prior experience of writing before this book. I had never written anything creative before. I had no hope at all that I would ever be able to write a novel. But I knew one thing for sure that the destination of writing can be met by the path of reading. And hence, I started my love affair with books. Even after the research and plot outlining, I had a doubt whether I would be able to convert it into a full-fledged novel. But the till then, the books had given me enough confidence to conquer my fears and take a plunge into the world of writing.

a.         The gods are heroes and daemons the villains only because of their Karma.
b.         No matter how powerful one is, he will always be perceived and treated as his Karma drives people to feel about him.
c.         You cannot question the existence of anything just on the basis of the fact that you haven't ever seen it.
d.         Humans have always been puppets in the hands of the Devas, subjugated and terrorized by the Asuras. But not anymore

When an antique artifact is stolen from National Museum, Delhi, a reckless and stubborn police officer, ACP Aryan, is placed at the helm of the case. Uncovering each layer of the truth, Aryan discovers that the people on the hunt for the artifact are the descendants of those who are found only in the scriptures of Indian mythology—The Asuras.

From the gateway of Lord Vishnu—Haridwar—to God's own country—Kerala, from fiery pursuits to narrow escapes, the mystery of the artifact draws Aryan into a lethal maze of vengeance, betrayal, and dreadful secrets. With time slipping out of hands like sand, Aryan must unravel the secret motive of his adversaries. Else, this story of Good vs. Ancient Evil might not end with the victory of Good.

Neelabh says that it took him three years to complete the first book, right from idea generation to writing the last word. He dedicated the first year for research, homework, and plot outlining. The next two years took him to write the book.

Being a technocrat and working for a multinational company like Honda, he had to find time and places to write his book on the sidelines of his work. His first book “Resurrection of Evil” was written at random places like office, airports, and flights on laptop or mobile phone.

“Now, many would find it weird but I did it on purpose. Procrastination is something, which gets the better of many writers, and it started to get the better of me too. To counter it, I completely dissolved the requirement of right spot and right atmosphere for writing.” - Neelabh

I mentioned before that I was never a writer. But I had been associated with various art forms right from the childhood. I loved sketching and painting (I used to sketch comic books). In college, I was a passionate dancer. My friends were actually expecting me to do something in the field of dancing. But destiny had its own plan. I still take out some time for sketching and dancing.

I consider this book’s publishing as the biggest achievement, and there isn’t any other thing which can be compared to this one. However, there are two achievements which I can consider here, for they were life changing for me; both being academic. First one was during the first stage of my career when I competed for All India Engineering Entrance Exam (AIEEE) and secured a seat in National Institute of Technology (NIT), Kurukshetra. Second one is when I bagged a job in premium motorcycle manufacturer—Honda motorcycles—during college campus placement.

GENRE: Thrillers
This genre is multi-dimensional. They are engaging and entertaining. They display extreme side of emotions. When they are coupled with different subjects, they teach us about those subjects in a very entertaining way.

THE DA VINCI CODE: I love Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code”. It was an absolute entertainer, and along with entertainment, it taught us various things about Christianity.

THE KRISHNA KEY: I also loved Ashwin Sanghi’s “The Krishna Key”. It gave some great insight about Lord Krishna being a historical figure rather than a mythical.

– Shashi 
CEO & Partner ICUBE Projects
Speaker | Author of “Songs of the Mist” | Haiku Poet
Writes India’s #1 Spiritual Blog “Shadow Dancing With Mind


ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

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BIGAMY: Contrary to our thoughts, we are primed by Evolution for only one Romantic Partner...

“Shivah shakthya yukto yadi bhavati shaktah prabhavitum
Na chedevam devo na khalu kusalah spanditumapi”

“Lord Shiva only becomes able to do creation in this world along with Shakthi
Without her even an inch he cannot move” - Soundarya Lahiri

Many of our decision that we take have its roots in the evolutionary process of mankind. Especially when it comes to how we react emotionally in our romantic relationships. I believe that we are designed to be one partner person rather than the most prevalent supposition that we are there to spread our genes and increase the robust gene pool for the species to survive. To an extent it is true that the evolution is all about spreading the healthy genes, which goes on indicate that it will be beneficial for a person to go on copulating with as many as willing partners one can find.

From Konark Temple (Pic by Shashi)
The journey of living organisms, the evolution took few important diversions, which placed the mankind on top of the living species on the planet. The first important milestone was the time, when the ancient human’s decided to get up and walk on it’s own two feet. It gave the evolutionary edge, in terms of ensuring longer field of vision to find and hunt as well as save oneself from being hunted. This simple act of standing upright, freed the hands to do multi-tasks and eventually lead to creation of tools and other beneficial side effects.

Pic Curtsy Wikipedia
Then came the use of fire for warmth, light and keeping the wild animals away, clearing of fields etc. but the most important aspect is the associated idea to cook food, which eventually freed humans of almost one third of its time (Time involved in digesting food and for the energy it uses for digesting required more hunting and gathering in order to eat more to replenish the energy spent).

In all this evolutionary process, one of the major milestones was the development of brain including pre-frontal cortex, which eventually got a human being from a species being driven by primal drives and sense objects to a ‘thinking’ and ‘social’ animal who could bond, make friends in order to survive harsh conditions prevalent in those ancient time.

But the other aspect of any species to survive the onslaught of evolution is progeny. Giving birth to healthy newborn that can survive and carry the healthy gene to the next generation, but here is the challenge. Unlike other animals and living beings, the human is the only species, whose offspring’s are utterly helpless and need parental care to survive for years. This is actually a side effect of evolution. As ancient human being stood up on its feet, it effectively ensured the pelvis structure evolved in such a way that a large fully developed head is not able to come out of the womb. So the evolution took an easier way out. It let the brain of the child undeveloped so that it can pass through the opening easily. This let the onus of child survival on the mother and as an extension to the tribe, including the father.

And here is the key - the development that helped mankind to survive the extreme process of giving birth to a child and fulfill the demand of progeny. The weak child bearing female, the debilitating aftermath of giving birth and then to survive from that weak state with another mouth to feed in those extreme circumstances, where getting food for oneself was a challenge, required an evolutionary hand.

Klimt's 'The Kiss' (Pic by Shashi)
When we consider the choice of staying with a single romantic partner, we decide not only based on the culture, societal norms or morals, the evolutionary process takes precedence. The surge of hormones associated with physical bonding, relationship and fidelity, takes charge and color our decision with the evolutionary need to be with one person who is bearing our child, who needs our support to rear up an underdeveloped brain who can not survive the next few years without the support of both the parents chipping in with taking care of its needs. This hormone is called Oxytocin.

Physically it gets the birth-giving female ready, as it triggers contractions and also releases milk release etc. but it also affects the brain, providing a motherly behavior and caring attitude, which reduces the feelings of pain and suffering in giving birth as well as the stress of rearing an under developed child. This becomes more prominent as mother comes in contact with her offspring. This is known as care giving system. This is also true in terms of males when they come in touch with their partners, especially in physical act of bonding as such sex, caressing and touching sensual parts of the skin. It turns on many of the areas of the brain, which gets triggered in a mother with the release of Oxytocin.
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh” (Mark 10:7–9)
Buddha at Bodh Gaya (Pic by Shashi)
There was a study conducted on the effects of bonding with one partner, while they were given a does of Oxytocin Hormone. Even when there were better looking people, who are inclined to respond as well, the members stuck with their partners instead of the other people around. Evolution provided the glue that bonded the mother child and the father in one caring unit so that the species could survive. For evolutionary perspective the species has a better chances of survival with both parents instead of one.
Finally I leave you with some thoughts to mull over…
“Modes of thinking, such as love, desire, or any other of the passions, do not take place, unless there be in the same individual an idea of the thing loved, desired, &c. But the idea can exist without the presence of any other mode of thinking.” - Spinoza in Ethics

While Buddha extolled the virtue of being free of sense desires to be really free…

So long as lustful desire, however small, of man for women is not controlled, so long the mind of man is not free, but is bound like a calf tied to a cow.” - Buddha

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

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Dec 21, 2016

The Eternal Sound 'OM' is beyond reducing physical fatigue... It is the Underlying Fabric of Cosmos

14 Year Old Anwesha Discovers the Magic of "OM" - Times of India
When I read the news of Anwesha’s discovery about the power of Pranava Naad ‘Om’, I felt that all is still not lost in India in context of our ancient culture and heritage. In my earlier post on Creation: The Big Bang and the eternal sound ‘OM’, I had signed off with the following words…

The young India does not like to read these amazing books… We ourselves have turned the immensely practical treasure trove of our rich heritage of culture and knowledge into a straightjacketed ritualistic customs and practices, hidden behind the closed and crumbling temple walls across the country, through our fanatic religious shortsightedness.” - Click here to read the full article

But young girl like Anwesha, Mathematicians like Manjul Bhargava, Rap Singers like Blaaze are still out there, reaching out to our ancient literature and cultural heritage, studying it and coming out with innovative ways and experiments to put the ancient knowledge across the world with new and modern perspective.

Manjul Bhargava, Maths Nobel winner, was inspired by a shloka, which his grand father gave him to read, to write his PhD thesis.  Blaaze, famous MTV Idol, Rap Singer of ‘Baba Rap’, ‘Hosanna Rap’ Bunty Aur Bubbly, Slum Dog Millionaire etc. was inspired enough by a priest to create rap shloka like Dandakam Shloka, Gita Dhyaanam etc. and it gives me an immense pleasure to see that Anwesha, a 14-year-old has wowed city scientists with her discovery of the impact of the 'Om' sound in reducing fatigue.

But OM is beyond reducing physical fatigue; it’s the eternal vibration through which the whole universe is manifested. As more and more experiments being conducted, trying to find the God Particle, scientists will read a stage where they will come to conclude that “Eternal Sound” is all that is underlying the fabric of cosmos. This is what our ancient sages has said almost 5000 years ago as well.

Māndūkya Upanishad starts with solemn proposition with the following… 

“OM! This imperishable word is the whole of this visible universe.”

Chandogya Upanishad explains the origin of the universe as…

“Space, said he. Verily, all things here arise out of space. They disappear back into space, for space alone is greater than these, space is the final goal. This is the most excellent Udgitha. This is endless. The most excellent is his, the most excellent worlds does he win, who, knowing it thus, reveres the most excellent Udgitha [Om, ].” - Verse 1.9.1-1.9.2

Many people say that if ‘Om’ is such powerful word then why it is not mentioned in Veda. To understand this omission, you have to have the proper context. In ancient Vedic times, the “OM” was considered too sacred to be written down. It was given to the disciple by the guru in secret manner, mostly by being whispered into his ear, since it was such potent sound, to be even heard an un-prepared disciple through study and deep reflection, to receive it.

The Key to Unlocking Our Brain
If we consider our brain as a computer, scientists are increasingly calling it a ‘Wetware’, then the software which runs it are of two types. - One is logic and the other is language. If we take our ancient literature like Kalidasa’s Meghdoot, Bhagwat Gita, Purana, Veda etc. you will realise that it not only comprise of deep thoughts, ideas or way of life but it was written in beautiful and lyrical language.

As we read more and more of our ancient literature, it slowly unlocks the obscurity of our subconscious mind and firms up certain synaptic connections, that makes one more conducive to receiving deeper knowledge. That the sage writers of these work of art and science some how knew how our consciousness works and gave us keys to explore hidden areas within our selves.

And I believe that the key to unlocking our hidden purpose and strength is the sound ‘Om’.

We can all debate, till the cows come home, whether ancient Vedic philosophy was a scientific study or just incoherent musings of village mendicant or local sadhu. But I firmly believe if you dig deeper into these ancient resources of knowledge, you will find something that will connect with you. That is the only spark you need to become what you are destined to be. That alone will give you, your purpose of life and will make you what you are.

And as I keep asking the young generation at my workshops and my book "Songs of the Mist" talks, please don’t go by what you have heard or read some one say, you read it yourself. Go back to our ancient culture and heritage, if nothing else, the language alone will change you.

“Now that light which shines above this heaven, higher than all, higher than everything, in the highest world, beyond which there are no other worlds, that is the same light which is within man” —Chandogya Upanishad 3.13.7

Flames of devotion
Sculpts darkness of mind into
Beauty of our souls

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

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The Big Bang and the Eternal Sound Om              

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