My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I don’t know why but I felt like reading a book in my mother tongue, Gujarati, and so after minimal scouting, I picked this up thanks to rave reviews from friends. Krishnayan is in a way, a retelling of a lifetime that Lord Vishnu spends walking this earth as a mortal. It mainly focuses on his relationships with the three important women in this life, Radha, Rukmini and Draupadi. And yet, most surprisingly, the relationship between a middle-aged Radha and her teenage daughter in law is my favourite, despite being only briefly described. The good thing about the book is that it doesn’t attempt to paint pictures of what happened in Mahabharata for the reader. It rather deals with a wide range of human emotions of love, desire, jealousy, dissatisfaction and finally settles on talking about a sense of detachment that Krishna aims to develop. If you are looking for what happened, how it happened and why it happened, you might be in for some disappointment.
The book is mostly dialogues between these three amazing women and Krishna, and through them, it takes the shape of a spiritual discourse. However, the best part is that the tone is not pedantic or preachy, it is beautifully conversational! My favourite passage is this:
આ જીવન દોરડા પર ચલતા નટ જેવું છે. એક તરફથી બીજી તરફ અને બીજી તરફથી આ તરફ… સાચે જ, એ નટ પ્રવાસ નથી કરતો, અને છતાં એ સતત ચાલે છે… એની સાથે, એણે સતત એ પણ ધ્યાન રાખવાનું છે કે ધ્યાનચૂક ના થાય! આટલી બધી મહેનત અને કુશળતા સાથે સતત ચાલતી વ્યક્તિ પણ ક્યાંય પહોંચી નથી શકતી એ નવાઈ ની વાત છે!
Loosely translated, it wonders aloud about how the artist who performs feats on a tightrope, puts in all his focus, concentration and diligence in the task of walking to and fro between the poles. Despite the Herculean effort, does he ever feel he has “arrived”?
I recently got back to reading in my mother tongue, which is Gujarati. The language is rich and yet it is not too difficult to read for someone with a decent command of the language. I would definitely recommend this if you want to get into reading Gujarati Literature after a break.