New Age Fiction - Nirvana in 9 days
Nuggets of unconventional wisdomExcerpts from Nine Days to Nirvana by Sanjay Grover, published by Life Positive
Nine days. Not a very long time...
...yet a long, long time. For nirvana takes not nine days, or
Sanjay Grover spent over nine years searching the meaning of life and another nine years
incorporating the answers he found in his novel, Nine Days to Nirvana. The 42-year-old
eye doctor who chose a sleepy Solan to live with his family definitely sees more
than us. And what he sees can end our self-deceits, break our crutches-of beliefs
about God and religion-and bring us face-to-face with truth. Excerpts from an
interview with Praveen Chopra
How did it all start?
I was in my third year at medical school when suddenly the fear of security (sic) hit me. Life was all set-I would become a doctor, get married, have children...it frightened me. Where was the adventure? What was the ultimate meaning of life? It set me thinking. I read and thought deeply about life-which continued for 8-10 years. I wanted to put my thoughts in order and decided that it would be easier to put them down in the form of a novel; then I would be able to be more objective and honest with other characters acting it all out. In 1993, the plot for the novel became clear to me, and the title Nine Days to Nirvana got finalized.
But in October 1993 I experienced nirvana and had to rewrite the whole thing, to put my experience back into the book. Before 1993 I was primarily exploring philosophy and western logic. After that the mystical angle came in because of the universal love I experienced.
What finally triggered the experience?
It was something similar to Vivek's story in the book. One girl came to me asking for the meaning of life and I who had spent years pondering over it had nothing to offer. So all my accumulated knowledge which was useless got dissolved. In truly seeking that answer for her, I found the meaning. The moment of seeking became the moment of finding.
Of course, what I found couldn't be expressed. But, the answer came when I was seeking for others.
So what is the answer?
I just woke up one morning feeling that I'd got it. A great peace and calm came upon me and words flashed in my mind: this is Brahma Gyan. What I wrote for a couple of months afterwards were not my words, they were inspired.
My wife also noticed a drastic change in me, sensed the descent of peace in the house. I was in a state of trance that lasted for over two years. I didn't make any conscious effort to maintain or enhance it. And as I'd written in the book: "Not a single word of religion did I know before and not a single word did I need now."
I got tremendous clarity. I could understand the scriptures, and could separate the wheat from the chaff. There is no author or authority of truth, truth is its own authority. There was no more need to do anything. Becoming ends, being remains.
But why writing? Why not teaching like Indian gurus do?
No, you cannot transmit the experience, so teaching is ruled out. I cannot create the thirst-it has to be there. Mysticism is a misnomer, do you say truthism, loveism? There is only a mystical state. No, I am not planning to go out to teach or set up an organization, but if people pass by my door, I'll be there for them.
I write to provide assurance to seekers that there is something to be found. Fiction is the best way to reach out to a young audience. Like Ayn Rand did with her unique philosophy through her novels.
Why are you specially targeting the youth?
I want people in their early twenties to start questioning. I was that age when I started out. Upasana, the heroine in Nine Days to Nirvana, is 23. Forties is the upper limit for finding. Preparation, that is unconditioning of self, takes 10 years (Buddha took 12). Obviously then, people in their 20s have a better probability of attaining truth.
Why did you kill Upasana in the end?
After enlightenment, it doesn't matter whether you live or die. It is a state of completion. Living then is a bonus. In any case, you are dead because there's no you left.
What is God?
There is no element outside yourself, but we alienate ourselves from isness. When you merge with isness, that is God.
God is a cliché, it is a needless word. It is a feeling, not an entity. But we think in duality, so we project one outside us.
You don't care for meditation, so what do you recommend?
I have never meditated. Meditation is being in the moment, with all one's faculties alert. As a surgeon I need that, I have to be fully in my fingertips. When I am thinking, I am in the thought.
But what can I recommend? First, a person should realize that routine life is meaningless because only then seeking becomes intense. And the force will itself guide the path. Nothing false can quench the thirst. I elude to the path in the story of the stream seeking the sea. It does not know the path, but the path gets carved. There are no signposts. Each stream finds its own path and goal. Anybody guiding it can only misguide. But one should flow with the assurance that there is the sea and I'll find it. How do you know you have found it? When the seeking stops. The cessation of seeking itself gives relief and peace.
We are not ready to face the truth. Mind is conditioned to create rationalizations, feel satisfied, stopping you from probing deep. Anything not universal is of no meaning. I liked Jiddu Krishnamurti's The Awakening of Intelligence where he talked about how to break the crutches. False crutches are barriers and blocks. Break them and Truth is there. Take the crutch of logic. It is limited by the capacity of the brain. How can you understand the limitless with a limited tool?
Western mysticism cannot conceive advaita. The son cannot say I'm the father and the Holy Ghost. Martin Buber could only move from I-It to I-Thou relationship. I talk of the Thou-Thou relationship.
Have you come across good spiritual fiction?
Jonathan Livngston Seagull had a mystical element. Nikos Kazantzakis' Saviours of God was good. But most fiction in the genre, like Herman Hesse's Siddhartha, is about the search, not the finding and rejoicing of it.
We find books celebrating life-animals, nature-but very few celebrate the grandeur of man. In Nine Days to Nirvana, initially most of the characters seem less than perfect, the lecherous uncle, for example, but in the end all turn out to be God. Even Upasana's mother's suicide is a logical suicide, a rejection of life, of all crutches and self-deceit.
I say that to seek a meaning to life is an insult to the grandeur of life. Like with love, do you need reasons to love?
What after Nine Days?
My next book is titled Generation 909. In the epilogue to Nine Days to Nirvana, I ask what Vivek will do now, how will he convey his experience to other seekers. It is set in 2018, the 909th generation after we started asking the question 'Who am I'? I want to juxtapose the consequences of the unexamined life we are leading and the free play of market forces with Vivek's teaching.
Subject: Availablity of your book... - 20 November 2010
Hi Sanjay ji...my name is bhaskar and i live in Delhi. Years ago i read aboutyour book review in life positive...the review and your interview left a mark on my mind.. its been years now since nine days to...came into publication . I searched for the book in a couple of stores in delhi..but coudnt More...
by: Bhaskar Roy
Subject: Nirvana-Achieving the Almighty - 4 November 2009
Dear Mr. Sanjay Grover I donot know how to start. As you said It cannot be spelt only felt same is the state of mine. It actually all happened in one night. It was a bad time. I slept with heavy mind and the next morning when I got up I was a different person all together. It was like I was More...
by: Neeraj Gupta
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