March 2015 By Sharmila Bhosale Immortal stories – Wisdom to nourish your mind and soulby J.P. Vaswani,Hay House, INR399; 370 pages Immortal stories – Wisdom to nourish your mind and soul by J.P. Vaswani, Hay House, INR 399; 370 pages A charming perspective on all the major religions of the world, J.P Vaswani’s book shines a torch on the key tenets and wisdom embedded in all the significant scriptures through the ages. Providing an all-encompassing, yet focussed overview of what the religious texts of Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Islam, Christianity, Zen, Sikhs, among others, have to say, Dada Vaswani gets to their essence through stories and parables. For stories often go to the core and quintessence – the very heart of what religions all over the world have to convey. There are values that form a common thread through disparate narratives, principles for living that cut across all rituals, and an appeal to a higher goodness that comes through all the texts. Starting with a brief introduction to each religion, Dada takes us through its history and addresses certain teachings through tales that weave in its distinct flavor and age-old wisdom. What makes it contemporary is the nifty Thought for Reflection – a discourse at the end of each chapter that distills this wisdom for us, making it practical, applicable and experiential. It also urges us to think, meditate and arrive at our own answers. In one such reflective box, Dada provides practical suggestions to tackle personal suffering, pain and grief. In another, he urges us to think about the difference between ego and consciousness, and the many veils that keep God hidden from us. As he explains in the preface, stories keep alive traditions, help to make an unpalatable truth go down easily and well – just like a bitter dose of medicine chased down by sugar – and help harness the truth in imaginative ways. Food for thought for agnostics and a treat for the believers that would widen their acceptance and remove bias, religion has seldom been portrayed so concisely, comprehensively and creatively.
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