Book Review: Shunya- A Novel by Sri M


ISBN 978-8193655603

Genre: Fiction

Publishers: Westland

Price: Rs. 350/-  ( I got the book for review from the publisher)
Behind the Book

He appears out of nowhere in a sleepy little neighbourhood in suburban Kerala. He calls himself Shunya, the zero. Who is he? A lunatic? A dark magician? A fraud? Or an avadhuta, an enlightened soul?

Saami—as they call him—settles into a small cottage in the backyard of the local toddy shop. Here he spins parables, blesses, curses, drinks endless glasses of black tea and lives in total freedom. On rare occasions, he plays soul-stirring melodies on his old, bamboo-reed flute.

Then, just as mysteriously as he arrived, Shunya vanishes, setting the path for a new avadhuta, a new era.

This first novel by Sri M is a meditation on the void which collapses the wall between reality and make-believe, the limited and the infinite. With its spare storytelling and profound wisdom, it leads us into the realm of ‘shunya’, the nothingness of profound and lasting peace, the beginning and end of all things.

About the Author

Born Mumtaz Ali in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, Sri M is a spiritual guide, social reformer and educationist. He heads The Satsang Foundation.

In 2011, he wrote his memoir, Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master: A Yogi’s Autobiography, which became an instant bestseller; the sequel, The Journey Continues, was published in 2017. He is the author of several other books on philosophy, yoga and Indian mysticism. Over the years, his mission has resulted in several initiatives including a number of alternative schools, the Satsang Swasthya Kendra, which provides affordable health care to people through holistic and comprehensive treatments, and the Manav Ekta Mission and Sarva Dharma Kendra, which promote inter-faith harmony.

This is his first novel.

I have always enjoyed reading books that are different and unique. Having been reading since the age of 4, the run-of-the-mill kind of books are something I have now began to detest. The reader in me craves for the unusual. Shunya by Sri M was that unusual which seemed to have satiated my craving for a different than the rest read.

The blurb reminded me of The Guide by R K Narayan. There is a sense of mystery and suspense around the central character but as you begin to start reading you realize that the mystery mentioned in the blurb is actually the mystery of life.

Set in Kerala, the story is about a mysterious looking person who is suddenly found one fine day and gradually people realise he has some magical powers and is a spiritually blessed soul. The rest of the story is actually a glimpse of the eternal battle between the atheists and the theists. What is right, what is wrong, what is plausible and what is not. What is true and what is not, what is a myth and what is an illusion. What is the meaning of life and why are you here, what is the meaning of all that is happening around you, why the good, why the bad exist and why is this mystery of life so cryptic that by the time you begin to understand it, it is time to bid farewell to it.

These are just some of the mystical theories explored in this novel which is a unique blend of fiction and non fiction with spirituality. This book transports the reader to a different zone altogether, where you are beyond your worldly problems of promotion, money, health, job etc and are concentrating on the greater meaning of life. It is a profound and intense read, as the themes explored are not easy to decipher for one and all.

The language, the narrative and the descriptions are very well woven within the story making it interesting. The mysterious elements used in describing the central character Shunya, the various theories of treatments for diseases like cancer and all etc. pique the reader's interest to quite an extent making one curious to know the whats and the whys.

Recommended, for all who enjoy deep and mystical reads that leave you with spiritual contentment.

Foodie Verdict

This book is like Tomato Pachadi - tangy, sweet, spicy and refreshingly different, one that will linger on your tastebuds for long with its unique flavours.

Source: Sailu's Food