"The Krishna Key" by Ashwin Sanghi {Books}

Price: Rs 175 (get your copy from flipkart)

My Review of the Book
I thought this genre of books is called "Mythological Thrillers" but the apt name is Anthropological Thriller. You must be definitely familiar with the Dan Brown novels. Expect this book to be providing the same kind of flavor. The lesser known book which it closely resembles is The Vault of Shiva by Andy McDermott.
I shall start with the bad of the book so that I can end on a good note. So, yes, the plot is bad or even lame. There are a couple of editing mistakes (three which I could spot where the characters names were jumbled up) and probably some typos as well but I am not really sure. There is a reference to Abhimanyu's wife - Uttara. But, I am not sure if her name is Uttara or Uttari because initially it was spelled as Uttara but consistently, it has been Uttari in the book. And, some of its story lines have been just left hanging in between. For mentioning one of them, there is probable reference to DNA extraction and preservation of Krishna. Yes, I know I have piqued your interest. But, stay, more is yet to come and lets move to the positives of the book.

Interestingly, there is another girl in my PG who is reading the same book so on one of our weekend lunches we feel into the conversation over the book. By that time, I had finished 140 pages and she was on 126th. I wasn't really happy with the book and in no hurry to lift it up again. I complained to her that it has a boring and aimless story line. And, she pointed me in the right direction - do not bother about the story line but look at the amount of research that has gone into the book. And, yes, that's absolutely true. Are you a student or lover of Indian mythology? If yes, you would love this and if no, you should get the book to brush up your mythology.

Do you know that Somnath was destroyed and rebuilt 8 times? Have you heard of the myth that Taj Mahal is built over a Shiv temple? Do you even remember the passing reference to Syamantak mani in Mahabharata or Krishna? Did you know that our Upanishads had explained the mystery of universe expansion and contraction in thoroughness even before Edward Hubble coined and proposed The Big Bang Theory and it stood in perfect harmony with Einsteins's theory that matter can neither be created nor destroyed? And, that's not all. Answer this - How would you react of someone told you that Mount Kailash, the holy abode of Shiva, is not an actual mountain but a man-made pyramid? And, many many more things!!!

Ok, I need to warn you beforehand that history and mythology gets intermingled to develop the fiction so do not get confused between the facts and myths. But, the book provides a good background into the Hindu mythology and Indian history of the mughal attacks. One more thing I should probably mention is that though the author gives a very good account of this history, he fails desperately when he gets the task of putting Mount Kailash's terrain in detail. I have a suspicion that the author did not for himself go to the place (well, do any of the author's really visit all paces they mention in their books is debatable question?).

Anyways, moving on, I have already told you that the plot is lame. So, why should you read the book? Because, it gives an amazing account of 5000 years of history or mythology in some 450 pages. Now, let me also introduce you to the protagonists of the story. Mataji is the evil and the hero is very similar to the Robert Langdon of Dan Brown - Ravi Saini, a historian who excels in the field of anthropology especially pertaining to the mythical Krishna (or is it historical Krishna?). He unravels the puzzles on the run and with seemingly no effort coz he has everything on his tips(very like Nicolas Cage in National Treasure).

And, the final climax has a bit of Paulo Coelho thrown in. All the characters of the story are after a very sacred thing left behind by Krishna. And, at last, you come to know that its no more than a metaphor. Whether it exists in reality or not, it ceases to matter once you know the essence. Its all about higher level of understanding dawning on man in the search for the treasure. Not very new, is it? Aaah..let me quote the very sentence - The philosopher is more important than the stone.

My final word would be yes, read the book. Not for the plot or the philosophy it inculcates but for the amazing research put into the book, the amazing facts and mythology the book delves into and to know the richness of Hinduism. Yes, it gives you all. And, I totally forgot to mention that the book runs parallely in two eras - present and the Mahabharata or the Dwapar yuga so you can refresh your knowledge on the Mahabharata treatise as well :) But, yes, the Mahabharata snippets break the flow of the story and can be annoying at times.


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1 comment:

  1. Yes, the quality of writing is diminishing (It was never world class).
    Should take a break, go to the hills, play with your kids or something.
    Please do not write another load of sh*t like this.
    Krishna Key is written just for the sake of publishing another book while his name (Mainly due to the Chanakya's Chant), is still hot. No people, no point in spending on this.