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Book Review: The Guru Who Came Down from the Mountain by Roshen Dalal

Reviewed by Sujata Raye

The Guru who Came Down from the Mountain FINAL

 

Title: The Guru Who Came Down from the Mountain
Author: Roshen Dalal
Publisher: Speaking Tiger Books
Pages: 236
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This first novel by Roshen Dalal is ideal to read during a train journey or while waiting for a flight, when a cup of coffee and a racy book with intrigue and murder are sufficient to make the wait enjoyable. It begins with the introduction of the novel’s two main characters. Dev and Nityanand or Nitya. Devdarshan is Nityanand’s Guru and dying of AIDS. The initial few chapters, alternately, tell the reader the background of both Dev and Nitya.

The story is Dev’s; Nitya is only a tool to unfold it, the foil to Dev’s negativity. Nitya comes down to see his dying Guru at his ashram in Rishikesh. Out of sheer ignorance he has stood witness in the court, swearing Dev’s purity and celibacy, facilitating unknowingly, the dismissal of all cases of sexual coercion against his guru. Nitya is angry with himself for betraying the innocent. He remembers the accusations of drug dealing, of guns and weapons, of murders and deaths, while he was in Dev’s ashram in the US.

The story unfolds through Dev’s writings that he hands over to Nitya to read. That part of Dev’s life is a reminder of the recent shenanigans and expose` of several godmen in the country. It is quite apparent where the story is leading, yet the details of how ashrams are opened, how greed and weak minds can succumb to the lure of going to foreign lands – how women become easy victims of the Guru they blindly follow, keep the reader engaged.

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‘There was not one Jesus Christ but two’: Review of Zealot by Reza Aslan

Anvar Alikhan reviews Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan 

Zealot

Zealot

There was not one Jesus Christ but two. The first was the Jesus who was born of a virgin birth, who walked on water, turned water into wine, raised people from the dead, and was himself resurrected after death. But the second, and perhaps even more remarkable, Jesus was a real-life his­to­rical figure, who lived in Palestine circa 4 BC to 33 AD, and who arguably changed the course of world history more than any other living person. Of the first Jesus, we know a good deal, thanks to Biblical sources; of the second, we know almost nothing. And that is something that author Reza Aslan sets out to address with this book. Continue reading