Vipin Behari Goyal, who had debuted in fiction with Tall Man Small Shadow which was based on existentialism and dealt with various issues like relationships, philosophy, romance, ego issues, attitude of youth etc., has published another novel by name ‘Maya In Search Of Tantric Father’ with a tagline of “A key to the eastern mysticism”
In this book, Vipin describes the journey of a young American woman named Martha, whose mother had just passed away. Martha discovers her mother’s diary and after reading it learns that she was impregnated in India and that her biological father was actually a Tantric.
Martha is determined to meet her father and she embarks on a wild-goose chase of finding her father from a population of over a billion people.
Martha’s mother had clicked various pictures when she had stayed in India and had segregated them in a chronological order which made it easier to know which photograph was clicked where and when. With the help of her diary and photographs, Martha starts the spiritual journey of finding her father.
She starts with Pushkar and in her search, happens to visit many religious places like Haridwar, Allahabad, Kathmandu, Gangotri, Himalayan glaciers, Banaras etc. In various places, she meets various kinds of people and makes many friends who help her, in their own way, in carrying forward her search. Although a few of them get romantically attached to her, she has no time to reciprocate as she is in search of something far greater than romance. Funnily enough, there are many sages who seem to be already knowing her, refer to her as Maya and keep guiding her in their own way.
Why do all the sages refer to Martha as Maya? Does she meet her biological father? Why had her parents separated? How did her parents get romantically involved? What are the hurdles she faces in her search? Was it bold of her to carry out this mission of ‘finding a needle in a hay-sack’ or plain foolishness? To know answers to the above and various other questions, do read the novel.
The novel is wonderfully written. The best part of the novel is that it is written from the point of view of Martha, an American. Every now and then, Martha compares the materialistic attitudes of the Americans and praises the spiritual and traditional attitudes of Indians. She is also mighty impressed by the hospitality of Indians. Many Americans still believe that India is a land of snake-charmers and she finds all the development in the country surprising. It seems like Vipin has actually transformed into a foreigner’s psyche and is looking at India from a foreigner’s viewpoint.
Apart from that, it is also a beginner’s guide to Hinduism for a foreigner who is curious to learn about the religion in India but has no idea about it. Almost every complex detail like history, beliefs, rituals, processes etc is explained in most simplest of terms through conversations between its characters.
It is a work of fiction, so all the characters being helpful to Maya is understandable. But, it may not be the case in reality.
So, Maya also talks about some problems faced by the solo-female travelers in the country, especially with some men trying to take advantage of them. What is heartening to see is that she is unfazed by such dangers and is even willing to fight to finish her search.
I had heard of Tantrics, about how they lead their lives in jungles, about how they smeared ash all over their bodies and that they fed highly on chillum, but I had never heard about their rituals. I don’t know how much of the Tantric Sex ritual was true and how much of it was fiction or if it still in practice in secrecy, but the description of it reminded me of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code where a similar ‘communion’ was set.
Every now and then, Vipin also mixes some deep and spiritual philosophy which can be inculcated in life for a satisfied, happy and a peaceful living.
As was the case with TMSS, here too there are various grammatical errors and spelling errors. The homonyms like whether-weather, one’s-once, there-their etc are often misspelt. The narration keeps juggling between past and present confusing the reader. All of these could have been avoided with proper editing and proof-reading.
The journey doesn’t end with this book. Her journey continues in the sequel which is titled “Maya in search of Guru”
Nice, spiritually and philosophically enlightening, illuminating and interesting read. 🙂
Connect with the author here – Vipin Behari Goyal