Lost wisdom of the Swastika by Ajay Chaturvedi is an intriguing read, yet another in a series of semi fictional, semiau to biographical books that leverages a personal narrative of pain & loss to reveal deep esoteric gems. The title and the book cover reinforce the elusive myth of a powerful & often misunderstood symbolism. Loosely written in the question answer style, it seems characteristic of a genre which attempts to give answers to soul searching questions. For true seekers an exhaustive compendium of spiritual FAQs in a deceptively slender book.

Set against the backdrop of the crucible of spiritual quest and discovery, the epic Himalayas, Ajay takes us on a vivid sensory tour of its lesser known peaks & valleys, torrential rivers & hidden caves, which hug the immortal mysteries of the universe deep within. But for those who truly seek, the wise men await. Ancient seers & Masters step out of the mist and rickety ashrams to extend more than a half smile and a blessing. Ajay does a good job of asking the questions and the wise ones don’t disappoint, imparting priceless revelations in the process. From sun gazing to the scientific reason for wishes coming true to abandoning the ego, there is nothing that the Masters don’t know and won’t tell you. Ever wondered why bells are placed at the entrance of temples or why babies are called a form of God? Why do we pray with our eyes closed? Or what is the hidden significance of cleaning your tongue first thing in the morning. Why do traditional Indian homes have a tulsi plant inside the house and a neem tree outside. Or the real reason we wear jewellery and why vermilion tika is meant for only married women. And did you know that in ancient times the dried umbilical cord of a new born was always buried at the root of a neem or fruit tree? Natural stem cell banking! If you are curious by nature, you won’t put the book down until the last question is asked and answered.

The author’s western education and global footprint gives a contemporary café cappuccino sipping flavour to ageless questions. Amidst chanting of shlokas, muttering of mantras & sipping of hot ginger spice tea, the book advances into a more powerful narrative, probing our old doubts, ultimately laying bare the human existential angst’ why are we born and what is our true purpose? We learn about stages of awareness, the chakra system, the trademark yogic liberation through asanas, self-actualisation, self-realisation, even a brief brush with Maslow Need’s Hierarchy and its comparison with the Vedic Chakra system. Ajay’s Himalayan Maharaj ji discloses that ‘an individual can be read in many ways’ through his fears, thoughts, actions, or preferences of surroundings.’ Skilfully juxtaposing the four classical vedic yugs — (Satyayug-Tretayug-Dwaparayug-Kalyug) to the four stages of evolution and development in man-Aantrik, Maantrik, Taantrik and Yaantrik, Maharajji reminds us that evolution is cyclical. ‘Different people, families, societies, cities, states, countries and regions are at different stages of evolution’. And that we are living in a predominately yaantrik yug, dominated by mobile phones, laptops, personal computers. In the future embedded & injectable devices will flow in our bloodstream, sending signals that will help improve our life.

Ultimately, there is a way out of the three dimensional world we live in. There is a fourth dimension, our inner Swastika but to get there we must pierce the illusionary veil that drapes our sensory world. But where does our awareness lie today? How do we get to the next level? where do we go and who do we seek? Who is seeking and who is being sought? Can we Google a Master or is it time to take that one way ticket to higher realms?

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