As the current world is grappled by the Covid-19 pandemic, Ashraf Karayath’s debut novel “Janaka and Ashtavakra- A Journey Beyond”, published by Rupa Publications, sets a new meaning of life. For most of the population across the world, the key characteristics of life has come out to be anxiety, stress, fear and uncertainty. However, the mythological novel sets the journey in search of knowledge, liberation, enlightenment, consciousness and answers some of the questions pertaining to the absolute realities of life. The author believes that this is the most important time to keep the negative emotions at bay and strengthen our quest required to elevate our immunity and fight with the pandemic.
“Janaka and Ashtavakra: A Journey Beyond” is a novel that narrates the story of an ancient Indian king, of his turbulent life, of impending war in his kingdom, and of treachery and conspiracy within the secretive world of his palace. Although dramatic, the work is an allegorical tale meant to appeal to modern people caught up in and torn by the difficulties of their lives. The novel is written on the premise of the vibrant storytelling tradition of the epic Ramayana and renews and deepens beloved characters for modern readers. The subtitle of the book, A Journey Beyond, derives from the king’s search for self-realization: for enlightenment that comes in a flash of second, in the blink of an eye.
This book is allegorically written, with strong messages and insights, for the modern reader who is caught in the rat race and has forgotten the meaning and charm of life. Although the story is set a few thousand years ago in India, it throws light on the modern reader’s questions about existence, and one can easily relate himself to the king and his struggles.
Ashraf Karayath, hailing with twenty-five years of business experience coupled with a background in management philosophy, authored the book to unravel the timeless knowledge of ancient Indian culture and spirituality.. As an individual, Ashraf was always intrigued about the influence of subjectivity in our lives, and how the world evolves out of our consciousness. As he found the profound message of Ashtavakra Gita, he was planted with an idea to read and write more about it which is now turned into his first novel.
The author says, “This is the time where we all need to calibrate ourselves to the strength of our inner wellbeing, which is dominant and inherent in us. For me, spirituality is nothing but untapping those innate strengths we have within us’.