This review was originally published at my Book Review Blog, Nandhini’s Book Reviews.
As the cover image and book title reveals, the tantric curse is about tantra, one of the spiritual practices originating from India. The word ‘Tantra’ is most often associated with the fear of an unknown realm of mysticism. Another common mis-association with tantric rituals is sex.
Author Anupama, a tantric herself, writes with deliberate sincerity the reality behind the concept, practices and rituals of tantra, in her debut fiction, the tantric curse. At the end of the book, one can certainly attain a clarity on the subject, not by enforcement or judgement but by acceptance of the truthfulness in the author’s words.
Irrespective of whether a reader has an inclination towards tantra or not, this book can offer profound knowledge about the basics of spirituality.
Rhea is a eight year old girl who by destiny reaches the tantric, Satya. He becomes her Guru and Rhea begins her journey as a tantric while being nurtured by the love and guidance of Satya and his son Krishnam. Her growing-up years are marked with love, friendship and all emotions of what any girl would grow through. She continues to learn and excel in several arts as well as life’s lessons. At a point where the purpose of her birth is challenged, her life situations are brought into a turmoil. How Rhea deals with it after all the years’ of learning and self-realization is the rest of the story.
Characterization, Narration & Plot
The most admirable part of the tale is the bond between Rhea and Krishnam. They share a unique love and friendship which surpasses time and distance. The character of Krishnam, especially, is carved with such maturity that he takes a little more space in the readers’ hearts than Rhea. Other characters too take major roles every now and then throughout the plot. The details of their individual lives are given importance as well, making their involvement in Rhea’s life significant.
Author Anupama has chosen to keep the usage of words simple so that the content gets highlighted than the narration style. At certain places, while the preceding paragraph narrates an important aspect, the immediate paragraph following it could be irrelevant to the earlier one. However, with the flow of reading, the reader may begin to overlook this discrepancy.
The story doesn’t fall under a steady pace. It is varied throughout the book. At some places, a few years pass by in a sentence while at other places, mundane details of everyday lives are narrated vividly. A reader who is focused on the story line can find it easier to connect with the intricate emotions expressed in even the trivial scenes. However, one who is out of sync with the plot can get lost without a focus to complete the book. It might not be an overnight kind of reading to many. The book shall require a few to several sittings to get completed
What does the book reveal about Tantra?
The book is not about the rituals of attaining mystical powers. It is neither about the actual tantric practices. It is about how an ordinary person leading an ordinary life can be a tantric. It reveals how love, lust, anger, confusions, sex (pre-marital and multiple partners), alcohol, parties and fashion – can all be a part of a person’s life but still he/she be connected to divinity, at the same time.
The best explanation about tantra that I liked in the book is that tantra is different from other spiritual streams in that it neither advocates abstnience nor over-indulgence. When the feeling of lust emerges between Rhea and Krishnam, at first it may seem unexpected in a book as this. However, as the story progresses, it makes much sense in the whole context. The romantic episodes between them are written in a beautiful way that a reader develops a unique admiration and respect for the art of love-making.
How can the book be helpful to readers?
Along with the plot, several spiritual aspects like chakras, cosmic energy, sound vibrations, elements of nature etc are discussed. Explained in basic terms, a beginner in the subject might certainly find it helpful. Several conversations in the book offer thoughtful explanations about many different intricacies of life. Here are a few:
“…I don’t think that any man is a failure unless he fails to succeed in something he loves to do.” (Page 88)
“….It is perceived that the greatest power human beings have is their ability to think. However there is another significant aspect, which is the capacity to elevate oneself spiritually.” (Page 157)
The tantric curse is a book for self-realization and self-analysis that needs to be read at one’s own pace, giving time for contemplation in between. There could be answers to a few questions we have in our lives. There could be characters and scenes that might resonate with someone or something in our own lives. And the reading can make a good learning experience.
Reviewed for the tantric curse team
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book as a complimentary copy from the tantric curse team in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Title: The Tantric Curse
Author: Anupama Garg
Publisher: Rupa Publications
About the Book
On an amavasya night, eight-year-old Rhea mysteriously lands at the doors of Shaktidham, a Tantric house of worship, in a trance. Realizing that she is blessed with unusual faculties, the guru of Shaktidham, Satya, chooses her as a disciple over his own son, Krishnam, to carry on his lineage, a privilege previously bestowed only to males. But the lineage has been cursed for generations, and it is up to Rhea to either break the curse or perish in the attempt.
Will she succeed in her endeavour? Will her love for Krishnam become an obstacle in her path? The Tantric Curse, an unusual story set in the world of Tantra that aims to dispel most of the myths about the practice, will keep you spellbound till the very last page.
About the Author
Anupama Garg was born in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. She has studied chemistry, business management and law. She has been training under her Guru, Baba Batuk Nathji, a renowned Tantric and head of the Bhoot Nath Charitable Trust, since the last twenty-two years. Today she conducts experiential workshops for corporates, hospitals, college and schools under the name ‘Life by Choice’. She also devotes time at the ashram of her Guru, The Bhoot Nath Ashram. Anupama is married and lives with her husband and son.