The Singing Guru
The Singing Guru by Kamala Kapur was released on the occasion of 550th birth anniversary celebration of the pious soul Guru Nanak. I truly felt blessed after reading the story of the disciple Mardana and his Guru Baba Nanak. Had it been just the story of Guru Nanak, I am sure I wouldn't have enjoyed that much. It is always pleasant to hear a Bhakt singing the praises of his Bhagwan.
Fondness for Devotee’s Tale
I grew up listening to the tales of Nachiketa, Hanuman, Prahlad, Meera Bai, Surdas, Narsinh Mehta, Sant Tukaram, Sant Namdev, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and many more. Their stories amazed me, delighted me and inspired me. While Bhagwan or Guru's story filled me with awe and reverence. The story of devotees and disciples were music to my ears. I could relate to their trajectory towards realization of the Ultimate One.
The Story of A Disciple
Mardana happens to be an inseparable disciple of Guru Nanak who grew up with him and was a constant companion in his spiritual journey. Singing and playing rabab all along with Baba Nanak and scripting his songs and sermons.
Like all mortal beings, Mardana suffered from five vices - kama (lust), krodh (anger), lobh(greed), moh(attachment) and ahankar (entitlement). His vices always put him into the grave dangers. But his faith in naam jap and Waheguru see him through the troubles and also provided life altering lessons.
Why I was Intrigued?
I have developed a spiritual bend after coming across Osho's teaching. His take on various aspects of life is strikingly similar to Guru Nanak. I myself have no personal exposure to Sikhism and after reading the book I find it to have an open and revolutionary take on life and its various nuances. Looking forward to more deep study about Guru Nanak and Mardana.
Spiritualism With Fantasy
The author Kamala Kapur has done a stupendous job in layering the Guru Nanak's teaching and messages in the folds of fantasy. You won’t be able to stop yourself from thinking about the stories and extract the hidden lessons from it. The generous use of imagination in crafting the spiritual adventures of the duo enabled the author to send across the teaching of Guru Nanak through a fun and entertaining manner.
I loved Mardana as a narrator and storyteller. He knows exactly how to keep his listeners engrossed, when to let go of a thread and then coming back to it at the right moment. He was honest in accepting his shortcoming, his bend towards desires and his efforts to follow Guru Nanak. All these things made him relatable.
The author Kamala Kapur was explicit in describing the ecstatic moments when Guru Nanak become immersed with the Only One. Such moments transcend the human ability to put into words. But the way it was described, I think this was the way you should feel when you completely immerse yourself in the Purest One.
The Singing Guru was such a joy to read. I could feel the energy seeping under my skin while reading. It is not a religious book preaching Sikhism rather a spiritual book. Conveying the eternal truths through stories. Making you aware about five vices and how you can maintain a safe distance from them. The simple message of Guru Nanak you should enjoy all the pleasures and delights of life, but unattached.
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About The Author
Kamala K. Kapur
Kamla K. Kapur (aka Kamal Kapur) was born and raised in India, and is a citizen of the United States. She got her Bachelor's in English Honors from India, and her Masters' Degree in literature from Kent State University, Ohio,USA. She also took classes in creative writing from the University of Iowa, and the University of California in San Diego. During her time in the USA, many of her poems were published in prestigious American journals and quarterlies.
She returned to India (1974-78), was a freelance writer for The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, and The Tribune, and taught English Literature at Delhi University. Her poetry and short stories were published in the original English and in Hindi and Punjabi translation in journals and magazines. In 1977, she won two prestigious Indian National Awards, The Sultan Padamsee Award for Playwriting in English. Her full length play, The Curlew's Cry, a bi-lingual play, was produced by Yatrik, New Delhi. A Punjabi translation of her play, Clytemnestra was produced by The Company in Chandigarh. Her award-winning Zanana, was produced at the National School of Drama, New Delhi. Seven of her plays were published in Enact, New Delhi.
Since 1985, Ms Kapur has been commuting between the USA and India. Her full length plays, Hamlet's Father, Kepler Dreams, and Clytemnestra were showcased at the Marin Shakespeare Festival in San Francisco, Gas Lamp Quarter Theatre in San Diego, and Dramatic Risks Theatre Group in New York, respectively. She was selected by the New Mexico Arts Division as the Playwright in Residence for two years. Five of her short stories have been published in Parabola (New York) and two in the anthology,The Inner Journey: Views from the Hindu Tradition (2007). She has recently completed her first novel, The Autobiography of Saint Padma the Whore, a chapter of which was published by in Our Feet Walk The Sky (Aunt Lute Press, Berkeley, California, USA), and a fantasy novel, Malini in Whirlwood.
Ms. Kapur has published two books of poetry: the critically acclaimed, As A Fountain In A Garden (Tarang Press.Del Mar,CA,USA-Hemkunt Publishers Private, Ltd., India, 2005) and Radha Sings (Rolling Drum and Dark Child Press, USA, 1987). Her poetry has also appeared in Yellow Silk (Berkeley, California), Journal of Literature and Aesthetics (Kerala), and the anthology, Our Feet Walk The Sky (Aunt Lute Press, Berkeley, California, USA).
Ms. Kapur was on the faculty of Grossmont College in San Diego, California for 18 years and taught creative writing courses in play writing, poetry, creative non-fiction, fiction, and courses in mythology, Shakespeare, and Women's Literature. She lives half the year in a remote Kullu Valley in the Himalayas and the other half in California, with her husband Payson R. Stevens.