Journalist-author Anshul Chaturvedi shared his views on his new book on Swami Vivekananda at a virtual session of The Write Circle Special, organised by Prabha Khaitan Foundation and presented by Shree Cement. Filmmaker and environmentalist, Padma Shri Nila Madhab Panda, engaged Anshul in a lively chat, which was followed by a Q&A session. The session was introduced by Rishma Gill of Ehsaas Woman of Chandigarh.
Author Anshul Chaturvedi with Padma Shri Nila Madhab Panda at The Write Circle Special live session organized by Prabha Khaitan Foundation and presented by Shree Cement
The book, titled The Vivekananda Handbook for Everyday Living, is an essential guide to apply the principles of Swami Vivekananda’s teachings to ones everyday life. The book was officially launched on June 28, 2021.
“This is not a scholarly analysis of his religious views, but a narration of the practicality of his thoughts to our daily life. It is not an academic work – there are already many such works on him – but more of a travelogue where Vivekananda is the travel guide,” the author explained in response to a query from the audience. “I didnt write this as a gyan (pontification) statement. The idea is that the book should be easy to comprehend and implement – not be read as an intimidating religious book primarily about the greatness of the person concerned.”
“The reason the book hasnt come along that way is also because of the same philosophy which this individual (Swami Vivekananda) planted into my head very early when I was younger and more combative,” Anshul added. “I kept the book to what I have practically experienced – how I saw him through my eyes. That is it. In the last 100 years, many scholars have written about him. So I did not need to reiterate his greatness. I am not qualified to comment on his personality – his stature and intellect are immense. I am qualified to comment on how he has shaped my thinking. People are influenced by management gurus and super-achievers. Vivekananda is my ideological anchor. He is a life coach, Stephen Covey, Dale Carnegie all rolled into one for me,” he said.
Nila, who has made award-winning films like I Am Kalam, Kadvi Hawa and Kalira Atita, said that he has mostly come across bulky, multi-volume readings on the monk and was quite impressed with how this book distils and explains Vivekananda’s teachings in less than 200 pages. He added that the book was a mental and emotional booster in today’s difficult times.
In response to a question about what he would say to the new generation, Anshul said, “Do not be in a hurry to believe. Keep questioning, question hard like Vivekananda used to do. Find your own anchors in life and don’t give in to collective thinking. Think for yourself.”
The book, which is now available on Amazon, is priced at Rs. 279.30 (kindle edition) and Rs. 499 (paperback).