September 17, 2010

Journey from Death to Immortality

Published by Dialogue Magazine, 3/xxx/2008

Book's Title: Soul Quest
First published by: PT. Gramedia Pustaka Utama Jakarta (2003) also published in India (2005)
Author: Anand Krishna
Number of Pages: v + 232
Price: Rp 50.000

"Love will color your journey with confidence. With love, you are more comfortable. Now you can enjoy, celebrate, dance, sing, and laugh your way through life!" (iv)

This insightful definition of love was stated by Anand Krishna, an Indonesian national of an Indian descent. His critics and sympathizers acclaim this ex-Director and Shareholder of a Garment Factory as "phenomenal". His critics wonder, "What makes him popular? There is nothing extraordinary about him." On the contrary, his sympathizers appreciate his passion for promoting peace, love, and harmony among different sections of society and exclaim, "He comes from the Source of All Wisdom."

Soul Quest is Anand Krishna's first autobiographical novel. It talks about the crucial moment of his life. Anand was a young man who eager to gain wealth, possessions and prestige. He had almost everything. However, he still felt empty inside. The, he suffered from acute leukemia.

Anand was really afraid of facing a certain death in front of his nose. He also directly admitted it, "...when death stares at you, your body may or may not be in pain, but your mind surely trembles. The poor thing is afraid of losing its means of expression, the physical body with its sense organ. And the more "stuff" of memories, obsession and desires it has, the more afraid it gets. I could see myself apart from my mind. My body was in great pain, my mind was afraid, but I was neither of them. First I felt their pain and fear, later I could watch them." (154)

Unfortunately, Anand kept on running away from that fact; he was confused not knowing what he was looking for. First, he flew away to India, to consult his health with his beloved living Master. He stayed in Sai Baba's ashram at Prashanti Nilayam for one month full. However, his master kept on avoiding him. After that, he came to a Shuka Nadi (native healer). The Shuka "bible" said that no one can cure him. He himself should overcome this disease. Anand also came to a Buddhist monastery; through meditation practices he could see his sickness from a different point of view. Finally, in Leh he met a Lama who suggested he should accept death an live fully in love.

It may be said that the effort he made is actually the compensation of his lack of confidence. However, after a meeting with a Lama in Leh Himalaya, India, he realized that birth and death were two sides of one single coin. This total acceptance brought recovery from within. The Lama said (176): "...don't fly, and don't run away - face the challenges of life with a smile on our lips. We tend to forget that we are one hundred percent responsible for whatever happens to us. We create our problems; so we have to face them...solve them ourselves."

In Katresnanism Criticism: The Nature and Who Does it, Antonius Herujiyanto says that one's sickness is also a blessing. We are "Binerkahan" beings. It is not only in our healthy life, but also in the purifying process which is commonly called disease. Anand also experienced this deep insight in Leh when his heart already accepted the death. "This is indeed a right place to die" (174). At that time, there was no more conflict with death. He totally accepted both sides of life. This positive outlook gave an opportunity for him to know his true self and began to celebrate life.

Soul Quest - Journey from Death to Immortality is like a diamond, which has multi facets. It gives us insight to improve the quality of our life. Reading this novel, we can get some valuables information about human characters, interests, feelings, thoughts, and last but not least, experiences. Happy Reading!

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