My guest today, author Mira Prabhu, was born in Bangalore which a cosmopolitan city located in the south of India. In recent years there has been an influx of hi-tech companies which has changed the face of what was once called the Garden City. Mira is author of The Moksha Trilogy which we will find out about later in the interview.
Here is an excerpt from an interview that I did with Mira back in 2014
My British-educated parents were extremely conservative and enforced a strict gender double-standard I grew up resenting: We girls were groomed for the marriage market and expected to be pretty, docile creatures who kowtowed to the patriarchy. It didn’t take me long to realize I wanted nothing to do with this scenario.
Fortunately my parents insisted that both sons and daughters be highly educated. My father even ordered us to speak English at home, rather than our mother-tongue—the idea being that fluency in English would give us a shot at evolving into dazzling doctors and diplomats, the two careers he invariably pushed on his progeny. He himself loved the language and was an amazing raconteur who could keep a party crowd spellbound with his reminiscences and tales of the supernatural.
I inherited my passion for riveting stories from my blood relatives. One memory I cherish goes back to when I was about four: I was sitting in a large sunny room, my head buried in a mesmerizing book of illustrated Russian fairy tales. My mother called out to me, but I did not hear her, so lost was I in the seductive myth of Baba Yaga, the cannibalistic witch of the woods, and the innocent children who wandered into her perilous territory. “You’ll have to give her a good shake if you want her attention,” my father advised my mother with a grin. “Nothing else will work.” And young as I was, I sensed how thrilled he was to have spawned a bookworm.
Here is Mira’s first book Whip of the Wild God, that I read and reviewed in 2014.
About the book
Whip of the Wild God catapults you on a wild ride into 1839 BCE India….Ishvari, an angry and spirited girl plucked out of rural poverty to be meticulously groomed by tantric monks, is elected to serve as spiritual consort to Takshak, powerful monarch of Melukhha. Her tumultuous journey–from terrified peasant to glamorous High Tantrika of Melukhha–hurls her into the abyss of addiction.
As she sinks into depravity, Ishvari violates the ancient Melukhhan code of honor, infuriating Rudra-Shiva, the Wild God, and calling forth Takshak’s sadistic revenge. And yet, as Ishvari flees for her life, now a notorious fugitive with a gold price on her head, the fire wisdom teachings she has grasped intellectually as a girl finally blaze into roaring life….here is a magnificent metaphysical saga you will find impossible to put down!
Here is a small selection of reviews for Whip of the Wild God.
“I have read every word and absolutely loved it! Ishvari is a compelling protagonist who I really “felt” as I read of her incredible adventures and personal journey….all of the yoga, tantra and higher teachings are so well presented and woven into the plot. I couldn’t put the book down. I worked in book publishing for seventeen years, at major houses where we published many historical novels, and this is among the best I’ve read….after the first fifty pages, I realized that this is a book that gives me that tingling spine.”
-Jo Sgammato, New York Times bestselling author; General Manager of the Integral Yoga Institute of New York
As a monk, if I’m going to read a novel, it needs to add to my understanding of life and why I am here. Plus, hopefully, it engages me so that my mind forgets everything else and is fully absorbed in the story. Whip of the Wild God completely fulfilled all this and more. For anyone looking for a spiritual page-turner, your search is over.
Unless you are living in an isolated island without the benefit of outside communication you will be quite aware of the frantic pace of modern life and the violence against man and nature that seems to be unrelenting. As they say ‘there is nothing new in history!’ Mira Prabhu takes us back to ancient India and a young girl called Ishvari in her remote village.
She has already experienced the harsh reality of life and seeks comfort in a forbidden valley. Ishvari is a free spirit with a touch of wildness about her but she is selected to become one of the most revered women in the nation as a Tantrika whose role is to bring the ruling tyrant back into line by igniting the fires of enlightenment within him. The story could be set in modern day – or a fairy tale from centuries past but the time and setting of this journey by Ishvari to her own enlightenment is both absorbing and addictive.
Mira Prabhu is a wonderful story teller and uses a sensuous rhythm and flow to her plot that takes you through Ishvari’s intensive spiritual training, her turbulent time in the capital and her adventurous and dangerous journey through life. I found the book compelling and with a main character that despite all her spiritual depth had so many human qualities to relate to. The other characters from the monks who teach Ishvari and protect her during her journey to the animals and individuals that she meets on her journey are beautifully portrayed. The book has all the components of a great read and one that will linger in your mind.
Buy Whip of the Wild God : http://www.amazon.com/Mira-Prabhu/e/B00CCQ9VQ4
Now for some exciting news about Mira Prabhu’s latest book Krishna’s Counsel, the second novel in the Moksha Trilogy (Moksha means Freedom in Sanskrit).
The book is being considered by Kindle Scout for a publishing contract and Mira would love your support in nominating the book. If accepted you will receive a free E-version of the book. To give you a flavour of Krishna’s Counsel, here is a little background on the origins and the story from Mira.
‘In the summer of 2008, I found myself trapped in a guesthouse in Rishikesh due to a Shiva festival that raged fiercely on in that colorful mountain town. So I dived into writing a novel that my Manhattan literary agent had much earlier suggested I take on. The result was a rough draft of Krishna’s Counsel. In the years since, a slew of friends, beta readers and crack editors have helped me polish this novel to a gleaming finish. To put the icing on the cake, my friend Mishi Bellamy designed a breathtaking cover. Here is the blurb from the back cover’.
Krishna’s Counsel sweeps you back to sleepy south India in the 1960s, right into the tumultuous life of Pia, a rebellious and brilliant teenager whose world disintegrates under the brutal sword-thrust of an eerie death. It is the loving gift of a magnificent view of eastern philosophy—particularly a poignant scene in the Bhagavad Gita: when Lord Krishna advises the quailing warrior Prince Arjuna to pick up his great bow Gandiva and rout the corrupt foe regardless of the consequences—that saves Pia from certain self-destruction.
Many years later, now a gorgeous woman living in frenetic New York City, Pia is tracked down and coaxed to return to India to deal with an insistent throng of old ghosts. Then horror strikes again, and she is compelled by supernatural agents to heed the timeless advice of Lord Krishna as she finds herself on the trail of a charming psychopath who will stop at nothing to kill her….
To nominate Krishna’s Counsel on Kindle Scout you will need an Amazon account and then head over to the campaign page.
Now it is time to find out which questions Mira has chosen to answer in her interview… Welcome Mira…
Tell us about your chosen genre of books that you write and why?
I write Spiritual Fiction (Metaphysical Fiction; Visionary Fiction), although my work could well fall under the genres of Literary Fiction and Women’s Fiction. Why was I drawn to this particular genre? Well, perhaps I can trace the origin of this desire to my reading Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha in my late teens and being enthralled by the way he wove spiritual truths into a classically simple tale set in ancient India.
Hesse’s hero Siddhartha is a Brahmin lad who leaves home against his father’s wishes—because he is convinced that the ultimate freedom he seeks (from egoic desire and fear) cannot be found within his birth matrix. Siddhartha walks the hero’s path: he absorbs much from several gurus but eventually returns to the mundane world. Charming, handsome, highly intelligent and brimming with esoteric wisdom, Siddhartha easily attracts to himself the ‘good things of life’—and yet, soon enough, this sumptuous and indolent lifestyle too turns tedious and boring. Once again he slips away from his moorings and ends up as a humble boatman, ferrying passengers across a river—and it is in this final stage of his life that he wins the supreme prize of permanent inner peace and joy he has always craved.
Siddhartha made such a great impression on me that, during my years in Manhattan, I used to read it aloud to a friend on a single night as an annual ritual! You see, just like Siddhartha, I too realized pretty early on that ordinary life could never satisfy my yearning for permanent inner freedom. Raised in a traditional family in south India, I was baffled and disheartened by the fact that so many chose to live the way they did, generation after generation, minus the powerful yearning that I had been born with to investigate the great truths of life and death. I found the lingering caste system and the layers of society surrounding me hard to digest; the fate of our servants troubled me, and the callous manner in which many women of all classes were treated within an entrenched patriarchy both infuriated me as well as imbued me with a fierce determination to avoid taking that route myself.
I stumbled into the luminous realm of eastern philosophy in my late teens and grew so passionate about the investigation into what is known as Absolute and Relative Reality (https://miraprabhu.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/two-great-truths-absolute-and-relative-reality-real-and-unreal/) that it began to dominate my life and goals. Post-divorce in Manhattan, even as I struggled to stay afloat both emotionally and financially, a friend urged me to write romantic fiction to make quick money. I seriously considered her suggestion, but could not bring myself to do so—I wanted to write books that would stir the soul of a serious reader.
I was always an avid reader and early on began to dive into all forms of mystical literature, including the extraordinary work of Carlos Castaneda and the magical reality genre that came into prominence with writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende. Eventually I came up with the notion of writing a trilogy of books about the enlightenment of three Indian women. Two of these three novels (Whip of the Wild God and Copper Moon Over Pataliputra) are set in ancient India; the second in the series, Krishna’s Counsel, is a contemporary novel set both in India and Manhattan and could be classified as Spiritual Crime Fiction. Whip was published in 2013, Krishna’s Counsel will soon be out, and Copper Moon should find her way into the world sometime in 2017. Please check out: https://miraprabhu.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/a-trilogy-of-light-mishi-bellamy-artiste-extraordinaire/)
Tell us about your blog and your main features. With a link to what you consider best sums you up as a blogger.
In 2013, after a long association with a reputed Manhattan literary agency, I finally decided to go indie and to self-publish my first novel, Whip of the Wild God. I had quit the corporate mainstream at the eve of the millennium to study in the Himalayas and other remote regions—and so I missed out on the cyber revolution. As a result, I knew zero about self-publishing. In 2013 I began to read about the changes that were sending shock waves through the conventional publishing world; urged by friends and well-wishers, I decided to begin blogging to spread the word about my writing. Fortunately a friend helped me create a WordPress blog—on the masthead are the words: The metaphysical and mundane musings of a maverick female scribe; soon I began to enjoy writing posts with a metaphysical slant. My blog now has over 7000 followers.
If you go to miraprabhu.wordpress.com, on the right hand side you will find a link to my personal posts. Here’s the link to one of my most popular posts, which was picked up by a couple of magazines:
If one of your books was selected to be made into a film; who would you like to play your main character and why?
Almost everyone who reads my work tells me my novels would make terrific movies because they are so vibrant and colourful. Easier said than done, especially since most serious writers can spare neither the time nor the energy to promote ourselves in that direction! That said, about a year ago, a film-maker contacted me out of the blue to inquire whether I would be interested in turning Whip of the Wild God into a movie. I said I was definitely interested, and mentioned that I wanted someone who loved eastern philosophy to produce it. We went back and forth, but due to a serious illness in his family, and other urgent work commitments, the idea eventually fizzled out. During our talks, however, this man suggested that Penelope Cruz play Ishvari, the gorgeous and brilliant protagonist of Whip. I had my doubts about using a foreign actress to play this role, because Indian women in the film profession are not just exotic and lovely but some are excellent actresses. I am not a fan of Bollywood, and almost never watch movies, but recently I saw a clip of Priyanka Chopra, an Indian starlet who has the kind of looks and appeal plus the intelligence that I believe would make a good Ishvari. Let’s see! I’m focussing on finishing my trilogy right now, but when that is done, perhaps I will turn all three books into movie scripts and allow the universe to take over from there.
Do you have a favourite quote? What does it means to you as an individual?
“There is almost a sensual longing for communion with others who have a large vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendship between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality impossible to describe.”
― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
I love this quote because I have always yearned to commune with those of a mystical bent—especially if their feet are solidly planted on terra firma! A vital distinction is made in eastern philosophy between that which is real and that which is unreal. The real is defined as that which is permanent sand lasting, while the unreal is that which is transient, that which comes and goes.
By this definition, only our consciousness—which alone remains after our body-mind system dissolves back into its constituent elements—is considered real. This teaching has rooted itself so deeply in my heart that apart from enjoying morsels of news relating to people I know, or certain areas that continue to intrigue me, superficial conversations revolving around subjects like fashion, the ever-changing political scene, gourmet cuisine, money, etcetera tend to bore me; as a result, although I have a wide circle of friends and acquaintances all over the globe, I mostly enjoy talking with friends about the path I have chosen to traverse—the Direct Path of Atma-Vichara taught by the world-famous south Indian sage Ramana Maharshi, a subtle but fascinating journey intended to lead a sincere seeker from unreal to real.
My own primary goals are spiritual and creative, and I’m thrilled to discover that one feeds the other. As I deepen my own investigation into both relative and absolute reality, I feel my writing gets richer and more potent.
What are your current projects?
I am currently finalizing Krishna’s Counsel for publishing and simultaneously working on a draft of Copper Moon Over Pataliputra. Once these two novels are out, and my trilogy complete, I will most likely convert all three into audio books and possibly movie scripts.
Connect to Mira:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Mira-Prabhu/e/B00CCQ9VQ4
Facebook Personal: https://www.facebook.com/mira.prabhu
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MiraPrabhuWhipOfTheWildGodEtcetera
My thanks to Mira for such a fascinating look at her life and work and we both look forward to your feedback. It would also be wonderful if you could share on your own networks.
Thanks for dropping in.. Sally