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Interview With Nilesh Parab Author Of Book – Hindu Spirituality In A Nutshell

Hindu Spirituality In A Nutshell is a small but unique book by Nilesh Parab on spirituality. It is a helpful guide for those wishing to undertake a spiritual journey. Below is the interview:

What prompted you to writing this short book on Hindu spirituality?
I have always been inspired by the Bhagavad Gita since I read it back in college. Back in 2004-2005 I was undergoing some personal problems and turned to spirituality for solace. It was then that I re-read the Gita and it’s teachings. It was a fulfilling read, and I felt that the concepts put forth in it should be easily accessible to people who are new to Hinduism, or who are testing the waters, or even to give a clear “big picture” to those well-versed in Hinduism. I have tried to keep the book short, written it in simple language and with easy-to-understand diagrams. It is meant for people with busy lives to understand the core / basics of Hinduism in less than 30 minutes.

You start the book point towards the basic teaching of Sanatana Dharma that you are not the body. My question is why you think this basic teaching is not understood by vast majority of Hindus. Don’t you think understanding this solves all problem.
It is a concept which is difficult to grasp. I think Maya (the illusion of this material world and our material bodies) is a powerful force, which keeps us deluded about our real nature. Hinduism, at the very least, acknowledges this force and gives us knowledge about our real self (Atma). A generation ago, Hindus understood this and were aware of it. Our generation has too many distractions (the tentacles of Maya?). But I feel, more and more Hindus are returning to their roots and becoming aware of their true nature.

You talk about heaven and hell. Don’t you think this is a monolithic religious concept forced on modern Hinduism?
Heaven and hell (Swarga Loka and Naraka Loka) have been an integral part of our folklore (at least in our spiritual tales). Even some of the avatars of Vishnu (like the Vamana avatar) have been about saving the three lokas from Asura dominance. But Hinduism is more than heaven and hell. There is the tale of Nachiketa in the Kathopanishad which tells us to rise above these heavens and hells and gain Mukti/Moksha (which is the ultimate goal). I have stressed on that aspect towards the end of the book.

How do you see the role of Karma in happiness or suffering on earth? Do you think we can rewrite karma in this birth?
Karma is a concept which is unique to Hinduism, and is tied to the idea of rebirth. The teachings tell us that we get rewards/punishments according to our previous karma (actions of the past – this birth or previous). But they also tell us that we can transcend / rewrite our karma if we choose to embark on the paths of Yoga as outlined in the Bhagavad Gita by the Godhead Himself as Krishna. That is what I have tried to communicate in the book.

The three Gunas are an important part of Sanatana Dharma teaching. Don’t you think this needs to be explored more and popularized?
Yes. We need to explore the science of the three gunas and how we are controlled by them. The practice of Hatha Yoga which helps us maintain a balance of these three gunas is already gaining popularity world-wide, but without people being aware of how the gunas work. More awareness is needed about this ancient science.

How can a person attain the spiritual world by living the family world?
Unlike other religions, abstinence or renunciation (sanyas) is not a requirement in Hinduism. As per the Gita the path of Karma Yoga - the path of righteous (but detached) action, in which one doesn’t claim the fruits/rewards of one’s action, is an excellent way of enabling a person living in the family world to attain the spiritual world. Also, Krishna has listed other paths of Yoga, like Jnana Yoga or Bhakti Yoga, so that a person can choose according to one’s temperament/inclination in his/her spiritual journey.

Moksha has to happen in this world through proper understanding. How does your book view this view point?
Mukti/Moksha is about transcending our material nature and embracing our spiritual nature. This obviously cannot happen without being spiritually aware. The book tries, in it’s own humble way, to contribute towards this awareness in simple terms. It also encourages the reader/seeker to pick up a copy of the Bhagavad Gita for a more full-fledged understanding/practice in the seeking of Moksha.

What are your future projects in spiritual writing?

My very next project is already underway (but incomplete still). It can be found at hindureads and is a presentation of the hierarchy of Hindu sacred texts (like the Vedas, Upanishads, etc) and modern Hindu writings in an easy to understand tree-structure. Do check it out. It is as easy to understand as the book :)

Hindu Spirituality In A Nutshell is currently available in e-book format in Amazon.

You can read the book here at swifthinduism.

You can find out more about the book here on the facebook page of the book.