12 July, 2014

#BookReview :: Path of the Swan: The Maitreya Chronicles Part 1 by Charu Singh

A moment of intense silence followed and then the Rigden spoke up, his voice even: Lama Nyima Ozer, Prince Narasimha Miyi Senge, Prince A-Karo, the Golden One, Yeshe Nam Lha and last, but not least, young Tashi Thendup! You have all been called today before the sacred court and from now, in every breath, in every heartbeat, in the shadow of every moment, in the intensity of the thoughtless state, in life and in not-life, in physical or subtle form, we declare you our emissaries, our sacred envoys to the world of men. Shambhala has a task for you. For you will be Shambhalas hand in the age that is now upon men' Path of the Swan, first part of the surreally beautiful Tibetan-Buddhist fantasy series The Maitreya Chronicles, follows the travels of Lama Ozer and his novitiate Tashi as they leave the hidden monastery where they have lived all their lives, in answer to a call received by the lama while deep in trance, from the legendary kingdom of Shambala. Battling the freezing cold and snow of high, mist-laden mountain passes and the many dark forces that thwart their progress, they trek through Sikkim and Tibet to arrive at the legendary Silver Fortress in a remote part of western Tibet. Shedding their corporeal forms they meet a host of divine and dark celestial beings including the golden dakini, Yeshe Nam Lha, daughter of the Goddess Tara; Prince A-KarO, heir to the Lha Empire; and Prince Narasimha heir to the Rigdens and the Shambala legacy. Both the princes are Yeshis guardians and suitors and she must travel with them to Earth. Once here, it is decreed, she will choose one of them and her child Maitreya, the saviour, will be born. Tashis role is that of confidant and friend and Ozers mission is to be the liaison between Shambala and Earth. But, before that happens they must combat the Asur forces and the dark prince, Arden, who holds Yeshe captive, bewitched by his brooding menace, trapped in his thrall. Drawing richly from the vast pantheon of otherworldly beings that populate the myths of the Mahayan school of Buddhism, Part 1 of The Maitreya Chronicles is a surreal and mesmerizing account of the battle between the dark forces and the celestials and the descent of the celestials to Earth.

This book effectively covers the journey of Lama Ozer and his novitiate Tashi as they leave their place in the hidden monastery and take on the task of finding the kingdom Shambala. But there are hurdles in their path that make it not so easy. Their experiences properly noted down are something to be reveled in. 

The cover of this book has an intricate design that instantly grabs one’s attention. The blurb then does its job to intrigue its readers. I was no exception, and I picked it up with hopes of further lessons into mythology. But this book takes you into a fantasyland that is both exciting and intriguing. From the peaceful setting of a monastery to the arduous journey undertaken, the author has described each setting in a befitting manner that paints beautiful and colourful images in the minds of the readers. For someone like me whose basic idea about Buddhism is that it is a religion of peace and discipline, this book gives us further peeks into the religion. The author has drawn inspiration from Vajrayana and thus gives us a chance to form our own opinion of it too. 

Overall this book makes for an educative and enchanting read at the same time. I will be looking out for the next book in the series, in the meantime, why don’t you give it a try?

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