From crime to spirituality
He turned from the crime genre to writing books on spiritual aspects. Venganoor Balakrishnan is a Gayathri Mantra addict, but does not go to the temple, he tells PREMA MANMADHAN
Odd Man out Venganoor Balakrishnan has off beat views
Venganoor Balakrishnan has a doctorate. So have many others. What’s new? His subject: It is philosophy and his studies were on the Gayathri Mantra. He got his doctorate from Lucknow University. That’s not all. He is hell bent on putting o
n paper all things legendary that people have passed on from generation to generation, by word of mouth: For instance, Indian customs, practices and observances. He collected them for 15 long years and put them in a book, called ‘Thaliyola’, which went into the first print in 2004. By 2007 end, it had gone into its 50th edition with nearly 5 lakh colpies! The book has been translated into Tamil, Telugu and Kannada and English by its publishers, Addone.
“People feel that a lot of observances have no valid reasons, but now you find that a lot of grandma’s cures and other proverbs being backed by scientific reasons. Whenever scientific reasoning for such practices are published in newspapers, I collect them. In the old days, people would do things only if they had some religious significance attached. That’s why you find many practices associated with religion, when actually they are good practices for good health,” says Balakrishnan.
Balakrishnan confesses to be a Gayathri Mantra addict. It’s good for meditation and one can write reams on it, the man who feels it is highly motivational, says. It can be chanted any time of the day, it has rhythm, and can be chanted for concentration while meditating. How one interprets the Vedas are important, with topical needs and situations, Balakrishnan says. It is important to throw away what common sense tells you is superstition and take in good faith, what you feel will help you grow as a human being, he believes.
“For instance, the stories of Krishna as a child are good to listen to. But tell me, will any mother tolerate a child who does those things today, like stealing butter and other mischief? Times have changed. Meditation is good. To be spiritual is not being superstitious, says Balakrishnan who does not go to any temples. “God is everywhere, then why go to temples?” he asks.
Balakrishnan has also written a book called ‘Atmeeya Vijnanakosam,’ wherein he has put down the meanings of most of the words found in the Vedas and what certain rituals means, for the consumption of ordinary folks. He has written a host of other books, mostly self help ones and on the Vedas, simplifying them for the not-so-learned kind of people. A book on Thirukkural is also part of his oeuvre.
On Jayaram Padikkal
What is strange is that the first book that Balakrishnan wrote belonged to the crime genre! It was ‘The Crime Diary of Jayaram Padikkal’, on the life and service period of the late DIG of Police.
“I stayed with him for eight months to get the details from him. It was in 1995. During the entire period, when I heard him talk about umpteen things, he never once smiled. He was indeed a very serious person,” says Balakrishnan, who does not like to go into the controversies connected with this police official. It was after this phase that he went on to study the Gayathri Mantra and switched tracks. Balakrishnan says that he feels happy when people call him up to tell him that his book had done them good. All his books are priced moderately, he says, so that they reach the common man.
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