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Review – “Ashta Yogi” by Ravi Ranjan Goswami

As a child, I had always feared God. Do this, or God will punish you. Don’t do that, or you will end up in the bad book of God. as I grew up, I started questioning the methods of God. Will he really be interested in me, out of all the people on the Earth? I, a mere inconsequential girl, just wanting to escape a scolding or spend an hour extra playing, am I really that important for Him? I never got an answer for this. As I grew older, I questioned more and started making bargains. I’ll be good if He gets me good marks, or I’ll stop eating some junk if I could lay my hands on something I really wanted but didn’t have enough pocket money for it. Needless to say, the only God I could find was my mother, who dug into her savings and bought me my stuff, and myself, who somehow did end up getting the marks that I wanted. Now as an adult, having passed 30 years of my glorious life on this wretched earth, I don’t believe in Him anymore. What I do believe in is the energy and the science behind it.
Ashta Yogi by Ravi Ranjan Goswami deals with one such science, that is spirituality. Based on the premise that a human can achieve a heightened vision through meditation, the story focuses on two former friends turned foes who try to outwit each other with their achievements.

Vishnudev, the Yoga master of the group, derives satisfaction from the fact that the task he is doing is noble and will eventually benefit the entire nation. His eight youthful yogis, who would be trained in the Ashta Yog/Siddhi would take his legacy forward and help people using their gifts when the time comes. But what he doesn’t take into account is the hatred of his former friend who is hell-bent on proving that his way of dealing with this science is better and more fruitful.
Who will succeed? And amongst their rivalry, who will suffer?

Written in vernacular Hindi, this book took double the time I’d have usually spent. I must say that my Hindi reading has gone rusty to the extent that even the basic articles need a lot of hard work and back and forth to be understood. This, despite being a novella took me so long to finish and write a review. Nevertheless, I am here.
The story was quite predictable, good versus bad kind of predictable though the amalgamation of fact with fiction is good. The plot incorporated events that have happened in human history and based the future of the story on it. It was interesting to read and wonder if this could be true, sometime, somewhere. The characters could have benefitted from more development. There wasn’t really any depth in any of them and none felt remarkable. There were a few printing errors and tight editing would have helped. The chapters jumped from one to another and the time lapse between them was huge, therefore, continuity became an issue for me. I feel lost without knowing what happened to the characters in that lost time. Also, I am not a big fan of rushing unless the story is boring and nothing can be done. This wasn’t the case here though. Despite an interesting story on which I have no previous knowledge, the book felt incomplete. The narrative seemed like it only wanted to tell me specific events.
A quick one-time read, it is recommended for those who are spiritually inclined and are well versed in Hindi reading. This one would be a different read than what is usually available in the market.

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