Thursday, 27 March 2014



                                        AJAI KUMAR CHHAWCHHARIA

BRIEF PROFILE OF THE AUTHOR: Born on Aug 08, 1955 in a coal-mining commumity in Burdwan district, West Bengal State, India. Received the best of education available at that place at that time. His loving parents used to tell him that Sri Ram is his only friend & companion, that Ram will take care of him & that he will have nothing to worry in life.  Came to Ayodhya, UP, in 1985 and has been here since then. Working at—Kanak Bhavan Temple, Ayodhya [website of this temple— He has done work on Indian scriptures, in English language. He tries to be as objective, incisive, simple & straight-forward as possible. His books have a layman’s language. The extent, the dimension & the sort of work done by him, does not appear to have been done yet by a single individual. Also, no single person appears to have ever attempted to write explanatory commentaries on all the 108 Upanishads as they appear in their respective Vedas. Also no one has made them available for FREE on the internet for the world to benefit from this knowledge.   He has had no religious education, has no traditional Guru or anyone else to guide him. He gets stunned when he reads his own finished products. But humbly he says that he has no glorious achievements & skills to show to the world & that a Sanyasi cannot claim & say about himself in the form of a ‘bio-data’. .       
Q  How many books have you written so far, how many have been printed, how many posted on web site and on which web sites?  
           My books are in English and can generally be classified into four basic categories
           (A) Those that present an English version of Goswami Tulsidas’ great immortal classics on Lord Ram, the incarnate Supreme Being. These books have already been published, but are being thoroughly revised by me. The new books will have a complete new dimension & present the text in a complete new form. These books are Tulsidas and the following: (a) Barvai Ramayan (b) Dohawali (c) Kavitawali (d) Geetawali (e) Vairagya Sandipani (f) Janki Mangal. (g) Parvati Mangal (h) Ram Lala Nahachu (i) Vinai Patrika (j) The Ram Charit Manas and (k) Hanuman Baahuk. 
         (B) English versions of three other classical Sanskrit texts of the epic Ramayana and one written by the famous blind saint Surdas.  These books are the different versions of the epic Ramayana that have been rendered in English by me. These are the following:(a) Adhyatma Ramayan by Veda Vyas in two parts, (b) Adbhut Ramayan by Valmiki, (c) Ramayan according to the Devi Puran and (d) Surdas’ Ram Charitawali. 
          (C) All the 108 Upanishads sequenced according to their respective Vedas, with full Sanskrit text, Romanized transliteration and easy-flowing English narration. These are in five volumes, each having many parts depending on the thickness of the volume (a) The 1st volume has 10 Upanishads of the Rig Veda, (b) the 2nd has 16 Upanishads of the Sam Veda, (c) the 3rd has 119 Upanishads of the Shukla Yajur Ve da, (d) the 4th has 32 Upanishads of the Krishna Yajur Veda and (e) the 5th has 31 Upanishads of the Atharva Veda. 
           (D) Other books revolving around the above themes, based on the above books and at the same time being independent books in themselves. As of March 2014, the following books have already been finished and scores of them are planned by me in the near future: (a) A Divine Biography of Lord Ram & glory of Lord’s Holy Name. [It brings all of pristine Tulsidas under one cover.] (b) The Chariot of God—the Dharma Rath. (c) Ram Geeta—the divine Song of Lord Ram, the incarnate Supreme Being. (d) All the Upanishads of Lord Ram & the Lord’s sacred Hymns, along with selected verses from the Upanishads and the Holy Bible. (e) Lord Shiva—his legend, Upanishads, Shiva-Puran, hymns and Parvati Mangal (of Goswami Tulsidas). (f) ‘Saints and Non-Saints, Their Character & Comparison’. (g) Bhakti—devotion for God (based on Ram Charit Manas). (h) The divine Mantras of Lord Ram. (i) Who is a Guru? (j) The concept of Kalaa. (k) ‘Brahm’ in the eyes of the Upanishads. (l) The 24 Avtaars (incarnations) of Lord Vishnu. (m) The concept of ‘Maya’. (n) Sanyas—with Vairagya Shatkam of Bhartihari. (o) The Great Sages/Seers/Saints of India. (p) 'Genesis of Creation'—according to the Upanishads. (q) ‘The MAHAVAKYAS of the UPANISHADS—The Great Spiritual Truths’. (r) Tattvas (elements) and Gunas (qualities)- According to the Upanishads. (s) The PENTAGON of CREATION—The Panch Tattvas (5 Bhuts or elements), The Panch Prans (5 vital life forces), The Panch Koshas (5 sheaths or cells). (t) “The HANS, a divine Swan—its metaphysical & spiritual significance as per the Upanishads.”(u) A Life-sketch of Goswami Tulsidas. (v) The Sraawan Jhula (Swing) Festival. (w) Arunachal Panch-ratna & Rudra Ashtak. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva known as Lord Arunchaal & co-produced by Swami Janaardan Kalianandswami of Virginia Beach, Va, USA & myself. 
            (E) Other authors, who wish to upload their books on my site, are welcome. As on March, 2014, there are two such books on my website: (a) Ramayani by Swami Sri Kripa-Shankar. It is a detailed commentary on the Ram Charit Manas of Tulsidas. Kripa-Shankar ji was a great spiritual preacher famous for his in-depth study & analytical discourses on the Ramayanas of Valmiki & Goswami Tulsidas, as well as Srimad Bhagwat. This book is based on the 9-day discourses that he had given on Tulsidas’ Ram Charit Manas at Chitrakoot in 2002 & again at Ayodhya in 2003. (b) UNBURDENING A BURDEN—by Raghav Dwivedi. It is a book of devotional poetry of pristine nectar-like beauty that touches & moves the heart from its core. 
               Out of the above, the series on Tulsidas books ( category A), on Upanishads (category B), the different Ramayanas (category C) & one book titled ‘Divine Biography of Lord Ram’ (category D)—have been published by a publisher of Delhi (details given separately). All the books under category D have been uploaded on my website for free download worldwide in PDF format. More will be added on a continuous basis. The revised version of all of Tulsidas books mentioned above (category A) will also be uploaded when completed.


Q  What motivated you to write so many spiritual books & post on web sites for free access by anyone? 
             I wished to serve my beloved Lord Ram in the best way I could. An inner voice motivated me to do something for Ram in the field of books.  I did not have any set plan & I was terrified at the prospect of writing on and for ‘HIM’. But the things unfolded soon. I may be the ‘writer’ of these books from the perspective of this world, but the reality is that it was the Lord, Sri Ram, the Supreme Being, who got these books written. So HE is the author. This is a matter of faith, a fact and the truth.  I put the books on the website for free download, because I wanted the world to know what the Lord spoke; I wished to unlock the gates of this spiritual treasure for all to enjoy & benefit in the way that suits them; I wished to put the garland consisting of these exceptionally beautiful books at the holy altar of the shrine of Lord Ram which I managed to build, and this is the way I treat this my website < > to be. Please visit my website & pay attention to the following points:
(i) At the very top you will read this statement—“THIS IS LORD GOD’S OWN WEBSITE, is dedicated to Him and promoting His Words.” 
            (ii) Then on the HOME PAGE you will notice three photos appearing one after the other in dynamic form—two of them are Lord Ram’s portraits and one is of Tulsidas.
(iii) The contours of the border of the Home Page where these photos are, is designed to reflect a Singhasan (throne) in a temple where idols are consecrated.
(iv)Like a temple, it has a donation box for voluntary contributions. On the ‘Contribution Page’ a bank a/c is mentioned, so that anyone wishing to contribute may do so.
            (v) The name of the website itself invokes an instant image of a holy place, a shrine. It has  two words “Tulsidas” & “Ram” as identification marks. The next word i.e. “Books” indicates what to expect in this shrine—holy books dedicated to Lord Ram & as a tribute to Tulsidas, the great saint & poet who wrote on the theme of Ram. His works remain unparalleled & act as gold standard for devotional literature ever written anywhere. 
            (vi)The miracle & the magic of this unique shrine is this: whereas one has to physically walk & go to visit any brick-and-mortar shrine to have a divine glimpse of the deity installed there, this website brings the same holy deity in the household. Whereas a physical building known as a temple has a limited geographical spread & reach, this temple reaches the world.   
            (vii) When you enter a formal temple you first have the Darshan (holy vision) of the deity. Here we have the Darshan of Lord Sri Ram in the Home Page. Tulsidas is also honoured in this shrine because it is he who gave us the extraordinary books showing who Ram was and what is the meaning of Bhakti (devotion). [Remember his classics—Ram Charit Manas, Vinai Patrika.] Then you go around the sanctum in a ritual called Parikrama (going around the deity in a clockwise manner) and spend some time walking or relaxing for some time. This is symbolized by browsing on my website. Then you finally bow & walk away from a temple with the Prasad (blessed food items or any other blessing of the Lord). Prasad of this shrine is in the form of the free books that you download on your way out.
(viii) A true shrine does not demand ‘money’ for allowing Darshan (holy vision) of the deity & for offering Prasad (blessing). So these books have been made free.  
Q  How many persons appear to have downloaded or viewed these books and which particular book had the maximum response for viewing? 
            Regarding the response to viewing, one day I received an e-mail from one radio- presenter from Durban, South Africa. They have a one-hour programme known as ‘Hinduvani’, once a week, on Saturdays. He told me that he has been reading my book “Biography of Ram” over the radio in a serialized form in this programme & has finished the Baal Kand. Out of all the books they downloaded for the purpose of selecting a text for the listeners, he found it to be most useful. He further stated that after some time, he will continue from Ayodhya Kand onwards. I thanked & requested him to mention my website over the radio for awareness of the listeners. He enthusiastically agreed not only to mention the link of the website < > but my name as well, each time the slot is broadcast. 
Q  What has been the level & quantum of response/comments specifically from foreign readers? 
All those who have read my books have uniformly said that these are very simple, to the point without compromising on the essence, which has been brought out excellently in all the books. The publisher & the distributor have told me that many people who did respond were extremely appreciative of the standard of the books & their authenticity & scholarship. On the Face book as well as by email also, I have been receiving appreciative messages.
Q  Why is it that you do not want to go out of Ayodhya, even for some time?  
              I have found my peace here. Though I understand that Lord Ram lives everywhere but when I stepped out of my house for the first time in 1985 I had promised to myself that now onwards, I will not spend a night out of Ayodhya.  My saintly & loving father had also advised me to stick to my guns & avoid wandering here & there. By keeping to yourself and keeping quiet, you will get peace & serenity.  If you can’t find Ram at Ayodhya then you won’t find HIM in the Himalayas or any holy city for that matter. Don’t waste time & money and jeopardize your already fragile health in ‘tourist activity’—he used to advise me on his death bed.
Q  Who gave you the inspiration to choose the spiritual field for writing of books? 
                It is in the heart, the Lord lives & therefore the obvious inspirer or motivator is the Lord himself. I just did what my heart spoke to me to do. My respected father advised me to make Hanuman ji my mental Guru. Has not Tulsidas said “Lord Ram lives in the heart of those for whom the Lord is a Swami (master & lord), Sakha (friend), Pitu (father), Matu (mother) & Guru (moral preceptor & guide & teacher)”.{Ram Charit Manas, Ayodhya Kand, Doha no. 130).
Q  How did you achieve single minded concentration and devotion to God, the Almighty?  
              I do not do any special Puja or formal worship. For me the Lord does not need formalities to be honoured. Then why pay attention to a concept known as ‘devotion for God’. Should ‘devotion’ be not considered interesting & refreshing simply because it pertains to an entity conceptualized as “God”. Therefore, no special attention is needed if we are serving the Lord, the whole life. This concept of ‘paying attention to God & offering worship in a special session requiring attention & concentration’ applies to those who think that the ‘one hour of Puja that they manage to do in their busy schedule’ is worship to God & but not rest of the day.
Q  The number of books posted by you is quite large. What has been your time schedule of writing? 
               Other than my routine personal chores and attending to my responsibilities in the Kanak Bhavan Temple of Ayodhya, where I work, the rest of the time is for my Lord. I have a lot to do and age & health are heavily weighing against me. I am sort of rushing against time. I shun people to the extent of a recluse because I refuse to entertain unnecessary talks and guests. I don’t have fixed time to start work on my computer, but yes I don’t stop till 11 P.M. Then I take some frugal meal and hit the bed. Sometimes I attend to my email & other obligations after this mid-night food. So it is often that I go to bed, around 1.30 A.M.  
Q  When and where do you get the ideas for these books? 
               Ideas came from within. I wanted to do something lasting for my Lord instead of doing routine work. It was not for which my Ram brought me here. So it was—the instructions to this book & then that book ‘just came’, unplanned & un-foretold. It did ‘just come from the blue’.
Q  At what point of time, did you decide to take this work as a Mission? 
                Once my inner self told me that I was wasting my time & life, in the false notion that I am ‘serving God’. That same voice told me: Look, I have greater plans for you. You will believe me when you read the Upanishads. But have patience. Things will turn up on their own when the time comes. Don’t leave the temple. Divert your attention to something constructive and do some ‘real temple-work’—create a temple where the intellectual & the sincere devotees will find solace, peace, happiness, joy & rest. People do not have the time and inclinations & they may rather feign devotion. It is rare that one wishes to actually serve God selflessly. A lot of ground had been covered by so many ancient saints and sages. But still much needs to be done. The world has become a virtual village. You have a job to do. So get up & go ahead and do it. Come on, get up & do it. Do it, do it, do it. Don’t be scared; the One who took care of you against the severest of odds will take care of you throughout. Therefore, get up and go ahead…!’ Absolute frankly & truthfully this is how it all started. 
Q  What made you remain a single person all through the life? 
               Single? Who says so? My beloved and dearest is always with me, so where am I alone.  We all came alone and we all will go alone. The people whom we call friends, husbands and wives are like the companions we make during a long train journey. As far as I am concerned, I have such a caring lover with me who will make others pink with jealousy!
Q  What is your involvement with the Ramlala Temple in Ayodhya? 
               Nothing at all. It is heavily barricaded and inconvenient to go. I work in ‘Kanak Bhavan Temple’, which is the most revered temple in Ayodhya. By the grace of Ram, I enjoy the sort of authority & respect here that is difficult to imagine. All the trustees have affection for me and they trust me more than anyone else. This temple is governed by erstwhile princely states and still maintains former royal grandeur, dignities and decorum—of Tikamgarh in MP, and Ayodhya Raj.  Religion is something between your own self and God; it’s a dialogue between the individual soul and the Supreme. So, if and when religion becomes corrupted and formalized into an organized commercial venture, it ceases to fulfill its main objective. I wish to keep a safe distance from it because it will rob my heart of its peace. 
Q  Are you also engaged in some spiritual teachings, lectures & communications to the residents of Ayodhya &/or the tourists coming to Ayodhya? 
               Absolutely not. I don’t have any time The Lord allots jobs according to one’s competence & abilities. To me came this lot—to write about Lord. If a man is sincerely interested in his salvation he will find a way out; there are books to guide him & books are one’s best friend & guide.  Books have permanent value, because they don’t speak in a double-edged tongue. The seeker is free to make his judgment.   
Q  Why did you not think of getting monetary returns from your books on web site, which could have been utilized for the welfare of human beings? 
           Everyone’s duties, destinies and callings are determined by a supreme Authority. I never felt that I was meant to earn money. The Lord took care of my needs and is still doing it wonderfully. I am not some celebrated author whose books sell by the truckloads that translate into millions of dollars or rupees as royalty. If however anyone does wish to contribute I will willingly accept because I have no right to hurt the giver’s emotions. But then I will take a print-out of some of the books and donate them to some libraries etc. or finance some student’s studies, something which I can’t do now.  What the Sanyas Upanishads say—‘A Sanyasi never bothers about the next day’s food. That will be arranged by the Lord for him’. 
Q  Who are the person(s) who are assisting you in this noble task, where substantial work, effort & time is involved viz. for research work, compilation, editing, posting and subsequent works? 
             There is no disciple or assistant. For the books published in printed form, I prepare the text and send a soft copy by means of a CD and a proof by way of printout. The final composing and typesetting etc is done at Delhi. The proof comes and goes at least two or three times before the book is actually printed on paper. For the e-book version for my website, everything is done by me.  However, I have a boy to whom I send the final product and he simply uploads them on the website. But, I take it that these books are authored by the Lord.
Q  Please share the major difficulties faced by you in this gigantic task. 
                 My health is a constant problem. I had developed cataract in both the eyes due to hard work.  I am around 60 of age and the natural aging process creates its own set of problems & obstacles viz. loss of strength & appetite, muscular weakness, pain and aching etc. Now that I have learnt typing and editing on the computer myself, things have become easier and comfortable. But my earlier days in writing were horrific nightmares. I had to go to a typist’s shop to get the manuscripts typed and had to wait for long time for some reason or other, besides the vagaries of the seasons. After ploughing through the voluminous proof pages, corrections were a Herculean task because I had to sit with them both for the original typing and then for the proof corrections. It was back-breaking. Money was another factor then, as I had drained quite a bit of my savings in getting the books typed in the market. Who is concerned about my emotions or mission in life?  At that time I was a naïve & had a mission to accomplish. No one came forward to lend a hand, except some acquaintances, who helped me with some monetary help & I am obliged to them. 
Q  Have your efforts and contributions been recognized in India and elsewhere? If yes, in what manner? 
                 The answer is ‘no’, but I have no complaints and no regrets.  Nonetheless, I am happy even without any honour or recognition. In one way it is good. The Lord always discourages his loving devotee whom he loves exceptionally, from getting fame while he is alive. This helps the devotee to maintain his equilibrium of mind and prevents him from becoming proud of his achievements & successes, even though I am very confident that I would not have been so. Let the world enjoy the nectar dripping out of the books. In today’s world, many things are stage-managed and recognition on the world stage requires some high & mighty patron—something I don’t have. Those who know the achiever will come to him seeking knowledge and he will be known to the world by word of mouth and personal experiences of those who come to him.
Q  Which countries have you visited for discourses and programmes on spiritual matters? 
                 What to talk of ‘foreign country’, I have not even visited any of our Indian pilgrim places in the last 29 years since I came to Ayodhya in 1985, though I had gone to Pushkar, Nathdwara &  Dwarka, when I was in college at Jaipur. Then later on, I had gone to Chidambaran in Tamil Nadu, & Tirupati Balaji once, while I did a course as a young student at the Annamalai University there.
Q  How many months do you take, on an average, to complete one book from start to finish? 
                 The time factor is quite fluctuating e.g. I did Upanishad volumes in about 4 years.   Tulsidas’ first edition took around 3-4 years. I don’t keep a timetable because that would be like forcing me to meet deadlines. I write for the peace of my mind, soul and heart.
Q  Please narrate any one interesting event/incident, which you have experienced while planning/writing/posting these books? 
                 I had no plan to process the book ‘Devi Puran Ramayan’ at all; in fact I did not even know that this sort of Ramayan ever existed. One day I was cleaning my room, which I do routinely, unconsciously my eyes fell on a stack of books in the wall Almirah, where I saw a thick book protruding oddly from the top of the stack. I just wished to dust it and push it back, so that it doesn’t fall down.  Nevertheless, I pulled it out to dust it before shoving it in. Now, while turning it to clean it, my attention was drawn to a paper mark jutting out of it from the top end. Out of curiosity, I opened the page, and astonishingly my eyes fell on a heading that read that it was the beginning of the story of Ramayan. ‘Ramayan in the middle of another book’—I wondered what that book was about. Then it was the first time I looked at its cover attentively, which read ‘Devi Puran’. I was just about to push it in but a thought occurred to me to flip a few more pages and take a quick glance. Suddenly I discovered another paper slip at the place where the Ramayan part ended and the story of Krishna started. Nonchalantly I closed it and was about to shove it back on the stack when a phone was received from the temple and people wanted me to rush there because the Navratra Puja had to be done, as it was the first day of the Navratras.
            I kept the book tentatively on my writing desk and hurried to the temple.  At that time I was writing Tulsidas’ Janki and Parvati Mangal. Mentally disturbed & restless, I finished my obligations hurriedly and rushed home to look at the book closely for the first time! I discovered that the story of Ramayan is contained in its Canto nos. 36-49. I thought that it was the providence that the Lord had thrust this book in my hands, that I must tell the world about this story of Durga Puja & Dusshera. Without second thoughts, I decided that I will finish this Ramayan exactly within the period of the Navratras. I slogged day and night. I managed to finish the Chapters in such a way that each landmark event narrated in the Puran coincided with the actual timings that these celebrations were observed in the traditional manner by the public, so much so that the killing of Ravana and the final immersion of the idol of Durga coincided with the actual burning of Ravana’s effigy and immersion of Durga idols that was done at Ayodhya that year. My wrists and fingers became distorted with exertion, and I had to give then a long rest of about 15 days, before they were fit to pick up the pen again. But the ‘book’ got ready in the form; it was later published by Chaukhamba publishers in exactly ten days of the Navratras! It just ‘happened’, inexplicably and unknowingly.  It was not planned, not foretold, virtually unknown and it was literally impossible.  
For creating a web site, a miracle happened with me. I had a Face book account at that time and I made an appeal for help & guidance. An unknown lady from America, Virginia Wright by name, came as a God-sent angel for me. She told me details about how and where to create a great website, the one that I have now. She gave me step-by-step instructions though I was a complete stranger. I named the web site after Tulsidas and Ram. I will never be able to thank this kind lady adequately, who was instrumental in my having this present website, where I upload my books, i.e. < > She was the one who showed me the way where I finally built the website for my free books, though of course the final shape was arranged with the help of a local boy.   
Virginia Wright Author:   Website:  
 E-mail ID: 
Author’s recent books have also been uploaded on another website which is exclusively dedicated to e-books: <>       
Publisher:  Chaukhamba Publishing House, Delhi.
Address: 4697/2, Street no. 21-A, (HDFC Bank wali Gali), Ansari Road, Darayaganj, Delhi—110002.
Proprietor:  Shri Neeraj Gupta.
Phone: Landline: Office: 011-23286537; 011-32996391, Mobile-09811133683,
Distributor of Author’s printed books: Sri Nitin Goel. [Firm: Exotic India Arts Pvt. Ltd., Delhi]
 Phone:  Landline: 011-45083532; 011-27373485; 011-27374360,   Mobile-09811684062,
E-mail ID: < >  

1 comment:

Virginia Wright said...

Nice interview with Author Ajai Kumar Chhawchharia. Wonderful, dedicated writer and author!