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Author: Sudhir Kakar
ISBN/UPC (if available): 067005805X
It is 1925 and India's struggle for independence is in disarray, impeded by factionalism among its leaders and rising incidents of communal disharmony across the country. Meanwhile, having withdrawn himself from active politics, Bapu-Mahatma Gandhi-is in the Sabarmati ashram in Gujarat, immersed in what he considers the most important undertaking of his life: the creation of an ideal community that is dedicated to the highest standards of self-discipline, tolerance and austerity. Into this world comes Madeline Slade, the daughter of a British admiral, who has set her heart on being Bapu's greatest disciple.
Thus begins an extraordinary association between two individuals driven by distinct passions. For Gandhi, true spirituality lies in self-rile-a mastery of the self that liberates the being form all forms of craving, physical and emotional-and total dedication to practical work in service of society; Mira, as Gandhi renames Madeline, believes that the path to ultimate truth and perfection is complete surrender to the human embodiment of the Eternal Spirit, and this she perceives in Gandhi himself.
It is not long before Mira's all-consuming desire to serve Bapu translates into a desperate need to be close to him at all times and clashes head-on with the exacting moral and spiritual codes he has laid down for himself and those around him. And as the self-doubting Mahatma, seeking to distance himself from Mira yet loath to let go of her love, wrestles with his inner phantoms, Mira's life begins to take another dramatic turn.
In his bold, fictionalized exploration of this complex and tumultuous relationship, Sudhir Kakar displays once again his skill at handling delicate material with remarkable sensitivity, instinctive empathy and high imagination.
PRAISE FOR THE ASCETIC OF DESIRE
Always an elegant stylist, Sudhir Kakar has written a sensual work that is alive with historical detail and provocative ideas about the world's most fascinating subject.
-New York Times Book Review
Fascinating reading, Kakar has the consummate skills of a master craftsman.
PRAISE FOR ECSTASY
Lusciously imagined, top-of-the-line fiction.
A mesmeric and readable book about mysticism.