Astride the Wheel: Yantrarudha
Oxford University Press, Jan 6, 2009 - Literary Collections - 208 pages
Astride the Wheel is a quiet tale of the last years of a temple priest in rural Orissa and his acceptance of monotonous poverty---the fate of most Indian villagers. Sanatan Dase dimly senses that a great freedom lies beyond his wife's continuous complaints, the petty social insults he bears, and the endless shortages in his life.
The first half of the novel is set in a village in Orissa. In its second half, the reader leaves behind the claustrophobic Brahmin settlements, its caste hierarchies, trivial preoccupations, and repetitive rituals to travel with Sanatan Dase to Dakhineswar, Varanasi, Vrindavan, and finally to Puri. With the protagonist's outward pilgrimage coinciding with a journey into an inner world of profound mystical experience, the novel hints at a secret and flawless happiness that is attainable through simple piety and devotion. This translation will appeal to general readers as well as students and scholars of Oriya literature, Indian literature in translation, and cultural studies.
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