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What Really Drove The Naga Warriors to Gokul? Find Out Here!

National bestselling author, Akshat Gupta returns with another gripping series, The Naga Warriors: The Battle of Gokul Volume 1, where legends come to life and heroes are forged. Journey deep into the heart of Gokul, where the echoes of Krishna’s miracles still ring, and the Naga warriors stand as the guardians of Dharma against the forces of darkness.

Read this exclusive excerpt to embark on an adventure like no other!

The Naga Warriors 1
The Naga Warriors || Akshat Gupta



‘Was Gokul a special place, then?’ asked the hiker, Thomas.


‘Gokul is still a special place and will remain so till the end of the world,’ replied the nameless Naga with a smile on his face.


‘What’s so special about this place Gokul?’


The nameless Naga continued: A place that earned its salvation by Lord Krishna’s hands himself will always be special. In the ancient town of Gokul, there lived a cruel king named Kans. His rule was marked by fear and suffering as he imposed heavy taxes and subjected the people to his ruthless whims. Yet, little did Kans know that his reign of terror was destined to meet its end.


A prophecy had foretold the birth of a child who would be his demise. That child was none other than Lord Krishna, the divine avatar of Vishnu. Krishna’ s parents, Devaki and Vasudeva, were locked away in a prison cell by Kans, as it was prophesied that their eighth child would bring about his downfall. Each time Devaki gave birth, Kans mercilessly took the child and ended its life. However, when Krishna was born, a divine intervention occurred. Miraculously, the prison doors opened, and Vasudeva was able to carry the newborn Krishna to safety across the raging Yamuna River to the village of Gokul. There, he exchanged Krishna with a baby girl, Yashoda’ s daughter, and returned to the prison without arousing suspicion. Later, when Kans came to kill the baby girl, she flew from his hand, revealed herself as Maya and vanished after telling Kans that his death was inevitable.


Krishna grew up in Gokul as a cowherd, endearing himself to everyone with his charm, mischief and divine exploits. As he matured, his extraordinary powers became evident and his reputation as the embodiment of grace and righteousness spread far and wide. When Kans learn t of Krishna’s existence and the prophecy, he unleashed a series of demons and wicked schemes to eliminate the divine child. Krishna fearlessly faced each challenge, defeating demons like Putana, Trinavarta and Keshi. Finally, the day of reckoning arrived. Krishna, having come-of-age, confronted Kans in a mighty showdown. With his divine strength and cunning, Krishna overpowered Kans and cast him from his throne. The prophecy had come true, and Gokul was freed from Kans’s oppressive rule.


Krishna’s birth and his victory over Kans became a symbol of hope and divine intervention for all, a reminder that righteousness and courage would always triumph over tyranny. Krishna’s legacy endured, and his teachings on love, morality and devotion continue to inspire countless souls to this day. Even in the 1750s, this divine connection was evident in every aspect of Gokul Houses made of mud and straw lined the narrow, unpaved streets, their walls often adorned with colourful murals depicting scenes from Krishna’s childhood. As one walked the complicated pathways, the aroma of incense and freshly cooked meals wafted out from windows, creating a heady mix of scents. The centre of Gokul was dominated by majestic havelis and temples, each more intricate and richly decorated than the last. The temples were characterized by their towering shikharas and bore the fine craftsmanship of the region, with intricate carvings and delicate work. The continuous tolling of temple bells added to the rhythmic chanting of prayers and the soulful melodies of devotional songs were a constant backdrop to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Thanks to the nourishing Yamuna, the town was wrapped in an emerald quilt of fertile farmland. Many residents were engaged in farming and animal husbandry, with herds of cattle being a common sight. The daily life of Gokul in the 1750s was naturally tied to the rhythm of nature. Despite being a small town, Gokul was a melting pot of cultures. The music of birds chirping and cows mooing and the vibrant colours of the textiles created a lively atmosphere, as if Krishna still lived there.


The region’ s local traditions were harmoniously interwoven with influences from across the country, brought in by the many pilgrims and travellers who visited this holy town. Festivals, especially those related to Lord Krishna, were grand affairs celebrated enthusiastically, transforming the village into a spectacle of lights, colours and joyous revelry. Life in Gokul in the 1750s was humble and simple, yet imbued with a profound sense of spirituality and community. Amid the rhythm of daily chores and routines, a sense of calm and peace prevailed, underpinned by the town’s unshakeable faith in the divine.


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Gurcharan Das’s Journey to a More Compassionate Self​

What does it mean to understand ourselves and become more compassionate? In this excerpt from Another Sort of Freedom by Gurcharan Das, we explore these deep questions. Let’s think about who we are, how our identity changes, and how we can live with more kindness and empathy beyond the confines of egotism.

Another Sort of Freedom
Another Sort of Freedom || Gurucharan Das


‘When God is gone, how do you give meaning to your life?’ my mother had once asked. I had failed to give her a satisfactory answer. But I had an inkling that meaning emerges from pursuing something bigger than yourself. I had experienced it as a spirit of lightness. It usually happened when I was deeply absorbed in my writing. I wasn’t even there – the fingers just kept hitting the keys of my laptop and words kept appearing on the screen. Tendulkar had described the same feeling when he was approaching his last double century. He said the cricket ball had become so big that the bat just had to hit the ball. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the psychologist, calls it ‘flow’. The problem with this feeling is that it is temporary. The big question was: could I extend it to the rest of the day, to the rest of my life? Could self-forgetting become an enduring attitude of living lightly?


Such questions emerged early in my life when I first encountered David Hume’s Treatise on Human Nature at Harvard. I became aware of the stream of thoughts in my head. A decade later, the voices first appeared involuntarily in my early thirties. These mental experiments continued over the years, and they have convinced me that I could only be sure of the existence of momentary thoughts, not who was having them. Like Hume, I looked for an author but I could not find him. Was I then merely a fictional composite of my momentary selves? If so, how was I able to negotiate from one thought to the next one? What provided continuity between my individual moments, I concluded, were my memories, my desires, and my beliefs. But these mental entities also depended on the temporary roles I was playing, the masks I was wearing. They were, thus, not reliable sources of my permanent existence.


All this led to growing scepticism about my permanent identity. I concluded that my I-ness was a fraud of sorts, a sort of fictional narrator that held the story of my life together. I have been much influenced by Donald J, and by Nagarjuna’s Buddhist idea of anatta, ‘no-self’. When the ‘I’ got busted, I was hugely unnerved. I could not live without a concept of personhood. But I still needed to get on with my life. Of all the emotions I possessed, the most overwhelming was a deep concern for my own survival. I still needed an author, an object of my self-concern. If it didn’t exist, how would I be responsible for my actions? Not just in a courtroom but in my conscience. For all practical purposes, I needed a stable concept of a person.


As time went by, I gradually became resigned to the absence of a permanent ‘I’ and I underwent a subtle change. I began to view my identity as a useful fiction, a practical necessity, a minimal self. I became a little more detached, seeing through the many roles I was playing in my daily life. My day to day life, however, did not change. I did not suddenly become selfless or philanthropic. Self-concern still defined my attitude towards myself. But I felt less and less at the centre of the universe – I was just one amongst others. My minimal self, in other words, was able to extend the same concern a little more easily to others. As a result, I began to feel a continuum or sameness with other selves. I did not hanker constantly after premium treatment for myself.


It was this awakening that raised a hope. If my minimal self could more easily identify with the selves of others, could I become more empathetic, a more compassionate person? Could I overcome some of the worst, egotistical defects in my character, and liberate myself from bondages that had nagged me all my life? I had lived my life in the constant belief that my interests trumped everyone else’s. And my behaviour had been consistently egocentric. There were exceptions from time to time — a few early moments of awakening! The obvious one being the pencil box incident in kindergarten. When Ayan was about to be wrongly punished for stealing the rich kid’s pencil box, he had cried out, appealed to me. I remained silent. My feeling of shame was followed by profound concern for Ayan, which has never left me. A few months later, I had experienced this in a different way during the Partition violence. On this occasion, I felt a wave of empathy for the handsome Muslim policeman on the railway platform just as he was stabbed to death by two Sikh boys. I bumped first into Ayan and then into the Partition, both without warning, and they pulled me out of my egocentric self, at least for a while.


Get your copy of Another Sort of Freedom by Gurcharan Das wherever books are sold.

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