“Lord Krishna’s character has shades of grey”

Popular writer Ashwin Sanghi has come up with his third potential bestselling novel ‘The Krishna Key’ which delves deeper into the time of Mahabharata 5,000 years ago. Resham Sengar of Zeenews.com chats with the author to know why the book is a must read.

Is ‘The Krishna Key’ written as Krishna’s biography or as another ‘Mahabharata’?

It is neither written as a biography of Krishna nor is it retelling of the Mahabharata. It is about an individual who is living in the present day and he believes that he is tenth avatar of Lord Vishnu and goes on a killing spree. Later, a historian named Ravi Saini gets falsely implicated in one of those murders. And in order to clear up his name, Ravi digs deeper not just into his life or into Krishna’s but actually goes back 5,000 years. So, the book is far from retelling.

What was your aim behind writing your third book ‘The Krishna Key’? What all areas have been explored in the book?

Well, the Krishna key was really my effort to try and take the character of Krishna and explore it in a historical sense rather than in a mythological sense. We all know Krishna as a character from the Hindu mythology, but I sought answers to questions like - was there a real Krishna ages ago and if that real Krishna was there what did he look like? When did he live? When did the Mahabharata war actually occur? These are the kind of questions which I asked myself during my growing up years and I wanted to explore these questions. So this book gave me an opportunity to take the topic a little deeper beyond the myth and try and correlate what mythology tells us with what the available historical evidence is telling us.

Why did you plan to focus only on Krishna’s life considering the fact that there are hundreds of other Gods? What really caught your interest in the deity?

Honestly speaking, Krishna for me is one of those wonderfully complex characters and I like picking characters which are not one-dimensional. For example, I would not have necessarily liked writing about Shri Ram Chandra ji, because he is just all good. Things that come across in his character are that he was duty-bound, loyal and very righteous. Whereas with Krishna you see a lovable cowherd on one side, a naughty butter-thief and a shrewd statesman and at the same time you see a very ruthless strategist on the battle field of Kurukshetra. Krishna is multi-dimensional in that sense. He is great character – not all good, not all bad. He has shades of grey and I like that.

Please tell us about the main aspects of Krishna’s life you have touched upon in your book.

As you know that a rudraksh necklace has 108 beads woven into it. Similarly, the book is structured into 108 chapters all connected with a common string. And each chapter has a paragraph which starts talking about Krishna’s life. So from the time of Krishna’s birth to the time of Krishna’s death, all of that forms 8-9 percent of the book. The rest of 91-92 percent of the book is a contemporary story which is a thriller. It talks about events that are happening today but are related to the events that occurred 5,000 years back. ‘The Krishna Key’ is an exploration of the historical character as well as the age in which Krishna lived. For example, what was the Vedic age like? What was the Saraswati civilization like? Can we correlate the findings of the Dwarka underwater city to the life of Krishna? Was Mahabharata a technologically advanced war? Could there have been nuclear weapons? All these questions are dealt with in the book.

Which part of the book did you find most difficult to write?

The part where I have had relate my story with actual mythology. I had to be very conscious since I was dealing with someone’s faith. So those were the bits where I had to put a lot of extra time to make sure that it turns out just perfect. Otherwise, I was not bothered with the contemporary story since its flow was just perfect.

Do you have any plan to write a sequel to ‘The Krishna Key’?

‘The Krishna Key’ as well as the ‘Chanakya’s Chant’ were written in a way where things were left a little open ended primarily for my own advantage so that when I decide I can write the sequels. However, I am going to be busy till December 2013 because my next novel is going to occupy my time and that is not a sequel to any of the books I have written. But it is possible that post finishing with my current book, I may actually revisit and write a sequel to any of my previous books.

What other genres do you find interesting enough to write a book on?

I am very fond of thriller formats. I like any form of thriller, whether it is murder, who dunnits, suspense or espionage. Basically, all the subjects within the broader thriller genre are what I like. I always like racy reading. Having said that, I would say that I am very fond of fiction like reading stuff on Swami Paramhansa which is not racy but enlightening.