Review of Dr. Kiriti Sengupta’s book “Reflection on Salvation” by Dr. Mallika Tripathi

Reflection on Salvation is a wisdom book, a small bundle of immortal knowledge that provides us the glimpses of the author’s outlook on the holy scripture of the Hindus.  It is astonishing to witness the pearls of wisdom in such a tiny pack where the author surprises the readers with practical knowledge on spirituality and renunciation. It shows us the real side of Dr. Sengupta who is not only logical in his approach towards life but who is also hell bent not to follow blindly the preaching of so called Gurus. Dustin Pickering also admits the same when he declares, ‘Reflection on Salvation is a collection of anecdotal wisdom that serves to both illuminate and discuss the paradox of faith.’ It’s simple but an interesting book that carries the miraculous power to shatter your existing philosophies on religion and salvation.

It’s a universal truth that the most desirable factor in Hindu religion is MOKSHA but talking about attaining Moksha is too complicated as it closes all the ways to tangible pleasures and teaches us to follow the strict path of self-control but the author sees it all with a different perspective and shares his heartfelt philosophies with the readers, leaving them relaxed and enlightened. Dr. Sengupta not only dares to question the beliefs and dogmas of religion but he also brings forward a new perspective on religious theories. The concept of monasticism has been given a new direction when the author comes up with an entirely new definition of renunciation. He feels fascinated by the holy colour as he finds people attired in saffron to be saintly pious irrespective of their caste, creed and colour. He goes beyond all man-made boundaries to visualise the sanctity of saffron color. It not only appeals to the heart of the writer but also touches his soul. ‘Saffron adds color and flavour to certain delicacies, but when it shows up on your attire, I find you saintly pious.’

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Deep down in his heart he feels too agonised when he finds the ultimate aim of life to earn the livelihood even at the cost of family. Here we see his affection and concern for his family. Majority of people live and die in the process of earning their livelihood but how many of them actually live their life? This remains to be a major concern. Being in a pensive mood the writer innocently puts forward a question, ‘You work to get paid. Your family awaits funds on your payday. Does wisdom urge to neglect your loved ones?’ It not only forces the readers to reassess the objective of their life but also leave them aghast. How can we actually get salvation unless we understand the real objective of life? As per his perspective what really matters is the deeds and conduct of a person that carries the power to bring one closer to the God. It is rightly said ‘God craves for intensity rather than rituals.’ One must try to avoid the demon’s traits to achieve the God, ‘Divinity might be found in conduct, but not in the codes. Understanding the objective of life, or the purpose of your worldly existence is your first step to reach the gods.’

At times we find him ridiculing the hypocrisy of the modern men who are more concerned with a false show of their charitable deeds rather than the actual charity. They take charity as another mean to save their tax rather than a medium to help the poor. As per his perspective donating anonymously makes you a virtuous man, making a show off of your donation makes you an ordinary man whereas donating for the sake of saving your tax makes you a stupid man as you lose the real essence of charity. He gets sarcastic while describing such people as he declares,

‘…Donors are proud owners of such receipts as those are useful to claim income tax – exemption. A formally printed donation- receipt in India is but a memoir of section 80G!’

The author appears to be in search of a holy Guru who can take all his pain away. As he firmly believes that the right communion can bring revolutionary changes in life whereas the wrong communion results in utter failure. It leaves you nowhere putting an end to your existence. The author prudently calls it as ‘link failure’ as you lose an opportunity to prove yourself due to the same.

‘Even an ovum awaits communion to become a zygote. The organ gives birth and sacrifices one after another, and if not fertilized, they flow away from the tract. You call it monthly departure, but I would rather name it ‘link failure.’

Ultimately he forces the readers to redefine the canon of life; how can one get rid of the chains of bondage? and the answer comes from within that the only way out is to lead an indifferent life. Everything on this earth is subject to death and decay then why do we run after earthly pleasures? Why can’t we let everything go as if it was never ours? These are the questions that continuously hammer his brain and never allow him to sit silently as he always feels puzzled with the mystery of life. Once we start living with an indifferent approach none can obstruct our way to salvation. He feels delighted when he quotes: ‘salvation is but enlightenment, achievable only by actions, and through your sensory gateways.’ He further adds, ‘If salvation is the goal, spontaneity is the key!’

Nothing in this world works at its own will. We have no control over life and death. We are at the mercy of our creator then why to boast about anything when we know our role as puppets, ‘We live as long as we breathe; and it is but the breathing which occurs on its own will. No gods, but the breath that builds a home for our life and death. /They say, God dwells within; it is then the mortal exploration of the resort where salvation is largely seen.’ Thus we see that here the author answers the most complicated question in the simplest form, leaving us amazed at his simplicity and acumen.

Last but not the least it is a gnomic utterance of an avuncular man who succeeds in blessing the readers with wisdom; Wisdom that not only enlightens them spiritually but also makes them wise in the true sense. In my view it is a must read if you are looking forward for a spiritual journey towards salvation as it turns out to be a perfect combination of humour, wit and sarcasm that is bound to bring one close to the truth of life.

About the reviewer:

Dr. Mallika Tripathi is currently Assoc. Professor & Head of Department, Humanities at Feroze Gandhi Institute of Engineering and Technology, Raebareli. She is a member of the International Theodore Dresier Society, USA. She has a number of national and international papers to her credit. She is also associated with many research journals and organisations in their Editorial and Executive bodies. She is an academician, poetess, honorary legal consultant, social activist and above all a much sought after humanitarian who is well known for her latest collection of poetry, ‘Oh Son! My Sun!: A Heart To Heart Verses’.

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