The seat of Shankaracharya in the philosophic and spiritual world of India is second to none. Only that person who has raised himself to Shankaracharya’s level can visualize what his mental state might have been while writing his commentary on ‘Prasthantrayi’, and while laying the foundation of Advaita Vedanta. This is what Nirmal Kumar has done. Rituraj is not only a novel presenting the life of Shankaracharya. It is also a door that enables the reader to peep into Shankaracharya’s heart and mind. The intellectual and spiritual emotions of a self-realized soul as well as his compassion at the sufferings of lay humanity add a very special glow and flavor to this novel. They give it a place in the shelf of the works of highest order.
I felt fulfilled after reading it. I hope all those countless people who will read it, will feel fulfilled like me.
‘Mahamahopadhyaya Vidyavachapati Vidyamartanda’
Professor Dr. Satya Vrat Shashtri
Honorary Professor, Special Centre For Sanskrit Studies
Jawaharlal Nehru University
Ex-Vice-Chancellor, Sri Jagannath Sanskrit University, Puri (Orissa)
HINDUSTAN DAINIK, 15.7.2007;
Reviewer: Rajiv Katara
To confine the extremely complicated life and philosophy of Shankaracharya to a book is like crossing the Himalayas on foot, and alone. Nirmal Kumar has crossed this wilderness with great beauty and composure. The first page of the novel shows Brahm (God or the Absolute of Advaita Vedanta) playing the eternal play of one and many, alone and beyond space and time. The novel casts a spell on the very first page, and keeps the reader glued to it right through. Truly, a novel on Shankaracharya could not begin in a way better than this – dedicating the first thought to Brahm.
While opening the book, a question rises in the mind, ‘Why did Nirmalji give the name ‘Rituraj’ to a book on Shankaracharya, who is supposed to be the most difficult thinker to comprehend, even for philosophers?’ The answer to this question comes gracefully and in highly elevated and poetical words, in which he describes the birth of the baby Shankara. The language, the style and diction are unprecedented. They reveal the existence of a profound mind behind the work.
This novel sensitively integrates Shankara, the philosopher with Shankara, the lover of humanity. It is a singular and unique work that presents Shankaracharya in a comprehensive perspective. It clearly explains his ideas about Appearance and Reality. It also explains his true views about womankind, which has been a widely misunderstood part of his thinking. It graphically presents his momentous contribution to Indian culture and philosophy. It sensitively portrays the contradictions that Shankaracharya had to face, and also portrays his mental agonies and spiritual sufferings, convincingly. The author has admirably clarified many misunderstandings about Shankaracharya.