Into The Great Heart by Kamla K. Kapur

Legends and Adventures of Guru Angad the second Sikh Guru. 

From the bestselling author of Classic Tales from Mystic India, The Singing Guru and Rumi: Tales to Live By, comes the second book in the Sikh saga series about Bhai Lehna’s journey from being Guru Nanak’s constant disciple to becoming Guru Angad (1504 – 1552), his successor and the second Sikh Guru. 

Kamla K Kapur was born in India, her books are based on Indian sprituality and philosophy. She is a holder of Master’s degree from Kent State University of Ohio, USA, and studied creative writing from University of of Iowa and University of California in Sandiego. She was on the faculty of Grossmont university. And an recipient of The Indian National Award and the Sultan Padmasee Award in Literature. She has been a play writer of great acclaim. Presently living in USA and also has been spending her time at her home in the Himalayas.

Into the Great Heart carries forward and concludes the stories of Guru Nanak and Bhai Mardana, his favourite minstrel, from the first volume of the Sikh saga, The Singing Guru. History, legend and fiction merge to populate this book with fascinating personalities from Sikh history. Pivotal to this narrative are forgotten female luminaries such as Guru Nanak’s wife, Mata Sulakhni, his sister, Bebe Nanaki, Bhai Lehna’s wife, Khivi and daughter Amro. Brought to the foreground, their wisdom and insights as they overcome obstacles to spiritual growth embody the basic tenets of Sikhism in everyday living. They enhance Guru Nanak and Bhai Lehna’s tale with their diverse approach to life. 

My Review :

” Into The Greater Heart ” has Guru Nanak Devji and Guru Angad . Inspite of that you have given a great description of Bebe Nanki, Mata Sulakhani, Mata Khivi, Amro, Bhai Mardana’s wife and grand daughter. Female characters are well described. About their circumstances and life that further shaped their character.
Often when we think about Baba Nanak’s family , we say that his sons didn’t live upto his expectations and Mata Sulakhani is often mentioned as a shrew, a bitter woman. But you bring the human side of Guru Nanak’s wife and children who are never even thought from that perspective and yet you don’t blame anyon. Something I really liked was the line ” shrews are not Born but made”. We never once stop to ponder that Mata Sulakhani raised her sons as a single mother, she gave one son to Bebe Nanki as she was difficult for her to bring up her sons alone. Bebe Nanki on the other hand also did suffer a stigma of being childless but had a supportive husband. Her character was moulded into an understanding and compassionate woman, who understood Mata Sulakhani’s pain. Guru Nanak Devji too during his return from the udasis tried to compensate for the lost time with his family. And thus, this is the reason he has emphasized the importance of family life. His children’s divergent ways of worshipping God are also well explained. Both were in awe of their father and both formed an imaginative image about him. Thus, it lead to a conflict in mind and reality when they come face to face with Baba Nanak.

Bibi Amro, Guru Angad Devji’s daughter was well versed in kirtan and her close friendship with Bhai Mardana’s granddaughter is beautifully shown.

Mata Khiviji with her benevolent nature and her tremondous dedication for Sewa.

What touched me the most about this book is the author’s ability to see beyond what is usually described. Fine description of Baba Nanak and his friendship between Bhai Mardana. And well written description of their family life.

A very apt title for the book.