“108 Shades of Divinity” emphasises the co-existence of all religions

The auditory senses heard chants, olfactory senses smelt incense, eyes scanned through religious imagery and what was now left, was food for the soul. The Park Hotel played host to the launch of “108 Shades of Divinity”, an attempt at salvaging the dying belief among the youth in religion and spirituality.

The book has been co-authored by Anju Poddar, late Mukul Singhal and Sethu Vidyanathan and takes the reader on a journey across India through 108 places of worship covering nine major religions based in the country. The term 108 in the title, was chosen based on its omnipresent importance across many a religion, representing both spirituality and divinity.

Conceived with the idea of changing the fast growing notion of religious places being looked upon as arduous and cumbersome, the three friends set about digging, filtering and compiling legends, folklore and the wide array of beliefs attached to each shrine, moulding it in a manner so as to interest and simultaneously inform. The book also features a total of 80 people including successful entrepreneurs, media professionals, actors and philanthropists who have shared their views on religion, their beliefs and surfs through monuments of the Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Parsees and Jews. Co-author Sethu Vidyanathan called the book an endeavour to encourage the reader to explore the rich, beautiful religious tapestry the country has to offer. He hoped that every pilgrim would find this book a compelling guide and companion on their journey.

The launch was followed by a discussion presided over by Dilip Cherian, who set the ball rolling with the words, “In today’s environment, there are a lot of ways for those who seek to divide; unity on the other hand is what is fading out.” Revolving around the topic of divinity and religion, the event was also attended by Muzaffar Ali, Sunil Kant Munjal and B.K. Sister Shivani, who elaborated on retaining and incorporating that feeling of well being often felt at many a religious pilgrimage; and not taking such holidays as escape routes. She also emphasised the need to banish the wrong practice of attachment to the teacher rather than the teaching. The day came to a close with the enunciation of the book’s emphasis on the co-existence of all religions and how its motives lay in teaching rather than preaching.