N.KALYANI speaks to V. Radhakrishnan, a first-time author who has just come up with "The Cave of Freedom"

The blurb on the jacket of the book "The Cave of Freedom" reads, "...it could have been written many years ago or many years later; but it had to be written, in any case." Written it was, and launched recently in New Delhi.A novel of 234 pages, brought out by Konark Publishers, it captures the spiritual voyage of discovery of the protagonist, as he lives his mundane life across continents and over more than four decades. "It is in part a portrayal of my own spiritual leaning and yearning, which commenced in my childhood itself. The book is also founded on my study of the various scriptures and philosophies. It is, therefore, also a transformation of an intellectual exercise into the emotional and spiritual realms," reveals V. Radhakrishnan, a first-time author. "The fiction I have created is to have a storyline," he says, adding that the book is a "conglomerate of fact, fiction and fantasy."A Bangalore-based architect running his own firm, Archaid, Radhakrishnan says, "Space always fascinated me. And in my profession, I carve out useable space from existing space - which is what a building is all about. I suffer from claustrophobia; I was shut in an elevator for 10 minutes and it felt like aeons."

Explaining freedom

What then is the "cave" of freedom? "The sky, symbolic of illimitable expanse, which apparently seems to have the potential of being our liberator from our life of constrictions and restrictions is in reality unable to. We erroneously seek our spiritual emancipation and salvation by looking outwards. The answers to all our queries and the path to complete freedom actually lie within us. Seeking within leads to our liberation," he elucidates. And what is the `within'? The explanation also reveals who Bodhi is, who in the book, eloquently proffers loads of spiritual and metaphysical wisdom. "Bodhi is one's real essence, the soul, the alter ego. The child's innocence and sensitiveness comprise the `bodhi' in its pristine state. With growing up comes the concomitant concealing of the `bodhi' through the complexities of our upbringing and societal pressures and demands."According to Radhakrishnan, spirituality is not a separate part of life, for there is the spiritual in everything. "The guitar which I sometimes play also offers me something spiritual," remarks the music enthusiast, whose love for music had him, at one point of time, following gypsy troupes in East Europe. "Every subject, every facet of life has a spiritual dimension to it. That is something I have tried to express in the book," he adds.

Agonies and ecstasies

"I have had my share of agonies and ecstasies in life, that in fact have kept the spiritual alive in me," says 57-year-old Radhakrishnan, who practices meditation daily. He relates his experiences whilst based in Kuwait in 1990 during the Iraqi invasion, which, he says, were for him a pointer to how intriguing life is, rather than being traumatising!He clarifies the meaning of the fractals featured in the book's cover design. "It is the graphic representation of a non - linear differential equation of the chaotic movement of a pendulum. It is akin in some way to the unstable unit of life that we all find fascinating." This esoteric work comes to a close with a profound "The Beginning" as the last two words. "It is because," says the author, "the spiritual voyage gives one a new kind of awareness, a realisation of a mystical nature that makes one see everything in a new light, a different light."