First names in India are meaningful.The title of the novel I choose to describe is ''Saraswati-Chandra'', the name of the leading hero of the novel.The essencial meaning of the name is ''Master of knowledge''.''Saraswati'' is the Godess of knowledge, whereas the word ''Chandra'' at the end of the name is to give respect to the person....though the exact meaning of ''Chandra'' is ''moon''.So the name as a whole might as well stand for ''a scholar with the virtues like the moon''.
The novel is a high volume, written in 4 parts, and it took the author 14 years in total to finish the book.One striking criteria of the novel is that each and every character (the total number is more than 40, as far as I could count) is named according to the spirit of the charactor. The name itself describes the very nature of the charactor.It is fun for the first-time-reader to imagine the charactor as he/she reads the names, and as goes on, to be amazed to find out that what he/she guessed matched the fantasy of the author.Yet, it is unlikely to be the purpose of the novel.It isn''t a fun-for-timepass kind of novel.The novel is full of idealistic charactors, an ideal Indian environment, ideal culture--the one of its kind in my native language.The language is very pure, and uses no words that do not belong to the language... some are derived from Sanskrit(an anciant Indian language), and this makes the words very difficult to understand,yet a true lover of this type of literature will be bound to read through every page.
It would be difficult to explain the whole story in few words without loosing the essential parts; but I can try to tell you a part of the beginning sothat you''d be able to deside if it interests you. It begins somewhat like this: The hero is engaged to the heroine since childhood as desided by their parents.The hero is 25 and heroine 14-15 when they begin to exchange letters of wisdom and fall in love....are impressed by virtues and knowledge they find in each other.Pure language,verses come naturally in their speech.They meet only once, and after this a villain comes in the story-the stepmom of the hero.She secretly reads their letters, and as it happens, her narrow mind doesn''t understand the true love that flows in their nerves, and wickedly invents rather harsh meanings to the words used by them in letters.She fills the ears of her husband-the father of the hero- with rubbish thoughts that his son, inspired by his fiancee might snatch their wealth once they are married.Her husband might be good at heart, but is not strong enough to keep his emotions and thoughts free of such malice poured by a woman.He thinks the worst of his son and tells him on face that he was not manly enough that he allowed his fiancee control his thoughts and emotions, also that she made him insincere to his duties and loose respect for parents.
By these words he was hurt so much that he desided to leave what they call ''worldly illusions''. Infact, he had always been thinking of living the life of a monk-- or an observer of worldly illusions,.. only love for his fiancee had been stopping him from taking this hard desicion.He always loved her, but now it was obvious to him that she won''t live happily with him as long as he had such relatives. For few days he was depressed,and while in this whimsical state he wrote two letters--one to his Father-in-law-to-be, telling he had desided to leave all relationships to the worldly people and was going somewhere in search of truth.Other to his fiancee in which he wrote only a verse saying that he prayed she find a better future, that he hoped she find a man who was bright as the Sun, compared to whom he himself was like moon.
Soon she was made to marry a man who was lower than she in wisdom, virtue, goodness.She suffered from the remorse but tried hard to accept the wish of the gods.Soon within few days the Hero who was roaming around in search of truth happened t-law was impressed by this stranger and invites him to be their guest as long as he was in their town.
This might sound like a love story, which it is not.What I write here is the extract of only first 100 or so pages, and I''ve not mentioned politics, negative sides of humannature like agony, jealousy and other such emotions which are in abandance in the charactors,.... also not what the Hero discovers on his path to truth.The author is successful in demonstrating different aspects of humanlife, the contraverses of feelings in a single person and its unintentional effect on those around him/her.In short this is the desection of humannature- Us.Some of us are intentionally worst, some coincidently,whereas some are good but unable to reserve their original nature, some are trying to be better, while some have goodness of gods. The goodmen, they suffer while the worstmen, they are unable to see if they themselves are truely happy or not because they are too involved in thinking how to make the goodmen suffer.
Also the storyline does not flow in one single line, it has many aspects and takes many sharp and unexpected turns.