The novel “Purgatory Voyage” by Adarsh Kumar Khare is about a story that dates back to 925 AD of a village person, otherwise living peacefully, whose life is thrown into turmoil consequent to an extraordinary experience of the afterlife, an outcome of his deed (karma) and sense of inquiry. The story is beautifully weaved with threads of mythology, traditional Hindu beliefs, and folklore. At the same time, there is a conscious effort to bring out the social behavior, rituals, and festivities of village life of that period along with the political order of the King with his subjects.
There is a gripping narration of Kali, the protagonist of the novel, of other-worldly experience of his visits to after-life planets of hells and heavens, of torments and punitive actions meted out to sinners, and accounts of suffering the souls have to undergo for the various sins committed in their earthly lives. The author seems to have largely drawn from the ‘Pretkalp’ part of ‘Garud-Puran’ for making such a vivid description of the splendors of the city of Yam, the horrors of various hells, and the excruciating journey of an ordinary soul through all this.
The most interesting part of this novel is the day-by-day recount by Kali of incidents, pain, and suffering of his soul and other fellow souls in his 10-days sojourn to different types of hells and also exploring parts of Yam City and heaven. The curiosity of a reader is held on toes as the account of each day unfolds, much like the Arabian nights.
Incidentally, the idea of a purgatory voyage is not unique to Hindu faith alone. In Christianity too, we have references of St. Patrick’s Purgatory and the most famous “Inferno” and “Purgatorio” of Dante. The concept of a mortal soul being subjected to punishments for the sins committed in their earthly life is a common theme in all major faiths, including Islam.
I find ‘Purgatory Voyage’ by Adarsh Khare a hugely fascinating story in which one cannot leave reading halfway. It latches on to your curiosity and leads your imagination till you reach the end and sigh a sense of relief and joy of having gone through the upheavals along with the protagonist of the story. I think this is the achievement of Adarsh Khare in writing this book.
Book Title: Purgatory Voyage: Encountering Life After Death
Author: Adarsh Khare
Review by: Asit Kumar, Advisor in the Ministry of Petroleum, New Delhi.
Book Title: 4/5
Book Cover: 3/5
Inside the book: 4/5
Language & Grammar: 4/5
Final Rating: 4/5