Gyan Publishing House, 5, Ansari Road, Darya Ganj, New Delhi 11002
The author has originally published his book in Telugu where he relates his experiences pertaining mostly to his tenure as Executive Officer, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh.
Prasad’s stint at Tirupati began when he was given the first choice among the shortlisted candidates to take over the position of Executive Officer of TTD. Though he was a little hesitant initially to accept the position in view of his plans to settle down in Hyderabad, an ordeal his young daughter had gone through made him decide in favour of the offer and give his consent to occupy the post. The incident is a prelude to several other events that took place which strengthened the author’s belief in “Naham Kartha, Hari Kartha”, (I am not the doer, SriHari is) and these are narrated in the 30 odd chapters of the book. Though all his experiences as well as of those of the devotees of the Lord are graphically presented in a lucid style, some incidents mentioned in the book are sure to touch the hearts of readers.
In the chapter,“The Ardent Wish Of The Devotee And The Lord ’’ Prasad talks of his “impulsive” decision jumping all protocol to appoint Sri Rallapalli Anantakrishna Sarma, as TTD “astana Vidwan.” Sri Sarma, a great scholar was associated with the Annamacharya project launched by Prasad to popularize the famous poet composer’s devotional songs in praise of Lord Srinivasa. The scholar had toiled for years transcripting the “keertanas” ’from the copper plates unraveling the language of Annamacharya’s time and bringing to light the values embedded in the keertanas and Prasad thought he richly deserved the appointment as Poet Laureate. Did the reward for the Lord’s devotee come too late? What were the consequences of Prasad’s decision? The chapter answers these questions.
In ‘The Demanding Lord And The Satisfied Devotee” Prasad talks of his dilemma when he was faced with a precarious situation which made him once again transgress rules in order to justify a 20-member group of devotees’ faith in the Lord.
“Destiny Decides Even “Darshan” proves, true to the saying “Man proposes, God disposes’’ one can have darshan of the Lord only when “He” wills it notwithstanding the high official position the devotees might occupy, official or otherwise. One such devotee’s (the then Chief Secretary of A.P.) experience is related and I would like to quote his observation to the author: “One day you might become the Chief Secretary. But there is no greater post than that of the Executive Officer. As Chief Secretary I had to struggle a lot for the call from the Lord to have one darshan. But you have been blessed by the Lord to have His darshan so many times and to attend to His devotees daily”
The author concludes the chapter with a query : “Innumerable have been instances of people coming with high level recommendations not having satisfactory darshan, and the nameless without any recommendation having the satisfaction of a great darshan. Why does it happen?”
Prasad strongly believes in the saying that marriages are made in heaven and he feels his daughter Madhavi’s marriage is proof that they still do. The chapter is a detailed personal account of how the marriage came about in a jiffy.
The volume is well got up with some pictures interspersed but the price could have been more reasonable for a book of this kind.
N. Meera Raghavendra Rao