Nine Lives

Nine Lives From the author of The Last Mughal and In Xanadu comes a mesmerizing book that explores how traditional religions are observed in today s India revealing ways of life that we might otherwise never h

From the author of The Last Mughal and In Xanadu, comes a mesmerizing book that explores how traditional religions are observed in today s India, revealing ways of life that we might otherwise never have known.A middle class woman from Calcutta finds unexpected fulfillment living as a Tantric in an isolated, skull filled cremation ground A prison warder from Kerala iFrom the author of The Last Mughal and In Xanadu, comes a mesmerizing book that explores how traditional religions are observed in today s India, revealing ways of life that we might otherwise never have known.A middle class woman from Calcutta finds unexpected fulfillment living as a Tantric in an isolated, skull filled cremation ground A prison warder from Kerala is worshipped as an incarnate deity for two months of every year A Jain nun tests her powers of detachment watching her closest friend ritually starve herself to death The twenty third in a centuries old line of idol makers struggles to reconcile with his son s wish to study computer engineering An illiterate goatherd keeps alive in his memory an ancient 200,000 stanza sacred epic A temple prostitute, who resisted her own initiation into sex work, pushes her daughters into the trade she nonetheless regards as a sacred calling.William Dalrymple tells these stories, among others, with expansive insight and a spellbinding evocation of remarkable circumstance, giving us a dazzling travelogue of both place and spirit

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Nine Lives

  1. William Dalrymple was born in Scotland and brought up on the shores of the Firth of Forth He wrote the highly acclaimed bestseller In Xanadu when he was twenty two The book won the 1990 Yorkshire Post Best First Work Award and a Scottish Arts Council Spring Book Award it was also shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize.In 1989 Dalrymple moved to Delhi where he lived for six years researching his second book, City of Djinns, which won the 1994 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award and the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award From the Holy Mountain, his acclaimed study of the demise of Christianity in its Middle Eastern homeland, was awarded the Scottish Arts Council Autumn Book Award for 1997 it was also shortlisted for the 1998 Thomas Cook Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the Duff Cooper Prize A collection of his writings about India, The Age of Kali, won the French Prix D Astrolabe in 2005.White Mughals was published in 2003, the book won the Wolfson Prize for History 2003, the Scottish Book of the Year Prize, and was shortlisted for the PEN History Award, the Kiryama Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.William Dalrymple is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Asiatic Society, and is the founder and co director of the Jaipur Literature Festival.In 2002 he was awarded the Mungo Park Medal by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society for his outstanding contribution to travel literature He wrote and presented the television series Stones of the Raj and Indian Journeys, which won the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Series at BAFTA in 2002 His Radio 4 series on the history of British spirituality and mysticism, The Long Search, won the 2002 Sandford St Martin Prize for Religious Broadcasting and was described by the judges as thrilling in its brilliance near perfect radio In December 2005 his article on the madrasas of Pakistan was awarded the prize for Best Print Article of the Year at the 2005 FPA Media Awards In June 2006 he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa by the University of St Andrews for his services to literature and international relations, to broadcasting and understanding In 2007, The Last Moghal won the prestigous Duff Cooper Prize for History and Biography In November 2007, William received an Honourary Doctorate of Letters, honoris causa, from the University of Lucknow University for his outstanding contribution in literature and history , and in March 2008 won the James Todd Memorial Prize from the Maharana of Udaipur.William is married to the artist Olivia Fraser, and they have three children They now live on a farm outside Delhi.

796 Reply to “Nine Lives”

  1. For three months of the year we are gods, he says Then in March, when the season ends, we pack away our costumes And after that, at least in my case, it s back to jail Hari Das is no criminal he works as a terrified jailer at the weekends, which involves walking round the prison with a lathi, trying to avoid getting knifed His week day job is digging wells, trying to avoid getting caught if one collapses But from December to February, the length of the season, he becomes a theyyam artist in Kera [...]


  2. When I picked up this book I thought I would be enhancing my knowledge on religion in India and what it means to or how these nine individuals are influenced relate to it I expected it to be diverse.nsidering its about India, but wow was I pleasantly surprised a very simple yet powerful book about spirituality, truth, belief, complexity, hope, faith, principles, values, conviction and less about religion I loved it, and would highly recommend it to anyone, even if you are not religious or don t [...]


  3. It is easy for an armchair reformist to say,.perstition, savages in between his indigestion and gastric troubles It is even easier for a desk job junkie to like a shitty article named in the lines of Uncredible India and add a comment, Oh man , brutal customs, we are going backwards To be fair, these pseudo intellectuals are not entirely at their fault, given the circumstances of syndicated Hinduism in urban middle class, as part of the Rama fication movement in recent years There must be some [...]


  4. Description from the Dust Jacket A Buddhist monk takes up arms to resist the Chinese invasion of Tibet then spends the rest of his life trying to atone for the violence by hand printing the best prayer flags in India A Jain nun tests her powers of detachment as she watches her best friend ritually starve to death A woman leaves her middle class family in Calcutta, and her job in a jute factory, only to find unexpected love and fulfillment living as a Tantric skull feeder in a remote cremation gr [...]


  5. 4,5EnglishThis is a must read for everyone fond of India and interested in the many religions, rituals and traditions that we can find there The subtitle of this book is in search of the sacred in modern India and this is excatly what the author does with his nine stories India manages to keep alive, despite its progress, religious rituals and very often sacred and profane are mixed and accepted by people The various cults in India are very complex but also interesting and it s a country full of [...]


  6. Unforgettable, haunting, enchanting, deeply movingquestioning Western concepts and goals, confronting our materialism with a spirituality that challenges everything we were brought up with


  7. This was a great text, especially for a must needed introduction to India There is so much to cover that I think it is almost impossible to really cover, but Dalrymple s style gives individual flavor that helped it seem real and personal instead of a giant conglomerate, India There were a lot of things that I had a difficult time coming to terms with The life of the Jain nun for instance, and especially the chapter about devadasi s religious prostitutes from my interpretation I am not quite sur [...]


  8. In this book Dalrymple provides nine stories, of nine very different people, all following the rituals and traditions of different religions in modern India 2009 The author explains in the introduction that he has kept the author in the shadows, so bringing the lives of the people I have met to the fore and placing their stories firmly centre stage, As the reader, we are drawn into the complexities of modern India a country advancing in an economic boom, in dealing with ancient superstitions, cu [...]


  9. Neste livro contado a hist ria de nove vidas Vidas que buscam atingir a espiritualidade, que buscam encontrar a felicidade plena e encontrar a sua miss o.Atrav s da hist ria de uma monja que abandonou sua fam lia para viver em prol do budismo, de um dan arino que transformado num Deus, do contador de epopeias que preserva a literatura oral na ndia, do fabricante de dolos que cria esculturas que s o veneradas como Deuses e do trovador cego que encontrou no canto o meio de sobreviver A ndia um pa [...]


  10. 3.5 5 This book is the story of Nine Lives 9 religious people of different Indic sects Dalrymple has let the people speak and the stories have come out wonderfully well.This was my first book by d author and I think I will be reading all by him He puts to shame Indian authors columnists who write quick, shallow books on India.


  11. One consumes one s life in narcissistic and even egoistical ways That travel can make us leave behind our cocoons of self examination and indulgence is proved in two ways by actually travelling or letting one s mind travel when one relishes art in any form In the land that is a mixed bag of cultures and religions, it is almost Herculean to distill the fundamental characteristics of what constitutes an Indian Is an Indian an Aryan A Dravidian Or both A woman in a saree A man in a Dhoti Is an Indi [...]


  12. I picked up Nine Lives yesterday afternoon, planning to read one story from the nine in there I had finished the book a few hours later That itself ought to speak volumes about the writing I may add that this is my first reading of Dalrymple s work.Dalrymples s writings on India weave together the religious, the historical, the political, the spiritual,and the humane, making for a fascinating read His grasp on the comparative religious and secular history of Europe and South Asia, makes his work [...]


  13. A glimpse back to a time when all religions were localThe religions most of us are familiar with have been largely standardized and homogenized, but obviously this wasn t always so Like languages before the advent of writing, earlier versions of even the same religion had local accents, traditions and emphases that varied substantially from place to place That early world of indigenous religions still exists in parts of India, and in Nine Lives author William Dalrymple sensitively chronicles the [...]


  14. I received this book when I joined the Armchair Travelers Group We are reading books that take place in India this month Since I not only love to travel, but also love to learn about peoples and cultures around the world, this group is very intriguing to me.Actually, I would give this book 3.5 stars It s a nonfiction book by William Dalrymple In it he writes nine separate stories about nine individuals living religious lives in India It is obvious that Dalrymple researched the book meticulously [...]


  15. Khushwant Singh very aptly said that William Dalrymple writes about India better than any Indian author The detailed research is incredible, but it is the poignant writing style that makes you admire the beauty of this book and the people he talks about There were so many facts about my own country that I did not know Covering stories from Kerala Theyyam dancers to Tibet The Monk s Tale , from Rajasthan Singer of Epics to West Bengal The Lady Twilight , from Karnataka Daughters of Yellama to Ben [...]


  16. L India diverse volte ha abitato i miei sogni, il mio inconscio la conosce bene.Mentre a livello conscio da brava occidentale, e questo libro ne una nuova conferma, la percepisco quanto di pi altro ci sia da me.Questo vivere nella carne lo spirituale, il divino per me, materia oscura, comprendo certo quello che leggo, ma non lo sento, ha scarso eco in me.Inoltre conosco pochissimo il pantheon indiano cos come le loro sacre scritture, mentre Darlympile ne sfoggia una conoscenza invidiabile e meno [...]


  17. A book entirely out of my comfort zone, when I picked it up I had great doubts whether I would really complete it But once I started, I was pleasantly surprised the book just didn t interest me it drew me in completely and left me enchanted In this book, the author magically weaves together nine real life stories of nine different individuals from different parts of the country, in what he calls in the title as the search of the sacred in modern India.I had mixed emotions while reading each of t [...]


  18. Nine distinct lives from different parts of modern India a forlorn Jain nun, a devoted dancer, an exploited devdasi, a singer of epics, a Sufi nun, a militant Buddhist, a skilled sculptor, a tantric monk and a blind Baul singer All unique in their own ways All have different beliefs Different Gods Different philosophy One common thread that combines all Faith Each one of the tales Fabulous Exquisite writing.


  19. When i first saw this book, it was like any other book, Simple once i started reading it Wow it was amazing 9 lives, 9 stories, 9 places, 9 belief s, everything written in simple words yet without loosing its essence I hail from a place called Kannur, when i read the story about THE DANCER OF KANNUR, i never thought such hardships were behind such an artist There are still many things unknown to us, and just by being an Indian or a Keralite doesn t make me understand the true meaning of the live [...]


  20. Dalrymple s understanding of India has always amazed me It has been on account of his understanding of historical events This book, however, explores contemporary India, its traditions and splendour through significant experience of insignificant individuals He takes you to the length and the breadth of the country in a manner as never before The conversations with unusual people in remote places are quite revealing The narration is taut.A must read for even those that claim to know India I disc [...]


  21. Nine Lives in search of the sacred in modern Indiasandyi 2010 05 wiOne knows William Dalrymple as a highly accomplished writer of travelogues and historical non fiction Over the past two decades, the author with his passionate quest to understand and explore Indian society, culture and history has given us some very fine works like The White Mughals, The City Of Djinns and The Last Mughal Even his other books, In Xanadu and From the Holy Mountain that plunge into the discovery of other continent [...]


  22. In this book, William Dalrymple explores nine facets of South Asia s threatened, non mainstream religious traditions, and the lives of some of their most faithful practitioners The nature of the subcontinent s various peoples, communities, and faiths allowed, since the beginning of time, for highly flexible, heterodoxic belief systems, many of which featured syncretism and influences from many sources More often than not, these belief systems actually hold greater sway over the hearts of South A [...]


  23. Zbi r dziewi ciu wietnie skonstruowanych reporta y, w kt rych autor usuwa si w cie i pozwala przem wi ludziom yj cym dla wiary Tak Ka da z historii jest inna, momentami mroczna i przera aj ca, a przy tym nieustannie pasjonuje W dalszym ci gu nie mog wyj z podziwu, jak wiele ludzie s w stanie po wi ci , aby wej w owian tajemnic sfer wi to ci Te wszystkie rzeczy dziej si teraz, a ja jedynie mog przeciera oczy ze zdumienia i mie nadziej , e, tak jak autorowi, uda mi si kiedy przekona o tym na w asn [...]


  24. I had heard of William Dalrymple, but had never managed to get hold of it For some reason, my library s online search never yielded any results One day, at the library, I managed to browse through the History and Culture section and came across this book I had no idea whether this was aclaimed or not, but liked what I could glean from the back cover This is what it says In this title, a Buddhist monk takes up arms to resist the Chinese invasion of Tibet then spends the rest of his life trying to [...]


  25. I think I have a typical American viewpoint of India romanticized by folkore and Bollywood with a drop or two of actual knowledge I was probably hoping this book would give me a little insight as to how the many changes in our new global society has changed the traditions of an ancient culture I was originnaly intrigued by this book because of the parallels drawn to The Canterbury Tales and had been excited to read a modern version of another culture s pilgrimage toward spirituality and the sac [...]


  26. I recently finished Nine Lives by William Darlymple The book is a series of nine vignettes about the spiritual lives of nine individuals in India The book touches on all walks of life and spans the entire sub continent It begins with the heart wrenching tale of a Jain nun who has to stand by while her best friend starves herself to death Another story touches upon a Tibetan monk, turned soldier, turned prayer flag maker The book is wrapped up with the story of a blind minstrel who talks about sp [...]


  27. Dazzling , mind spinning accounts of religious lives, with a richness and texture that only India can deliver The stories of these nine people are told in very simple, spare prose, using the direct voices of the nine devotees and with little sense of authorial comment, apart from some very useful historical and religious context The journeys leads you into the India unseen by travellers the tiny villages of mud built houses on flooded plains, or beside jungles, the squatting saddhus sharing chil [...]


  28. Absolutely loved this book, read it up in just a few days A very engaging set of personal stories of different expressions of religion in India Dalrymple is an amazing writer, both deeply knowledgable and able to convey intimate personal details And bridge Indian culture to Westerners, in a way that s respectful and not pandering That approach is particularly valuable when treating the diversity of religion in India, doubly so given the rather florid versions Dalrymple focuses on.And such crazy [...]



  29. Picked up this book before my second trip to India It contains nine well researched sketches of figures of the diverse religious traditions in South Asia mostly India, but parts of tales take place in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal Each character has a chance to tell his or her own story, and the background is richly set Most of the tales are mesmerizing, though a couple less so, at least for me.Many of the traditions are disappearing While for the most part he lets the characters tell their ta [...]


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