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'Our myths are the heritage of all Indians, not just Hindus'

Last updated on: January 16, 2013 10:56 IST

'Our myths are the heritage of all Indians, not just Hindus'

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In an exclusive chat with Rediff users, bestselling author Amish Tripathi takes questions on his books, his films and his gods.

Amish Tripathi is the author of the The Shiva Trilogy books (the first book can be bought here, second here, and the third book can be pre-ordered here).

The Immortals of Meluha and The Secret of the Nagas have crossed over a million copies, made Rs 16 crores in sales and continue to top bestseller charts since the first book was published almost three years ago.

More recently, in a first for her eponymous imprint at Quercus UK, Jo Fletcher has acquired rights to The Shiva Trilogy. Jo Fletcher Books have purchased the English language rights outside of the Indian sub-continent and has published the first book, The Immortals of Meluha, in the UK this month.

On Tuesday, January 15 Amish Tripathi took questions from Rediff readers. Here is the unedited transcript of the hour-long chat:

Janu: Amish, what were your greatest learnings while writing your books

Amish Tripathi: The value of spirituality. It gives you a bigger high than marijuana ever can! :-)

Gadgets-Gaming: Dear Amish, glad we got a chance to chat with you. Loved Meluha. How did the other two in the trilogy do?

Amish Tripathi: By God's grace, Nagas has also done well. Both Meluha and Nagas are at a million copies in print now. Vayutras will release in March

Mayank: is a Hindi translation in works?

Amish Tripathi: Meluha and Nagas have been released in Hindi. The hindi version of Vayuputras will release a few months after the english version

Funny: Shiva was adipurush of Tantra system and the real author of vigyan bhairav tantra ? pl. comment..

Amish Tripathi: Dude, it's very difficult to encapsulate this answer into 140 characters. But short answer is u are broadly right

Saravanan: When are you going to launch all these books in Tamil version ?

Amish Tripathi: It'll come soon. The publisher has already started working on it.

Chandrasekar: is there any chance we can see a movie on shiva's trilogy ?

Amish Tripathi: Of course. Karan Johar's company is working on this. Insha'allah, it will be a movie that is worthy of Lord Shiva

Raghu: any particluar incident which made you a shivbhakt?

Amish Tripathi: I grew up in a religious family and then turned into an atheist in the early 90s. So u can say I've returned to Shiva over last few years

Mayank: will there be a short recap of book 1 and 2 in the 3rd book. we read them long time back

Amish Tripathi: We did think of that. The problem is that there are too many intricacies to fit into a short summary... So we've not put in a summary.

Saravanan: The oath of the vayuputras early march release, has the date been finalised ??

Amish Tripathi: It will be early March. The exact date will be announced soon.

Venkat: Amish is there any chance of prequel for this triology...As first book starts when shiva is already young.

Amish Tripathi: Interesting idea. I haven't really thought of that. Let's see.


Image: Amish Tripathi at Rediff's Mumbai office
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani

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'I'll keep writing as long as the words flow'

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Rajeev: Mythology of Puranas contains metaphorical messages for ordinary folks,where do you find your work stands out on this.

Amish Tripathi: The Puranas are deep & meaningful. If u can just read only the Mahapuranas, ur life will change. My books r nothing compared to them.

Abhishek: Actually after reading ur book, u changed my views towards Lord Shiva...U made us inspire towards Lord Shiva

Amish Tripathi: He was always an inspiration. My books r only a small contribution to His greatness.

Atanu: i believe shiva but something in india is happend very superstitious

Amish Tripathi: In India (in fact across the world), we need to move beyond superstitions & truly understand the core messages our Gods r trying to tell us

Abhishek: u talk abt the marriage system, culture during lord Ramji's time....Is that true???

Amish Tripathi: It's my imagination of what could have lived up to Lord Ram's ideals & laws.

Saransh: how much is fact and how much is fiction in the books?

Amish Tripathi: My books are fiction. I clearly say that in the beginning. I cannot claim it's the truth. Only Lord Shiva knows the truth

usha: Thank you for your books do write more keep up the good work

Amish Tripathi: Thank you. I'll keep writing as long as the words flow!

saurabh: One request we want to read the story of Lord Rudra also--Target Next after Shiva Trilogy series..

Amish Tripathi: Thanks buddy. I'll certainly think on this. Let's see which of my story ideas develops more

usha: i enjoyed harry potter book than movie and i feel movies most of the time dont do justice to the book your views

Amish Tripathi: This one will. I'm confident that Karan & his team will do an awesome job!

Abhishek: U made all ur fans to wait soo much...why u postpone the release by 3 month???

Amish Tripathi: Apologies buddy. I hope to make it up to you with a book that you will like..

mayank: would love to see Shiva Trilogy game. Rich, great characters, weapons, epic battles. anyone talking to you?

Amish Tripathi: Yes, people have approached, but I'm not sure at this time. Let's see

saransh: why so late on third one?

Amish Tripathi: It's grown into a very long book buddy. That's why it took so long to write. Hope u like it when u read it

divya: One question->Hasn't Ganesh been given the somras ?

Amish Tripathi: Yes

usha: given a chance you would like to give somras to sonia,manmohan ,lalu

Amish Tripathi: Let's keep politics out of this chat! :-)

rakesh: Could you tell us a little about your future projects?

Amish Tripathi: I haven't decided as yet but it will certainly be in the space of mythology/philosophy/history. These are my passions.

Abhishek: movie in pipeline on immortals??? casting done??

Amish Tripathi: It's at the scripting stage right now..

srikanth: Karan Johar has bought the rights for your http://rediff.ly/1dx3r he the only one to meet you for the story or any other big shots has come?

Amish Tripathi: There were others, but I loved the passion that Karan & his team hd for the project. I'm sure they'll make a great movie!


Image: Amish taking in questions from readers
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani

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'In regional languages mythology had never gone out of style'

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Naman: your book has spurned a renewed interest in mythological retelling. how long do you see this trend lasting?

Amish Tripathi: In regional languages mythology had never gone out of style. It's only in English that the genre has 'revived'

Abhishek: why u increased thr price of 3rd book?? I know u will...bt it is near abt almost double.......

Amish Tripathi: Actually, Meluha & Nagas had launched @ Rs 295. Vayuputras has 150% more pages so the production cost had shot up. That's y the price is 350

dilipvishnu-maydeo: You consider your self an expert,writer or a devotee .Give order of preference

Amish Tripathi: I'm only a devotee. A devotee of Lord Shiva. I'm certainly not an expert.

saurabh: One Query -- How Kaali and Ganesha has known about their parents while Mayka tredition was confidential?

Amish Tripathi: :-) Good question. Wait for book 3!

usha: how is it possible that sati is older to shiv

Amish Tripathi: It's because of the Somras
 
AdithyaKalyan: What could be your next book?

Amish Tripathi: I haven't decided as yet but it will certainly be in the space of mythology/philosophy/history. These are my passions.

Naveen: after this trilogy what is your next project!!!

Amish Tripathi: I haven't decided as yet but it will certainly be in the space of mythology/philosophy/history. These are my passions.

krishna: sure i will read the 3rd one..by any chance are you visiting Dubai...would love to meet up with u

Amish Tripathi: I'll certainly try. Insha'allah, we'll have an event there as well.


Image: Amish shares a light moment with a Rediff employee
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani

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'I'm very religious'

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Usha: what are your comments on mythology being a part of curriculum

Amish Tripathi: I think philosophy shd be a part of school curriculum. It teaches u how to live life. Amongst the ancients (India, Greece, Egypt etc)... philosophy ws considered as the building block of education

mayank: Are you a very religious man?

Amish Tripathi: I'm very religious. But at the same, I refuse to judge those who choose to not believe in God. There is no compulsion in religion

saurabh: Hi Amish, Reading your books was wonderfull experience and it has taken me to in front of Lord Shiva.

Amish Tripathi: Thanks Saurabh. Om Namah Shivaiy

usha: what is your view on krishna key some where it contradicts your book is it the reason for delay in 3rd book

Amish Tripathi: I love Krishna Key. I think it is a great book and I'm a fan of Ashwin Sanghi

dilipvishnu-maydeo: Mythology has base in Tribal History .Rituals have a base in ancient science

Amish Tripathi: Difficult to answer this in 140 characters. Let's just say that when you find urself close to God, rituals cease to matter. All that matters is the purity of love for Him

krishna: Hi Amish. lovely books...when is the next one due?

Amish Tripathi: The next one will be out by early March, 2013 buddy. Hope u like it when you read it!

Naveen: when the third book of shiva trialogy will come?

Amish Tripathi: It will come out by early March buddy. Hope you like it when you read it

john: are places i your books all real historic facts or just imagination and fiction?

Amish Tripathi: Parts of it are historical facts (e.g. flow of the Saraswati, indus valley cities) and other parts are fiction.

shinde: Is writing the book more difficult or editing it? :-)))

Amish Tripathi: Editing. No doubt about it.

The: Is there is bias towards 'Sarayu Paari' brahmins in your book or was it my imagination?

Amish Tripathi: :-) No there is no bias... Having said that, my family does not come from the Sarayupaari community. They are Kanyakubjas

anil: Who among your contemporaries do you like reading? Chetan, Rashmi, Ashwin?

Amish Tripathi: I like all of them

rajat: Your top five favourite books, sir

Amish Tripathi: I'm a voracious reader, so it's difficult to give top 5 of all time. Amongst top 5 of last year wd be India (Diana Eck), Em & the Big Hoom

dilipvishnu-maydeo: If one has to conduct a pooja for this godhead ,which would be an appropriate method apart for establised methods?

Amish Tripathi: What matters is what you think in your heart, rather than the rituals you follow. Read the story of Kannan and Lord Shiva.

AMIT: Mr Amish is there Really God and if it is prove the same

Amish Tripathi: There is no proof. But life is a lot better when you believe in Him.

kapadia: Rediff CEO said Chetan Bhagat is India's Charles Dickens: http://rediff.ly/1boe1 Would you agree sir?

Amish Tripathi: I think Chetan is a trend-setter and has really made the Indian publishing industry more connected to the real India. He deserves respect

shaishav: What sort of films do you enjoy? Your all time favourite movie is...?

Amish Tripathi: I like action movies primarily. But I do enjoy the few romantic movies with my wife

saravanan: Hi Amish, Thanks to you for the entertaining works. BTW, when is the Audiobook The secret of the Nagas releasing ?

Amish Tripathi: Very soon. I'll make an announcement on my facebook page http://rediff.ly/1dx0b


Image: Amish Tripathi at Rediff's Mumbai office
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani

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'The story plays out as a movie in my mind'

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Vineeth-Pillai: While reading Immortals, Only Hrithik & Katrina was in the mind for Shiva & Sati.. It made reading more interesting ;-)

manoj: How much time did it take you to write the first book? Did it take lesser time for the next two books?

Amish Tripathi: The first book took some 4-5 years to write. But the next 2 books were done in a year to a year and a half.

divya-nair: Can you tell us how different it was to write for the UK audience? did you have to make any changes?

Amish Tripathi: No change in the story. Only d language had to be adjusted a bit and things had to be explained further, since they wdn't know India as well

PRABHJOT-SINGH: Hi Amish, Where did you find the inspiration to create such wonderful characters?

Amish Tripathi: Lord Shiva is my inspiration. The heritage of our great country is my inspiration.

Kalyan: Y the delay Amish for the 3rd book :( Had a fight with Flipkart coz I th8 the book was releasing in JANAmish Tripathi: Apologies for the miscommunication. But I'd always said the book will be out by early March. Hope u like it when you read it

omi: What sort of research goes into the writing of the book?

Amish Tripathi: A lifetime of research. I was lucky to grow up in a Pandit's family. I guess that's why I know much of our myths and philosophies.

john: how do you write? What is the process like?

Amish Tripathi: I write on my laptop, not longhand. The writing process is such that I just surrender control and go with the flow. I kinda see it as a movie in my mind. A 3 D movie where I can feel what the characters feel. And I just describe what I see and feel.

adil: i finished the Immortals of Meluha the 1st book and gotta say its really good..

Amish Tripathi: Thanks buddy!


Image: Cover of Amish's forthcoming book: Oath of the Vayuputras


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'I just followed my heart and here I am!'

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Usha: amish do you think at any day we will be able to track guptagamini saraswati

Amish Tripathi: If you're referring to the saraswati river, much of it's course has already been tracked. It's linked to the Ghaghar river in Rajasthan... sorry for the typo. I meant 'its' course

Vineeth-Pillai: What made an IIM Graduate & Finance Person turned into a fantastic Writer??

Amish Tripathi: Fate, yaar! I just followed my heart and here I am! :-)

Shradha: Hi Amish,Can u right Satyanarayan VratKatha in modern context. Old one is really boring and diffcult to http://rediff.ly/1dwxw shud be acceptable to old ppl

Amish Tripathi: I will certainly look at that Shradha. But the old one is not that boring. It's quite interesting actually! :-)

usha: Hi i have read your previous 2 and waiting for the 3 thank u for creating intrest in hindu mythology write more 4 us

Amish Tripathi: Thank you. But our myths are the heritage of all Indians, not just Hindus. We're all in this together.

waman: Are both your books being made into films or just the first one for now?

Amish Tripathi: Meluha has been contracted for Indian language rights with Karan Johar. I'm sure that he'll do a fantastic job!

Vineeth-Pillai: Frankly speaking I always had headache while reading a book... Immortals of Meluha is the first i read & i just loved it

Amish Tripathi: Headache? Baap re!

divya-nair: Hi Amish, when is your third book releasing? and what is it about?

Amish Tripathi: early March, 2013. It will be the concluding book of the Shiva Trilogy

hezal: Who is your most fav character in your books?

Amish Tripathi: Lord Shiva, of course!

Vineeth-Pillai: Excellent story telling... u simply create characters & scenes around us while reading

Amish Tripathi: Thanks buddy. But I'm only a channel. The creativity is Lord Shiva's

omi: how did u get the idea or inspiration to write The Immortals of Meluha?

Amish Tripathi: It started as a pure philosophy thesis: a theory on what is evil...

waman: waiting for ur third book sir

Amish Tripathi: Thanks buddy. It'll be out by early March, 2013. Hope u like it when u read it

Seven: A big fan of your writing... question: what made you take to writing and writing this genre in particular?

Amish Tripathi: I'd written no fiction at all bfore Meluha. The fact that I've written my books is all thanks to Lord Shiva's blessings

Shradha: Hi,You showed Ganesha older that kartikeya.Many bold twists in the tale. Do u want mythology rewritten in a modern context..what is ur goal?

Amish Tripathi: U know, in the North, it's believed that Kartik ji was elder, but in many parts of the south, it's believed that Ganesh ji was elder. My only aim is to be true to the story that Lord Shiva has blessed me with. I'm only a channel. He is the creator


Image: The Immortals of Meluha, the book that started it all


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