New Release Today on Kindle
by Shankar Kashyap
Book One: The Lure of Soma
Myth is the smoke of history and as the years pass the smoke, which has hung for millennia over the Indus Valley civilisation is clearing. Trowel and brush investigation in the 1920s by Mortimer Wheeler and now scientific research, which relies on aerial photography and computer modelling, has confirmed that an early urban civilisation appeared in that area slightly before the Sumerian and Egyptian ones appeared. Teams of scholars from every continent have confirmed that the Indus and Sarasvati rivers, for about 1,400 years supported extensive urban settlements, which then disappeared, lost under inundations of mud and dust. Mathematics, town planning, pharmaceuticals and philosophy flourished and then disappeared almost without trace.
Rigveda, is probably the oldest scripture mankind has known and has defied scientists for centuries on its authorship. Author brings the Rigvedic characters and events in Indus-Sarasvati valley to life in this book. The hero, Upaas, a trainee doctor, describes municipal government, pupilship with a yogi, exploding arrows, kingship, an attempt to re-route rivers with thought, a battle in a hidden ravine as a watching eagle hovers overhead, international trade and horsemanship. There is a doe eyed maiden and a villain who seems to lack the virtue of the risis. This novel is well grounded in 5000 years of Hindu literature but it has a modern slant.
I have used existing archaeological evidence along with known historical evidence in writing this book. Rigveda talks about several conflicts among the descendants of the emperor Bharata and the Avestan scriptures talk about the conflicts between the Aryans and the Dasyus. There have always been fierce debates about who exactly these Aryans were and the Daevas mentioned in the Avestan scriptures. I have used some poetic license to accommodate the dates and times of various individuals and events to suit the story telling. The book tries to portray the life of ordinary people during the period of Harappans, while trying to tell the tale of the priestly kings, Magi, Rishis and Sages of the great Indus Valley Civilisation during the middle of third millennium BCE. This is the story of our hero, Upaas, a trainee physician from Harappa. It is a story of a young man growing up, falling in love, getting involved in adventures and finally fighting for the city he loves most – Harappa. The story shows the human elements of people around him. He faces friendship, love, hate, jealousy, treachery and deceit in day to day life. There is generous sprinkling of magic and sorcery. As the country of Ariana, west of Hindu Kush dries up, the Avestans facing with near extinction take up arms against their neighbours to obtain the precious Soma. The tactics used include deceit, sorcery and finally a war between the Meluhhans and Avestans
The Soma plant has been the centrepiece of several hymns in the Vedic scriptures. It is a plant still not accurately recognized. The Vedic people revered it as a God, drank the extract from the stalk of the plant, used the plant for medicinal purposes and it
is supposed to have magical properties. There are hymns composed to the Soma within the Vedas. The Avestan had a similar plant and called it Haoma and their scriptures also revered the plant for its spiritual properties. Vedas describe it as growing in a sacred mountain around a sacred lake (Mount Mujavant and lake Sharynavat). Avestan scriptures describe a similar sacred mountain and a sacred lake in Sistan where the Haoma plant grew. Similar to the Soma of Indus valley, we still do not know exactly what this plant was as it disappeared at the same time as the Harappans. It was considered the mushroom, Amanita Muscaria for a long time because of the ”hallucinogenic” effects the Soma was said to produce when consumed. This may be a misconception by the writers who tried to explain the events described in Vedic scriptures and the powers of ancient sages.
Available from Amazon in Kindle format: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Harappa-Lure-Soma-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B075Z7SHJK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1506788042&sr=8-1&keywords=lure+of+soma+by+shankar+kashyap
Book Two: The Fall of Shuruppak
Third millennium BCE saw the glory days of the Mesopotamian and the Indus Valley civilisations. There were extensive trade links between the two despite the fact they were hundreds of miles apart. The great Epic of Gilgamesh from Sumer is now well-known and often considered as the basis of the story of the biblical flood.
Fall of Shuruppak traces the adventures of the hero, Upaas as he travels across to Sumer with the famed Sage Vasishta. The legend of sage Vasishta sailing to the “thousand pillared temple of Varuna” is brought to life in this gripping novel. Along with his friend Shushun, the Elaamite prince in disguise, he helps the emperor Gilgamesh in his quest to find Sage Ziusudra. Follow our daredevil physician as he fights his way through this epic adventure, while seeking answers to his own questions about life. As the group of travellers move from one peril to another, we recognise our own hidden desires in their search for truth and immortality.
The author has used archaeological and literary evidence of both civilisations to bring to life the great untold stories of trade links between the two.
Harappans appear to have ventured far and wide with their trade, both on land and sea. Harappan settlements spread as far west as Shortugai in Afghanistan at the head of river Oxus, which was the centre of raw materials such as Lapis Lazuli, Gold and Silver for the Harappan artisans. Harappan seals, jewellery and pottery have been found in Elam (present day Iran), Egypt, and Sumer. Jewellery found in Queen Puabi’s tomb had all the hallmarks of Harappan artisans. The cylindrical Carnelian beads with central core drilled after hours of careful work is typical of the Harappans.
Cylindrical seal of Shu-ilishu, the translator has the typical humped bull on one side and cuneiform text on the other side. Archaeologists agree that he must have been a translator of Sumerian and Akkadian into Meluhhan language. He is placed to have lived in Lagash around the middle of third millennium BCE. There is archaeological evidence of Meluhhan enclaves around Lagash.
Sargon the great who ruled most of Mesopotamia from around 2300 BCE, boasts of ships from Meluhha, Dilmun and Magan docking in the port of his capital city, Akkad. The Meluhhans obviously had marine trading links with Akkad for a long time with some of them settling down in Sumer. Despite elaborate description of the city of Akkad in several tablets in cuneiform texts, the city eludes detection.
Epic of Gilgamesh is a well-known story with an almost entire story written and transcribed from cuneiform texts. Emperor Gilgamesh befriends an uncouth Enkidu from the deep forests and a deep friendship ensues. The epic is that of undying love, sacrifice and heroism. Enkidu is mortally injured fighting a -mythical demon and only a meluhhan sage can save him.
Available from Amazon in Kindle format: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fall-Shuruppak-Harappa-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B075X1HBT2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1506860367&sr=1-1&keywords=fall+of+shuruppak+by+shankar+kashyap
Book Three: The Battle of Ten Kings (Dasharajna)
The seventh book of Rigveda describes the story of an epic battle between Sudasa of Bharatas and Kavi Cayamana of the Anus, leading a confederacy of ten disgruntled kings. It takes place on the banks of the River Ravi. It is also a battle of wits and power between the two of the most powerful sages of Vedic times – Vasishta and Vishwamitra.
This is the age-old story of enmity between the clans set in motion by hunger for power which is so familiar to readers of the great epics of India – Ramayana and Mahabharata. The enmity had been brewing for centuries starting when Emperor Yayati divided up his kingdom into five quarters – Turvasha gets the land to the southeast, Druhyu, the Gandhara in the west, Yadu the south, Anu the north Punjab; and to the youngest son, Puru the center (Sarasvati region,) as the supreme king of Earth.
It is a battle whose result is paradigm shifting in that the outcome decided the future of the two great epics of India.
Extensive research into the Vedic scriptures and archaeological evidence have helped create a fascinating insight into the geography and history of an iconic battle
Book six of Rigveda describes a battle between King Sudas and “ten kings.” It is a confederacy of ten to twelve kings compiled by disgruntled descendants of King Yayathi’s sons who felt hard done by when the ageing king gives the central
part of the great Bharatha kingdom to the youngest son, Puru over the elder four brothers – Yadu, Turvasu, Druhyu and Anu. King Sudas is brought up and trained by sage Vishwamitra and Vasishta. Vishwaimtra falls out with the king and the senior sage Vasishta and joins the confederacy of ten kings. A bitter battle ensues on the banks of River Parushni (present day Ravi) between the forces of King Sudas, highly outnumbered by the huge army of “sixty six thousand” of the confederacy. God Indra intervenes and takes the side of “righteous Sudas,” and a flash flood destroys most of the army of the confederacy.
While there is no archaeological evidence of the battle or the actors within it, there is enough evidence within the Rigveda itself to place the event around the third millennium BCE. River Parushni is easily identifiable as the present day Ravi and the kingdom to be the present day Punjab, Haryana and parts of northeast Pakistan with seven rivers. This epic is considered by many to be the third epic of India, after the great epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. Descendants of king Puru for the famous Kuru dynasty who are the actors within the great battle of Mahabharata. This battle has often been used by the proponents of the Aryan Invasion theory as proof of mighty Aryans invading India and destroying the Harappan civilisation. It is claimed that they brought the horses and Iron weapons to destroy the great Harappan empire.
Available from Amazon in Kindle format: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dasharajna-Battle-Kings-Harappa-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B075YSWTCC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1506788203&sr=1-1&keywords=Dasharajna+by+shankar+kashyap
About the Author:
Shankar N Kashyap is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon working at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead, UK. He was subjected to a life changing ordeal with potential for disastrous consequences. Some of his colleagues jealous of his popularity, success as an innovative and extremely talented surgeon, cooked up spurious allegations against him and reported him to the regulatory body, the GMC. He had to face the prolonged ordeal of a trial conducted by a group of incompetent individuals with no knowledge of his work in the hospital. He faced destruction of an internationally renowned reputation through this trial.
He has published extensively in peer reviewed scientific journals over the years, including a Thesis. This is his first foray into literary field.
The traumatic events of the trial made him write his first book, A Kangaroo Court published in Kindle as well as print format through Createspace.
He has extensive knowledge of History, particularly of Indus Valley civilisation, Mesopotamia and Elam. He has used this knowledge to write a series of books set in third millenium BCE in the Near East and Middle east. The first book of the Harappa series was released in November 2013. It is full of action, adventure and sorcery revolving around real characters, events and places in the Indus Valley and the Vedic scriptures. The second book of the series, The Fall of Shuruppak takes our hero to the shores of Mesopotamia. He gets involved with internal strife of Sumer and helps the famed emperor Gilgamesh in his pursuit of immortality. He, along with his friends, helps Gilgamesh when the Shuruppak is attacked by the Gutians and later witness the great flood which nearly ends the Mesopotamian civilisation. This was released in October 2014. The third book of the Harappa series, The Battle of Ten Kings is due for release in 2015. It deals with the epic battle of good against evil as depicted in the seventh book of Rigveda. If the outcome of the battle was any different, both the great epics of India – Ramayana and Mahabharat – may not have occured or if they did, they would have been completely different.
He lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK with his wife and three children.
Author’s Website: http://shankarkashyap.wixsite.com/harappa-series