Raj Supe (aka Kinkar Vishwashreyananda), is a poet, storyteller and novelist. An MBA, he has had a career in advertising, research and creative consulting, before turning to literary and spiritual pursuits. Some of his literary works include the spiritual memoir, Pilgrim of the Sky; The anthology ‘Hundreds of Shells’ and translations such as ‘Cloud Burst of A Thousand Suns’ and the ‘Sahitya Akademi’ awarded ‘Rainbow at Noon’. He has also worked on film scripts and plays.
His writings convey the passionate intensity of a seeker and the sincerity of one who hopes for an ideal mix of traditional mythic imagery and the urgencies of modern life. In the words of a leading poet, ‘he has the anonymity of the saint-poet on the one hand and the self-expression of the modern writer on the other’. Raj is Editor of the spirituality e-magazine, The Mother, as well as the co-founder of ‘Foundation for Contemplation of Nature’.
Raj was initiated into the order founded by Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath and met his Guru in the person of Kinkar Vitthal Ramanuja. He now leads a simple life on the banks of the Ganges.
Here is an excerpt from a recent conversation with him:
Q. I would like you to share something about yourself with our readers.
Literature is not my full time pursuit; it is what I had thought I’d do for a living but God did not wish that. I am now a man of letters occasionally, for the rest I enjoy being a man of spirit, literally.
I am not great at language, but I am pretty good at storytelling and more importantly I have great facility for telling stories that have an enduring and universal human value. My Guru thinks I am a better poet than a story writer or a novelist, but I don’t have a great body of published work in poetry to substantiate his feeling.
Q. How did you come up with the idea of writing this genre?
When I turned to spirituality, I had a strange remorse for having to quit literature. I had to think of a way in which I would continue to do justice to my creative juices. Spirituality-based fiction served as an answer. Later, when I looked at my past work, I realised that’s what I had been writing all the while, stories about man’s quest for ultimate purpose and self-realisation.
Q. Where did you find the inspiration to write this book?
I found the inspiration to write When Life Turns Turtle in my life. And life of people around me especially in the Himalayas.
Q. What exactly does your book convey?
This novel conveys that every life has a deeply spiritual core which it will uncover sometime, and when it does ordinary mortal life can happily accommodate a grain of immortality.
Q. What all was going in your head while penning down this book?
There was great joy of having to tell a story that somebody should have told me but never did. As I wrote this novel, I experienced a retrospective sense of self-discovery.
Q. How much time you used to commit to this book?
I gave a whole of six years to its contemplation, but actual writing time for the novel may have been about four to six hours a day for one and a half year.
Q. Was there any moment you backed off from the idea of writing a book?
Yes, indeed. I backed off many times. Sometimes because I wasn’t sure if I should tell this story at all; sometimes because I wasn’t sure I was telling it as well as I wanted to tell it.
Q. How do you handle the criticism that comes towards your way?
Criticism of my writings is welcome and really so. In an age where literature has been relegated to an abnormal luxury, every bit of criticism brings good news that you are being read and someone is taking the trouble to criticise. Gratefulness is therefore due for that and of course for often giving reason and room for improving one’s oeuvre.
Q. How was your experience with Leadstart throughout the publishing of the book?
Fabulous! Leadstart is the companion of all my words, all my literature, and the whole journey.
Q. How would you like to advice budding authors?
Read daily. Write daily. What’s around you right now is epic.
Check Out: Review of When Life Turns Turtle