FPJ Interview: 'Cultivate reading habits, more from paperbacks than gadgetry apps', tells 'The Whispering Star' author Pamarty Venkataramana

06:08 PM Sep 30, 2021 | Gaurav Kadam

Pamarty Venkataramana, fondly known as Sri Ramana, is an eminent jurist. Other than being a life member of the Supreme Court of India Bar Association and a top-notch international corporate lawyer, he is a philosopher, thinker, orator, writer, poet, and essayist. Called the 'Prophet of New Age Literature', Sri Ramana has contributed to several forms of literature including poetry and short stories.

Recently, Sri Ramana has published his first book of short stories 'The Whispering Star'. The book is said to be a tribute to the perennial spirit of humanism and divinity and the rich heritage of Santana Dharma. With numerous mystical short stories, the book conveys "the philosophy of life as distilled across ages of ancient Indian culture, and as applicable in modern times".


In an exclusive interview with The Free Press Journal, Sri Ramana spoke about 'The Whispering Star', the Santana Dharma, his upcoming literary works, and more.


Here are some excerpts from the interview:

1. 'The Whispering Star' is your first book of short stories. Do tell us about it.

'The Whispering Star' carries short stories penned starting from the way a mighty Pope has a revelation in India to the inexplicable experience of the author having darshan of yoginis dancing around the mother Adi Parashakti at a temple in a remote corner of India. The book is but bound to get readers from outside India too, to rethink prevalent attitudes towards God, mankind, and the purpose of all lives. The reader is left free to derive and arrive at the philosophy behind each person's existence on Earth. This will result in a better world, rid of acrimonious debates and wasting away of precious lives

The earlier books were in the realm of Spiritual Poetry. The whole world is passing through a critical phase of strife, unrest, conflicts, mayhem, and fear. This is in every country on the planet, be it so-called advanced nations or underdeveloped or developing ones. And India is the birthplace and harbour of Santana Dharma. No doubt, later-day religions too enunciate few principles of co-existence but none matches ancient India's cultural ethos. So the rest of the world needs to be told about tenets of Good Conscience, Dharma, and Universalism. The beauty of the western world, especially Europe is that traditionally they embrace change more easily than others. Once these principles of life, death, and in-between sojourn of a human being are conveyed to them, the change for a more harmonious life is but imminent.

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2. It is said your book is a tribute to the perennial spirit of humanism and divinity. Could you expand on this?

The hallmarks of all civilizational existence of mankind have been compassion, social interdependence, and togetherness. Ancient India's cultural ethos worships all creation. Nature was revered as Mother Nature and all things emanated good vibes, be it a huge mountain, a small hill, or just a single piece of rock. These respectful gestures of worship came to be clubbed as 'Divinity'.

Where divinity prevailed, humanism became the brand of religion. All men were equal according to their actions in the mortal world. Afterlife or rebirth was determined by the chastity and virtuosity observed during this lifetime. So, at one stroke, the whole society was bound (not chained) to orderly behavior and peace with plentiful life became the atmosphere around these societies.

3. Being a top-notch international lawyer, how did you get into poetry and writing?

Good writing and eloquence of speech are hand-maidens of any lawyer worth his salt and name. Writing is an inheritance but switching over from long essays and column pieces to poetry has been a compulsion of time constraints. Poetry is the most beautiful art form of literature since it can either condense or enunciate a thought according to the will of the poet and for reading pleasure. Poetry feeds the soul while novels and essays polish the mindset.

4. What made you pledge all your earnings from literary works for the education of underprivileged girls children in Asia and Africa?

Santana Dharma worships the girl child and imbibes personal values to honour all women. However, in this age and time, the whole world is mired into a deep existential crisis. A major sociological factor being the neglect of women and girls on the education front. Once a girl is equipped with educational qualifications, she can brave the adversities in life and help direct her family beginning with her spouse. The children often inculcate habits and thoughts of the mother as compared to their father. These natural traits coupled with detailed policies of establishments, more particularly in our country and in other neighbouring lands including in African nations, promoted the thought to dedicate earnings from literary works towards the education of deprived girl children. The ripple effect of empowerment would have a cascading effect on gender equality issues. Easily solved when education enables empowerment.

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5. Were you always fond of reading books? Tell us about your childhood.

Reading books is a habit inculcated at home and strengthened by good teachers at school. A major influence has been my father who is a renowned author and parental grooming has played a major part. But, it is important to place on record that after college, when one stepped into pursuing four major professions simultaneously as a challenge, all reading shifted exclusively to law texts, CA-CS-CWA studies.  

Whatever is being authored by me are all original thoughts flowing like a stream amidst gruelling work hours. Hence, all the more pleasurable reading and incisive.  

Childhood comprised of topping class and bagging gold medals, shields, trophies as forerunner in academics, sports events, debates, art, and extracurricular activities. A heady combination of victories filled with ignorance of the outside world, so to speak.

6. Who are the authors and poets you look up to? What are your favorite books?

Shakespeare and Veda Vyasa (are the authors I look up to). (John) Keats and Shakespeare (are the poets I admire). It is flattering when readers compare my works to both these great classical writers whose books I confess I hardly read.

7. What advice would you like to give to aspiring authors?

Pour your heart out. Reflect positivity and triumph of truth and righteousness over evil. Unless this is goaded to the hilt, future generations will suffer from changed, fallen societal mores. Cultivate reading habits, more from paperbacks than gadgetry apps.

8. Could you tell us about your upcoming literary works?

'Xraying the Mahatma' is a book of essays on contemporary #NewIndia now at the printing press. 'One Life, Many Lives' is a multi-volumed book of poetry that dissects love in its spiritual context. A few other works including texts on corporate and criminal jurisprudence are in the pipeline.

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