River Sutra

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Danielle Bell
English 150
Professor Browsher
A River Sutra Essay
5 May 2009

A River Sutra
Gaits Mehta’s A river Sutra is an accumulation of stories connected by the theme of love, the holy Narmada River and the narrators inability to comprehend various stories involving the human heart—which are provided by the quick encounters of different characters throughout the novel. By the end of the book the narrator comes to an increasingly better understanding about the spiritual journeys one must go through to understand the world and the secrete of the human heart. This paper will explore the thoughts and feelings of the narrator as he undergoes his own journey of understanding the human heart.

When the book beings the narrator shows a peaceful state of mind that seems to have a grip on the world around him. Sure of his journey of head of him the narrator is a Vana prashti and is determined to be detached from the rest of the world, "The government still pays my wages but I no longer think of myself as a bureaucrat...I have fulfilled my worldly obligations. I am now a Vana parasthi". However at the end of the novel his older friend, Tariq Mia tells him: "Destiny is playing tricks on you. Don't you realize you were brought here to gain the world, not forsake it?" The retired bureaucrat is annoyed and claims that he knows and experienced the world well enough. Moreover, towards the end of the novel the narrator realizes that still doesn’t fully understand the secrets of the human heart and that this journey of spiritual enlightment has just begun: "I stared at the flashes of illumination, wondering for the first time what I would do if I ever left the Bungalow”. During his isolation the narrator becomes an observer collecting stories of human love and suffering, but not really understanding those feelings himself. With every story he hears of family love, religious love, internal love, and sexual love he realizes his own incapacity to connect...
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