Dr Hari Haran is a dermatologist who practises in Coimbatore. He is a sadhak belonging to Sri Ramananda ashram of Palakkad, an ashram of long Advaitic lineage. A former editor of his college magazine, he is passionate about storytelling and teaching. He teaches part-time at Yellow Train, a progressive school in Coimbatore, and this book was written in collaboration with Iniya, a tenth-grade student of the school at the time of writing.
Iniya is a voracious reader whose writing has won her many competitions and hearts. A lover of good books of fiction, music and art, she blogs at worldofiniya.wordpress.com.
TBE: Tell us about your book, can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
Hari Haran: Well, this isn’t really an easy, fun read, as the cover and the blurb tell.
TBE: What brought about the idea for A Street Puppy’s Guide to Indian Religious Wisdom and why did you want to write it?
Hari Haran: I was propelled to write it seeing a majority of Hindus being unaware of the deeper philosophical themes of their religion.
TBE: Why did you choose ‘a dog’ to explain religious wisdom?
Hari Haran: It was a natural choice considering the story. And I thought it’d be a tool to give an outsider-perspective of humanity.
TBE: During your journey from the idea of this book to the publication, what was the most difficult thing you faced? Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Hari Haran: Interspersing the philosophy part without affecting the flow of the story and without overwhelming the reader. It took some effort to do that.
TBE: How was your publishing experience with Leadstart?
Hari Haran: Professional and smooth.
TBE: What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
Hari Haran: A feel of what Advaita Vedanta is. I hope it arouses their interest to explore the philosophy more.
TBE: According to you What is important in shaping the society of the world today or in the future? How will philosophy of Advaita Vedanta help in it?
Hari Haran: As Swami Vivekananda says, ‘Advaita will be the future religion of thinking humanity.’ Embracing this wisdom will give each new eyes to see his or her god. And a new way to embrace religion itself, in a way that empowers them and promotes social harmony.
TBE: Do you think, for both children and adults, understanding the history associated with one’s culture is important? Why?
Hari Haran: Yes, absolutely. We are all embedded in the culture we are born into. Understanding and embracing it in the right spirit would give us a sense of rootednes and peace.
TBE: Do you read much and if so, which are your favorite books and authors?
Hari Haran: Yes, I do. Favourite authors in the spiritual realm – Sri Aurobindo, Ramana Maharishi. Outside spirituality – too many. For a start, Steven Pinker, Iain Mc Gilchrist, the two authors I’m currently reading.
TBE: Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?
Hari Haran: Yes, the part two of the series. If the previous book was on Advaita from a Jnaana Yoga perspective, this is a book on the same from the perspective of Bakthi Yoga.