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One Palace , A Thousand Doorways

Nominated | Book Awards 2020 | English Non-fiction

One Palace , A Thousand Doorways

This collection of poetry and reflection glows with vibrant colours

Full Title: One Palace, a Thousand Doorways: Songlines Through Bhakti, Sufi and Baul Oral Traditions

Author: Vipul Rikhi with Shabnam Virmani
Publisher: Speaking Tiger Publishing

Award Category: English Non-fiction
About the Book: 

A unique textual compilation for the modern seeker, this exceptional book brings together some of the greatest songs by Bhakti, Sufi and Baul mystic poets of northern India for the first time. Kabir, Nanak Das, Gorakhnath, Mira Bai, Khwaja Ghulam Farid, Bulleshah, Lalon Fakir, and Parvathy Baul, among others, illuminate the human condition with an enduring wisdom that resonates today as it did in centuries past. Variously acerbic or sensual, irreverent or devotional—and always incandescent and intimate—these songs explode beyond narrow religiosity and open doorways to the palace of true experience: ecstatic unity of the self with the universe. This carefully curated selection of 140 timeless songs in lucid translation and transliteration, accompanied with insightful commentary, is the result of Rikhi and Virmani’s extensive research and travel across the subcontinent over two decades. Drawing upon the shared and many-splendoured spiritual heritage of the Indic civilization, One Palace, a Thousand Doorways lights up a path to profound fulfilment and bliss amidst the frenetic demands of modern life.


About the Author: 

Vipul Rikhi is a poet, fiction writer, translator and singer who has been immersed in the oral traditions of Kabir and other Bhakti and Sufi poets for over a decade. He is the author of a novel, 2012 Nights, a collection of poems, Bleed, and co-author of I Saw Myself: Journeys with Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai with Shabnam Virmani. He was a fellow for literature at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany in 2010-11. His work with the Kabir Project involves writing, translations, research, curations and the creation of a vast digital archive called ‘Ajab Shahar’. In the course of these magical journeys, he developed a deep love for singing mystic poetry in the folk music traditions and now performs widely. He is currently based in Goa. Shabnam Virmani initiated the Kabir Project journeys in 2002 and has since been exploring the philosophy of Kabir and other mystics through a deep engagement with their oral folk traditions. Her inspiration and joy in this poetry and its wisdom has taken the shape of documentary films and a digital archive, singing and performing, translations and curations, urban festivals and rural yatras, and more recently, infecting students with the challenge and wonder of mystic poetry. All this is part of her work at the Kabir Project in Srishti, Bengaluru. Earlier she has worked on gender issues through journalism, video and radio work in the community.


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