“Against the dazzling epochal backdrop of the Mauryan Empire in ancient India, celebrated for its liberal, humanist and free-thinking traditions, a gripping saga of love, betrayal, hatred and magical transformation sinuously weaves itself. Copper Moon relates the fascinating tale of Odati, daughter of Emperor Ashoka by stunning Urvashi, a Kalingan devadasi. When a great horror strikes, and Odati’s tender young life hangs in the balance, it is the Egyptian Kahotep, Grand Eunuch of Maurya, who risks his own life to spirit her to safety. Within his protective embrace, Odati disguises herself as Amunet and gradually grows into a singer whose angelic skill enchants the elite of Pataliputra. And yet, beneath her lovely façade lurks a cunning assassin waiting for the perfect opportunity to inflict hellish suffering on the man who drove her into the abyss of hell. Impervious to the luminous teachings of Gautama Buddha and other great sages, Odati relentlessly pursues her diabolic quest for revenge. Then, in another bizarre twist of fate, her evil is discovered and she is once again forced to flee for her life. It is now that the jewel-like wisdom she has so fiercely resisted begins to open the reluctant petals of her heart.”
The first seeds of Copper Moon were sown in the foothills of the Himalayas at the eve of the millennium, when I found myself intrigued by the spectacular manner in which Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryas had first transformed himself, then gone on to spread the Buddha’s teachings across the world. It was indirectly because of Ashoka, I realized, that I had had the courage to jump out of my mainstream safety net in the frenetic city of Manhattan and to land in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Ashoka’s personal life fascinated me—here was a man possessed by terrible demons. The questionable tale of how he’d burnt to death five hundred concubines because one had cruelly mocked him shocked me to the core. Yet this same man had transformed himself into a great ruler whose acts of benevolence are still visible thousands of years later. Soon the complex saga of Copper Moon Over Pataliputra took shape in my mind. Sixteen years later, in the shadow cast by the holy mountain Arunachala, I finished this third novel in a series of three novels about enlightenment (the “Moksha Trilogy”).
Crafting spiritual fiction is its own reward, for one grows in patience, love, empathy and compassion and there is great satisfaction in knowing I can share the luminous gifts that were so freely given to me. Advaita is not two, but, since the ego is incredibly cunning and insidious, it can take eons for some of us to comprehend this. Besides, before we can spin out our ideas into a story that captivates and inspires, we must first digest the wisdom that liberates permanently from suffering, and so the writer is hugely benefited.
A multitude of beings, human and divine, inspired me to carry on, wonderful beta readers, Mishi Bellamy, who designed this third fabulous cover, and my spiritual comrades: Raj Arunachala and KB. I also owe a great debt to the many adepts, scholars and writers whose works in the vast areas of Hatha yoga, Buddhism, Sufism, Taoism, Advaita-Vedanta and related philosophies continue to inspire me. Finally, immense gratitude to all my gurus from beginningless time, especially to Rudra-Shiva in the form of the sacred hill Arunachala, and Ramana Maharshi, who coax me toward the gnosis that reveals each of us to be the blazing light.
I do hope you enjoy Copper Moon as much as I enjoyed writing her.
Greetings from Arunachala, Shiva the Destroyer in the form of a hill of fire and light, whose sacred vow is to help us transform our darkness into light!