Books and more at the god market in Delhi Book Fair

03:00 PM Sep 02, 2017 | Team Udayavani |

New Delhi : Religion is on the shelf at the Delhi Book Fair with more than 20 stalls selling tangible stuff about abstract constructs and a few even hawking mental peace. Books on how to achieve salvation, Sai Baba candles, incense sticks and other pooja accessories... it's all on offer at the annual book fair.

As the discourse centres around the misdeeds of self- styled godman Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh, who was convicted of rape this week, and what true spirituality means, the cash registers ring often in tandem with temple bells as it were.

Books about ways and strategies to improve life here in this world, and henceforth in the afterworld, are clearly much in demand. Among the most prominent stalls are the Gita Press, Sri Sri Publications Trust, The Life Eternal Trust, Osho Darshan, and Kant Darshan Publisher.

Enter the large hall actually three interconnected halls and you pass through booths selling all manner of books, including the usual lot of books by Dan Brown, Jeffrey Archer and even P G Wodehouse on offer at throwaway prices.

Hoping to distract you from the pile of bestsellers is the enthusiastic Sumit Arora inviting you in to meditate, and introspect. It's the Sahaja Yoga stall, dominated by a portrait of Nirmala Devi who started the meditative technique, selling not books but the quiet vibe of meditation and hopefully spirituality.

"Face towards the portrait of Mataji Nirmala Devi and concentrate to get rid of negative vibes," Arora, from the organisation, said. "No matter wherever you are in the world, just sit in front of the picture of her holiness Mataji Nirmala Devi for five minutes and you will feel the good vibrations yourself.

Ask her anything with true heart and she will answer," Arora told PTI. Across the stall is the counter of the Shirdi Sai Baba Global Foundation. Filled with Sai Baba literature and merchandise, it sells Sai Baba photo frames, candles, lamps, mugs, car hangings and other articles ranging from Rs 80 to Rs 3,350.

"I can safely say that the book fair is turning more spiritual with every passing year. I have no idea why one would sell and buy god idols and other such things in a book fair. Don't we have different fairs or exhibitions for that?" asked a well-known publisher.

"I don't want to pick a fight with anyone. You know how sensitive people are nowadays on such topics," he said, explaining why he would rather not be quoted. The big religion bazaar doesn't end there. There is also the Sri Raman Vihari Goudiya Math stall, selling pooja paraphernalia sandalwood paste for the ritual tika, diya wicks, bands, incense sticks, name it, they have it.

"We sell everything related to pooja. Other than that, there is also literature on gods like Radha Krishna. "People come and buy most of the articles you see here, though I have to admit this time the crowd is less compared to last year," said Pitamber Dass, while showing a new audio device with 26 spiritual songs to a customer.

The annual affair, which ends tommorrow, saw participation by over 120 publishers who spread themselves over 300 odd stalls. While the footfalls were distinctly fewer this year, and the numbers are still being totted up, religion, it seems safe to say, is here to stay.


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