Fulfillment of Desire through the Narmada
India is home to many distinct populations; however, the beliefs of these peoples have common origins.The lifestyles dictated by the beliefs of these different cultures often lead to journeys and pilgrimages to holy places such as the Narmada River: "The Narmada River is considered the mother and giver of peace.Legend has it that the mere sight of this river is enough to cleanse one's soul" (Walsh 1).People journey to the Narmada to attain a higher spiritual awareness.Gita Mehta's A River Sutra portrays the lives of diverse individuals seeking peace through the Narmada River.Each of the character’s stories is paralleled throughout the book for they all lose a cherished part of their lives.After the loss of their companions, whether human or spiritual, they are drawn to the Narmada to attempt the retrieval of their lives by coming to terms with the tragedies that have taken place.By losing the objects of their desire, the characters are able to transition to the next phase of their lives through the holy Narmada.
The narrator, or sahib, retires to a bungalow on the banks of the Narmada where he encounters a variety of people that have journeyed to the river for healing purposes.He is linked to each of the characters by their stories, enabling him to gain a greater understanding of the world through their experiences of desire.After listening to their discoveries, the narrator recognizes his appreciation for the world in which he has denounced and wishes to reenter society.As the narrator is exposed to the characters and their stories, he realizes that he has come to the Narmada River to discover his own inner longing for life.His true desire comes from hearing the stories that people bring to him.Instead of experiencing things for himself, he gains his knowledge and deeper understanding through the characters: ;The canon of Hinduism is basicall…


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