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Icons of Grace: Twenty-one Lives that Defined Indian

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Item Code: BAC555
Author: Nityand Charan Das
Publisher: Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2022
ISBN: 9780143458463
Pages: 358
Other Details 8.00 X 5.00 inch
Weight 270 gm
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Shipped to 153 countries
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Book Description
About The Book

The path to spiritual understanding can be a confusing one. The manic pace of the present age has loosened the threads that tied our ancestors to prayer and faith. But role models could still help us find our way back. In Icons of Grace, respected ISKCON monk Nityanand Charan Das introduces readers to the lives of twenty-one extraordinary people who served as spiritual guides, through their teachings and through personal example.

At one level, the lives of these great souls-from Mirabai and Ramanujacharya to Sant Tukaram and Adi Shankaracharya-are a practical demonstration of the most essential spiritual principles. In relating them, though, Nityanand Charan Das aims not just to record the richness of their cultural and spiritual legacies but also to convey to readers the lessons one can learn through one's daily actions and choices. Icons of Grace is inspiring It also offers hope: however imperfect our journey has been thus far, spiritual redemption is accessible to us all.

About the Author

Nityanand Charan Das is a practising monk at the Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Temple, ISKCON Chowpatty, Mumbai, and a visionary who wishes to revolutionize the current urban scenario by aiding people to lead a life of purpose, fulfilment and satisfaction. He also specializes in guiding today's youth to reconnect with their roots and lead a simple yet happy life.

Coming from an army background, Nityanand Charan Das's childhood desire was to become an army officer. However, Krishna had other plans for him and orchestrated his life beautifully. Life led him to fail the NDA interview, despite being one of the best in the group; he took up engineering instead, and eventually became a monk when he was just twenty-four years old.

Nityanand Charan Das focuses on making the sacred teachings of our holy scriptures simple so that they resonate with anyone and everyone. His message is simple: 'Spiritual life is not a life of rejection. It is a life of connection.' He says, we do not have to give up anything, we simply have to add this valuable dimension to our life.

His divine radiance can be felt far and wide: his discourses are heard in every major city in India and in more than fifty countries across the globe.


I grew up in a household that was God-revering, God- believing and God-fearing a household that prayed daily and expressed gratitude as often as it could. So, from an early age, my relationship with the Divine had been outlined for me. I neither questioned it, nor did I feel the need to explore it further. God was always with us and in us.

And yet, as I reached my forties, I found myself riddled and rudderless. Searching, seeking and failing miserably. It was like I had been set off on a path, but I had no idea of my final destination or the road I needed to take to get there. When others spoke of finding themselves spiritually, I literally did not even understand what that meant or felt like. My search took me to Prabhu Nityanand Charan Das. And, that's when I went back to school. To the school of self-truth. Under him, I embarked upon an exciting trip to become God-knowing, to customising my own relationship with the Divine. As I learnt about the magic and miracle that is the Bhagavad Gita, the life of the Lord introduced me to the way of life. Religion no longer felt stationed in ether but within me as my steadfast companion and guide in navigating my time on Earth.

In India, God has played such a central figure in most of our lives. From birth to death, each milestone is punctuated with a ritual, a prayer and a belief. Faith has granulated the texture of our lives so tightly that it's not just how we live, but how the world also perceives us. As Martin Luther King Jr famously said, 'To other countries I may go as a tourist, but to India I come as a pilgrim.'

And yet, in the manic pace of our daily grind, these threads come apart and we lose our grip over it. And that is when an intervention is needed.

For me, that is what Icons of Grace is. In these twenty-one chapters, you are introduced to twenty-one extraordinary humans, from Mirabai and Ramanujacharya to Tukaram and Adi Shankaracharya. Each one playing the perfect intermediary to God in her/his own way.

Each is important because they serve as models of human excellence-finding their own inimitable way to connect with the Divine through bhakti, karma or gyaan. And showing us how to live and how to die. These are also stories of hope. Stories that tell us that however imperfect and flawed our journey has been thus far, spiritual redemption and renaissance is accessible and available to us all.

Shri Bilwamangala Thakur was a saint whose life and deeds in particular make for a fascinating study in the power of religion. From being a flawed man who was consumed with lust for a prostitute, he went on to become a renowned saint. His life shows us the inclusivity of faith.

At our core, we are all spiritual beings. Thus, spiritual life is our natural life, and the degree to which we stay in touch with our natural life determines our happiness and contentment. It is similar to how a person from south India, no matter where he or she travels in the world, will find satisfaction only in rice, dosa and idli, or a Gujarati being content only after getting his or her local food.


To advance in any field, we need role models to look up to, beacons who guide us on our journey and aid our success, and in this matter, spirituality is no exception. Again and again, the Supreme Lord Krishna appears in this world to be that role model Himself, but most of the time He sends His beloved associates, also known as the Vaishnavas (devotees of Lord Krishna/Vishnu), to guide us on this sacred path through their teachings and, more importantly, through their lives and personal examples.

Vaishnavas worship Lord Krishna and His various manifestations, such as Lord Vishnu and Lord Ram, although the styles of worship and emphasis might differ.

Vaishnavas believe that the ultimate reality is personal. Thus, they understand that God is the Supreme all-attractive person, or Krishna. They acknowledge that all living beings are eternal persons, the indestructible spiritual beings, and that all life's problems are rooted in the individual soul's orgetfulness of his or her relationship with God.

The Vaishnava tradition has widely influenced global culture through kirtans (devotional singing of the Lord's names and glories), dance, theatre and art. The key Vaishnava scriptures are the Bhagavad Gita (included in the longer work, the Mahabharata), Shrimad Bhagavatam (one of the eighteen Puranas), Ramayana, and the more recent, sixteenth-century Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita, the authorised biography of Lord Chaitanya, about whom we shall get to know more in the pages of this book.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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