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Spirituality books spell business

Visitors at the World Book Fair are spending more time at the stalls selling titles with a spiritual quotient.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2006 15:49 IST

The mammoth World Book Fair here boasts of over 2,300 stalls with titles ranging from children's literature to complex scientific texts, but it is the books with a spiritual bend that are drawing increasing numbers of people.

Visitors are noticeably spending more time at the various stalls selling titles with a spiritual quotient at the nine-day fair that began at the Pragati Maidan Friday.

"People are so busy chasing success in today's world that they are missing out on the spiritual aspects of life. This is probably their way of getting in touch with the void within," said Nagma of Good Word Books, an affiliate of the Centre for Peace and Spirituality.

"Visitors are very enthusiastic in their response. They come in and look at the books that have answers to life's deeper questions and then they even discuss some doubts," Nagma said.

Sanjay Bharti from Pune's Osho Ashram agreed with Nagma, saying there was significant interest from not just hardcore followers of such texts but also from first-timers.

"People come to our stall out of mere curiosity and go away after having invested in books and tapes with Osho's messages. Books on meditation are especially popular and a lot of our sales can be attributed to word of mouth," Bharti said.

"In today's competitive environment, people seek ways and means to relax and unwind and our titles meet these needs. Such is the popularity of Osho's books that more than 30 publishers are offering his titles in the fair."

The bestsellers include "Meditation - The First And Last Freedom", "From Sex To Superconsciousness", "From Medication To Meditation" and "Geeta Darshan".

Osho, or Bhagwan Rajneesh, was a spiritual guru who attracted thousands of followers from India and abroad with his teachings that combined elements from Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Christianity with new forms of therapy and meditation. He died in 1990.

To cash in on the popular demand for his works, Osho Books have two exclusive stalls and members of Osho Ashram in Pune are even planning meditation workshops on the last three days of the fair.

"People are interested in books on meditation as they help to control lives and thoughts. It acts as a support system in stress," said Bramacharya Suman of Ramakrishna Mission.

"There is no need for marketing as buyers spread the word around. That way more people come in to buy more books. Apart from Swami Vivekananda's works, other books on meditation too evoke a good response."

At the Chinmaya Mission stall, decorated tastefully and fragrant with the smell of burning incense, it is the holy Hindu tome Bhagavad Gita that gets the most attention. Commentaries on the book apart from those on the Upanishads evoke much curiosity.

"The present generation has been hugely influenced by a culture alien to our society. Parents want their children to appreciate the intrinsic worth of the Indian value system and make them proud of their Hindu culture," said Anand Sharma of the Chinmaya Mission stall.

"Most of these books deal with internalisation, dealing with life's issues internally. They are like a manual on how to face life."