The Lost City of Sri Krishna (Book Review)

The Lost City of Sri Krishna: The Story of Ancient Dwaraka by Vanamali

Review by Jacob Kyle

Vanamali’s most recent book, The Lost City of Sri Krishna: The Story of Ancient Dwaraka, is a work of pure devotion. While it contains elements of history, philosophy, and mystical revery, it transcends these familiar categories, speaking its truth from the perspective of adoration for the author’s blue-bodied Lord. All 44 chapters of The Lost City are bookended by invocations to Krishna, reminding the reader that this book is the outgrowth of the writer’s spiritual practice and the expression of a certain degree of spiritual attainment. 

In the Vaishnava (or Krishna bhakti) traditions, the term līlā refers to the blissful playfulness of the divine, and Krishna līlās are the stories of Krishna’s incarnation in this world. To some Vaishnava bhaktas, the goal of spiritual practice is to ultimately reside in a dimension where one can play out these līlās with one’s beloved Lord. The Lost City, in some sense, can be read as a transcription of author Vanamali’s own bliss-saturated adventure with Lord Krishna during Krishnavatara (the years Krishna was incarnated on earth). Indeed, she writes that the stories found within are descriptions of her experiences and not mere products of her imagination.

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