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A Strong Current

A Strong Current. A novel on ancient India (Wereldbibliotheek: Amsterdam, 1993), 108 pp., available in Dutch only


A book on silence, stillness, and language. Two persons seek fulfilment. They find this in each other, for a moment. Then their individual lives follow their own separate course once again. Through both lives the river flows.


This novel is about the hidden history of a woman who lived more than 2,500 years ago. Her name was Maitreyī. She lived before even the historical Buddha lived. And until now the world knew no more about her than what one passage in the Upanishads recounts: that she was the wife of the great thinker Yajñavalkya.


She lived in an era when questions were being posed, and was linked to a man who had found final answers.

What happened to her is what befell most Indian women: at first she was no more than her father’s daughter, in her marriage she merely derived her name and dignity from her husband’s position, and afterwards she was mainly the mother of her son.


Her own story is not found in the chronicles. All we have is merely two lines in the Brhadāranyaka Upanishad: 'Yajñavalkya had two wives, Maitreyī and Katyāyanī. Of these two, Maitreyī was aware of the sacred knowledge; Katyāyanī, on the other hand, merely knew what women usually know.'


Albertina Nugteren imagines the flow of Maitreyī ’s life in this novel.


Belief, Bounty and Beauty Hinduism: Past and Present God as an Alternative? Rituals around the Bodhi-tree The Play of Love and Covert Rebellion From Cosmos to Commodity Home is Where the Mūrtis Are Disaster Rituals