Sperling, Vatsala 1960-

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SPERLING, Vatsala 1960-

PERSONAL: Born January 1, 1960, in Jamshedpur, Bihar; naturalized U.S. citizen; daughter of Ramnath (B. Subramaniyam) and Narayani (a homemaker) Iyer; married Ehud Sperling (a book publisher), February 22, 1996; children: Mahar Asher. Ethnicity: "Indian." Education: Nagpur University, B.S. and M.S. (microbiology), 1980-85; Delhi University, Ph.D. (clinical microbiology), 1992. Politics: "I believe in Democracy." Religion: Hindu. Hobbies and other interests: "Children's and human rights, peace efforts, environmental issues."

ADDRESSES: Offıce—Inner Traditions International, One Park St., Rochester, VT 05767. E-mail—[email protected].

CAREER: Childs Trust Hospital, Chennai Tamil Nadu, India, chief of clinical microbiology services, 1991-96; freelance author, Rochester, VT, 1996—. Presenter at scholarly conferences, 1990-95.

AWARDS, HONORS: Gold Medal from the President of India, 1985, for standing first in the Order of Merit in 1983-85 session M.S. Microbiology Examination.


(With husband, Ehud Sperling) A Marriage Made in Heaven: A Love Story in Letters, Ten Speed Press, 2000.

Contributor to periodicals, including Hinduism Today and Hindorama.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Research on children's health and alternative medicine approaches.

SIDELIGHTS: Vatsala Sperling told CA: "My primary motivation for writing: I have a firm belief that in this same 'big-bad-world' there is a possibility of experiencing peace, love, happiness, kindness, generosity and the fundamental goodness resident in nature and in human beings. Whenever I feel inspired to write, I find that I am very motivated to communicate about this possibility.

"I keep my eyes and ears open and am always ready to run and hug inspiration. I derive inspiration from children, from mothers, from people who fight the battle of life with spiritual strength and who approach people with a giving heart. All these people influence my work. These regular people, whom I meet in my day-to-day life, give me reasons to write.

"I live with a new idea in my mind for some length of time. If this idea fills me up with enthusiasm and positive energy, I imagine that when this idea incarnates on paper and wears the veil of written words, it would carry at least some of the enthusiasm and positive energy with which it was parading in my mind.

"One fine day I convey the idea in writing. Fortunately, everything that I wrote from 1987 to 1995 in my career as a clinical microbiologist in India was never rejected. Scientific papers, posters and research findings presented as lectures for physician and medial students, were always accepted and highly rated.

"Since 1996—after my marriage to Ehud Sperling, with whom I have co-authored our first book, A Marriage Made in Heaven: A Love Story in Letters—I have been writing on topics related to Hindu religion, Indian culture, health and nutrition, pregnancy, children's health, etc.

"Now, as I write down my ideas, I discuss them with Ehud who is a book publisher. His critical comments and suggestions help me make sure that my ideas, when written and published for people, would actually benefit them in some way."

Sperling explained what inspired her to write several of her works. "1987-1995: Inspiration for clinical microbiology writings came directly from the sick children in the hospitals where I was a student and worked as chief of clinical microbiology services.

"1996-2000: Inspiration for writing about food and nutrition, pregnancy and children's health came from my personal experience of the food scene in America, my first pregnancy, and caring for our first born son.

"1999-2000: Inspiration for writing the book A Marriage Made in Heaven: A Love Story in Letters came from the question that strangers and friends asked us, 'So, how did the two of you meet?' To answer their questions, I read through a stack of nearly one hundred letters Ehud and I exchanged with each other before meeting in person. Based on those letters, we decided to get married as per 'arranged marriage' tradition followed in Indian culture, and without the western style of living together before marriage.

"Reading these letters as a married woman, wife, and new mother told me that I did not have to lock up these letters in a safe and stamp them 'personal.' In these letters, without ever meeting, we had exposed our minds to each other, exchanged all ideas, hopes, dreams, fears, expectations, needs, weaknesses, and strengths of our personalities. Such as an intimate but non-physical exploration of each other's minds helped us in knowing each other very deeply and without any masks or intoxicants of physical love or the experience of living together.

"This exploration laid a strong and healthy foundation for our marriage (which is very happy and getting better with each passing day, thank God!).

"'There must be some clue in these letters for people who are looking for depth, meaning, joy, peace, and love in their intimate relationships.' This feeling, accompanied with hope that every family should experience peace and domestic bliss, inspired me to pull together our letters in a book form. Ten Speed Press of California felt the same and now our book A Marriage Made in Heaven: A Love Story in Letters is published. This is proof that prayers, hopes, dreams, optimism, and faith in basic goodness of life and people can make an author out of a clinical microbiologist. Believe it or not, all these ingredients do have the power to bring about transitions."