The Krishna Key is a 2012 anthropological thriller by Indian author Ashwin Sanghi and is his third novel. The book follows a history professor that has to prove his innocence against a murder charge.
The Krishna Key centres around Ravi Mohan Saini, the protagonist and a historian who has been accused of the murder of his childhood friend Anil Varshney. In an attempt to clear his name, Saini looks into the past of Indian Mythology’s grey areas and uncover the truth about a serial killer who believes himself to be Kalki, the final avatar of Lord Vishnu. Saini travels from the ancient ruins of the Lost City of Dwaraka to Vrindavan temples in an attempt to discover one of Krishna’s treasures and stop the killer from murdering his friends who are also under the threat.
The plot involves different pieces of the seal which must be brought together to solve the puzzle. Each part of the seal is in the possession of four different people who are descendants of Yadava tribes. The tribes are Saini, Satvat, Varshney and Chhedi. The author narrates a detailed version of the post-Mahabharatha history through the protagonist, a distinguished professor of history, who himself happens to be a lineal descendant of Krishna being from Saini tribe of Punjab. The book also contains the author’s version of the Krishna Avatar at the start of each chapter from the birth to the death of Vishnu’s 8th Avatar.
The plot of the novel resembles that of the Da Vinci Code which is a fictional novel on Jesus’ lineage.
Sanghi stated that he “wanted to do a story in connection with the Mahabharata, but not retelling of the epic which has already been done” and undertook a month’s research, saying that he “had to be extremely cautious in dealing with this topic as we put a premium on personal belief and faith”. He chose Krishna as one of the books’s themes because Krishna is a “perfectly grey character”