Saturday, January 9, 2016

Ramayana - The Stolen hope...a book review

Ramayana and Mahabharatha – Two grand epics of India which almost most Indians have seen, read or have heard it even as they were young as a bedtime story. I too have read , heard and seen them on screen. So what can be new about it?

Ramayana – The game of life  authored by motivational speaker Shubha vilas, published by Jaico books and released in six volumes is uniquely retold. Based on Valmikis Ramayana, Ramcharit manas and Kamba Ramayanam, it correlates the wisdom of Ramayan to present day goal oriented lifestyle. 

Stolen hope is the 3rd in the series and begins with the life of the exiled Royals in the Dandakaranya forest. (my review of first book here  and second book here) As they walk through the forest they meet demons of different dimensions,fearful sages who seek Lord Rama's help to destroy the demons. Rama vows to clear the place of all demons who pose a threat to the sages. While they spend clearing and liberating the cursed demons in the 13 years traversing the Dandakaranya , they move down South guided by Sage Agastya to live in Janasthana, the outpost of Lankan king. Here they encounter Soorapanakha, who proposes to Rama and then Lakshmana. Their spurn infuriates her and when she attacks them , they chop her nose and ears. Angry with the insult.....she instigates her brother Ravana to fight Rama and speaks about his beautiful Wife. Ravana travels to Janasthana and abducts Sita ( interestingly most of us familiar with the crossing of Lakshman Rekha which facilitates the abduction of Sita is not a part of the original Valmiki Ramayan the author says). Then on, Rama along with Lakshmana sets out in search of his stolen hope( Sita) and starts his journey towards South guided by Jatayu , a celestial bird and his devotee Shabari’s guide map.

The story ends in a cliff hanger when Rama is abruptly stopped by a beggar in the forest after leaving Shabari’s ashram, . Something suspicious here…beggar in the forest?… …One beggar abducted Sita. What will this beggar do?...more about it in Part 4 which I can’t wait to read….

What makes this book fascinating is the mini mythological tales embedded in it, the highlight being that of Super sage Agastya’s many tales like his wedding to lopamudra, the origin of River Cauvery, the stunting of Vindhya mountain,  the pilliyar kuthu ( brain yoga), the invention of Tamil language and many such little folk tales . All familiar tales right? But most of these are correlated to present day situations pertaining to relationships, leadership, decision making, anger management etc. Just as in present day world, there is a collision of vices and virtues in Ramayan times too and the book offers guidance to overcome them. For instance, the one on relationships, Where Rama purposefully loses to Sita in a swimming competition between them, here the author says..Rama is happy to have lost because he won the invaluable prize of his wife’s joy in winning. The author here correlates it to present day world thus:

"When we compete in a relationship we are actually trying to control it, when we cooperate in a relationship we are actually trying to impact it.To make relationships last, instead of trying to compete with one another we should try and complete one another". 

I thought this was more relevant and applicable in today’s world where relationships fall faster than nine pins due to ego clashes.

The book is also informative to the Ramayana literates as in the unusual information like the absence of Lakshman Rekha,  the untold story of Ravana , Laxmana’s role of an advisor and how he manages the faltering emotions of his Godly brother Rama when Sita is lost, his maturity in dealing with Sita during the situation when Rama left to hunt Maricha. Definitley lakshmana is a heart stealer here, for most of us who have known Lakshmana as a mere shadow of Rama, his character here left me awestruck.

Except for the few pages which describes the war between Ravana’s brothers and the exiled brothers, I found this book a page turner and edutaining where it’s strength is its simple writing.

This review is a part of the biggest  Book Review Program for  Indian Bloggers.  Participate now to get free books

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