I have the habit of reading books over and over again over a period of time. I keep buying new books, yet I take an old book from the shelf to read once again.
If there is one book that almost everyone reads or should read if not over and over again, at least once, is the Ramayana.This epic has 24,000 verses which describes the life of Lord Rama.It also portrays and teaches us the role of each person in the society be it a father, wife, brother, king ,servant etc.
The Ramayana is not a book; it is a way of life, says the author of the book – Ramayana – The Game of Life : Rise of the Sun Prince ,Subha Vilas.
When the author sent me the book for review, I was so struck by the beautiful cover illustration. The painting of Rama and Lakshmana protecting Sage Valmiki’s rites from the demons – Maricha and Subahu is indeed beautiful.
This book is the first in the series of Ramayana and it portrays the Bala Kaandam / The childhood of Lord Rama.This book has the narratives both from the Valmiki Ramayana and the Kamba Ramayana. It covers the time before Lord Rama’s birth to his wedding with Sita.
Though we are set to think that Bala Kaandam is supposed to speak of the childhood of Rama , it mainly focusses on Sage Vishwamitra and in a way he is the central Hero!
We do know the story of Lord Rama but what makes this book so good is the way it has been translated and narrated.
Once I started reading, I could not put it down!I finished this book within a day but it has taken me a long time to put my reading experience into words!
This book is written in a simple language but its not too simple! It is a good read for adults and young adults too. A great book to treasure for sure.
The best thing about the book is the foot notes that are seen in almost all the pages. The various references and interpretations make the book all the more interesting to read. It leads the reader away from the main story but I would not call that a distraction or a disadvantage. I came to know a lot about the various characters and the reason behind certain actions performed by them.
A simple example would be that the childless Dasaratha turns to his wise counsel for a remedy and that’s when Sumantara suggests that a ritual be performed to please the Gods and get a boon for a son.We do know this part of the story ,right. But there comes a question as to why he did not suggest this to the King earlier. Here the author gives in the foot note that ‘ A relationship is effective between the two parties [The King and his confidant] when they understand their limits and expectations’.The job of the confidant was to improvise on the Kings proposal and not to take initiative on his personal affairs!
Such footnotes gives us the insight to the relationships and the duties of the characters in this great epic.These footnotes are also kind of relevant on how to deal with the modern day relationships!
There are a lot of sub-stories/ folk tales involved and they are told in a simple and understandable narrative.Some of the stories and the actions were new to me and I enjoyed reading them.Never once did the pace get slowed down or wanted me to skip a few pages. That’s exactly how a good book ought to be.
As in the modern day thriller, this epic too has its share of twists and turns and of course all the drama and action that is described very beautifully.
The description of the characters make them come alive in front of you.I could visualize the drama unfolding and that’s one reason I could not put the book one. It is so engrossing.
One other thing in this book is the authors note on the various Laws, like the Laws of Sharing,Laws of dependence, Laws of balance etc, that explains the various qualities and how to deal with them.
There is also a list of the 24 qualities [at the end of the book] that make a Hero and this is told by The great Sage Narada in relation to Lord Rama and he says Lord Rama possessed all these qualities!
There is a small teaser for the part 2 of the book- Shattered Dreams at the end that makes you eager to start of with the second volume of this epic. I am sure to read that and the other volumes in this series.
The author says that the story has been written in a very gripping manner yet intellectually stimulating. I totally agree with this and I strongly recommend this book. It is not only for those who haven’t read this book yet, but also for those who know the epic yet want to get to know it better!
Having been a part of the a Ramayana Dance Production a decade ago, this epic is very close to my heart and reading this book got back all those beautiful and treasured memories.
About the author :
Subha Vilas is a spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker.He conducts leadership seminars and addresses the need of top level management in Corporate hoses through thought provoking seminars on themes such as ‘Secrets of lasting relationships’,Soul curry to stop worry’,Work-life balance’ etc.
He also interacts with youth in premier institutions and inspires them to lead a life based on deeper human values.He also plays a role as a guide to school children and teaches them foundational values through masterful story telling.
Get in touch with the author on Facebook
This 250 paged book is published by JAICO BOOKS and it costs INR 250/-.It is really a good read and I am sure you will enjoy it too.