Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Review: Shattered Dreams - Part 2 of Ramayana: The Game of Life by Shubha Vilas

In continuation to my earlier blog on ‘The Rise of the Sun Prince’(you may want to read the review here), here is a review of the second part of the Ramayana series titled ‘Shattered Dreams'. This book like the previous version has tales from Valmiki's Ramayana as well as the Kamban with some sprinkling of folklore which is what makes it worthy of the mythology hungry reader.

Twelve years have elapsed in Ayodhya since the royal wedding of Rama and Sita – the next part regales the reader with the tale of Rama’s planned coronation, subsequent banishment to the forest and Bharata’s efforts to bring him back. The romance of Rama and Sita is also quite very well depicted without the theatrics of overwhelming the reader. 

In a similar vein to the previous book, the tale has been dramatized and narrated with a fervor that keeps the reader hooked. The story takes off with Dasharatha’s foreboding of evil which prods him towards a hasty decision to coronate prince Rama to be the ruler of Ayodhya. There is jubilation in the city with this news but for one person, who bears a long time grudge towards Rama. The evil hunch back Manthara plots a nasty conspiracy to displace Rama as the crown prince and anoint Bharata, son of Keikei in his place. This sparks off a chain of events that shape the destiny of many lives and kingdoms thereafter.

Again, I am not going to particularly elucidate on the story of the Ramayana which is all too well known. However, as was in the previous book, there are a few tales which may be little known which are brought to light in this book. The story of how Bharata endeavored to persuade Rama to come back is well narrated revealing interesting nuggets such as, Dashratha’s promise to Keikei’s father at the time of seeking her hand that her son would be the crown prince. Although this particular story makes me wonder, if he was unwilling to abide by that promise, how was it that he was willing grant Keikei the boon she asked for? 

However, the story aside, some takeaways from this book are what ideal behavior should be towards all, the importance of being detached in times of happiness or sadness, and how to be positive no matter how trying the times may be.  Incidents in the story are linked to various life lessons that it is meant to impart and the author has lucidly interpreted various aspects with analogies and examples. The footnotes make for excellent reading to understand the underlying message behind each of the stories in the Ramayana. Lessons such as the five management mantras towards effective leadership, solutions to success, and the six anarthas to conquer make for interesting reading as do the notes on understanding ideal behavior.

All in all, it makes for some decent rereading of the Ramayana although I would still say that the narrative style could have been better.  My verdict on this book is the same as the previous book with a rating of 3.5 out of 5.

If you would like to buy this book you can preorder the book from Amazon or any of the other leading book sellers.

1 comment:

  1. What happened to all kinds of prayers and divinity, donations, astrologer predictions of best celestial combinations of stars system for Rama will be the greatest king and no problem.. Just do it... now... fast and feast for preparation for the coronation of Rama as prince. Kaushlya austerities fasting... non of such things ever works, so Why Pray?

    King Dasaratha, then addressed the assembly "Oh! I am very much pleased to hear your united consensus. Incomparable is my fortune in that all of you, without any exception desire my beloved elder son to be anointed as prince "

    King Dasaratha then addressed the Rajaguru Vashista, Vamadeva and other Brahmans "This is the glorious and auspicious month of Chaitra, in which the forests bloom with flowers. Let all arrangements be made for the coronation of Rama as prince."

    These words produced a gleeful applause from the entire assembly.

    King Dasaratha, with a very happy face waited for the applause to subside and then spoke to Vasishta. "Oh Divine Vasishta! Be pleased to order now for the traditional ceremonial that is to be done and various accessories needed for the anointing ceremony of Rama."

    Vasishta then ordered the officers who stood there with folded hands before the king "Gather the following in the sacred fire house of the king by dawn: gold and the like, diamonds, things needed to perform worship, various herbs, white floral garlands, corn, honey and clarified butter separate vessels, new clothes, chariot, all weapons, the four divisions of army, an elephant with auspicious signs, white fan, flag staff, white umbrella, one hundred golden pots with brilliant shine, bull with gilded horns and a complete tiger skin.

    "If you feel that any other small things are also required, arrange for all of them. Let the doorways of the royal palace and those of the entire city be worshiped with sandalwood paste, floral garlands and good smelling incense. Let fine rice of good quality with milk and yogurt, fully sufficient for one hundred thousand Brahmans be arranged. Let that rice be given with due respect to important Brahmans tomorrow at dawn; along with clarified butter, yogurt, corn, and lots of other gifts.

    "There will be an invocation tomorrow at sunrise for the well being of all. All brahmanas be invited and suitable seats be arranged for them. Let the flags be hoisted and the royal highways be sprinkled with water. Let well dressed dancers and musicians wait in the second enclosure in the royal compound. As worshiping is to be done in temples and at road junctions, let some deserving people gather there with rice, eatables, presents and garlands, separately. Let all the warriors enter the well developed front yard of the royal palace with long swords, armors and clean clothing."