Ramayana is probably the first story I heard as a kid, at my grandma’s knee. It has a special place in my life. Rama, the maryada purushottam, has been a role model, not only for me, but for most Indians. The story has been retold multiple times. Each narrator has had a different view point. Here is another narration by Shubha Vilas talks about lessons that we can learn from the epic, that would be useful in the contemporary period.
“Through tales of Rama’s unwavering and enigmatic persona, the book teaches us how to handle reversals positively; through Bharata’s actions, it teaches us to handle temptation; and through Sita’s courage, to explore beyond our comfort zone. This complicated family drama provides deep insights on how human relationships work and how they fail.”
Shubha Vilas tells us how the reader can learn from the events that took place in the Ramayana. There is a striking resemblance in the way people thought at the time of crisis in the Ramayana and the way they think today in our day-to-day lives.
Ramayana-The Game of Life is aimed to be a series that will provide an account of Lord Rama’s life and his contribution in creating the vast Rama Rajya. Shattered Dreams is the second book in a series following The Rise of The Sun Prince.
I always need to start at the very beginning, and so before jumping into Shattered Dreams, I decided to read the first book. It describes Rama’s childhood with his brothers, his adventures with his gurus and his love and respect for king Dasaratha and all three of Dasaratha’s wives. The Rise of The Sun Prince covers the period in Ayodhya preceding the birth of Rama, Rama’s childhood and then his marriage. It also gives some insights into Ravana’s ancestry and history and the kingdom of Lanka.
The second book describes Lord Rama’s journey after marriage and the initial years that he spent in exile. It also gives us the background of Dasagriva who came to be known as Ravana later. If you want to know the history of Ravana’s name this book is a good place. Overall, the character of Ravana has been very well developed.
The book begins with Dasaratha’s nightmare, which he sees as a bad omen. This is followed by his thought process behind coronation of Lord Rama. Once the decision of Lord Rama’s coronation was made, Ayodhya faces turmoil. The naïve Keikeyi is brainwashed by her maid Manthara and Lord Rama is sent for his exile, leaving Bharata to become the kind instead.
But did Keikeyi really win?
Keikeyi’s musings before and after being brainwashed are described in great detail. The description of her appearance in the sulking chamber is very vivid.
The parallel stories that run alongside that of Ramayana, such as the stories of the sages that Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshman visit and those of the ancestry of king Dasaratha and his queens are amazing to read.
The author asks us to learn from the mistakes of our ancestors. In the book, Sumantra explains to Keikeyi that she is making the same mistake as that of her mother by being stubborn. He explains how her mother was banished from the kingdom of Kekaya and how Keikeyi should learn from this mistake, but to no success.
After every such inspiring story in the book, the author has given an explanation in the way of thinking of the characters in the Ramayana. It is most inspiring to pick the do’s and don’t from these monologues. Also, each page has a set of footnotes that are the author’s interpretations of what one should be learning from the text. They are very inspiring, but I found them distracting while reading as they broke the flow. For me, it would have been better if they were at the end of the chapter, or even at the end of the book, as they are in The Lord of the Rings.
Each ritual in the royal family of Ayodhya is described in great detail. sometimes trifle too much, slowing down the narrative.
My favourite part of the story in terms of description and the way it was written is that of the stuggle that Bharata went through after Lord Rama left. The way he convinced everyone, especially Queen Kausalya, of his innocence was really well written.
In conclusion, a good read. I am looking forward to reading the other books in the series.