Saturday, March 21, 2015

RAMAYANA: THE GAME OF LIFE - BOOK 2 (Shattered Dreams)

We left twentieth century, almost ten years ago. However, we are not that far away from it yet, as much as that if one wills a good peek into the past century, it could still be a possibility. What if we are given the gift of glancing backward in time? Would we learn new lessons? Would we unlearn what we learnt wrongly? We know clearly that this is not a real possibility. Perhaps, there is one thing we can still long for: reading a book from a time that has no longer the possibility of making available its own unblurred image through the mist of time.

What if we are given a book from another time, another India, that was the abode to some of the most amazing rishis and thinkers, who created art and literature unparallel to our contemporary standards? Wouldn’t that be a great experience? Yes, I’d say. I’d certainly grab the chance on the very first time itself, because missing such a chance to read and learn from one of those amazing books written in the ancient India seems foolish. I am referring to Ramayana, a magnificent volume of epic written by Valmiki in verse form.

Shubha Vilas. Image Courtesy: Google
Shubha Vilas has written a book that is as much about Ramayana as it is Ramayana itself, re-narrated for a ‘new’ India. A motivational speaker and spiritual seeker, Shubha Vilas, is the author of Ramayana: The Game of Life, a spiritual and motivational series. The second book in this series is titled Shattered Dreams. The book re-presents the grand story of Rama as told in the original Ramayana, with a contemporary and relevant attitude. At each juncture, Shubha Vilas pauses to ask questions about life and its choices, and nudge the reader into a state of learning and spiritual awareness through the test and tribulations that appear in the life of Rama, the protagonist.  

“To bring a chicken out of an egg, one only needs to wait. Similarly, destiny unfolds itself on its own accord,” says the footnote that decorates the purpose of the book during a conversation between Lakshmana and Rama. Through the story of Rama, of how a young prince followed his Dharma that was laid down by his father in front of him, the author narrates techniques that anyone from the twenty-first century can master and practice in order to achieve ethical enlightenment. In this aspect, the book appears to be a guide for ethics and morality. The first volume to Shattered Dreams is a national bestseller titled Rise of the Sun Prince.

At the end of Book 1 Rama and Sita are married. Book 2 is the story of the exile of Rama, who, because of a conspiracy, had to abandon his kingdom and lead a life of hardships. Moreover, one could observe a self-imposition in Rama’s action, as he chooses exile rather than denigrating his father’s vow with Keikeyi, one of his father’s wives and the mother of Bharata and Shatrughna.

Image Courtesy: Google
Although Keikeyi is a major contributor to the conspiracy that sends Rama into the forest for exile, she does it for her son Bharata’s career. If Rama were present in the palace, he would be the next king. So in the exile of Rama has the solution for Keikeyi, in making her son the next king. Still, one could observe height of personal integrity and justice in the very own son of Keikeyi.

Bharata says to Shatrughna, his brother, “Just see how much harm Keikeyi has done. The kingdom without a king is like a stray boat without a rudder.”

In a world where power and influence has become the markers of individual success, such characters, and the stories in which they are portrayed become signs of spiritually fulfilling and meaningful growth. Ramayana: The Game Of Life—Book 2 (Shattered Dreams) also reminds us of a turning point in Indian publishing industry. Once in India, books with religious characters, or characters from religious mythology were very rare. Bestselling author of the Siva trilogy, Amish Tripathi, remarked in one of the interviews about his early attempts to publish his first book that all publishers turned his book down saying that a book with a mythological and religious figure like Siva just wouldn’t fit the standards of publishing industry. Everyone knows what happened to the book though. The ‘standard’ has been reset, if there ever was one.

Ramayana: The Game of Life—Book 2 (Shattered Dreams) is not entirely a work of fiction. Just like in my book, Prabuddha: The Clear-Sighted, in which I tried to convey spiritual and philosophical values through stories, Shubha Vilas attempts to bring forth age-old and relevant wisdom of the Ramayana through this new book. Shattered Dreams would offer you the story of Rama, the benevolent and the just, and also would walk you through the light shed through the majestic personality of this great man. Through this volume, one gains the perspective not just through the chaos of twentieth century, but what lies before it. Who wouldn’t want to see what values went into the making of this 5000-year-old civilization that we call India?

If you are not familiar with the story of Rama, you may also learn toward the end of the book what a pair of sandals can do to change the way one looks at power. What better gifts of wisdom could there ever be in a book than changing the way one looks at the things around.        
          
Ramayana: The Game of Life - Book 2 (Shattered Dreams) is published by Jaico Publishing, and is available everywhere books are sold.

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