Book Review: Ramayana, The Game Of Life: Stolen Hope

Book: Ramayana: The Game of life (Book III: Stolen Hope)

Author: Shubha Vilas

Publisher: Jaico Publishing house

Picture1Most of my age have grown up listening to stories of Ramayan from our elders and can narrate the common and most popular stories from the epic quite easily to our kids.

This book from the series “Ramayana: The game of life” is book III ‘Stolen Hope’. In this book the duration of exile for Rama, Lakshmana and Sita is narrated through various stories that are interconnected to various other characters who each play a part in the epic.

There are many stories in the book which I was not aware of and only after reading those I could connect certain events to larger part of story. Author Shubha Vilas explains the context of stories in a way that might feel relevant to the younger generation.

The example of Maricha who turned himself into a golden dear and lured Rama away was the one which I found quite apt. With this example author explains that if we run after cheap thrills in life, we may be as well walking away from a good, balanced and virtuous life and endangering ourselves.

Another example when Ravana tries to woo Sita by disrespecting her relationship with Rama will relate well with younger generation too. He has described rightly that for love to have impact in relationships, there has to be transparency for respect for each other to bloom.

By giving the example of Surpankha’s shifting focus from Rama to Laxmana , author has brought to light the importance of loyalty in relationships. That an unstable and questionable loyalty can never be the basis of a long-lasting relationship is explained beautifully in the book.

The author has tried to connect with easy explanations of situations presented in Ramayana. There are many examples for reference to look at situations in today’s age too like Bharata’s decision to stay in Ram’s shadow, Sita’s way with words, Jatayu’s reverence etc..

However, if I go for nitpicking there are many proof reading and translation mistakes which jars the reading pace. The sentence formation is quite poor at many places. Usage of wrong words like ‘besiege’ instead of ‘beseech’ stick out like a thorn. The usage of adjectives seems too much forced. I was put off just for this reason while reading the text.

Read and decide for yourself whether it relates and applies to your daily interaction with all kinds of people.

 Also read on :

Krishna: The Master Illusionist

Many may have heard about Hindu God Lord Krishna and his message to civilization in form of ‘Gita Updesh‘. ISCON (International Society for Krishna Conciousness) formed in 1966 in New York and works on principles of Gita of selfless actions  has many followers in Eastern Europe besides India.

Krishna, Lord Vishnu’s incarnation, is known as ‘Leela Purushottam’ besides many other names as ‘makhan chor’ or the butter thief, ‘chitchor’ or the one who steals hearts, ‘chhaliya’ or the one who dupes.

Leela‘ means game or illusion. ‘Purush‘ is man and ‘uttama‘ is the supreme. According to mythological stories, Krishna, all his life, created many illusions to make humans understand the rights and wrongs of the society. He bent the accepted rules and norms of society challenging their usefulness. Since his birth, he created illusions to bring order in the world and punish those who troubled the weak and innocent. Hence the name ‘Leela Purushottama‘.

Krishna’s maternal uncle King Kansa of Mathura imprisoned his pregnant sister and brother-in-law because of a prophecy which warned Kansa that he would be killed by the son of his sister. Kansa killed all the new born babies of his sister. However, when Krishna was born, the jail guards miraculously dozed off and Krishna’s father escaped the jail, crossed a flooded river and delivered the new-born safely to a friend’s home. It was Krishna’s leela or illusion which prevented Kansa to find out about the escape

As a kid, Krishna played in the mud and put it in his mouth. His mother, lovingly scolded him and asked what he had in his mouth. His mother realised, as soon as Krishna opened his mouth, that her son was no ordinary human being but an incarnation of God Vishnu because there in his mouth, she could see the universe, the sun, moon, stars and earth.

Krishna was brought up among cow-herdsmen. He played melodious flute when he took the cows to graze. The cows and humans were enchanted with him and his flute. The milkmaids, loved this dark and handsome young man who played the flute so beautifully. Everyone worshipped and wished Krishna to be for each one of them. To make all his devotees happy, he would create an illusion where each milkmaid felt his presence and danced in trance.

During one of the 18 days war of Mahabharata when he gave the sermon of ‘Gita’ to the prince Arjuna, he created the illusion of dusk which called for the warring sides to end the particular day’s fighting. By creating such an illusion he prevented the ill-intentioned and corrupt and cheating  Kaurava  princes from being unfair to the Pandav princes, thus changing the fate of the doomed war in favor of Pandav princes who followed every rule of war.

Why did Krishna create illusions? Did he want the unfair ones have a taste of their own designs?

He made sure that the rules which made some people of the society powerful, were challenged to protect the weaker people of society and for that he created such occasions where the unfair were brought to book.

KThis post is also for A to Z Challenge.