Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Book Review- Ramayana- The Game of Life: Shattered Dreams

“The only permanent factor in this world is temporariness. Everything melts away in the course of time. Time is a deceptive magician with a sardonic sense of humor.”                            -        p. 346

Many such profound lines are strewn on the pages of Ramayana-The Game of Life: Shattered Dreams. In this sequel to the first part Ramayana-The Game of Life: Rise of the Sun Prince, Shubha Vilas has once again done the magic of retelling the classic in an absolutely fresh perspective. A serene image of Rama and a helpless king on a chariot drawn by donkeys (instead of horses) on the cover page are perplexing and dramatic. The captivating narration in the 387-odd pages makes the read an absolute delight. The poetic imagery, enlightening footnotes and relating the preaching of the ancient saga to the present are the highlights of Shattered Dreams.

Almost everyone knows the basic plot and central characters of the Epic. Shubha Vilas, however, does an amazing job by throwing more light on the history of main characters such as Dasaratha, Dasagriva (Ravana) and Kaikeyi. The story is carried forward from the first part of the series in which the Sun Prince is born, trained as a Prince and married to Sita. Shattered Dreams is a vivid account of Manthara and Kaikeyi’s scheme of Bharata’s coronation as the King of Ayodhya instead of Rama, helplessness of Dasaratha to change the course of events and Bharata’s efforts to evade the sin that has come to him unknowingly and unwillingly.

The story opens with of Dasaratha’s anxiety about Rama’s coronation and his fears coming true as keikeyi’s asks for Rama’s exile and kingdom for her son Bharata. Heart-touching depiction of feelings of Muni Vashishtha, Laxmana, Sumantra and the people of Ayodhya adds to the dramatic narration.  Eka-vachani, eka-patni and eka-bana Rama does not flinch from giving away the prosperous Ayodhya and spending 14 years in exile. Kaushalaya and Laxmana’s attempts to stop Rama only strengthen his vow to fulfill his Father’s command followed by a gripping description of Bharata’s desperate measures to bring back Rama to his Kingdom. Rama, however, convinces everybody that the course of events decided by destiny is inevitable. He also reveals that Bharata was the rightful king of Ayodhya due to Dasaratha’s promise to keikeyi’s father.

The book is full of wise teachings which are significant even today. The five management concepts of an ideal leader- respect management, decision management, reputation management, team management and character management- as advised by Rama to the naïve Bharata are extremely relevant to the contemporary corporate leaders. The lines like “The decisions to make decisions has to be made in moments of strength not in moment of weaknesses” and “Even to breathe, one has to let out and let in air. There is nothing but giving and taking” have profound wisdom.

Shattered Dreams is an absolute must-have for the book lovers. And the best part about it, one can read it over and over again and still be assured of finding a new underlying meaning in one of the pages. It makes to you wait desperately for the next sequel and certainly deserves a 4.5 on a scale of 5.

My Rating-

About the Author: Shubha Vilas is a spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker. He holds a degree in engineering and law with specialization in IP: Patent Law. His leadership seminars such as Secrets of Lasting Relationships’, ‘Soul Curry to Stop Worry’ and ‘Work–Life Balance’ are popular with top-level management in corporate houses. He also helps individuals deal with modern-life situations by applying the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana and other dharmic traditions.

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