By: Keyur Seta
Ramayana is one of the oldest Indian epics that is popular world over. So, obviously, the people of India have been hearing the greatness of the tale and its legendary characters from elders, teachers and various books, if not from a television series or a movie. Since we already have acquired so much of information about the epic, do we really need another book to retell us the same story?
As far as author Shubha Vilas’ latest book on Ramayana is concerned, the answer is in the affirmative since it throws light on numerous incidents that most of us, especially the youngsters, won’t be aware about. The book Rise Of The Sun Prince is the first in the series of six books under the title Ramayana: The Game Of Life.
Talking about its story, it portrays the chapter Bala Kanda from Valmiki’s Ramayana. It begins before the birth of Lord Rama and covers the events until his marriage with Sita. It extensively throws light on the life of the great Sage Vishamitra.
The purpose of the book, as stated by the author, is to retell the glorious epic to the modern audience of today’s era. The writer succeeds in the task fairly well largely due to his language that is rich but at the same time simple and easy to grasp, even for people from vernacular mediums and across age groups. His smart use of the conflict element further helps in creating a number of intensely dramatic moments. The words of wisdom at the end of almost every page further enhance the content. This section along with the entire book is full of lessons and messages that are relevant today and will be forever.
But, as stated above, the novelty in content with regards to various events is a much bigger plus point. Along with incidents related to a number of characters, this is because of the importance given to the story of Sage Vishwamitra. In fact, he is the central character of the book instead of Lord Rama. This might come as a complete surprise but it is fully justified due to the fascinating, inspirational and soul-stirring story of one of the greatest sages.
A number of incidents related to the life of Vishwamitra become the high point of the book. Some of these include:-
1) His conflict with King Dasaratha over taking Rama with him to defeat demons Maricha and Subahu.
2) Him being mesmerized by the expression on Rama’s face.
3) His grave enmity with Sage Vasistha and its dire consequences.
4) His painstaking efforts to achieve the title of Brahmarishi.
5) The final outcome of his enmity with Vasistha.
But along with numerous plus points, the book also has its share of few minuses. These are:-
1) Epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata are full of miraculous events, some of which are difficult to accept by the modern rational audience. Since the book is meant for them, few incidents should have been toned down. For instance, a group of armies being thrown out of the various parts of the cow’s body and even from her cow dung becomes a bit too much.
2) Rama and Sita are shown to be impressed only by each other’s looks. In fact, the writer has again and again emphasized only on the physical aspects of both the characters instead of the numerous great qualities they possess. This makes it appear as if they share mutual lust for each other rather than love.
3) I don’t quite agree with the idea of bringing out as many as six books to tell the story of Ramayana. Three or four would have been enough. However, I would be glad if the author manages to bring out the remaining five books with similar engaging content and proves me wrong.
Overall, Shubha Vilas’ Rise Of The Sun Prince is an enjoyable and intriguing read for the lovers of Indian mythology.
Rating: * * * *
Author: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Jaico Publishers
Genre: Indian Mythology
Price: Rs 250
Additional Feature: 32 page preview of the next book in the series titled Shattered Dreams and 5 page Appendix about ’24 Qualities That Make A True Hero’.