When BlogAdda invited us review the Book Stolen Hope as part of the Ramayana the Game of Life I applied simply because I had read the last two books, had an interaction with the author and felt very involved with it.
I was reviewing another book so this had to wait, that reduced my reviewing days by two instead of week I had 5 days which simply does not do justice to a book of this genre.
The plot of the Ramayana stands unchanged. Book three opens with the rape of Araja the daughter of Shukracharya and ends with the story of Shabhari. The book talks of the events at Chitrakoot, Dandakaranya and dilemma’s that Rama Sita and Lakshmana face there.
The author curates lot of “upakatha” this makes the book very interesting. Like the story of how Dandakarnya got its name. The legend of Agastya Rishi and Lopamudra, the tale of Sachi and Nahusha, the story of Surya and Sajana, the story of Nalakubera and Rambha which actually makes its presence in Harivamsha. The story of Gokarna. The origin of Pillaiyaar Kuttu of Deccan and coramandal south. The legend of the origin of Kaveri, the creation of Vindhya ranges all these are definitely interesting.
On page 45 the author shares on who can give a feedback. For me, more than who can give a feedback, it was apt description of whose feedback we should value.
I do have my ideological issues in the footnotes and teachings and judgements that the author delivers through it. but these are a very personal stand.When the author talks of ornaments used he says that the ornaments reflect the value system, which to me was kind of judgemental, since clothing emerges from the ecological environment and ornaments emerge from the giving utility objects an aesthetics.
When it comes to a supportive wife, from Tulasidas onwards the author included project that a voiceless wife, an blind obedient wife is a supportive wife, which breaks the very foundation that the marriage rests on, the wife is sahadharmini, and becomes a friend with the seventh step, she is an individual in her own right.
The author gives a very elaborate description of Rama’s arrow, and a quiver that has limitless arrows, but the uniqueness of Rama was that he had only 4 arrows, actually the mudra that is used to depict Rama is the symbol for 4 arrows. Another factual error on the killing of Shurpanaka’s husband, he was killed by Lakshmana accidently.
I have mentioned this in my review of the last books too, that the language is casual, sometimes Americanism pops up… sending a jarring note. For example the use “what to speak of the two of you” on page 35 says that the second and third edits, and the editor failed drastically. The use of “ki Jai” which is Hindi hence does not relate to the period.
Story telling the author says is the science of navigating life through others learning which is precisely what he is doing through the book; this is where he becomes kind of judgemental. (I know I am sounding judgemental too) unlike Tulasi’s rendering which focuses on glorifying Rama, or Valmiki’s rendering which just narrates events, ShubhaVilasji justifies the deification of the prince of Ayodhya.
Yet periodic summing of the lessons and insights are interesting. Like
On page 123 he sums Vibrations cause and effect.
On page 145 he talks about Humour and it’s connecting with the type of personality.
On page 149 he talks about smiles which are pretty interesting.
From my point this is not a book to be read once. This is a kind of book that we keep at home, and read on and off; it does not require reading in a sequence. It might be a good idea to just flip through the pages on and off, learning’s and insights happen spontaneously.
The author ends the book with a teaser of the 4th book.
Author Sri Shubha Vilasa Das
This review is a part of the biggest <a href="http://blog.blogadda.com/2011/05/04/indian-bloggers-book-reviews" target="_blank"> Book Review Program </a> for <a href="http://www.blogadda.com" target="_blank">Indian Bloggers.</a> Participate now to get free books!
GALF a conversation with ShubhaVilasji is Ramayana relevant — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42z4AxkZtyQ&authuser=0