Given the pace at which I have been blogging for quite sometime now, that should not come at a surprise at all. Sigh, I so feel I need to do better justice to this space 😐 

Amidst all the frenzy around thanks to the just-days-away relocation, I had to apply for a Blog Adda review program.  Work, decluttering, packing up, meeting friends, trying to visit the favourite places again and also those never before visited places becausetheyareinthesamecityanyway – just so many things on the plate! Phew!  Anyway, am glad this atleast got me back here and hope to share the last few experiences as a Hyderabadi before we make the move.

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Author: Shubha Vilas

Pricing details: Rs.250/- on the cover. Visit  http://www.indiabookstore.net/isbn/9788184955309 for options and variations

No. of pages – 252 (includes a 30-pages preview of Book2)

My only but great sources of the knowledge of Ramayana have been listening to the stories from the parents and the grandparents, and from the teacher when we had an entire book on the epic in school. Oh and Ramanand Sagar’s version on TV back then, when Sunday mornings went getting ready in time to not miss even a single scene. I had not read any other adaptation or retelling as such (Yes, I haven’t read Ashok Banker too). But when I read Devdutt Patnaik’s Jaya, a retelling of the Mahabharata, I fell in love with the style of narration. Mythology for me is not a topuc of debate as to who was right or wrong etc.., but something from where we get to learn lessons for life. Especially because I am no authority on the same. We might debate that it is not all perfect, but there are things we can definitely learn and imbibe. So, when I read the blurb, I thought it was good to read such a retelling of the Ramayana too, and hoped that it would be worth it.

Ramayana: The Game of Life. Epics like the Ramayana have been recounted infinite times. Is there a need for another chronicle in the presence of so many? How is this one different? And is it relevant to our ever-changing modern lives?

Yes, there is a need, yes this is different and yes, it is relevant. This new series of books, each following one khand of the Ramayana, decodes the eternal wisdom of that poetic scripture through gripping narrative and thought-provoking instruction. In the time-honored custom of spreading wisdom through tales, every fascinating story in the epic is retold here and every character unfolded to captivate your heart and open your mind to lifes deepest questions.

The narrative closely follows Valmiki’s Ramayana, gently weaving in folk tales as well as the beautiful analogies of the Kamba Ramayana. The first of this six-volume series, Rise of the Sun Prince, takes you through the divine story of Lord Rama from His birth up to His marriage. Through these pages are revealed the tales of Dasarathas leadership, Vishwamitras quest for power and the intriguing story of a little-known stone maiden. Ramayana: The Game of Life has all of this and much more – food for contemporary thought drawn from an enduring masterpiece.

The blurb said it all, but since I have to say something, here are my thoughts on the same 😛

1) The book traces the journey of Rama’s life from his childhood to marriage (Balakanda of Ramayana). In doing so, it also narrates the story of Vishwamitra who moves from the state of a child (bala) to an adult in terms of devotion, thus imparting an other name for Balakanda. It was amazing to read so much in detail about the minute things that went into the making of Sage Vishwamitra.

2) It also has many other such fascinating tales about the making of Trishanku Swarga, which again I did not know much about before, but for the name actually. Interesting narration about why exactly King Janaka had the condition of somebody having to lift the Shiva-Dhanush to be able to marry Sita and so many other such details make the book a gripping read for sure. I believe and we have all seen that Ramayana does not have as many illustrations of the childhood tales of the brothers, unlike the life of Krishna. So writing a whole book about it, while also keeping it interesting is commendable indeed.  It also has a few details like Dasaratha having 350 wives in addition to the 3 we know etc.., which am not really sure about. But like I said, the lessons matter more to me 🙂

3) While on them, there’s a lot to learn, especially lessons on leadership and management. This note on the author definitely explains that 🙂

Shubha Vilas, a spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker, holds a degree in engineering and law with specialization in Patent Law. His leadership seminars 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.

 4) The only crib I have though is about the footnotes. Though they give enough food for thought and understanding, there are just too many of them – almost evey page has footnotes and they seemed to kind of hinder the flow of the story for me. I think some of the footnotes, especially the 1-2 liners could have been incorporated as part of the story itself. Or could have been compiled together at the end of each chapter.

5) All in all, a good read in simple language, and like the author says ‘entertaining to the heart and enlightening to the mind’. He does good justice when he says that ‘Ramayana is not a book, but a way of life’ and tries to bring that out in a book.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

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