Friday, 30 January 2015

Book Review #27: "Shattered Dreams" : Book 2 of The "Ramayana - The Game of Life" Series

Publisher : Jaico Books
Price: INR 350
Pages: 387

Shattered Dreams is the sequel to the national bestseller, Rise of the Sun Prince, in the new spiritual and motivational series Ramayana - The Game of Life. Twelve joyful years have passed in Ayodhya since the wedding of Rama and Sita at the end of Book 1.

Now, in Shattered Dreams, Shubha Vilas narrates the riveting drama of Rama’s exile. Through tales of Rama’s unwavering and enigmatic persona, the book teaches us how to handle reversals positively; through Bharata’s actions, it teaches us to handle temptation; and through Sita’s courage, to explore beyond our comfort zone. This complicated family drama provides deep insights on how human relationships work and how they fail.

With Valmiki’s Ramayana as its guiding light, Shattered Dreams deftly entwines poetic beauty from the Kamba Ramayana and Ramacharitramanas, as well as folk philosophy from the Loka Pramana tales, to demonstrate how the ancient epic holds immediate relevance to modern life. Experience the ancient saga of the Ramayana like never before.

A relevant modern-day English reinterpretation of an Indian legend, retold. This book is written by a spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker, Shubha Vilas.

Mythology, to write in series, is a great challenge. And to keep the reader hooked is yet another challenge.

We all have heard and read about Ramayana from many sources, but what makes this book different is the extreme detailing and the interpretation which contributes to developing our own perspective about the epic. The point to point footnotes just do not let you put the book down. They help the reader understand the underlying message behind each of the stories in the Ramayana. Some of them are etched in my memory.

"The decisions to make decisions has to be made in moments of strength not in moment of weakness."

“One ounce of immaturity coupled with ten ounces of ill advice is the perfect recipe for a life of disaster.”

Many good ideas and opinions came along with the reading. Without losing out the original touch and story-line from the authentic Ramayana, it teaches some wonderful philosophies to live with. This book gives a perspective to help one inculcate the underlying teachings of this epic.

The character development throughout the book is commendable. One commendable aspect of the book is that it portrays Sita to be as important as Rama. She is his courageous companion who braves all difficulties to support her husband in his time of trouble. Simple language narration which is easy to comprehend and can be related to.  

The romance of Rama and Sita is also quite very well depicted without the theatrics of overwhelming the reader. However, the story aside, some takeaways from this book are what ideal behaviour should be towards all, the importance of being detached in times of happiness or sadness, and how to be positive no matter how trying the times may be.  The author has lucidly interpreted various aspects with analogies and examples. Lessons such as the five management mantras towards effective leadership, solutions to success, and the six anarthas to conquer make for interesting reading.

Each lesson is enshrined in a box, it is very easy to flip the pages and read the short extracts. There are little footnotes explaining Sanskrit words or cultural traditions of that time. This book helpfully transfers the reader back to the era in when the epic was originally written, and gives a brilliant insight into the life and society of ancient India.

A very honest attempt at rewriting the epic "Ramayana" with its learning simplified in a common man's language. The book reveals the truths of life.

It is a self-help/guide book rooted in Indian culture and mythology. Read it to learn! A must read for every living soul.

Rating - 4/5

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

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