Rama has grown up and is now a young married man. Taking off from where the story ends in Book 1, Shubha Vilas continues to weave the magic of the Ramayana in yet another collection of little known stories of the epic that we are all so familiar with.
King Dasaratha has a restless night , tossing and turning between battles that he faces in his dreams fighting demons both real and imaginary. He has a premonition of something untoward happening but doesn’t know exactly what it is and how he is going to deal with it. Finally he wakes up to the realisation that he is old and it is time for him to give up his throne and make way for his son and heir. So he puts his decision to his people for a vote and was overjoyed when he heard that they agreed with his decision to abdicate. But before the young prince wakes up to the day of his coronation, the book leaves Ayodhya and takes us to the story of Ravana or Dasagriva, the King of Lanka who is on the rampage to subdue the universe and conquer all the worlds. In his quest to do so he performs many penances, fights many battles and ultimately overcomes several obstacles that come between him and his goals.
Since I have not read the Ramayana in its original form, I find this retelling quite fascinating. For instance, I was amazed to read about the sophisticated weaponry that existed in those ancient times. If the descriptions are to be believed, the Pushpak Viman is none other than an unmanned flying vehicle or the Drone. Similarly the Pasupatastra which could release hundreds of flame tipped arrows simultaneously is none other than a multiwarhead missile launcher
With these weapons of mass destruction at the command of Dasagriva ( now known as Ravana) who has already captured the three worlds and the nine controllers it is no wonder then that he needs to be subdued to save the world from complete annihilation. And since it is only the king of Ayodhya who can stop him, the world is looking to Dasaratha. But Dasaratha is old and tired and feels it only right to hand over the kingdom to his son, which is why he announces Lord Rama as his heir.
But if Rama becomes king, who will save the world? Thus it is that Manthara, the hunchbacked maid, steps in with a Machiavellian scheme to poison her mistress’ (and Rama’s step mother) mind and poisons Kaikeyi’s mind and prevents Rama from becoming the king. Thus exiled, he has no option but to take on the task of saving the world.
The book is engaging because it tells stories that are little known to most of us along with the little nuggets of wisdom that are imparted along the way such as how to accept difficulty with dignity, when boons can become curses or how power can make you powerless.
Like the previous book, the language can get a bit pedantic and tedious but if you persist, you will definitely come out the wiser with new tips on how to cope with every day life.
I am linking this to Write Tribe ProBlogger Challenge