India is a country of rishi munis ( sages ) and our way of life is based on great Vedic culture & Sanatan Dharm. The story of Ramayana is not new for us ,almost all of us have grown up hearing epic tales about Ramayan and Mahabharat. These stories are passed from one generation to others through our religious texts, storytelling by grandparents or through epic TV serials made on them. So when someone says he has written book on Shri Ram , few questions are bound to pop up in everybody’s mind
“ We already know about Shri Ram , what new can this writer tell ?”
“ Ram is so sacred to us, will this writer do justice to his image ? “
I too had several such apprehensions when I first picked up this book. But given the wonderful track record and my out of the world experience of reading Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi, I decided to give it a shot. Of course with an open mind without any preconceived notions about the story.
Retelling a famous story with amazing imagination and fiction has been forte of Amish and he has again done it with perfection. The way writer has narrated the events and other stories is what keeps the reader engrossed throughout the book
The story is intertwined by taking historical timelines, characters & events from Ramayan and amalgamating it with fictional write-up as per writer’s imagination. After reading few pages of the novel ,one starts getting immersed in the story and starts viewing things happening in front of his eyes . It’s the beauty of Amish’s writing style that one doesn’t realize when one becomes a part of story and starts experiencing it firsthand.
Many events which shook Indian society recently – like Nirbhaya rape case has been depicted in story-line in a beautiful way. Various evils which exist currently like law & order, caste system, governance and their solution has been beautifully narrated. This book provides the foundation and background story of ideal society, governance model , rule of law which were appreciated in Shiva Trilogy .Author gives reference to Ekam – one God and underlying side affects of this ideology , which somehow relates to Radical Islam. Various obsolete laws as per smiritis were abolished by Ram which relates how Modi abolished various archaic laws.
Summary of Story :
Ram, son of Chakravarti Samrat Dashrath is considered inauspicious since Dashrath faced defeat for the first time in his life by Ravaan on day of Ram’s birth. Sapt Sindu is in economic tatters ,whereas Raavan’s Lanka is prospering so much that even streets are made of gold. Dashrath couldn’t accept the defeat and drowns himself in gloom personally and also his empire. Ram is aware that his father’s ways of ruling are not efficient. But as an ideal son, won’t speak against his father. Ram needs to regain back his misinterpreted name & trust among his people.
Kaikeyi tries to make Bharat as the crown-prince with association of very rich Manthara. Ram is ideology personified whereas Bharat is practical , real and goes with the flow. Ancient India had seen two types of civilizations- masculine and feminine. Either of them had flaws and Ram wanted to establish a society which is more masculine but uses best of both ways of civilization. Ram’s guru Vashista is an ally of Nagas whereas Guru Vishvamitra is an ally of Malyaputras. Ram helps Vishvamitra to tackle the asuras in an unique way to impress Vishwamitra, who sees potential in Ram to become next Vishnu.
Ram dislikes polygamy and is of the opinion that marrying another woman is an insult to first wife. He believes, life partner needs to be loved & respected since wife doesn’t compete but compliments each other.
Raavan feels insulted in Sita’s swyamvar and attacks Mithila kingdown. Ram defeats Raavan using Asuraastra after which he’s banished from Sapt Sindhu for 14 years as per Dashrath’s order as well as it was Lord Rudra dictate that anyone using Daivi Astra for first time will go to exile for 14 yrs. Second time its death.
The story ends with Sita’s abduction by Raavan.
Some excerpts from the book :
“A real leader doesn’t choose to lead only the deserving.He will, instead, inspire his people into becoming the best, they are capable of “
” Shukracharya was right in wanting to create a perfect masculine society.Such a society is efficient, just and honorable. The mistake he made was that he based it on faith.He should have built it purely on laws, keeping the spiritual separate from the material.When time change, one finds it impossible to give up on one’s faith; in fact one clings to it with renewed vigor. Difficult times make men cling to their faith even more strongly. But if you base a masculine way of life on laws, then, possible, when needed , the laws can be changed. The masculine way of life should be built on laws, not faith.”
” In present society, a person’s path in life is determined by his birth , not by his karma.A society would be perfect only if people were free to do what they actually wanted to, based on their karma, rather than following the diktats of the caste they were born into.”
My Take : Underlying theme in Shiva Trilogy as well as Scion of Ikshvaku is – Karma. It was karma which elevated Shiva to be called Neelkanth in Immortals of Melhua and it will be karma & hard work which will make Ram the 7th Vishnu. A human , becoming Vishnu or God gives the story more human touch and realistic view for readers.
Overall rating : I would rate this book as 4.3/5 . I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next part of this series.