A Brilliant and Educative Work
An elated father calls his most beloved son and asks Him to get ready for the coronation that is about to take place the next day. Naturally “the King to be” is happy and carefully listens to the advice given by the current king. The next day, the crown prince is invited to another palace and this time He is asked to go to the forests and spend “nava-panchacha varshah”, 9 and 5 i.e. 14 years. The smile of the face of the prince is unaltered, he was as cheerful as ever and got ready for the journey. While every one including the King were sad, were wailing and lamenting over the “Shattered Dreams” the crown prince was unperturbed and focused on the duty at hand. Yes my dear friends, you all got it right. I am speaking about Lord Rama and Ayodhya Kanda, the second of the six kandas of Ramayana. Shri Shubha Vilas Das ji did a brilliant job while retelling “Ayodhya Kanda” in the book “The Shattered Dreams”. This book is the second book in the series “Ramayana : The Game of Life” by the author. This series is on Ramayana and the lessons one can learn from it.
As such, the story of Ayodhya Kanda is a painful one and we all know that. We all know the sequence of events that unfold once Dasaratha decides to crown Lord SriRama as the king, almost every Indian knows the story and hence I am not repeating it here. While we all know the story do we all know what all can be learnt from the events that happened then? It is important to learn the lessons from the epics isn’t it? Sri Subha Vilas Das ji brings out all that in a fantastic way in the book. He tried to be as close as possible to “Srimad Ramayana” written by Valmiki. He also tried to incorporate a few things from Kamba Ramayana and Ramacharatithamanas. Thus we get to see that the retelling of the story is very very close to the original one.
It is not just being very close to the original Valmiki Ramayana, Shri Subha Vilas Das’s work tries to capture some of minute details of the story that are often overlooked by many. For example, how many of know that Lord SriRama does a pradakshina (circumbulation) to all the sacred waters and the other important items that were brought for the coronation ? He does this once he decides to embark the journey to the forests. His younger brother “Prince Bharata” does it too, he does it once he decides to get Lord Sri Rama back from the forest. I read about it in Valmiki Ramayana and was awed, when I reread it in Sri Shubha Vilas ji’s book, I was very happy that he did not spare even such details. Similarly, Lord SriRama speaks about Rajya Dharma and in the form asking questions he gives out a lot of advice to Bharatha on the ways and means in which a king should rule his kingdom. This is often called “kashchit sarga”, this is another awesome piece in Ramayana but very few people actually refer to this, the author goes on to categorize what ever Lord Sri Rama spoke and then tries to give it in a form that can be applied to our daily lives. It was real good to read.
To a person who is looking at the surface alone, Ayodhya Kanda seems to be a part of the story that just has a lot of pain. However, for one who wishes to delve deep it is a treasure trove as far as leadership and relationship lessons are concerned. The husband-wife relationships, the father -son relationship, the mother-son relationship and the relationship between brothers are all wondefully shown us here. Sri Shubha Vilas Das does a fantastic job in bringing all this to us.
While reading the book I was trying to hold my tears looking at the bond between Lord SriRama and his brothers, it is a known story but the way the author has recreated the magic brings tears in our eyes. The conversations betweenLord SriRama and Maa Sita , between Lord SriRama and Bharatha , the conversation between between Bharatha and maa Kaushalya, the way the brothers argue about the kingdom and ask each other to rule are really touching ones. It does not matter how many times you read and re-read you would always find something new in those conversations and would learn a lot from them.
The readers of the book would see some of the best qualities of Lord ShriRama in this book. Bala Kanda deals with the His childhood, hence in that kanda we would only be seeing the way He was learning things. Now we see the learnings in action. He displays his “sthitapragynata” in pleasure and in pain and stands as a role model to the world. Reading that and remembering His nobleness and greatness fill out hearts with joy.
Perhaps the only part where this book deviates from Valmiki Ramayana is where we see the chapter on Ravana. I think the author brought this one from Sri Ramacharithamanas or Sri Kamba Ramayana. Ravana’s birth and his rise to power are depicted here.
It is not about what Lord SriRama or His younger brothers did, it is about why they did those things and the significance of those activities. The book brings out these details very well. The author explains each and every activity, the significance of it and the lessons it has for us. One who is reading this book must read the footnotes and also the tables that the author gives in the middle, that way one gains a lot more than reading the mere story part of it. This is a must read book. Do read it and make your kids and friends also read it. Ramayana teaches us as to how to live and this book brings out wonderful lessons from the Ayodhya Kanda to all of us. Do read the book.
I thank Shri Shubha Vilas ji for the work he is doing, wishing him all the very best for all his future endeavors. Once again I appeal to the readers to read the book and get benefited by the learning from it. Happy reading.