- Title – Rise of the Sun Prince (Ramayana: The Game of Life #1)
- Author – Shubha Vilas
- Publisher – Jaico Publishing House
- Genre – Mythology
- Pages – 211
- Price – INR 250
- ISBN – 978-81-8495-530-9
Synopsis – Ramayana:The Game of Life (Book 1), one of the world’s great literary masterpieces, skillfully retold for modern audiences. 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 life’s 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 Dasaratha’s leadership, Vishwamitra’s 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.
Review – This book is the first part of the 7 book series, where Shubha Vilas has recounted the great Indian epic masterpiece, Ramayana. The book has a beautiful cover and the apt titles of each part (titles of the two parts are known to me as of now) giving fair idea about the part of the epic it covers.
The very first time, I read about this series, my initial thoughts were, what new could a book recounting a well-known epic has to offer? But curiosity took better of me and I decided to delve in the book to explore what it had to offer. To begin with, I can assure you, I am glad I decided to read this series.
My grandfather always used to say, “Ramayana isn’t just a story of Lord Rama or an epic, but a way of life.”
The very first thing that struck me was the simplicity of words. Woven in succinct language that not only appeals to the readers of modern era, but also conveys the complexity of thought effectively. Rise of the Sun Prince essentially covers the Bala Khanda of the Ramayana as written by the sage Valmiki, blended well with anecdotes and embellishments from the Kamba Ramayana. It covers the period before the birth of Lord Rama (an avatar of Lord Vishnu), events around his birth, up to his marriage with Sita.
I somehow felt I was forced to read vertically and horizontally simultaneously to grab the deeper insight of the complex rituals and events from the beautifully drafted foot-notes. The charm of the explanatory notes lies in the fact, that they are crafted keeping in mind that the reader might not be well-versed with Sanskrit that bears the origin of the words and phrases used in the epic.
The book has successfully managed to capture the true essence of the epic while imparting deep insight into life. The message of hope and perseverance (focus on Vishwamitra’s attempts at becoming a Brahmarishi) for every person in life. The beacon of hope comes to surface from time to time and it was one of the major reasons I loved reading this masterpiece.
The non-linear narrative of the happenings in Ayodhya, life of King Dashratha and incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Rama keeps the reader yearning for more insight into the nitty-gritty of the well-known happenings of the epic, which the book serves tastefully.
The nuggets of refreshing information about how Lord Brahma with the help Saraswati tongue-twisted Khumbhakaran into deep slumber, how Ravana missed on mentioning the human beings & monkeys in the list of creatures who couldn’t defeat or slay him, why was Ayodhya unconquerable, how rain water harvesting was practiced even in Treta-Yuga and many more interesting particulars.
I was amused to learn that Lord Rama had a gestation period of 12 months being an extraordinary child (an incarnation) as against the ordinary gestation period of 9 months. You must read the book to come across many more such amazing facts.
But this is not the end of the wonderful findings of this book.
My absolute favorite are the slivers of well-thought, sharp one-liners in the treasure trove of footnotes that are sure to etch in the reader’s mind, evoking desire to re-read the book over a number of times. A few of my personal favorites being:
1. The mind is a connoisseur in converting trivial puddles into bottomless oceans.
2. A good teacher is appreciated and a great one is emulated.
3. A good leader knows the art of delegation. He himself carries the most demanding role of being the inspiration.
The lucid, unrushed narration, fresh perspectives and inter-woven tales that hold relevance to modern life made me look forward to reading the part #2 with eagerness.
Even if mythology isn’t your favorite genre (like mine) I’d recommend you to read this series for its detailed, well-researched and insightful presentation of an epic we all have grown up loving, learning and emulating in one form or the other.
About the Author – Shubha Vilas, a spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker, holds a degree in engineering and law with a specialization n patent law. His leadership seminars are popular with top-level management in corporate houses.
Close to his heart is his role as a guide and teacher to school children, teaching foundational values through masterful storytelling.
Rating – 4.25/5