I would like to open my review with author’s note in the book titled: Ramayana; The Game of Life by Shubha Vilas which starts with a question: have you ever wondered if the age old epics hold any immediate relevance to our lives? My answer would be an emphatic YES.
When I was a child and religiously went to see Ram Lila holding my mother’s finger every night during Navratri in Bhopal, who would sacrifice his sleep to take us there but not without the pre-condition, that we have done our home work. (Incidentally my mother Usha Varma has also authored book – Ram Kahaani Kiski, an interpretation of Ramayana for youngsters of today). That was childhood significance of Ramayana; I lived with Ram, Sita, Lakshmana, Bharata, Shatrughana, Kekayi, Dasarath, Hanumanji and everybody else. I especially loved the righteousness of Ram, emotional upheavals of Lakshmana and Sita, the coy devoted wife. Ramayana is an epic of what proportion, probably I did not know at that time but those Ram Lila days meant everything to me. I eagerly looked forward to those nine days. Subconsciously I imbibed those values of obedience, truthfulness and righteousness, which held me in good stead all through. It was an inspiration then, now and forever!
Reading Ramayana: The Game of Life by author Shubha Vilas opened completely new avenues to my interpretation of Ramayana, which has such invaluable lessons not only for our personal and social lives but also for our professional lives. I knew that Mahabharata is laden with some invaluable lessons in Management, but for the first time, the Ramayana by Shubha Vilas gave us those practical management solutions be it in the field of Administration, Human Resource, Public Relations, Communication, Board – Room manoeuvrings, Crisis Management, besides teaching us adept handling of emotions like fear, negativity and hopelessness. Not only this, it also teaches us how to handle adversities and temptations which is another highlight of the book.
There are few gems by the author in his analysis of applicability of the lessons learned in Ramayana like unquestioned devotion to Parents, Gurus and King, morality and righteousness towards People, love towards Siblings and warm & loving relationships between Husband and Wife. This way Ramayana has application not only in all stages of life but all aspects of life.
Coming to Shubho Vilas’s creation, certainly it is not a creation which can be flipped through and read for the sake of reading. I read it with a pencil in my hand for taking notes and some pages I had to read twice. It transcended me to TretaYug and Ram Rajya and I loved it as it gave me a break from the daily grind of professional and personal life. The book’s language takes beauty of Ramayana to just another level, not even once I thought that beauty of the language is lost or even compromised. The Cover is attractive but I could not decipher why the sub title: Shattered Dreams? The book’s layout and readability is class apart, brought to us by Jaico Books where I worked as Editor once, so nostalgia on that account too. I would like to make special mention of visual of khadaus in the foot notes; wished book had some more illustrations to make it more appealing.
I highly recommend it to youngsters of today who can certainly take many lessons from the foot notes given by the author and enjoy themselves the beauty and richness of language. Here they will be surprised by how the wisdom of those days can be imbibed not only in today’s day to day life but also in their professional life.
The story of Ravana’s birth and Sati Anusuya gave it a new dimension.
The book gives us the most important lesson that though we are bound by our destinies, we should never leave our morals in any given situation. Quote here few gems, which may encourage youngsters to read the book:
1. When magnitude of love is equated with quantity of facility given, relationships become transactions, mutual understanding becomes contracts, serving becomes an investment and denial becomes breach of agreement.
2. The difference between Rama’s confidence and Dasaratha’s over confidence lies in its application.
3. Puzzles are fun to solve on paper but when life itself becomes a puzzle, then fun fizzles out.
4. Different words spoken by different people in different situation have different impacts.
Readers should look for most practical lessons in Management and Administration interspersed in the book. The book is riveting narration of Rama’s Coronation as King of Ayodhya, which did not happen and the circumstances which led to his exile, and it is not just plain narration, it takes you through what circumstances led to the sudden turn of events and how everybody handled and reacted to it. The beautiful & romantic narration of Ram & Sita as lovers and husband and wife is another highlight of the book. Many modern day couples can take lesson from here that how love, caring, sharing and unflinching devotion towards each other can give new perspective to their lives.
The book is certainly not a weekend reading, it is to be read every day, bit by bit for better understanding as book itself is little slow paced, but should not be given up and read till the last word for some more invaluable learning. This is my first read and review of the much – respected author Shubha Vilas for his modern day epic, so really could not write a critical review.
It is a must be read by people across all generations for its contemporary interpretations!