Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ramayana - The Game of Life : Rise of the Sun Prince (Book 1) - Review

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 lifes deepest questions.
The narrative closely follows Valmikis 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 Dasarathas leadership, Vishwamitras 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.

About the Author
Shubha Vilas, a spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker, holds a degree in engineering and law with specialization in Patent Law. His leadership seminars are popular with top-level management in corporate houses. He also helps individuals deal with modern-life situations by applying the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana and other dharmic traditions.

If epics are to be retold, this is how it should be done. Most of us would already be familiar with the basic plot of Ramayana, having heard the stories as bed time tales during our childhood from our parents and grandparents, elder siblings and relatives. However, it’s the treatment meted out in this book that really makes it stand tall among several other modern interpretations.

‘Rise of the Sun Prince’ is basically the ‘Bala Kanda’, or the first part of the epic Ramayana, and deals with fighting grave internal battles and overcoming great odds to emerge victorious and become exemplary. It incorporates the principle of humility, and how pride should be swallowed to focus on your ultimate goal. As humans, we have the tendency to be selfish and self-centered, not caring about the rest. However, the purpose of life and existence is not to just think of your own self, but also the world around us. The book teaches us to let go and surrender to the Supreme One, and always walk towards the path of righteousness. This book doesn't just tell stories, but also guides us in emulating the lessons learnt in our real lives.

Author Shubha Vilas does a great job in presenting the mythological tale in a fresh and unique manner. The narration is crisp, making this book an absolute page-turner. What’s engrossing is the fact that the author has not only stressed on the primary characters, but he seems to have done extensive research to have brought out several other stories that are related to or have lead to the Ramayana. There are stories of Gods, Demi-Gods, Kings and Queens that form an integral part of this narration.

The front cover is striking and colorful, and immediately catches your attention. It depicts Rama and Lakshmana protecting Vishwamitra’s rites from Maricha and Subahu, which is an important sub-plot in this book. This incident, like many others in Ramayana, symbolizes the victory of good over evil, which again is an important lesson in life. It teaches us to be strong, and walk on the path that leads to truth, even though it may be tough, ‘cause evil never persists for long.

Another beautiful feature of this book is the footnote. There are footnotes comprising of anecdotes and key lessons in almost every page, relating to the events that the particular page comprises of. They explain the incidents and their relevance in modern perspective, and how we can adopt them in our lives and learn to live in a better manner.

This is one book that I would label as must read, for the beautiful presentation of the stories of the wonderful epic Ramayana. The style is engrossing, and you really wouldn't like to keep the book down. I am already eager to read the next book in the series – ‘Shattered Dreams’, and trust me, so would you. The magic of epic joins hands with the author’s brilliant story-telling prowess, and we have a book that will surely capture our minds and rule our hearts.

Title: Ramayana - The Game of Life : Rise of the Sun Prince (Book 1)
Authors: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Publication Year: 2013
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Religious, Mythology
No. of Pages: 256
Price: Rs 250
My Rating: 4/5


  1. I'd love to get a copy, but 6 volumes? Gulp!

    1. Start with one, and you would love to read the next five ;-)

  2. This sounds good. With a series, I suppose there's scope to go into detail. I love footnotes, too, they go a long way in fleshing out a book. I'm glad I came across your review, will definitely have to check this out. :)

  3. You will surely like reading this :-)

  4. Thanks. I have read it and am completely mesmerized by it. I was also asked to write a review on it!