Saturday, July 02, 2016

Ramayana - The Game of Life (Book 3) : Stolen Hope - Review

In the evil labyrinths of Dandakaranya forest, human values are put to test. Rama’s righteousness, Lakshmana’s loyalty and Sita’s endurance reflect our own sense of values and judgment in difficult times. The story unfolds the facets of human life – the conflict and the trickery, the praise and the slander and, above all, the hope and the despair in the eventful forest life of the Exiled Royals.
Stolen Hope is about extreme deception and extreme love. It is about arrogant power and deep devotion. With every twist and turn, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana find themselves robbed of whatever and whoever they value most.
Exploring the dynamics of human relations – between father and son, husband and wife, teacher and disciple – and the complex game of power and greed, Stolen Hope mirrors our own dilemmas in the modern world and teaches us how we must overcome them.
Seek courage when everything, including hope, is stolen.

About the Author
Shubha Vilas, a spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker, holds a degree in engineering and law with a specialization in patent law. His leadership seminars are popular with top-level management in corporate houses. He addresses their crucial needs through thought- provoking seminars on themes such as ‘Secrets of Lasting Relationships’, ‘Soul Curry to Stop Worry’ and ‘Work–Life Balance’ to name a few.
He believes that a good teacher, no matter how knowledgeable, always sees the process of learning and teaching simultaneously as an inherent aspect of personal and spiritual growth. He also helps individuals in different parts of the world apply the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana and other dharmic traditions in dealing with modern- day life situations.

‘Stolen Hope’, the third installment of Shubha Vilas’s Ramayana – The Game Of Life series, serves as a mood shifter. You feel elated when Rama and Lakshmana defeat the demons in the Dandakaranya forest, relieved when beings under the spell of curse get freed by the divine touch of Rama; you smile when you know that Sita feels happy and contented in the forest solely for the reason that Rama has her full attention here, away from the hustle and bustle of his kingdom, and cry your heart out when she wrongly accuses Lakshmana and questions his character and intentions despite him serving his brother and his sister-in-law selflessly over the years. It’s anger that takes over you when Ravana flies away with Sita to his abode, Lanka, trying to win her love and trust through immoral means, and you start behaving impatiently when the book comes to an end, eager to know what happens next. At least, these are the emotions that travelled within me throughout my journey with this book.

The story of Ramayana isn’t new for most of us. We have read, re-read and listened to the various episodes of this epic from different sources. What then causes Shubha Vilas to stir the readers, engaging them to pick up his latest endeavor? The answer lies in the honesty and the clarity of his efforts. Though we know the basic premise of the Ramayana, we may not be aware of the subplots and the fine nuances that this epic has to offer. In fact, there are several segments, stories and characters which we haven’t heard of, or are acquainted with only a mild familiarity. Shubha Vilas tries to bring these points to the fore, enlightening us with the minutest of details. These pieces of information serve more like a jigsaw puzzle, and when we put the pieces together, we start seeing the Ramayana in a different light altogether, clearer and illuminating.

‘Stolen Hope’ starts where ‘Shattered Dreams’ concluded, in the Dandakaranya forest, highlighting the adventures of the divine trio – Rama, Sita and Lakshmana. As they move from one place to the other, we are introduced to several interesting tales and anecdotes. My personal favourites were the stories about Sage Agastya. Also, true to its essence, this adaptation of the Ramayana is wrapped in learning for our hearts and souls. The footnotes, and the pieces in boxes, are words of pure wisdom, raining the spirit of righteousness and knowledge, and leading us to the path of duty. What is interesting is that these fragments of luminance are relevant even today, and we can adopt them in our day to day activities, making our lives easier, and better.

The book begins on a positive and pleasing note. However, as it reaches its end, we are left enraged by the arrogance and evil of Ravana. As a dedicated reader of this series, I am looking forward to the next volume, where Rama would be able to free Sita from the clutches of Ravana, and punish him for all his wrong doings. Shubha Vilas’s words have magic, his narration simple and fluent, and his story-telling gripping. For all mythological lovers, this book is a must-have asset on your shelves.

Title: Ramayana - The Game of Life (Book 3) : Stolen Hope
Authors: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Publication Year: 2016
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Religious, Mythology
No. of Pages: 312
Price: Rs 299
My Rating: 4/5


  1. 4/5 says a lot about a book. My cousin got this book...I'll borrow from her :P

  2. I read first 2 books, but yet to get my hands on book 3. Do u really think Ramayana can be stretched into 6 installments?