Title: Ramayana: The Game of Life: Stolen Hope (Book 3)
Author: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Number of Pages: 312
Price: 299 [INR]
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.
Book 3 starts with the adventures of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana in the Dandakaranya forest. In their exile of fourteen years, this part of the book covers their last few years in the journey including Janasthana and Panchavati. Knowing about the torment and anguish suffered by the sages since years, Rama vows to destroy every single demon in the forest. Their expedition is a dangerous venture as they fight the ferocious demons and save the wise men. They also learn interesting stories and advice from them making their travel a learned experience.
Their otherwise peaceful life begin to hit rock bottom with the entry of Shurpanaka, sister of Ravana. Though Rama and Lakshmana have a good time doing some pun, things go bad as Shurpanaka feels insulted and thereby attacks them. Lakshmana chops off her nose and ears. Khara fights with Rama to seek vengeance. The trio Khara, Dushana, Trisira along with fourteen thousand men in the Ravana’s army(they are in-charge of guarding the forest) die a terrific death in the hands of Rama. Shurpanaka complains to her brother Ravana and insists on attacking Rama and abducting the beautiful Sita. Ravana seeks the help of his uncle Maricha and weaves a clever plan which results in the duo being sent away from Sita for a while and the abduction takes place. Ravana carries off Sita in his pushpaka vimana to his palace in Lanka. Rama is devastated and goes about in search of his Stolen Hope. The brothers are redirected to the Vanaras led by Sugriva.
Thanks, Shubha Vilas for the signed copy!!
Having read the first two books of the series, there was a lot of expectation from this book. The author did not fail and has accomplished to keep the readers captivating.
My favorite chapter in the book is about the Eighteen Curses that Ravana is bestowed upon. It was fascinating to know about each one of them. Another one is the chapter -Lakshmana’s diary where he analyses all the misfortunes and on how much he has all grown up, dealing them with a calm and composed mind.
As in the first two books, there are footnotes in this book as well. However, this time the author has mentioned the practical aspects of each concept.
I was always fond of reading the Puranas or mythology books. My grandma had a huge collection of such books and I could be seen reading them day and night during my school holidays when I paid a visit to her. Thanks to her, I had won Quiz competitions on Puranas or Vedic Literature. Reading Shubha Vilas’s Ramayana series is like re-living those childhood memories. As I brush up on some known stories from this epic, there were many which were unknown.
It was exciting to learn about many little stories as in why snakes have forked tongue, or why the squirrels won’t hurt even after falling from a great height, or how the audacity of the Vindhya mountains to outgrow Meru was subdued.
There are some sweet romantic moments between Sita and Rama described in the book. Their love is divine and their bond is beautifully penned. Wouldn’t you then believe that somewhere out there…. there definitely is true love? Loved the part where Sita regains hope seeing a flower from the asoka tree after being secluded in Asoka Vatika at Lanka. For her, it represented Rama holding his bow for her protection.
I also loved the little detailing that went into the book. As you turn the pages, you can see a deer hopping from the left bottom corner. The deer would be at the right bottom corner by the time you reach the end of the book. Cute 🙂
Favorite Lines (Spoilers ahead):
He was happy to have lost the competition yet won the most invaluable price -Her laughter. In fact, He was ready to lose a million competitions for this.
When two people experience similar shades of emotions, their hearts are close in vicinity. When two people experience divergent emotions, then their hearts are poles apart.
The gap between perfect and almost perfect is the same as the gap between focus and distraction.
In the absence of somebody’s presence is revealed her true value . What presence cannot accomplish , absence can!
Why Rama never kills anybody in front of Sita?
Why Rama decided to fight the trios and fourteen thousand men in Ravana’s army alone and not along with Lakshmana? What point did he have to prove? And to whom?
Why Sita had to suffer? What according to her was the reason for her abduction?
I cannot name any. I really can’t.
Do I recommend?
5 on 5. Impeccable writing.