Rise of the Sun Prince – Shubha Vilas – Book Review


RiseOfTheSunPrince

Goodreads blurb: 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.

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Regular readers of my blog might wonder how many more times am I going to read and write about mythology, but the honest reality of the situation is this; the more I read stories from Indian mythology, the more fascinated I am by them. And what better place to begin reading yet another mythological series than with The Ramayana. This time around I picked up Rise of the Sun Prince by Shubha Vilas, the first of his six book series titled Ramayana – The Game of Life.

Although I have to say that Devdutt Pattanaik’s Sita: An illustrated retelling of the Ramayana blew me away with the sheer breadth of the research that he had done to write the same in terms of actually having read more than a few regional versions of the epic and authored that book, this one, Shubha Vilas’ Rise of the Sun Prince blew me away with the sheer depth of the research that he has done into Valmiki Ramayana and the Kamba Ramayanam (Tamizh retelling of the epic). While the story closely follows that of the Valmiki Ramayana, the author inserts interesting little nuggets from the Kamba Ramayanam every so often which only add to the overall experience of the book itself.

Another interesting aspect about this book is the fact that the author chooses to highlight the contributions of Sage Vishwamitra to the overall epic itself. Beginning with how he approaches Dasaratha to ask for Rama’s help in slaying the demons Tataka, Maricha and Subahu to how he manages to deftly manipulate the situation to ensure that Rama ends up marrying Sita, the story arc of this sage in this book is quite interesting. And what’s even more delightful is the fact that this book pretty much chronicles the whole story of Vishwamitra himself in terms of how he becomes a brahmarishi from being a king himself. His journey towards self-realization, towards humility, towards the ultimate form of devotion to the Supreme Lord himself is eye-opening in more than one way. I personally had never seen or heard the story of Vishwamitra told this way and I found this portion of the book more than just a little interesting myself.

What was also an interesting part of the book were the various footnotes appended to almost every page. In these, the author conveys his personal learnings from each of the small incidents in that page or goes on to elucidate the broader meanings and interpretations of the happenings in that page. These add more than just a little value to the overall reading experience.

Click here to purchase the book from Flipkart [Link] or Amazon [Link] and experience what I personally found to be an extremely authentic, from-the-heart retelling of this timeless epic mythological tale.

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A review copy of this book was provided to me by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review of the same.

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