Book: Ramayana: The Game of Life Book #3 ~ STOLEN HOPE
Author: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Genre: Religion & Philosophy
Price: 299 INR
Blurb: 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.
My Rating: 4.5/5
I had read the last book of the Ramayana Series, which was Shattered Dreams. You can read my review of Shattered Dreams here. Just like the earlier book, Stolen Hope was a beautiful and enriching read. I could learn various facts about Ramayana by reading this book and they were narrated in such an engrossing manner that I was hooked to the book. The footnotes in the book provided profound philosophies and some beautiful wisdom that changed the way I thought about many things.
The author had written a message for me that he hopes the life lessons stated in the book become my lifetime companions. Well, he was right because the life lessons were indeed life changing and enriching.
The Book #3 of Ramayana, Stolen Hope starts from the point when Rama, Sita and Lakshmana relocates to the Dandakaranya Forests. Their days are filled with adventure. Sometimes, they come across ferocious demons, whereas other times they learn interesting stories from the various sages who inhabit the jungle.
When Rama learns about how the demons have been tormenting and killing innocent sages in Dandakaranya, he takes a vow to erase them from earth. As destined, after meeting the super sage Agastya, Rama, Lakshmana and Sita relocates to Panchavati which is closer to Janathana, the hub of demons.
They complete 13 years of their exile and feel exhilarated with every passing day because their time to return Ayodhya had almost arrived. However, a catastrophe hits their life in the form of Surpanakha when she falls in love with Rama as soon as she sets her eyes on him.
The abduction of Sita, the death of Jatayu while saving her and Rama's misery on knowing the truth is beautifully narrated. The book ends with Rama meeting Shabari in Matanga rishi's ashram, who has been waiting for Rama's arrival in the ashram since 13 years. Shabari gives Rama a trail map to reach Sugriva, the leader of wonder-monkeys who can help him to reach his wife.
The beauty of this Ramayana Series is the philosophies it contain along with narrating the events from the epic. Here are some glimpses:
1. When people are inspired, they depend on themselves and in turn, become dependable. When people are impressed, they depend on others and in turn become dependent.
2. Doubting another's character is like whipping a relationship. Character assassination is actually relationship assassination.
3. When one falls in love, one can't find any fault in the beloved. The real test of love comes when there is a reason to find fault...do you still find perfection?
4. External competition is a sign of internal discontent.
5. The science to control things also brings in the desire to control people. Whereas things behave the way you want, people behave the way they want.
There are some beautiful moments in this book that touched my heart. The place where Jatayu meets Rama, Sita and Lakshmana for the first time and the place where Shabari tells Rama how she has been waiting for him for the last 13 years are heart touching. This book also shows Lakshmana's patience and the deep bonding between Rama and Sita.
If you want to know about Ramayana in detail, you must read this series. It is written in a very interesting and gripping way. This book can be a perfect self-help book for anyone. As the book contains the summary of the earlier 2 parts, it is not mandatory to read the earlier 2 books in order to understand it.
I am looking forward to the Book #4 of the series where Rama will meet Sugriva and Hanuman.