Ramayana- The Stolen Hope by Subha Vilas

Overview Of the Book:

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 trickery, the praise, the slander and above all, the hope and the despair in the eventful forest life of 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 valued the 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 is a spiritual seeker, motivational speaker and author of ‘Ramayana – The Game Of Life’ a 6 book series and India’s first self-help book based on the story of Ramayana. He helps people in dealing with modern-day life situations through the teachings of the ‘Bhagavad Gita’, ‘Ramayana’ and other dharmic traditions. He conducts leadership seminars in premier institutes across the world and inspires deeper human values.

My Review

‘Ramayana’ is one of the most well-known epics in the world. The story of Rama is the tale of the annihilation of evil and prosperity of the good. I had read the second book in this series ‘The Shattered Dreams’ and this is the next book. Subha Vilas, our author portrays Rama, Lakshmana and Sita’s journey through the Dandakaranya forest as they visit so many hermits, rishis on penance, and fight demons of different forms, till Sita is abducted by Lanka King Ravana and all hope is stolen.

I didn’t know so many details present in Ramayana. The many characters and their stories were not known to me- King Danda, Sukracharya- the one who cursed him, cursed Gandharva Tumburu, the story of Agastya and Lopamudra, Mandodhari- Ravana’s most prized wife, Jatayu’s story, etc. I had the opportunity to read so many stories within one single story. What I liked more were the footnotes and comparisons made with our daily life, our beliefs, and our culture. The philosophic descriptions were new and interesting to read. The significance of Marich- the demon who disguised as the golden deer and the symbolic interpretation of the blade of grass that Sita threw at Ravana were the best.

I liked reading about the picturesque Panchvati and the life the trio led there. Sita was thankful for the exile years while living there. The husband and wife’s love for each other blossomed during this period of time, away from the stately affairs in the lap of serene nature. The love and devotion of Lakshman and Sita towards Rama is expressed well by our author. Shrupanakha’s advances and Lakshman mutilating her nose gives way to many more demonic attacks and finally leads Ravana to abduct Sita. I came to know about the different versions of Lakshman Rekha in Valmiki Ramayana and Tulsidas Ramayana.

The language used in the book is simple, lucid and mingles informative facts with the narration. I would recommend this book to any avid reader. Anyone with an interest in mythology and moral tales would love this book.

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Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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