About 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.
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.
Review: ‘Stolen Hope’ is the third book of the series of Ramayana written by Shubha Vilas. I have read and reviewed his earlier books – ‘Rise of the Sun Prince’ and the second one ‘Shattered Dreams’. In all these 3 books, author Shubha Vilas has successfully offered the genuine Ramayana in a contemporary way. This book again caters to the spiritual and motivational series. Coming to the story, it continues from the ending of 2nd book ‘Shattered Dreams’ where Lord Rama was expatriated to exile with Sita and Lakshmana. They reach Dandakaranya to mean that the punishment would be further blighted by the Sage Gautam Rishi who would infest the forest with deadly demons and only Lord Rama can be able to clean it by destroying the demons. This indicates at that the events are interlinked and the sages were able to predict the life. Lord Rama runs into Viradha whose name means one without love who was the son of Jaya and Satradha with power of 25,000 elephants and caliber to defy weapons. He was one other than Tumburu, a Gandharva. I came to know of this fact that in Ramayana, Lord Rama never killed anyone in front of Sita. I appreciate the author Shubha Vilas’s comparisons of Sun and the Moon with Lord Rama and Lakshmana. It is a fact that even though Sun and Moon avoid each other, Lord Rama and his brother Lakshman never avoided each other. The author Shubha Vilas has elegantly interpreted the real meaning of each name used in this book. Agastya Muni is introduced as the story progressed. As I read I noted that the credit of creation of Tamil Language goes to Agastya Muni who even gifted it to Lord Rama. The story also mentioned about Five Banyan Trees where Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana dwelled and as I read about them I imagined myself to be a part of them and lived along the trees. As the story went one, the author Shubha Vilas introduces the reader to Ravana who had 18 curses hanging over his head with one being Vedavati – daughter of Kushadwaja who is the son of Sage Brihaspati that she would be the cause of his death. It continues to tell us that Lakshmana did not draw the Lakshman Rekha as per the original Valmiki Ramayana. When Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, she threw all her jewels except her Chudamani since it was a symbol of her marital status. Lord Rama was separated from Sita for about 10 months. Jatayu dies in the lap of Lord Rama. I cannot wait to read the next 4th instalment where I expect Lord Rama meets Sugriya to seek his help in finding Sita. There are lot of things one must learn in this journey of life and I have learnt a few from the three books so far. The author has used not one but many brilliants phrases throughout the story which connects with various events as and when it happened in the story. In this instalment, it has shown us how, when power is misused, it lead to one’s downfall. I strongly recommend this book to everyone as it is really interesting to read the epic Ramayana without getting bored.
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