Book Review: Wisdom of Ramayana by Chaitanya Charan

Source: Amazon

From the Blurb:

What turns friends into worst enemies?

Is accepting misfortunes as our destiny fatalistic or pragmatic?

Can we regulate our emotions without repressing them?

Seeking answers to such universal questions, Wisdom from the Ramayana: On Life and Relationships taps into the timeless wisdom of the Ramayana, encompassing many of its characters and reflecting on the complex dynamics of their relationships. By analyzing the thought processes of these characters and the principles they lived by, this self-help book offers guidelines to build lasting relationships and lead a spiritually fulfilling life. 
Self-help as a genre is something that I have enjoyed immensely. There is always so much to learn and take back from each of these books. However in the last few years I have been struggling to find a title that resonates with me.And that is exactly what happened with this book too!

If you have been reading my blog for a while now, you might have noticed that I have loved author's previous title, reading it again and again for the sheer beauty of wisdom it had to offer. But, with this title he set me thinking. For sometime, I had marked this book as DNF. Not because I could not read it further, but because I wanted time to handled the turmoil it had managed to create within my mind. It is not everyday that you manage to find a book that challenges your beliefs and shakes them to the core, only to leave them dissatisfied.

If you were to judge the book by it's blurb and cover, am sure you would be convinced that it raises some very valid questions. And that is what actually attracted me to this title. I was highly impressed by the introduction also which spoke about the beauty of relationships and how often we tend to overlook the underlying love and care that each one of them carries.

Moving on to the book, it is neatly divided into nineteen chapters each talking about a pair of people from Ramayana and their relationship, with further sub-chapters which analyze it with regard to other characters from the Ramayana. Author chooses major incidents from Ramayana which impact the lives of the people deeply and dissects them, sharing with the readers what was right and what was wrong. 

I enjoyed reading the Kaikeyi and Manthara analysis a lot. This is an aspect that I have been extremely sensitive about. More so, because through my EFT sessions I have learnt how important it is to look at people beyond the roles they play in life to understand them better.

When he talks about Rama's decision to leave Ayodhya and the repercussions this decision has on Kaikeyi, Dasharatha, Lakshmana amongst others - the author poignantly describes how when our loved ones go through pain and hurt, we also experience the same. Worst, if we are helpless in the situation the guilt increases the pain manifolds. 

This book shows Ramayana in a new light, undoubtedly. Like, we have grown up considering it to be the story of a King whose queen has been abducted and the rest of the story is about how she is rescued. But if you were to read and interpret this book at length, the story is about a father and a son, step-mothers and step sons, husband and wife, brothers, parental discord - the angles are so many that the sheer vastness of it all enthralls you to bits. As you turn page after page, you are pleasantly surprised at the varied aspects of human relationships captured therein. 

I would have to commend the author for trying to analyse the interwoven emotions at play behind every action of these characters in depth. He has made it a point to take into consideration different perspectives before concluding anything. However, at a lot of places I somewhere felt his writing lacked conviction. The tone was flat in a lot of chapters and did nothing to put my doubts to rest. His justification for all the hear-say we have been listening to over all these years, did not come across as powerfully as one would expect from someone of his stature.

Backed with immense research, the book has superb imagery and powerful narrative skills at play. While writing on a religious scripture considered to be one of the major Sanskrit epics, one thing that needs to be always considered is the various opinions a reader might have formed based on all that they would have heard, read and understood (or misunderstood) in their lifetime. When a book tries to challenge those thoughts, they need sound extremely convincing in order to drive away the minutest iota of doubt from a reader's mind. For me, that is where this book failed. 

However I would still recommend this, for readers who are curious to understand human relationships better and also to appreciate the multidimensional beauty of Ramayana!
Foodie Verdict

This book is like Pakki Keri nu Shaak - a heady concoction of flavors that leaves your taste buds tantalizing!

Source: itsPotluck

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  1. Just now I finished reading this book, and I don't find flaws that you mentioned. Also, you didn't give any example regarding your statement that at some parts the book failed you. At least give specific example from the book. Also, you mentioned yourself as a over analytical person. The thing is as per my analysis, many people who claim to be over analytical often have confirmation bias.


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