Name: Stand Strong, Author: Shubha Vilas
Genre: Mythology / Spiritual
Publisher: Jaico Books, 2017
Number of pages: 326
The book ‘Stand Strong’ is Book 4 of The Game of Life Series written by Shubha Vilas. I had read the previous books and loved it. And so was looking forward to read this. The book is based on the Ramayana which is one of the ‘itihaasas’ for Hindus to understand the way of living. Ramayana shows its character Ram as ‘Maryaada Purushottam’ that is the ideal man. As the story is familiar, I will not analyse further. But, it is a great story. It is simple as compared to the Mahabharat with its multitudes of characters, yet has deep impact.
The story starts where book 3 has ended with the appearance of Vanaras or monkeys. In this book, Hanuman finds Ram and Lakshman in the forests searching for Sita who has been abducted by Ravana. Hanuman is currently serving Sugriva who is the Sun God’s son. Well, the book tells us the convoluted way in which the Sun God got Hanuman to serve Sugriva. As Guru dakshina, the Sun God asked Hanuman to serve and protect his son Sugriva from his brother Vali, till he meets Ram. Sugriva is hiding from his brother Vali in the Rishikesh mountain where Vali is not allowed to set foot due to a curse. Well, the curse came about because… but that is another story.
Ram agrees to help Sugriva by killing Vali. He does the one act in his life which seemed to be against Dharma. He hid in a tree and shot an arrow at Vali with no warning. As per rules, this is cheating. But, the book explains the reasons why Ram sided with Sugriva and why he shot Vali in this manner. It discusses, why Ram sought help from Sugriva though Vali was the stronger of the two and also knew Ravan. But, that is another story..
The book has many similar small stories which gives a background on Hanuman, his mother, his father, Sugriva, Vali, their wives, son. But the best part in the book is the little footnotes at the bottom of every page. Here, the author explains and reasons about every move made by the different characters. There is lot of wisdom captured in these footnotes.
Initially, I had found this style difficult to follow. But, the best way to read is to read the footnotes whenever it occurs on the pages. Every word which has a footnote is numbered and explained at the bottom of the page.
If you have read the earlier books, go ahead and read this one. You do not need my recommendation. But, even if you haven’t read the earlier books, this is still a good book to read if you know the story of the Ramayan, even if it is the TV Serial version.
The author sent me a copy of the book in return for an honest review. Thank you Shubha Vilas.