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Friday, March 16, 2018

Book Review : ‘Ravana Leela : The One who forced God to become Human' by Radha Viswanath



Since the days of Anand Neelakantan’s ‘Asura, Tale of the Vanquished’, my love story with Ravana has lived on. So, when I chanced up on this book, ‘Ravanaleela, the One who forced God to become Human’ by Radha Viswanath, it meant something else. It was a book that would, hopefully, see him in a different light. Of course, some of the things were similar yet different! To be read in a whole new light. Or so, I hoped… 

Starting off right, at the beginning. This book starts off with the ancestors to Ravana, himself. The story of the three brothers, and how they landed up in Naga-loka, makes for a very interesting read. 

Kaikasi, the daughter of Sumali was sent away to Vishravasu and he was expected to marry her. But from him, the secret of Kaikasi’s birth was kept. But, he knew of this. She also has another problem, that whatever she would do now; she could not have any contact between the two worlds. 

She gives birth to Dashagreeva, Kumbakarna, Vibheeshana and also Surpanaka. She falls ill, and one day when she wakes up from rather long swoon, she tells all to Dashagreeva. Dashagreeva, who takes over Kuber's land, Kuber was his half-brother. So, Lanka which belonged to Kuber is now in the hands of Dashagreeva and to enjoy it, the Pushpak, the superior flying vehicle of Kuber’s too is within his reach.

On one of Dashagreev’s trips on his Pushpak, he comes into contact with Vedavati, who is in deep prayer, to wed Vishnu. But Dashagreeva, who protests this, is left behind by Vedavati who tells him that she, who has been sullied by him, would be reborn. And then a baby appears in Vedavati’s place. Dashagreeva is instructed to place it in a casket and thrown into the ocean, which he proceeds to do.

Also the interesting parts include, a very engaging story between Saraswati and Narada. And also, the meeting between Vaali and Ravana. And of Dashagreeva’s intense prayers to Shiva, and his unwavering dream of making Parvathi, his wife. Also, the same Narada causes Mandodari to be wed to Ravana.

Here are extremely interesting stories, which have made me think back. But, they have not answered my questions, and they remain doubts and reservations. Because, all these stories have remained just that, they have not been stitched together to give the one story of Ravana Leela.

And so, we have here the entire stories of the odd man, Ravana. Of Ravana’s wife, of his sister, of his brothers, of his sons and his many meetings with all the people and finally, with Sita. Hanuman comes in then, and destroys Lanka, which was known for its beauty, wonderful landscapes and stunning seas. 

All for Sita and his dreams, which turn into nightmares. He, who had it all ends up giving out instructions of running the nation, administration and politics to Rama. It should run into the story, I felt, and that was missing.

But unfortunately, the book does not serve its purpose. It ran quite well, till probably the last part. Ravana’s end was not brought out properly, and it kind of leaves a large part of me, wondering, where is it? And what happened? Of course, I did not expect the two to be similar at all, but still...

 You can Buy the Book, right here.



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