Saturday 17 September 2011
I am itching to write again, which I have to admit hasn't happened for some time now.
So I have decided to review Immortals of Meluha and Secret of the Nagas. Infact, it is more than just a review, in the sense that I want to also discuss the philosophies Amish Tripathi has mentioned in the two of the three now-released books, which are a part of the trilogy.
I read Immortals of Meluha pretty late, as in long after it had been released and had already gone on to become a best-seller, but when I read it, I felt it was a brilliant justification for the mythology which I have otherwise come to disbelieve.
The books are based on the life of Shiva, not the Lord Shiva but a common man who takes the form of a lord only because of a belief among the people that the Neelkanth or the person who has a blue throat would turn up to be their savior. And so the Suryavanshis are perpetually in search of such a man and come across a person named Shiva who heads a tribe near the Mount Kailasa.
The Suryavanshis already possess excellent medicinal skills and also the Sanjeevni which is known to cure most illnesses. One effect of taking this medicine is that the blue throat of Shiva becomes highly visible. The people believe that he is their Lord who has been sent to 'save' them and help them fight the 'evil' that the Nagas and the Chandravanshis are spreading. Also, he meets his Sati.
At this point, I'd like to quote from the Immortals of Meluha:
Whether a man is a legend or not is decided by history, not by fortune tellers.
I found a few pretty profound statements in the book. And this is definitely one of them!
In the Immortals, Shiva goes on to believe everything the Suryavanshis tell him at face value about 'good' and 'evil' and helps them defeat the 'evil' Chandravanshis in a full blown war. He also comes to believe that the Nagas are the most evil.
What Amish says in the Secret of the Nagas can be summed up in a couple of lines.
There are two ways of life: Masculine and Feminine.
Masculine way of life is "life by laws". People live by Truth, Duty and Honour, rigidly following all rules and laws with no exceptions and hence it is a predictable way of life. Change is difficult for the masculine, therefore when a masculine civilisation declines it causes a lot of turmoil, violence and chaos. Suryavanshis strictly follow this way of life.
Feminine way of life is "life by probabilities". There are no absolutes, and the same laws can be interpreted differently at different times. Change is the only constant, and people live by Passion, Beauty and Freedom. But with too much freedom it can decline into decadence, corruption and debauchery. Chandravanshis prefer this way of life.
At an individual level also, both masculine and feminine traits exist within every man and woman. But most people have a dominant trait of the two.
Err.. okay not a couple of lines! But I guess you get the point. So the part about 'good' and 'evil' is where it gets a lot more philosophical.
First, it is all about perception, about which side of the fence you're facing. Second, one can simply not exist without another!
Evil cannot and should not be destroyed completely. That is, it only needs to be taken out of the equation at the right time, the time when it rises to cause total annihilation. Because the same evil may serve the purpose of Good in another time.
For most of the time, I found myself nodding to the philosophy stated in the books. Right from depicting 'GOD' as not somebody on a pedestal but as a human being who has his fallacies to marrying fiction with mythology! Shiva has been depicted as a 'cool dude' as one of my friends puts it, with a chillum in his hand, smoking marijuana, behaving like a college-guy in love, making mistakes and being unsure, and actually wondering why being not-materialistic is so overrated; and not as what we have been made to believe what God is.
This entire blend has made these books what they are. There is one more quote which is so applicable especially in our society.
If the entire society was conscious of its duties, nobody would need to fight for their individual rights. Since everybody's rights would be automatically taken care of through someone else's duties.
These books are more than just mythology or just fiction, because they're not Amar Chitra Katha, they're not bed-time stories, but they're definitely a refreshing point of view, a very different perspective and a fresher way of expression. It is not even as if we're unaware of all these things, or haven't thought about them, but seeing everything bound together with sheer brilliance is amazing!
I'll leave you with another something from the book.
Believe the theory that gives you peace and reject the one that causes you pain.
So, to each his own I guess.
P.S. Just out of curiosity, I am wondering if someone will land here through a search on marijuana ;)