Today we are in conversation with Shubha Vilas, the author of Ramayana – The Game of Life Series. An engineer who has studied Law, he has now made helping people his life mission. Shubha Vilas does it by counseling and guiding students about important life skills. He also holds seminars to address the crucial needs of top level personnel in corporate houses. He was invited to speak at the occasion of 25 years celebration of the National Human Resource Department (Government of India). He also heads a publishing house called Tulsi books, which publishes spirituality and leadership books. Two books in the Ramayana – Game of Life series, Rise of the Sun Prince and Shattered Dreams are already out, and now the third book Stolen Hope is out for review at BlogAdda. Let’s talk to him about his Ramayana Series and life lessons.
Q. What made you take up the task of writing the story of Ramayana in a 6 part contemporary series? What are the things that readers can take away from these books?
I heard stories from the Ramayana all through my childhood from my grandmother. So my first inspiration comes from her. Another motivating factor was to bring out the epics from the closet and present them in a way that can be understood and appreciated by a larger audience.
The modern audience today is in need of simple wisdom along with clarity which is rooted in time-tested traditional values. This is exactly what we get from our epics; the ability to arm ourselves with valuable tools to deal with the various twists and turns of our own lives. Thus the name – Ramayana – The Game of Life.
Our scriptures teach us how to live life. It’s the same with Ramayana. It presents the realities of life in the most exciting manner.
Through Ramayana – The Game of Life I have attempted to present the timeless story of Ramayana to the contemporary audience in a way that is entertaining to the heart and enlightening to the intellect. Those who are looking for the story of Ramayana will find it here, packed with exciting drama and action. This is the story in an unadulterated and yet at the same time, a compelling format. Those who seek wisdom will find it in the footnotes, practical learning’s gleaned from various facets of the story.
Q. Which were the most fascinating parts of the Ramayana for you? Which character do you think is the most under-rated?
The most fascinating parts of the Ramayana for me are the sections where Rama, Sita and Lakshmana are in the forest of Dandakaranya for 14 years. Most often this section of the story is rushed through very quickly. However there are so many wonderful stories that remain hidden within the folds of folklore and commentaries of great teachers of the past. Stolen Hope is a book that brings all these exciting stories to the modern world with plenty of life lessons to learn.
One of the most underrated character of the Ramayana is Lakshmana who is treated as an obedient servant of Rama and as a result his personality is lost. While there is no denial that he was an excellent servant of his elder brother, the fact also is that Lakshmana had a very charismatic personality. Stolen Hope also brings that out very beautifully through an entire chapter known as “Lakshmana’s diary”.
Q. What are the reactions that you have gotten for the 2 parts of the series that have been published?
The number of people who have appreciated these books has been overwhelming and their appreciation has always touched the core of my heart. Every time I hear a reader from some corner of the world sincerely thanking for making Ramayana so relevant to their lives, I feel the effort is worth it.
Probably three things stand out as interesting reactions for the books-
1. An international academy of Odissi Dance & Music has adapted the book into a dance drama based on the dialogues of the book.
2. A research based MBA college has adopted this book in their management curriculum as a credited course.
3. After perusing the books, I was invited to Mauritius to speak as the main speaker during the Diwali Mela organized in association with the government of Mauritius.
Q. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
People are my passion. I love to speak and inspire people in their lives. When I am not with people I am with books. I have a voracious appetite for reading. And when I am not even with books, I love to think.
Q. Apart from the Ramayana series, how do you try to make a positive change in people’s lives?
I try my best to serve people through my talks and through lifestyle coaching. Many years back I discovered that my greatest need was to give. And I have made sure that on a daily basis I fulfill my quota of giving by sharing the wisdom that I gain from books that I read and great teachers that I hear from. The moment I see even one hopeful smile on a face hearing what I speak, I consider my day successful. And days when there are thousands, I become grateful.
Q. What do you think is your greatest achievement till date?
I can’t think of anything that I would like to call an achievement.
Q. Has your modern education helped you interpret and present the Ramayana in a different way?
The logical mindset of engineering and the analytical mindset of Law has given me the ability to logically analyze the Ramayana and present it in a way that is appealing to a modern reader.
Q. Which is the best lesson/ quote that you have read and applied in your life? Would you like to pass it on to our readers?
When I read one verse from the Bhagavad Gita I was awestruck with the wisdom contained in those simple words. Krsna says, “The nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.”
If only we learn this simple concept from the Gita, life would be so much more sublime. We tend to get elated with happiness and depressed with misery. But when we realize that both are temporary, we learn to be sober in the midst of both.