Author: Swami Achuthananda
Buy on: Amazon
About the Book
Full-blown trade wars, nuclear threats, violating nation’s sovereignty…are we dangerously at the crossroads of a world war that may even threaten entire humanity? Maybe we are, but fear not. Hindus believe that whenever cosmic balance is threatened, Vishnu descends into the world as an avatar of change. “I am born age after age,” says Krishna (Vishnu) in the Bhagavad Gita. Vishnu has many avatars, but his top ten avatars are special and known as the Dashavataras. In this volume, we enter the most exciting part of Hindu mythology–the Dashavataras–and discuss the early avatars of Vishnu.
The avatar saga begins with a wicked demon stealing the Vedas while Brahma is sleeping. Vishnu takes the form of a giant fish and not only saves the Vedas but rescues mankind from a great deluge. As we progress through the avatars, you will come across Prahlada, whose story offers a shining example of the extent to which Vishnu would go to protect his devotees. In another incarnation of Vishnu, a generous king called Bali is dispatched to the netherworld for being too ambitious. While ambition is a virtue, not vice, this may seem unfair to the people of Kerala who hold Bali in high esteem. But Vishnu makes amends by bestowing the gift of longevity on Bali. Next, the axe-wielding Parashurama, a Brahmin by birth, embarks on a mission to exterminate the warrior caste from the face of Earth–and largely succeeds until he bumps into another avatar of Vishnu.
The highlight of this volume undoubtedly is Rama, the hero of the Ramayana and a name that is synonymous with dharma (religious duty). About half the book is dedicated to Rama as we dissect Ramayana in detail, particularly the controversies. Although Rama is famous for defeating the ten-headed demon king of Lanka, it seems he waged a bigger battle with the dictates of dharma–and lost. We meet the monkey-faced Hanuman for the first time in this book. He is closely associated with Rama and highly revered among Hindus. Also in the Ramayana, we encounter one of the ultimate villains of Hindu mythology–the mighty Ravana. Even though Ravana abducted Rama’s beloved wife, Sita, you will be surprised to know that not everyone regards Ravana as an antihero. In fact, at the end of the Ramayana, we are left with many bitter, thought-provoking questions that are debated even today.
When a young college-going Kashmiri girl, Sehmat, gets to know her dying father’s last wish, she can do little but surrender to his passion and patriotism and follow the path he has so painstakingly laid out. It is the beginning of her transformation from an ordinary girl into a deadly spy.
She’s then married off to the son of a well-connected Pakistani general, and her mission is to regularly pass information to the Indian intelligence. Something she does with extreme courage and bravado, till she stumbles on information that could destroy the naval might of her beloved country.
Inspired from real events, Rama and the Early Avatars of Vishnu . . . is an espionage thriller that brings to life the story of this unsung heroine of war.
“I am born age after age,” says Krishna (Vishnu) in the Bhagavad Gita.
With current public more inclined to television serials and dramas to get familiarized with our puranas and epics where they mostly twist it, books like these are like a blessing! The book in detail and in consistency delivers accounts of Rama and other Avatars of Vishnu. There is a focus on Ramayana too.
The actual concept of the avatars, the point that when the world is reaching to point of end, Vishnu takes the form of a savior, an avatar to take it back to the balancing point, eradicating the threat. There is always a dharm behind each avatar. The main avatars which makes up the dashavatar – 10 avatars and discussed in this book and amsha avatars [fragment forms, they are not full avatars] makes sense through the early age of the lord – Vishnu.
An interesting aspect it shares is the reason why avatar saga came into picture – the story of demon stealing the Vedas from Brahma while he is sleeping and how Vishnu took the avatar of Malsya –Fish [first poorna avatar] to take it up as well us re-establish the balance of life, saving humanity! Another highlight is about Vamana avatar and the story of Mahabali of Kerala which contributes to their famous festival – Onam. Parashurama’s story is also something to look into.
For the highlight, as the title suggests it is about Ram avatar – the perfect man, and the story that makes up Ramayana and about Ravana. It is to be noted that Ravan is not actually the villain but an antagonist.
Overall, it is an amazing assortment.