The book Thavaasmi: A Journey Towards Completeness—Life and Skills through the Lens of Ramayana is an epic retold in an entirely new and unique way. The timeless tale of Shri Rama—the hero of the classical work Ramayana—is narrated in a manner that not only brings out the subtle nuances of its various characters but also presents a framework to the reader for deriving practical takeaways and life-uplifting lessons from the immortal epic. The framework is intelligently designed to be a guidebook or manual for enhancing life skills.
The book is divided into two parts and four volumes written in a phased instructional mode. The contents are spread over sections consisting of 68 discourse days in a father-daughter conversational style. The number 68 is significant here, as there are 68 chapters in Sundara Kaanda of Ramayana. Part I of the book provides an account of Valmiki Ramayana. Part II describes the virtues and skills of Shri Rama and other characters of the epic.
According to the authors, the four volumes of the book respectively represent the four Vedas which are our eternal divine scriptures—Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda. Volume I of the book covers the initial 15 days of the instructional material and the initial five phases of the epic—Bala Kaanda, Ayodhya Kaanda, Aranya Kaanda, Kishkinda Kaanda and Sundara Kaanda. Volume II covers day 16 to day 34 of the instructional contents and the sixth phase of the epic called Yuddha Kaanda. This phase ends on day 24 of the instructional calendar. The remaining part of Volume II corresponding to 10 days of this calendar expounds on three positive attributes or virtues that are gleaned from the lives of the characters of Ramayana.
Volume III provides an exposition of another seven cardinal human virtues exemplified by Ramayana running from day 35 to day 51 of the instructional text. The Volume IV, running from day 51 to day 68 of the text, covers remaining six of the total 16 virtues ascribed to Shri Rama. The last section in Volume IV describes the last and seventh phase of the epic, called Utthara Kaanda.
At the end of each day’s instructional text, the book provides practice task sheets to enable the reader to understand, analyse, absorb and assimilate the lessons well. These task sheets are working formats creatively designed for enhancing the abilities of comparison, introspection, character analysis, unbiased reporting, perception and articulation. There are practice sheets that also cover the development of diction, artistic ability and researching faculty in the reader or user.
The great epic Ramayana has been presented by numerous authors in the past as a plain account, as a treatise or as an analytical commentary. But this one is different. It is a narrative account of the story of Shri Rama, an analytical treatise on Ramayana, an instructional text on life skills enhancement and a moral guidebook—all dexterously combined into one. The beautiful narration of the grand tale makes its characters come alive before our eyes.
The book has been written with the purpose of presenting a practical toolkit for the masses to enable them to absorb and develop life improvement skills drawn from Ramayana which has as the central character Shri Rama—a person possessing the 16 sublime human virtues.
The language of the book is simple and the style of narration appealing. What is especially remarkable about this book is its passionate content. The authors and the publisher seem to have poured their passion into the book—the passion to drive home the life-elevating messages contained in Ramayana and thereby help in character building and spiritual elevation of our masses.
Throughout, focus has been maintained on presentation of the tenets of dharma or righteousness in a manner which has made the book’s contents easy for comprehension and application. The unique value of the book is brought out by its references to various episodes in the epic tale which are timeless life lessons for all generations for happiness and fulfillment in the human journey.
The book is a universal life skills development guide for all—professionals, students and homemakers. In today’s times of high technology, information blitzkrieg and ideological confusion, Thavaasmi will be a beacon of light and a prized possession for the common man. It can be hooked to academic curricula as a textbook on moral education for secondary school students.
Perhaps the book’s value would have been embellished if the printing had been in colour. This would have appreciably increased the aesthetic appeal of the work with its large number of pictorial illustrations. All in all, a refreshingly new work on Ramayana and an item of great value and utility for the masses—a definite must-read and -have!