I have a confession to make. I am obsessed with the Shiva Trilogy written by Amish Tripathi. If you haven’t read it, please do. It’s a beautiful take on Indian mythology. Amish Tripathi has written another series titled The Ram Chandra Series, the first book of which is to be launched on Monday, June 22. I will be attending the launch in Mumbai and hopefully will be posting about it (If I don’t get too engrossed in the book, that is).
Anyway, Amish is very good at a method of slow and pleasurable torture that involves revealing details about his books in such a way that the reader finds out many intricate details without figuring out anything of substance. While I wait for another two days, I have decided to compile a list of all the elements of Scion of Ikshvaku that I have been able to surmise from various sources and would like to share them with you all.
ALERT: There may be spoilers regarding the Shiva Trilogy and (hopefully) even the Ram Chandra Series from this point on.
The sources that I am using for my interpretations are:
1) The Shiva Trilogy itself because Amish Tripathi has stated that all his books lie on the same continuum and tell the story of a single civilisation that he believes existed in India.
2)Various interviews of Amish Tripathi that I have seen on YouTube and on TV.
3)A question-answer session conducted at a book-signing that I attended.
4)The trailers of the Scion of Ikshvaku.
5)The cover of the Scion of Ikshvaku.
6)Chapter 3 of Scion of Ikshvaku that is available for free.
7)The three symbols that feature prominently in any media concerning the Scion of Ikshvaku.
8)The Shlok (hymn) that also features prominently, especially in one of the trailers.
9)The article he wrote after deciding to write about Lord Ram.
10) The synopsis of the book on the back cover.
11) Indian Mythology as we all know it.
Finally, coming to the actual theories.
- Ram will go through a lot of suffering during his childhood. In fact, he has been described as a “tortured prince” in a trailer.
- There was a prediction in the free chapter of Scion of Ikshvaku that Ram, if born before midday would be a great leader and be remembered by many generations after him but if born after midday, he will suffer tremendously during his life, particularly in his personal life. However, Ram was born at exactly 12 and the astrologer has no idea what that means. I feel it means both. That Ram will suffer throughout his life, especially in the personal sphere but will also be remembered forever (this is based primarily on the Mythology)for creating the perfect society and his suffering in his personal life will be the price he pays as mentioned in the trailer.
- Amish Tripathi has stated in an interview that the entire book is in a flashback form so that should be exciting but I have no indication of at what time in his life, is Ram (I hope) having this flashback.
- The back cover synopsis states that Raavan has “imposed his trade” on Ayodhya and Chapter 3 features a fight between Dashrath and Kuber(Raavan’s elder brother) that Dashrath loses. In fact, Raavan is the Commander-in-Chief of Kuber’s army so to speak at the time and Kaikeyi saves Dashrath’s life. I assume that the loss of this (battle?) war is the cause of the imposition of trade. It would be ironic to see that Dashrath loses this battle and is saved by Kaikeyi and then the boons he gives Kaikeyi that she uses to impose misery on Ram actually help defeat the winner of the original battle and set things right, so to speak.
- There is a red thread that holds a lot of prominence in the trailer and is tied by Sita(?) on Ram’s wrist. He loses that thread in his pursuit of Sati when she is kidnapped by Raavan. This has to be an indication of something though I’m not sure what.
- Also, the search for Sita and the final scene of Ram trying to shoot the Pushpak Vimaan on the book cover clearly indicate that the kidnapping of Sita takes place in this book itself. Though in this book he sees the Pushpak and (probably) knows who has taken Sita, something that is not there in the mythology, I am interesting in seeing how he factors in the Jatayu scenario.
- The symbols have already been decoded.
- The first one speaks of him as Maryaada Purushottam, a phrase commonly translated as “The Ideal Man” but which actually means “The Ideal Follower of Rules.” In fact, it was this that prompted Amish Tripathi to write the book in the first place. As the story goes, a woman asked him how he can respect Lord Ram keeping in mind the way Lord Ram treated his wife, Sita. Amish Tripathi justified Lord Ram’s actions in his article and I’m presuming will do so in The Ram Chandra Series too.
- I feel the crown on top of the fish symbolises the royal status of Lord Ram.
- The third symbol is more or less self-explanatory with the possible alternative interpretation of Lord Ram being not just a Suryavanshi but the founder of the Suryavanshi way of life as indicated in the Shiva Trilogy. The three symbols are the three indicators of Lord Ram himself.
- In the Shiva Trilogy, Lord Rudra has been described as being born stillborn but let out a huge cry after a while which led to his being nicknamed Shiva by his mother. The protagonist of the Shiva Trilogy was named after this nickname of Lord Rudra. In the Ram Chandra Series, Lord Ram is named after Lord Parshu Ram whose birth name was Ram but the prefix was added due to his skill with the axe. And the protagonist of the Ram Chandra Series, Lord Ram is stillborn until his mother, Kausalya(having just gone through a longer labour than usual) takes him into her arms upon which he finally lets out a cry and holds on to his mother’s hair with a superhuman strength. The two incidents are too similar to not be related in some way, maybe only metaphorical.
- Kaushalya is also very keen to have her son be the King and is desperate to ensure that. Her doctor and the astrologer know as much and as their loyalties lie with Kausalya, they decide to record the time of birth to be just a minute before 12. It would be very interesting and ironic if this dishonesty is the cause of Ram’s suffering and would also provide a legitimate reason for Ram’s absolute insistence on honesty and Dharma and all the qualities described in the hymn.
Well, that’s all I have for you.
I hope you liked it.
Do you agree? Or disagree? Did I miss something? What do you think will happen in Scion of Ikshvaku?
And if you have read the book(I don’t know when you are reading this post), what did you think of it? How close did I get?(I’ll find this out (not) soon enough.)
What do you think of this post?
Let me know it all in the comments!