The three pillars of Hindu religion are Brahma (giver of life); Vishnu (creator) & Mahesh (destroyer of evil). There are multiple stories of these three Gods with Vishnu being the center of most of them in terms of his avatars balanced by Brahma and Mahesh. As Indians we have lived on these stories and revel in the knowledge that they impart. We pray to them and seek their blessings at all times. We revere Brahma, we learn from Vishnu and we fear the wrath of Mahesh or Lord Shiva.
But what if they were not Gods but men like us who on account of their deeds and qualities became legends and as the stories passed from generation to generation they acquired the status of Gods.
Among all three Gods the most closest to human flaws has to be Lord Shiva. He dances, he smokes pot, he sings, his temper is well known and he strikes the right balance between being a God and being human.
Amish Tripathi takes that as a concept - what if Lord Shiva was not a God but a man like us who became a God - and develops it into one of the best Indian books to come out in a long time. This is the story of how a Tibetan tribal leader became the most revered, respected, feared, loved and admired legend and who became Lord Shiva - Mahadev and destroyer of evil. It deals beautifully with the myths surrounding the legend and gives it credibility in the story.
An advice as you start reading this book. Keep and open mind and absorb the play that Amish has written. Don't get bogged down by trying to explain the myth and linking it to the story. At the same time remember the myth so that you are astounded by the simple explanations that Amish provides for it and weaves it fantastically into the fabric of the story.
By using everyday English that we speak Amish manages to bring the larger-than-life figure of Lord Shiva into the human realm and you start associating with this man called Shiva. The story is fast paced with interesting nuggets in intervals that keep you turning the pages wanting more. It has all the ingredients of a love story, accepting destiny, earning respect, making friends and asking questions. Amish manages to bring in interesting characters in the book and moving these along at just the right pace. The book hardly slacks and keeps you engrossed. The best part of the book is that it makes almost all the God legends into possible human beings who achieved greatness and contributed so much to society and its upbringing that story tellers made them Gods.
Who is Brahma? What did Lord Ram establish as governance? How did Lord Shiva become a Neelkanth? Did he invent the Trishul and how? How did Lord Shiva also become the dancing God Narataja? Where did the cry of 'Har Har Mahadev' when referring to Lord Shiva come from? Who is Nandi, the bull?
Close your eyes and think of Lord Shiva! 'The Immortals of Meluha' explains how Lord Shiva got Nandi, a blue throat and the Trishul. I am eagerly waiting for Amish's next two books and his view of how Lord Shiva got Ganga tied up in his hair, the cobra around his neck, the fearsome third eye and birth of God Ganesha. Come to think of it the fact that God Ganesha wrote The Ramayana as dictated by Ved Vyas is possible!
The only fallacy of the book is that you might start believing that this is possible and start looking at all our myths through the eyes of a human being rather than a devout!
I rate it 5/5 and encourage everyone to please read this book!
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