Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Curse of Brahma by Jagmohan Bhanver: Book Review

'How much more of Indian mythology is still left unexplored?!' is what I awed as I turned the last page of the book. The Mahabharata I knew began from almost the birth of Sri Krishna. However, here's an unheard tale, compiled into an entire book, of the events that happened 200 years before Lord Krishna's birth. 

Can ever somebody like Kansa, who killed innocent newborns, have another side of goodness? I would have been surprised if somebody said a 'yes' before I read this book. Totally moving, the character of Kansa seemed to be justly portrayed. His true, devoted love towards Devaki and his loyal friendship with Vasudev were contrary to anything that I've ever heard of Kansa before. 

Dark Lord, the man who holds the grip of the plot, though the personification of evil doesn't fail to exhibit the innate goodness in him. In a sense, this book shall make us rethink about what exactly evil is and if Brahma, the Lord of creation, did any justice to him at all? 

Vividly narrated, The Curse of Brahma, is a well-conceived plot though for some reason, the story line seemed dragging at a few places. The suspense created at the end is a sure call for the second in the Krishna Trilogy series.

Mahabharata is of course, an unending tale. And the birth of the Krishna avatar isn't simply a magical story of God's supernatural powers. Rather, it is a story of pain and suffering of almost everyone associated with the great Lord. The Curse of Brahma throws a new light on the events in Indian mythology that lead to Sri Krishna's birth. 

The plot begins with the birth and childhood of Devaki and Kansa, the stories of which were never popular before. For this one reason, author Jagmohan firstly deserves our gratitude. All that we knew about Vasudev and Devaki were that they were helpless prisoners of Kansa who forgave their first seven children to the brutality of Kansa. However, the romantic love tale between Vasudev and Devaki, subtly narrated in the book, was a delight to read because it consoles us that after all their life was not an ever-jailed agony. In fact, Vasudev was a highly-skilled warrior whose defense strategies, elaborated in the book, were admirable.

Kansa actually lost his life in the attempt to save the life of his cousin sister, Devaki. For his affection for Devaki, that's the last that he could sacrifice. But when he was reborn, he was an asura! Kansa's character is one of the significant ones in the plot, written with utmost sincerity, of how he became the victim of the misfortunes that happened to somebody somewhere that pulled him as a puppet into evil hands. The mystery in the birth of Kansa and its revelation to him by his father, years after his birth, were one of the engaging portions of the book. The long-perceived characterization of Kansa in my mind has been changed now and I am sure so it would to all other readers.

The Dark Lord and Lord Brahma! It was fascinating to read how good creates evil and how evil tries to destroy good. Though the Dark Lord is a fiercely written character, as a reader, my mind doubts the true existence of this character in mythology. As a matter of fact, I am still curious to know whether The Curse of Brahma is actual mythology written in scriptures or an imaginary conception of the author.

Other than characterizations, there's nothing that can be spilled about the plot. Any tiny clue would reveal the central suspense of it which I prefer to be preserved for the benefit of the future readers. Author's narration was exemplary, not just of a kind that describes incidents but that of one that would make the reader travel into the real emotions of the characters. However, it felt a little uninteresting at a few points in between. Overall, in spite of having a great content and praiseworthy narration, a grip factor seemed missing. Nevertheless, it shall remain a memorable mythological fiction mainly for bringing into light the hidden stories of Lord Krishna's birth. 

Reviewed for Debdatta Dasgupta Sahay , a book reviewer at Book Reviews

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book as a complimentary copy from Debdatta Dasgupta Sahay , a book reviewer at Book Reviews, in exchange for a honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

Title: The Curse of Brahma
Authors: Jagmohan Bhanver
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Pages: 396

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About the Book

The man who became a Brahmarishi...
The curse that banished him to the hell of hells...
And the revenge that threatens to destroy the three worlds...

When Lord Brahma, the God of Creation, banishes his star pupil from Swarglok in a fit of rage, he does not foresee that his decision will alter the fate of the three worlds. Mortally wounded, and anguished at Brahma's unfair punishment, his pupil struggles to survive in Tamastamah Prabha, the hell of hells. In time, he becomes the Dark Lord, the most feared figure in Pataal Lok, who swears to destroy Brahma.

The power of the Dark Lord soon begins to make its presence felt in the mortal world. Vasudev, the brave prince of Bateshwar, becomes the hunter of Asura assassins; his closest friend, Kansa, almost dies while trying to save his sister from a group of deadly monsters; and the most valiant kings in Mrityulok turn over to the dark side, driven by forces beyond their control.

Only one person threatens the Dark Lord's well-laid plans - Devki, the beautiful princess of Madhuvan, who is destined to give birth to the warrior Krishna.

Will the Dark Lord allow Krishna - the person who has been prophesied to destroy him - to be born?

About the Author

Jagmohan Bhanver is a prolific writer and writing has been his passion since he was old enough to walk. The indelible scribbling on the walls of his previous homes (where he spent his childhood days) bears testament to this insane drive to write. On a more serious note, he penned his first set of verse at the age of eight and this was published as extracts in magazines when he was just about completing his tenth year. Essays, other non fiction writing and short stories formed the bulk of what he wrote in his teenage years. As an adult, he has written several scripts and screenplays for popular TV serials, and is currently fine tuning a script for a commercial film.

His first serious writing (in the self help genre) was completed by the time he was eighteen. It was initially not intended for public reading. However, over the years as he spent time in counseling he happened to share bits and pieces from the book with a large number of people. Reading the extracts surprisingly helped a lot of these people deal with problems and challenges they were facing in their lives. They shared what they had read with others. And what started as a few sheets of paper randomly handed over to a few select people turned into a tidal wave of men and women wanting to read more. It was then in 2004 (eleven years after he had finished the first draft of the book) that Jagmohan decided to seek a publisher for this book.

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