Warning: I’m a passionate reader and I’ve just finished one of my favorite series, The Shiva Trilogy. If you haven’t read it yet, first do that and then come back here because there are spoilers of important plot lines.
Right from the first book, The Immortals of Meluha, the story enticed me. I’ve been gripped by the amazing story of the Legendary Lord Shiva and his legacy. The author, Amish Tripati, a banker by profession did the right thing taking up writing as his full time job. He adds subtle mysteries inside the story and leaves the reader smiling or even shocked at times. The characters he adds to the story reminds me of my grandparents while I was a kid. They used to tell me and my brother stories about the Gods that we worship. Lord Ram, Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, several tales from Mahabharatham and The Ramayanam. We used to listen to it so intently and we loved those stories. Maybe that’s why Amish’s books gripped my attention, quite tightly so. Whenever I see a character, I used to think back to my grandfather’s stories, because all characters had relevance to my memories and I’ve heard stories about them. So when I got hold of the first book I could relate to all the characters and I loved it. Pure and simple, as the Neelkanth says. So that’s how I started reading The Shiva Trilogy. And I couldn’t stop. I was amazed how such a book missed my attention for quite a while but atleast I happened to hear about it. The Immortals of Meluha, starts with Lord Shiva, being a Tibetian Tribal Chief. Then Amish goes on to introduce the ever favorite Nandi, the favorite disciple of Shiva. As the plot unveils itself, we come to know that Shiva is the prophesied Mahadev, the successor of Lord Rudra, the God famous for his rage and justice. Although Shiva is skeptical at first, he realizes that he is willing to help the Meluhans. This is where love happens for the Lord. Shiva sees Sati, Goddess Parvathi, wife of Lord Shiva and falls in love at first sight!! I mean, who would have thought!!!
The plot moves on and we become clear of the task Shiva has to accomplish. There are some very interesting characters introduced by the author. First and foremost, the readers’ favorite, Parvateshwar. He is the Meluhan general and at first he is portrayed as a rough and tough guy, which he is. He is the equivalent of Itachi Uchiha(for Naruto fans), silent, deadly and hyper awesome. No wonder he’s my favorite character and I’m definitely naming my son Parvatesh. Second comes Bhadra, later Veerbhadra, the best friend and Second-in-Command of Shiva. The friendship the two characters portray is silent and untold nevertheless strong and we feel the amazing bond which we share with our friends.
The romance is amazing. The way Sati has feelings for Shiva but can’t express it as she is a Vikarma, but even when she does accept the fact that she loves him, she subtly says that Shiva has a higher purpose, with reference to the Sun and the Earth is nice. The plot unveils and we find that the couple get married(Ofcourse they do) and life is good for a while. The frequent conversations with the Vasudev Pandits are interesting. The part where the awesome Parvateshwar starts respecting Shiva is touching. Since the story is about Good vs Evil, ofcourse there is going to be a war scene. But this too is being unveiled brilliantly. The part where Shiva addresses his army and says Har Har Mahadev I actually got goosebumps. The story ends with Shiva being wrong in deciding who is evil and the unveiling of some more important characters.
The second book, The Secret of the Nagas, is equally brilliant. It takes Shiva on the search for Evil and more and more mysteries are unveiled. The book also adds some important characters and some important plot lines, all of which are told brilliantly. My favorite part is where Parvateshwar, who took an oath of lifelong celibacy, falls in love with Princess Anandmayi. The part where he expresses his love is told beautifully. Then they get married and Shiva and Sati have their first child, Kartik, who later becomes Lord Murugan. His elder brother, Lord Ganesh, is also unveiled in what seems to be a twisted yet amazing plot. Several journies and disciples later the book finally ends with the Neelkanth and the readers wondering about one thing. What is the Evil which Shiva is supposed to fight?
The third and final episode, The Oath of the Vayuputras, is almost double the size of each of its prequels. And a good read all the same. I had preordered the book and had been eagerly waiting its release. After its release it took me just three days to finish it off and ramble it all here. The plot continues and Shiva is confronted with an unexpected answer. The Somras, the drink of the Gods, is the Evil Shiva is supposed to fight and we get the first bomb. Then it is being proved to Shiva that the Somras is in fact Evil and the Main antogonist, Lord Bhrigu is also revealed. India splits into two, the supporters of the Neelkanth and the primary Somras users, the Meluhans. In an unexpected twist of fate, the loyal disciple of Shiva, Parvateshwar, decides to fight for Meluha and we get the second, more destructive bomb. I mean, why does it have to be him? But I do understand it because Itachi Uchiha already did it. He killed his own clan for the safety of his village and his beloved brother. Both are not the same but my point is, it is one of the drastic plot shifts that an avid reader and a Naruto fan had to endure.
A war is imminent and the people of India are taking sides. This book too takes Shiva on several journies and several mysteries are unveiled. For example, the Chief of the Vasudevs, Gopal is finally introduced face to face with Shiva. After several minor wars and victories later it is shown that Shiva had to meet the mysterious Vayuputras, the secret tribe left behind by Lord Rudra, the previous Mahadev. We find that the prophecy of the appearance of both the next Vishnu and the next Mahadev is actually an election!? Nevertheless, Amish keeps you on the edge of your seat. We come to know that Shiva’s uncle, overriding protocol, made preparations for Shiva to become the next Mahadev. The leader of the Vayuputras, the man called only as the Mithra, is also an uncle of Shiva. After a nice family reunion and some revelations later Shiva finally accomplished his mission – getting a powerful daivi astra, or divine weapon.
In another, even more brutal twist of fate, Sati is being killed. When I was reading this, it was 12.30 AM and I let out a quite loud gasp. I just couldn’t believe my eyes. I know Amish said in a press conference that important characters will die but never ever did I think that it would be Sati. Too bad. The readers would have loved her and I personally did. The romance between Shiva and Sati was phenomenal and its too bad that it had to go. But the death of Sati actually stopped the war, with Lord Bhrigu and the other elite Meluhans openly declaring that the Somras is indeed evil. A grieving Shiva is blinded by revenge and wants to destroy Devagiri, the capital of Meluha, the place where the Somras manufacturing facility is located. He, forgetting the promise made to the Mithra, wants to launch the daivi astra on Devagiri and actually does it. This is where I got a little disappointed. The Neelkanth is the Mahadev and is he supposed to act like this? Destroy an entire city in blind hatred? But given the circumstances it is exactly anyone would have done. Moreover, Shiva is portrayed as a mortal, a human in this story. And the decision he made is fitting. One more thing that I was disappointed for was, Parvateshwar and Anandmayi decided to stay back in Devagiri and die. And they did die. Then the story is about to end and the author is setting the story for what we know now. Like how Lord Ganesh is the God of Auspicious Beginnings etc. Leaving on a high note, Amish sets the stage for what might be his next work. The real story behind the Mahabharatham.
All in all, The Shiva Trilogy, talks about the amazing story of Shiva and his karma. But that is not all. The books explain, through Shiva and others, how life should be lived. You answer to your karma and that it is important to know it. It teaches us the importance of friendship, the amazing feeling of love, the importance of being compassionate and humble and above all courage, being true to once self and several other values you don’t normally get in one story. For all these things and many more untold emotional rides the author took me on, I sincerely congratulate him and thank him for the wonderful effort.
Har Har Mahadev!!