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July 31, 2013

Book Review - 129 : The Guardians of Karma

Publisher : Srishti Publishers & Distributors
Author : Mohan Vizhakat

Around 10500 B.C.E., with sea levels much lower than they are today, and mainland continents still largely covered with ice, the primary centres of Indian civilisation were dominated by two highly advanced nation states – Dev Lok and Daityan Empire. Spiritually-inclined Devas lived in harmony with nature, whereas Daityas believed in brute force technologies for rapid prosperity and material gratification. Steady inundation of the tropical islands created a crisis, particularly for Daityas. To fuel their hunger for material resources, the aggressive Daityas proceeded to invade other nations.

Warrior monk Hara becomes the sole hope of Dev Lok to prevent defeat and abject subjugation. However, before he can help them, Hara must undertake the ultimate journey of spirituality to pass beyond the barrier of death itself and engage with the astral personae of Lord Rudra. This action-packed mythological science fiction takes the readers through the exotic cities of Amaravati, Atalantpuri, and traces the arduous journey to Mount Kailash. The story unfolds the philosophy of Karma within the backdrop of love, passion, greed, war, tragedy and spirituality that characterised these ancient times.

Will Hara be able to check the Daityan aggression in time to correct the course of Karma? Will he be able to wield the viman ‘Pinaka’ against the central seat of Daityan power – the indestructible citadels of Tripura? Is he the one who will glorify the name of Lord Shiva as Tripurantaka – the mighty destroyer of Tripura?

Author Mohan neatly tick all the boxes of a mythology thriller. It has a wide narrative and a stream of main and associate characters punctuated by racy dialogues and an intrigue created solely on (mis)interpretation of the mythical creatures of our pre-historic times. The pace of the narrative is brisk and even though grappling with multiple characters, the author makes sure none of them is half-baked and thus, provides the required punch.

But more than anything else, it raises important and at times crucial questions about our mythology. Is it possible that many of the ancient myths within these epics do have some elements of truth behind them? Maybe an advanced civilisation with ethnic groups like Devas, Daityas, Rakshas, Manavs etc did exist during our distant past? May be the Lokas, Talas and other exotic places where they lived were actually the geographical land masses that used to exist during the ice age? Perhaps some of the legendary events described in our scriptures were interpretations of real incidents, gleaned from fragmentary cultural memories of a prehistoric era? Maybe there is a common lineage to the ancient legends of many cultures across the world? For example, is the Indian legend about the free-floating triple cities of Tripura and Greek one about Atlantis, both reconstructions of the same event?

I am going with 4/5 for Mohan Vizhakat's 'The Guardians of Karma'. There is pleasure in creating mythical world and even more fun when it is done right. This one has the right mix of emotions, adrealine pumping action sequences and a brave attempt to connect spirituality, science and philosophy. It's a must read and i look forward in reading its sequel.

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