A quest to connect with the supreme energy that resides within each human being.
A friend gifted The Immortals of Meluha to me and the first thing that caught my attention was the cover. I loved the concept of a figure in the background who resembles Shiva and The trident ( Trishul) in the foreground. The Trishul summarises his destiny – the balance of the three forces of preservation, creation and destruction.
Same is the interpretation of Aum which is an important symbol in the book. It also represents the three aspects of consciousness – cognition, conation and affection.Another is that it represents the three Gunas or Praktriti – Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.
I felt that the cover itself tells you what to expect in the book.
Here is my interpretation of Immortals of Meluha.
For me it is not just a fantasy tale about Suryavanshis, Chandravanshis, nagas , Siva and Sati. They all represent something which lies within us. Our inner conflict over good and bad or should I say what is good and what is bad. The fact that we all have an inner energy, a combination of sati’s primal feminine energy, shiva’s balancing energy and Naga’s fluid energy and animal like qualities. How we connect and use this is the question.
I am not a religious person but I believe in the supreme force , the energy lies with in and surrounds us .
I admire Shiva as an eternal Yogi, a family man, a warrior and the only God in the Pantheon of Hindu Gods whose wife stands shoulder to shoulder with him and is loved and respected for what she is, a woman. Shiva is an indulgent hubby.
The entire concept of Shiva as man outside his mythological being is alluring.
A rich fusion of fantasy , fiction, mythology, action, romance, adventure, history and faith . I love fireworks and the blurb told me that the book would be a delight to read. A wonderfully written mythological fiction.
I won’t reveal the story here . 🙂
I read the book in a two-day marathon reading. Then began the feverish urge to know what lies beneath. It happened earlier with the two Dan Brown books. It was interesting to go beyond the text and discover the unwritten.
The cosmic dance of Siva immediately took me to something I read long back during my readings of Dan Brown.
Fritjof Capra says, “every subatomic particle not only performs an energy dance, but also is an energy dance; pulsating process of creation and destruction…without end…For the modern physicists, then Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic matter. As in Hindu mythology, it is a continual dance of creation and destruction involving the whole cosmos; the basis of all existence and of all natural phenomena.”
The Nataraj Statue at CERN, Geneva:
In 2004, a 2m statue of the dancing Shiva was unveiled at CERN, the European Center for Research in Particle Physics in Geneva. A special plaque next to the Shiva statue explains the significance of the metaphor of Shiva’s cosmic dance with quotations from Capra: “Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shivas in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our time, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance. The metaphor of the cosmic dance thus unifies ancient mythology, religious art and modern physics.”
It helped me rediscover the roots of ancient India. Hinduism and the fabled mythology .It took me within the folds of Tibetan buddhist literature and modern-day science.
Was this research needed?
No , not for enjoying the book.
The book is like a joint of marijuana I would say. Gives you a high the moment you begin to read it.
I did it for my growth, for finding connection with my Mahadev. To discover my origins.
Immortals of Melluha is a book that grows on you, it will compel you to check your knowledge of Hindu and Indo- Aryan mythology, to dig into the hidden aspects , to reach the depths of the myths and legends you may have forgotten especially those of the tribal influences like the tales of Nagas.
The book deals with some basic questions about soicety, people and and human traits.
What is evil ? Is being different being evil?
I like this questioning aspect of Shiva. He is marked as a saviour , a Mahadev, by his karma. He is troubled, confused, almost harassed by his “ Damn blue throat”. A human who is termed as god by the destiny – a god who questions his own fate. Amish has beautifully portrayed varied traits of Shiva – he is an exceptional dancer, a born leader, protector, short-tempered at times, a passionate lover, Marijuana smoking swearing Tibetan tribal chief. He is a seeker of knowledge, questioning old customs/ beliefs/ norms almost anything. A man who drinks Somaras ( the exilier of life ) and is thrown in whirlpool of events beyond his control.
He is Neelkanth Mahadev “ the saviour’ .
He becomes part of an ancient legend, ‘when evil reaches epic proportions, when all seems lost, when it seems that your enemies have triumphed, a hero will emerge’.A referenace to Mahabharat where Krishna is the saviour and says,
“”yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
tadatmanam srjamy aham”
“when ever and where ever there is decline and decay of righteousness,
O Bharatha, then I manifest myself.
In all such dark periods of history, some great master comes to present himself as the leader of men to revive the standard of life and moral values”!!!
There is a much controversial topic about the book – The language.
I loved it. It flows beautifully without straining the reader . Nothing ornate about it, no deep philosophy , no complicated words. I think masses connect very well with something like an everyday lingo. It keeps the interest. I remember saying , “Damn it “ very often during my reading when I stumbled upon something unexpected or discovered some under current.
Women are treated in a very esteemed position at least in the first book and we must not forget that it is part of a trilogy . What may seem very evident may turn out to have a certain twist. I found a lot of things which made me wonder with a smile.
Amish has dealt with the vishakhas in a very gentle way. It shows his own views about caste system.
They are people who are branched of from the main stream. The untouchables are brought back into the fold of the society and given their rightful place.
Shiva questions the Maika system, a power control over the system. We can see the author’s views merging into the fiction when Shiva opposes caste system, wants a widow remarriage and many such things.
There is reference to actual historical places and civilization. Is it true that the fair-skinned Aryans came and uprooted the dark-skinned Dravidians . They became the lords and the tribals who were the rightful owners of the lands were declared outlaws and evil? Nagas being one such tribe.
All the historical, mythological, geographical facts are woven beautifully along with fiction in the book.
The book says,” It is set in 1900 BC, in what the modern Indians mistakenly call the Indus Valley Civilisation.”
This question about the authenticity of the what we call Indus Valley civilization and the Aryan invasion.
Meluha may be Mehrgarh. An important aspect that comes out of the book is the myth of Aryan invasion. There existed an ancient civilization before the so-called fair-skinned Aryans arrived pushing them away and labelling them as barbarians.
Was Meluha a trading port of an ancient civilization which came before the Indus Valley civilization?
It is said that 1900 BC was the time of unrest. The time when the “advanced” Aryan people invaded a “primitive” aboriginal population . The times were politically charged and all that happened then is relevant even now.
There are questions on the status of Mohan- jo daro as capital of Indus Valley Civilization. It makes us wonder who are Shiva, Sati, Nandi? What were they before the myth took over and made them Gods and demi- gods.
Was there a real Ram Rajya before all this?
Yes, it looks like .
“ The Rama Empire flourished during the same period, according to esoteric tradition, fading out in the millennium after destruction of the Atlantean continent.”
Read the story here [ LINK ]
What makes the book unmatched is the fast pace and the way events unfold in front of you like a movie. I remembered the days of amarchitra katha and jataka tales.
Though the story has characters out of the Mythology but they are placed in the scheme of things as per the wishes of the author. If you know the facts the books becomes even more engrossing and one questions Why ?
Why is Daksha shown as someone who admires Shiva? Why is there a certain discomfort in Veerni? Is Sati her real daughter? In Hindu mythology she isn’t.
Who is the hooded figure and why is he after Sati ?
Nagas , the most mysterious lot in the book are my favorite .
I began to wonder what roles, Rudra, Brahma, Indra, Kudra etc may have.
Amish has put Sati and Parvati as one but his Rudra and Shiva are two different entities. Rudra is the Previous Mahadev who failed to carry out his role as a Mahadev.
Interesting . 🙂
The queen of Naga wants the hooded figure to call his Mausi. She is his mother’s sister. Who is she? Diti, vinata,kudra or someone else? Knowing Amish’s art of surprising the reader I am ready to be jolted 😀
The animal totem and the tribal influence is dealt very nicely. . In mythology The Naga tribes were animists, worshipping countless nature spirits known as Yakshas or Ganas.
Hidden within such descriptions are the echoes of the clash between the fair-skinned, sun-worshipping invaders, and the dark, mysterious people of the forests and mountains.
Serpents were revered both in Hindu mythology and is many other cultures.
The reference to Nagas got me thinng about their mission. Who is this ‘He’ the queen refers to and how did they get the daivik astras?
It is interesting to see the shades from Tibetan Buddhism , Kashmiri religious texts, ancient texts like Puranas etc .The book to me is not just about Hindu Mythology and what we have been spoon fed since ages. It questions the very basis of Hindu Gods and goddesses as we know them.
Who are these Gods ?
It is a bold take on Hinduism. The fact that Gods are not mythical beings but humans like us and they become Vishnu, Shiva, Mahadev through their karma.
I think the troops which move with The Hooded Figure are not Chandravanshis though they may wear some symbols to identify them as Chandravanshis .
Chandravanshis and Suryavanshis are The Two Polarities- good and bad. Mission of Shiva to balance the polarities.
Something tells me, and I may be wrong, that Ganesh has a role to play here.
He was worshipped by Nagas in tribal mythology. So was Sati.
Is he the son of Sati ? The son whom people thought still-born ? Was he given away or stolen?
Just some thought. A book like this as I said grows on you and sets you off on an adventure of your own.
Amish’s treatment of The symbol Aum is interesting. The black Aum with three serpents which Shiva is able to hold in his hands without inflicting any discomfort makes one think. A serpent is a primal force just as Sati is . It represents the three powers – creation, destruction and preservation. and That’s what the destiny of Siva is. Their life force emanates from the moon ( chandra) esp during the waxing and full moon.
The “war against evil”, the Dharmayudh in which millions were killed were thus never battles of the righteous. They were battles between two different belief systems, two lifestyles, both of which were essential to keep up the balance in this world, to complete the world. The warriors and civilians who lost their lives were not martyrs who gave up their life for the “greater good” but unfortunate victims of the lack of understanding between two cultures that refused to engage with, and hence to understand each other
The desire to grab the second part is overwhelming. One wants to solve all the riddles, tie all the loose ends .
Is Veerni the mole in Suryavanshi empire? Why is she perturbed at times. Something is amiss in the Daksha family. What ?
The Importance of River
The role of Saraswati is very important. A river’s importance to a civilization. Its role as a nurturing , life-giving source. It is also interesting to note the dispute over the river water between the two clans. It brings us instantly to today’s world.
The Saraswati, as modern land studies now reveal, was indeed one of the largest, if not the largest river in India. In early ancient and pre-historic times, it once drained the Sutlej, Yamuna and the Ganges, whose courses were much different than they are today. However, the Saraswati river went dry at the end of the Indus Valley culture and before the so-called Aryan invasion or before 1500 BC. In fact this may have caused the ending of the Indus culture. How could the Vedic Aryans know of this river and establish their culture on its banks if it dried up before they arrived? Indeed the Saraswati as described in the ‘Rig Veda’ appears to more accurately show it as it was prior to the Indus Valley culture as in the Indus era it was already in decline.
The scenes in the book come alive as the plot slowly smoothly develops.
There is one very important message that the book conveys Har Har Mahadev
There is a Mahadeva in each one of us. There is a divine energy within us and all we need to do is recognise it. This reverse treatment of Gods is a very liberal perspective to me.
The valor of Sati is the strength of the woman. A woman who fights her own battles and stands shoulder to shoulder with men .
An important message that comes out very clearly is the non acceptance of “ other perspective” .
I find Dakhsha a very incapable, power-hungry rigid moral policing kind of ruler. I felt that the author wanted to bring out the flaws in our ownsystem and the historical facts where Asuras are evil and devas are good.
Daksha to me is a controller who believes believes that only his way of life is perfect and all those below that are evil and need to come under his fold and embrace his doctrines of living. Something which is a cause od strife in today’s world also.
We constantly want to impose our ways on others be it religious, political, economical, social we persistently make an attempt to prove that our way is the only just way. Daksha of Meluha , unlike the one in Mythology, is a shrewd , cunning king who tricks Shiva and his followers into coming to his kingdom and brainwashes them to fight against the Chandravanshis. Shiva wages the Daharmyudh but realises his mistake. All his convictions and perceptions of life come crashing down.
Now it is to see how he will rectify it.
Was history manipulated by some to prove their point ?
Shiva’s constant turmoil in the last few pages shows very clearly that he is guilty of siding with unjust and he needs to rectify his mistake. His conscience bothers him till the end.
The question is not Who is evil / The question is What is evil?
Now the task is how to recognize it and be rid of it. How to balance the polarities of life both of which are important for a healthy life.
The interesting thing is the blend of Kashmir’s legends and folklores in the story. At least I saw some shades of Nilamat puran in the story especially in reference to Nagas.
I felt the book is a brilliant take on the political, religious, social scenario of ancient times and how it still holds relevance to the modern world.
There are stories within the main story , running like deep dark canals under the streets of mind .
I think one can draw our own conclusions and interpret the book in our own ways , that’s the beauty of Immortals of Meluha .