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Dec 31, Scion-of-ikshvaku-English_Amish by Amish Identifier scion-of- Identifier-ark DOWNLOAD OPTIONS. First City Scion of Ikshvaku Book 1 of the Ram Chandra Series I Love you Rachu Amish westland ltd 61, II Floor, Silverline Building, Alapakkam Main Road. As of today we have 76,, eBooks for you to download for free. No annoying ads, no Series) Amish Tripathi Scion of Ikshvaku (Ram Chandra Series).

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Aug 20, Hello there!! Please check it on the following link, you will get this book here, for sure. As well, you can get much more books here. URL: Please. Jul 4, Download PDF Scion of Ikshvaku (Ram Chandra Series): 1, PDF Download Scion of Ikshvaku (Ram Chandra Series): 1, Download Scion of. Jun 25, Free Full Ebook/Epub: Scion of Ikshvaku - Amish Tripathi Scribd account · Download EPUB file directly · Download version instead.

Ram Rajya. The Perfect Land. But perfection has a price. He paid that price. A terrible war has taken its toll. The damage runs deep. The demon King of Lanka, Raavan, does not impose his rule on the defeated.

English ASIN: Enabled X-Ray: Not Enabled. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention shiva trilogy scion of ikshvaku looking forward good read shiva triology indian mythology ram chandra amish tripathi lord ram great read well written waiting for the next fast paced chandra series story telling forward to the next next book good book must read second part.

Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. There is a sense of deja vu in all of Amish's writing - a sense that you have already read what has been written.

I would not recommend this book to people who are looking for the pacy, fluid narration of a mythological story of one of the original super heroes of the world. It may be a good read for young children to whom one wants to introduce the world of Indian mythology in a manner of contemporary writing.

But here too, Amish falls short of expectations because the connect between accepted notions of the events in Ram's life, and what is written - is absent. All in all - I would not miss not reading this book. A tragedy, because the earlier series had potential. The book was a good read as such but Amish could have avoided modifying historical events only for the purpose of creating an impact.

On the contrary, it might have made it better. I found that brilliance missing in this book. One person found this helpful. When you grow up in India, one will hear many versions of Ramayan and Mahabharat. Personally, I have read Kamba Ramayanam and detailed version by C. Amish's version of Ramayan might come as shock to those who have not read the Shiva trilogy before. I personally like the interactions of Ram with his Guru Vashista and later with Guru Vishwamitra, where they debate different forms of governance, merits and pitfalls of each.

Cannot help myself, comparing Democrats vs. Republicans, very apt descriptions for each. A must read for every Indian. Amish is great in articulating the story, and this is no exception. I, however felt there was too much fixation few things such as Lakshman's body build, etc don't want to disclose for future readers , also I think the writer should have taken the liberty to deviate from the base story line to make it intriguing.

Plots where it has been taken like that of Roshni's, it looks to be same as some 90's bollywood plot. Also discussions on dharma I thought could have either referred the upnishad directly or be in form of some story rather than discussion. Also the incidents where Ram actually achieved the glory and public love is covered in a page or two. All in all a good read, but certainly Amish can do much better. As always, Amish has done a brilliant job in explaining the beautiful intricacies of the ancient world by logically explaining why Ram and Sita did what they did.

Its an amazing journey for anyone reading with a calm mind without taking in any offense. Although at some times, it feels like Amish is trying to force the current world views to try and logically explain certain parts, they are definitely vindicated by the fact that he is only interpreting his version of ramayana.

For all we know, Valmiki was only an author who interpreted his version of the true story to us. It is a piece of literary art and can be considered puttng up as our version of Ramayana instead of the old one. The book was quite engaging , so much so that I was shocked when it ended. I kept waiting for that "something" to happen but it never did. As is his style, the author has his own version of how and why the events transpired, which in places was beautifully executed.

However I also felt that in the process some important events like the actual swayamwar ceremony were undermined. While the bond between the brothers was built upon well but the same cannot be said for Ram-Sita.

All in all, a mixed bag, but a good read! All of his books are simply sensational. You just cant get over it even though you have completed it reading. This book had made me fall in love with the characters I considered fictional.

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Amazing writing Amish. May you books serve a purpose to the society to inculcate values from instead of diluted philosophical religious books that hardly made any sense. Like in my previous review on your books I am telling you again, I am definitely making the movies on these Paperback Verified Purchase. I have read Shiva Triology so I have to compare the two. In both, Amish has humanize Hindu Gods, and in doing so he has taken lots of liberty.

Most hindus are aware that Satyug is followed by tretayug Ramayana era and Dwapar Krishna Era , however we have been told that Dwarika is many millennium before Rama time while Prince bhagirath is chandravanshi many millennium after Ram Bhagirath was suryavanshi and Rams ancestor.

There are lots of mistakes like that. Moreover all non human characters like Jatayu to Ganesh and Hanuman are deformed humans Nagas.

However these are interesting reads, though Shiva Triology is much better written than this. Here author has tried to emphasize on philosophy esp in the beginning which seems to inspire by modern day India on rape juvenile laws etc.

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Shiva Trilogy Kindle Edition. The Girl in Room Kindle Edition. Chetan Bhagat. Patrick Weekes. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Raavan A Preview: Orphan of Aryavarta. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Learn more about Amazon Prime. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. Back to top. Get to Know Us. Amazon Payment Products. English Choose a language for shopping. She looked at the horses. Blood was pouring down their sides in torrents, and specks of flesh hung limply where the skin had been ripped off.

They were panting frantically, exhausted by the effort of having pulled the chariot through the dense field of thorns. Not yet. The leather hummed through the air and lashed the horses cruelly. Neighing for mercy, they refused to move. Kaikeyi cracked her whip again and the horses edged forward. She had to save her husband. Suddenly an arrow whizzed past her and crashed into the front board of the chariot with frightening intensity.

Kaikeyi spun around in alarm. Kaikeyi turned back and whipped her horses harder. She was wrong. Its shock was so massive that it threw her forward as her head flung back. Her eyes beheld the sky as Kaikeyi screamed in agony.

But she recovered immediately, the adrenaline pumping furiously through her body, compelling her to focus. Another arrow whizzed by her ears, missing the back of her head by a tiny whisker. The whip fell from her suddenly-loosened grip. Her mind was ready for further injuries now, her body equipped for pain. She bent quickly and picked up the whip with her left hand, transferring the reins to her bloodied right hand.

She resumed the whipping with mechanical precision. She steeled herself for another hit; instead, she now heard a scream of agony from behind her.

A quick side glance revealed her injured foe; the arrow had buried itself deep into his right eye. What she also perceived was a band of horsemen moving in; her father and his faithful bodyguards. A flurry of arrows ensured that the Lankan attacker toppled off his animal, even as his leg got entangled in the stirrup. Kaikeyi looked ahead once again. Dashrath must be saved. The rhythmic whipping continued ceaselessly. She tried to prop herself up on her elbows.

A severely weakened Kaushalya, however, refused to submit. The queen held her motionless son close to her bosom.

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With a loud and vigorous cry, Ram sucked in his first breath in this, his current worldly life. He opened his mouth and suckled reflexively.

Nilanjana felt as if a dam had burst and began to bawl like a child. Her mistress had given birth to a beautiful baby boy. The prince had been born! Despite her evident delirium, Nilanjana did not forget her training. She looked to the far corner of the room at the prahar lamp to record the exact time of birth. She knew that the royal astrologer would need that information. She held her breath as she noticed the time. Lord Rudra, be merciful! It was exactly midday.

The astrologer sat still. The sun was poised to sink into the horizon and both Kaushalya and Ram were sound asleep. Not after? Exactly at noon. Will he be great or will he suffer misfortune? Nilanjana looked out of the window, towards the exquisite royal gardens that rolled endlessly over many acres. The palace was perched atop a hill which also was the highest point in Ayodhya.

As she gazed vacantly at the waters beyond the city walls, she knew what needed to be done. How would anyone be any the wiser?

Ram was born a minute before midday. She turned to the astrologer. As the guards on duty sprang to attention, they wondered where the great raj guru, the royal sage of Ayodhya, was headed early in the morning. He was thin to a fault and towering in height, despite which his gait was composed and self-assured.

His dhoti and angvastram were white, the colour of purity. His head was shaven bare, but for a knotted tuft of hair at the top of his head which announced his Brahmin status. A flowing, snowy beard, calm, gentle eyes, and a wizened face conveyed the impression of a soul at peace with itself. Yet, Vashishta was brooding as he walked slowly towards the massive Grand Canal that encircled the ramparts of Ayodhya, the impregnable city.

His thoughts were consumed by what he knew he must do. Wounded themselves, none had the strength to confront even a weakened Ayodhya. Dashrath remained the emperor of the Sapt Sindhu, albeit a poorer and less powerful one. The pitiless Raavan had extracted his pound of flesh from Ayodhya. Trade commissions paid by Lanka were unilaterally reduced to a tenth of what they had been before the humiliating defeat. In addition, the purchase of goods from the Sapt Sindhu was now at a reduced price.

Why, rumours even abounded that the streets of the demon city were paved with gold! Vashishta raised his hand to signal his bodyguards to fall behind. He walked up to the shaded terrace that overlooked the Grand Canal. He then ran his gaze along the almost limitless expanse of water that lay ahead. The canal had been built a few centuries ago, during the reign of Emperor Ayutayus, by drawing in the waters of the feisty Sarayu River.

Its dimensions were almost celestial. It stretched for over fifty kilometres as it circumnavigated the third and outermost wall of the city of Ayodhya. It was enormous in breadth as well, extending to about two-and-a- half kilometres across the banks. Its storage capacity was so massive that for the first few years of its construction, many of the kingdoms downriver had complained of water shortages.

Their objections had been crushed by the brute force of the powerful Ayodhyan warriors. One of the main purposes of this canal was militaristic. It was, in a sense, a moat. To be fair, it could be called the Moat of Moats, protecting the city from all sides. Prospective attackers would have to row across a moat that had river-like dimensions.

The adventurous fools would be out in the open, vulnerable to an unending barrage of missiles from the high walls of the unconquerable city. Four bridges spanned the canal in the four cardinal directions. The roads that emerged from these bridges led into the city through four massive gates in the outermost wall: Each bridge was divided into two sections.

Each section had its own tower and drawbridge, thus offering two levels of defence at the canal itself. Even so, to consider this Grand Canal a mere defensive structure was to do it a disservice.

The Ayodhyans also looked upon the canal as a religious symbol. To them, the massive canal, with its dark, impenetrable and eerily calm waters, was reminiscent of the sea; similar to the mythic, primeval ocean of nothingness that was the source of creation. It was believed that at the centre of this primeval ocean, billions of years ago, the universe was born when The One, Ekam, split into many in a great big bang, thus activating the cycle of creation.

The impenetrable city, Ayodhya, viewed itself as a representative on earth of that most supreme of Gods, the One God, the formless Ekam, popularly known in modern times as the Brahman or Parmatma. It was believed that the Parmatma inhabited every single being, animate and inanimate. Some men and women were able to awaken the Parmatma within, and thus become Gods. These Gods among men had been immortalised in great temples across Ayodhya. Small islands had been constructed within the Grand Canal as well, on which temples had been built in honour of these Gods.

Vashishta, however, knew that despite all the symbolism and romance, the canal had, in fact, been built for more prosaic purposes. It worked as an effective flood-control mechanism, as water from the tempestuous Sarayu could be led in through control-gates. Floods were a recurrent problem in North India. Furthermore, its placid surface made drawing water relatively easy, as compared to taking it directly from the Sarayu.

Smaller canals radiated out of the Grand Canal into the hinterland of Ayodhya, increasing the productivity of farming dramatically. The increase in agricultural yield allowed many farmers to free themselves from the toil of tilling the land. Only a few were enough to feed the massive population of the entire kingdom of Kosala. This surplus labour transformed into a large army, trained by talented generals into a brilliant fighting unit.

The army conquered more and more of the surrounding lands, till the great Lord Raghu, the grandfather of the present Emperor Dashrath, finally subjugated the entire Sapt Sindhu, thus becoming the Chakravarti Samrat. Wealth pouring into Kosala sparked a construction spree: Sheer poetry in stone, these buildings were a testament to the power and glory of Ayodhya. One among them was the grand terrace that overhung the inner banks of the Grand Canal.

It was a continuous colonnaded structure built of red sandstone mined from beyond the river Ganga; the terrace was entirely covered by a majestic vaulted ceiling, providing shade to the constant stream of visitors. Every square inch of the ceiling had been painted in vivid colours, chronicling the stories of ancient Gods such as Indra, and the ancestors of kings who ruled Ayodhya, all the way up to the first, the noble Ikshvaku. The ceiling was divided into separate sections and, at the centre of each was a massive sun, with its rays streaming boldly out in all directions.

This was significant, for the kings of Ayodhya were Suryavanshis, the descendants of the Sun God, and just like the sun, their power boldly extended out in all directions.

Or so it had been before the demon from Lanka destroyed their prestige in one fell swoop. Vashishta looked into the distance at one of the numerous artificial islands that dotted the canal. This island, unlike the others, did not have a temple but three gigantic statues, placed back to back, facing different directions. One was of Lord Brahma, the Creator, one of the greatest scientists ever.

He was credited with many inventions upon which the Vedic way of life had been built. They had, over the years, evolved into the tribe of Brahma, or Brahmins. To its right was the statue of Lord Parshu Ram, worshipped as the sixth Vishnu. Periodically, when a way of life became inefficient, corrupt or fanatical, a new leader emerged, who guided his people to an improved social order. Vishnu was an ancient title accorded to the greatest of leaders, idolised as the Propagators of Good.

The Vishnus were worshipped like Gods. Lord Parshu Ram, the previous Vishnu, had many centuries ago guided India out of its Age of Kshatriya, which had degenerated into vicious violence. This was an ancient title accorded to those who were the Destroyers of Evil. His task was restricted to finding and destroying Evil. Once Evil had been destroyed, Good would burst through with renewed vigour.

Unlike the Vishnu, the Mahadev could not be a native of India, for that would predispose him towards one or the other side within this great land. He had to be an outsider to enable him to clearly see Evil for what it was, when it arose. Lord Rudra belonged to a land beyond the western borders of India: Vashishta went down on his knees and touched the ground with his forehead, in reverence to the glorious trinity who were the bedrock of the present Vedic way of life.

He raised his head and folded his hands in a namaste. The marble was not what it used to be. The ceiling of the terrace had paint flaking off its beautiful images, and the sandstone floor was chipped in many places. The Grand Canal itself had begun to silt and dry up, with no repairs undertaken; the Ayodhya royal administration was probably unable to budget for such tasks.

However, it was clear to Vashishta that not only was the administration short of funds for adequate governance, it had also lost the will for it.

As the canal water receded, the exposed dry land had been encroached upon with impunity. The Ayodhyan population had grown till the city almost seemed to burst at its seams. Even a few years ago it would have been unthinkable that the canal would be defiled thus; that new housing would not be constructed for the poor. But, alas, many improbables had now become habitual. We need a new way of life, Lord Parshu Ram.

My great country must be rejuvenated with the blood and sweat of patriots. What I want is revolutionary, and patriots are often called traitors by the very people they choose to serve, till history passes the final judgement.

Vashishta scooped some mud from the canal that was deposited on the steps of the terrace, and used his thumb to apply it on his forehead in a vertical line.

This soil is worth more than my life to me. I love my country. I love my India. I swear I will do what must be done.

Give me courage, My Lord. The soft rhythm of liturgical chanting wafted through the breeze, making him turn to his right. A small group of people walked solemnly in the distance, wearing robes of blue, the holy colour of the divine. It was an unusual sight these days.

Along with wealth and power, the citizens of the Sapt Sindhu had also lost their spiritual ardour. Many believed their Gods had abandoned them. Why else would they suffer so? Thank you, Lord Parsh u Ram. Thank you for your blessings. Vashishta had pinned his hopes on the namesake of the sixth Vishnu: Poetically, the sun was the face and the moon its reflection; who, then, was responsible for the pleasant face of the moon? The sun! It was appropriate thus: Ram Chandra was also a Suryavanshi name, for Dashrath, his father, was a Suryavanshi.

That names guided destiny was an ancient belief. Parents chose the names of their children with care. A name, in a sense, became an aspiration, swadharma, individual dharma, for the child. Having been named after the sixth Vishnu himself, the aspirations for this child could not have been set higher!

There was another name that Vashishta had placed his hopes on: Vashishta was aware that Kaikeyi was a passionate, wilful woman. She was ambitious for herself and those she viewed as her own. She had not settled for the eldest queen, Kaushalya, being one up on her by choosing a great name for her son. Her son, then, was the namesake of the legendary Chandravanshi emperor, Bharat, who had ruled millennia ago.

The ancient Emperor Bharat had united the warring Suryavanshis and Chandravanshis under one banner. Notwithstanding the occasional skirmishes, they had learnt to live in relative peace; a peace that held. It was exemplified today by the Emperor Dashrath, a Suryavanshi, having two queens who traced their lineage to Chandravanshi royalty, Kaushalya and Kaikeyi.

One of the two names will surely serve my purpose. He looked at Lord Parshu Ram again, drawing strength from the image. They may even curse my soul. But you were the one who had said, My Lord, that a leader must love his country more than he loves his own soul. Vashishta reached for his scabbard, hidden within the folds of his angvastram.

He pulled out the knife and beheld the name that had been inscribed on the hilt in an ancient script: Parshu Ram u f i Inhaling deeply, he shifted the knife to his left hand and pricked his forefinger, puncturing deep to draw out blood. He pressed the finger with his thumb, just under the drop of blood, and let some droplets drip into the canal. By this blood oath, I swear on all my knowledge, I will make my rebellion succeed, or I will die trying.

Vashishta took one last look at Lord Parshu Ram, bowed his head as he brought his hands together in a respectful namaste, and softly whispered the cry of the followers of the great Vishnu.

She understood that Ram should leave the Ayodhya palace. Dashrath was convinced that Ram was born with bad karma and his birth was the undoing of the noble lineage of Raghu.

There was little the powerless Kaushalya could do to change this. He would be away from the Ayodhya nobility, which had never accepted him anyway. Gurukul meant the guru s family, but in practice it was the residential school of gurus.

He would learn philosophy, science, mathematics, ethics, warfare and the arts. He would return, years later, a man in charge of his destiny. The queen understood this, but the doting mother was unable to let go. She held on to her child and wept. Ram stood stoic as he held his mother, who hugged and smothered him with kisses; even at this tender age, he was an unusually calm boy.

Bharat, unlike Ram, was crying hysterically, refusing to let his mother go. Kaikeyi glared at her son with exasperation. Behave like the king you will be one day! Go, make your mother proud!

Passionate children have strong emotions that insist on finding expression. They laugh loudly. They cry even more loudly. He observed the brothers as he wondered whether his goal would be met through stoic duty or passionate feeling. The twins, Lakshman and Shatrughan, the youngest of the four sons of Dashrath, stood at the back with their mother, Sumitra. The poor three-year-olds seemed lost, not quite understanding what was going on. He could not risk the twins being in the palace during this period, for the political intrigue among the nobility would lead to the younger princes being co-opted into camps.

This malicious nobility was already bleeding Ayodhya dry with its scheming and plotting to enrich itself; the emperor was weak and distracted. The princes would return home for two nine-day holidays, twice a year, during the summer and winter solstices.

Vashishta believed those eighteen days would suffice to console the bereft mothers and sons. The autumn and spring navratras, aligned with the two equinoxes, would be commemorated at the gurukul. The raj guru turned his attention to Dashrath. The last six years had taken their toll on the emperor.

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Parchment-like skin stretched thinly over a face that was worn out by grief, his eyes sunken, his hair grey. The grievous battle wound on his leg had long since turned into a permanent deformity, depriving him of the hunting and exercising that he so loved. Raavan had not just defeated him on that terrible day. He continued to defeat him every single day. It had been three years since they first left for the gurukul.

Uttaraayan, the northward movement of the sun across the horizon, had begun. Six months later, in peak summer, Lord Surya would reverse his direction and Dakshinaayan, the southward movement of the sun, would begin.

Ram spent most of his time, even on holiday, with Guru Vashishta, who had moved back to the palace with the boys; Kaushalya could not do much besides complain. Lakshman had already started riding small ponies, and he loved it. Lakshman was rushing to his mother Sumitra after one such riding lesson when he stopped short, hearing voices outside her chamber. He peeped in from behind the curtains.

You should always stay by his side. His diction was remarkably clear and crisp for his age. Lakshman smiled as he ran up to his mother, yelping with delight as he leapt onto her lap.

Sumitra smiled as she wrapped her arms around Lakshman. You are my good son! He needs someone who can be his eyes and ears. No one really likes him. People always say mean things about him behind his back, but he sees the best in them.

He has too many enemies. His life may depend on you And believe me, I can only count on you to protect him. But the pony, specially trained for children, refused to oblige. Nine-year-old Ram rode ahead of Lakshman on a taller, faster pony. True to his training, he rose gracefully in his saddle at every alternate step of the canter, in perfect unison with the animal. He kicked and whipped his pony to the best of his ability. Ride properly. Ram frowned as he got off the horse.

The buckle had almost come undone. Had the buckle released while he was riding, he would have been thrown off the dislodged saddle, resulting in serious injury. Lakshman had saved him from a terrible accident. It simply looked worn out; there were no signs of tampering. Lakshman had certainly saved him from an injury, though, and possibly even death.

Ram embraced Lakshman gently. Who taught you such a big word? Ram visited the royal stable the night before their departure to groom his horse; both of them had a long day ahead. There were stable hands, of course, but Ram enjoyed this work; it soothed him. The animals were among the handful in Ayodhya who did not judge him. He liked to spend time with them occasionally.

He looked back at the sound of the clip-clop of hooves. Ram rushed forward and helped him dismount. His face was covered with blood, but with typical bravado, he did not flinch at all when Ram examined his wound. Lakshman shrugged. The ho vthz Suddenly En route, they were accosted by Sumitra and her maids who had been frantically searching for her missing son. Lakshman stood stoic and tight-lipped. He knew he was in for trouble as his dada never lied; there was no scope for creative storytelling.

He would have to confess, and then come up with strategies to escape the inevitable punishment. After all, Lakshman had saved his life just the other day. He did what his conscience demanded at the time; shift the blame on himself.

I should have ensured that Lakshman stood behind me. Ram and Lakshman rushed off, as a maid attempted to follow them. Sumitra raised her hand to stop her as she watched the boys moving down the corridor.

She smiled with satisfaction. The blood will Vashishta watched with pride as the eleven-year-old Ram practised with his full-grown opponent. Combat training had commenced for Ram and Bharat this year; Lakshman and Shatrughan would have to wait for two more years. For now, they had to remain content with lessons in philosophy, mathematics and science.

He sometimes missed the cute lisp that Lakshman had now lost; but the eight-year-old had not lost his headstrong spirit. He also remained immensely loyal to Ram, whom he loved dearly. The soft-spoken and intellect-oriented Shatrughan sat beside Lakshman, reading a palm-leaf manuscript of the Isha Vasya Upanishad.

He read a Sanskrit verse. Shatrughan smiled to himself, lost in the philosophical beauty of the words. Bharat, who sat behind him, bent over and tapped Shatrughan on his head, then pointed at Ram Shatrughan looked at Bharat, protest writ large in his eyes.

Bharat glared at his younger brother. Shatrughan put his manuscript aside and looked at Ram. It had been built deep in the untamed forests far south of the river Ganga, close to the western-most point of the course of the river Shon.

The river took a sharp eastward turn thereafter, and flowed north-east to merge with the Ganga. This area had been used by many gurus for thousands of years. The forest people maintained the premises and gave it on rent to gurus. The solitary approach to the gurukul was camouflaged first by dense foliage and then by the overhanging roots of a giant banyan.

A small glade lay beyond, at the centre of which descending steps had been carved out of the earth, leading to a long, deep trench covered by vegetation. The trench then became a tunnel as it made its way under a steep hill. Light flooded the other end of this tunnel as it emerged at the banks of a stream which was spanned by a wooden bridge.

Across lay the gurukul , a simple monolithic structure hewn into a rocky hillside. The hill face had been neatly cut as though a huge, cube-shaped block of stone had been removed. Twenty small temples carved into the surface faced the entrance to the structure, some with deities in them, others empty. Six of these were adorned with an idol each of the previous Vishnus, one housed Lord Rudra, the previous Mahadev, and in yet another sat Lord Brahma, the brilliant scientist.

The king of the Devas, the Gods, Lord Indra, who was also the God of Thunder and the Sky, occupied his rightful place in the central temple, surrounded by the other Gods.

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Of the two rock surfaces that faced each other, one had been cut to comprise the kitchen and store rooms, and the other, alcove-like sleeping quarters for the guru and his students. Within the ashram, the princes of Ayodhya lived not as nobility, but as children of working-class parents; their royal background, in fact, was not public knowledge at the gurukul.

In keeping with tradition, the princes had been accorded gurukul names: All reminders of their royal lineage were proscribed. Over and above their academic pursuits, they cleaned the gurukul, cooked food and served the guru. The guru then turned to the chief of the tribe, who sat beside him. Vashishta had hired their services to help train his wards in the fine art of warfare.

They also served as combat opponents during examination, like right now. Varun addressed the tribal warrior who had been practising with Ram. They walked over to the edge of the platform, picked up a paintbrush broom each, dipped it in a paint can filled with red dye, and painted the sides and tips of their wooden practice swords. It would leave marks on the body when struck, thus indicating how lethal the strike was. Ram stepped on the platform and moved to the centre, followed by Matsya. Face-to- face, they bowed low with respect for their opponent.

Vashishta, which had made a deep impact on him. Matsya, almost a foot taller than the boy, smiled. This position exposed the least amount of his body surface to his opponent. His breathing was steady and relaxed, just as he had been taught. His left hand held firmly by his side, extended a little away from the body to maintain balance. His sword hand was extended out, a few degrees above the horizontal position, bended slightly at the elbow.

He adjusted his arm position till the weight of the sword was borne by his trapezius and triceps muscles. His knees were bent and his weight was on the ball of his feet, affording quick movement in any direction. Matsya was impressed. This young boy followed every rule to perfection. The remarkable feature in the young boy was his eyes. With steely focus, they were fixed on those of his opponent, Matsya. Guru Vashishta has taught the boy well. The eye moves before the hand does.

Ram knew an attack was imminent. Matsya stepped back immediately. Ram was probing him. His eyes remained focused, his breathing normal. Waiting for the kill. Matsya charged at him aggressively, bringing in his sword with force from the right. Ram stepped back and fended off the blow with as much strength as his smaller frame could muster.

Ram stepped back again, raising his sword up to block. Matsya kept moving forward, striking repeatedly, hoping to pin Ram against the wall and then deliver a kill-wound. Ram kept retreating as he fended off the blows. Matsya stepped back without losing eye contact with Ram. Perhaps he s too cautious. He took position once again, bending his knees a little, keeping his left hand lightly on his hips with the right hand extended out, his sword held steady.

He was conserving his energy. This kid is unflappable, Matsya mused. He charged once again, repeatedly striking from above, using his height to try and knock Ram down. Ram bent sideways as he parried, stepping backwards steadily. Vashishta smiled for he knew what Ram was attempting. Matsya did not notice the small rocky outcrop that Ram smoothly sidestepped as he slowly moved backwards.

Within moments, Matsya stumbled and lost his balance. Not wasting a moment, Ram went down on one knee and struck hard, right across the groin of the tribal warrior. A kill-wound! Matsya looked down at the red paint smeared across his groin. The wooden sword had not drawn blood but had caused tremendous pain; he was too proud to let it show. Impressed by the young student, Matsya stepped forward and patted Ram on his shoulder. You remembered this basic rule.

Well done, my boy. I look forward to seeing what you do with your life.

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Not only is he a fine swordsman, he is also noble in his conduct. Who is he? They chucked their swords into a water tank, allowing the paint to wash off. The swords would then be dried, oiled and hammered, ready to be used again. Varun turned to another warrior of his tribe. He simply sprang up and sprinted towards the box that contained the swords. It negated the advantage of reach that his opponent, a fully grown man, had.

Gouda smiled indulgently; his opponent was a child after all. The warrior picked up a wooden sword and marched to the centre, surprised to not find Bharat there. The intrepid child was already at the far end of the platform where the red dye and paintbrush brooms were stored.

He was painting the edges and point of his sword. Bharat turned around. The combatants walked to the centre of the platform. Keeping with tradition, they bowed to each other. That is your slogan? Still smiling broadly, the tribal warrior bowed his head and announced his credo. Unlike his brother, he faced his enemy boldly, offering his entire body as target. His sword arm remained casually by his side, his weapon held loose. He wore a look of utter defiance. Gouda shrugged and got into position.

Bharat waited for Gouda to make the first move as he observed the tribal warrior lazily. Gouda smiled and retreated, careful not to reveal any pain. Gouda laughed and charged in again. To his surprise, Bharat suddenly leapt high to his right, bringing his sword down from a height once again.

It was an exquisite manoeuvre. Gouda could not have parried that strike from such height, especially since the attack was not on the side of the sword-arm. It could only have been blocked by a shield. However, Bharat was not tall enough to successfully pull off this ingenious manoeuvre. Gouda leaned back and struck hard, using his superior reach.

Bharat fell on his back, a kill-wound clearly marking his chest, right where his heart lay encased within. Bharat immediately got back on his feet. The blood capillaries below the skin had burst, forming a red blotch on his bare chest. Even with a wooden sword, the blow must have hurt. He stood his ground, staring defiantly at his opponent. But you need to be taller to pull it off. We will fight again. I look forward to it.

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Spotting him from a distance as he set out for his evening walk, the guru walked up to his student. Hearing the quick footsteps of his guru. Ram rose immediately with a namaste. Why do we withhold the truth from him? Why do we lie? Sometimes, truth causes pain and suffering. At such times, silence is preferred. In fact, there may be times when a white lie, or even an outright lie, could actually lead to a good outcome. Lying may bring one into a position of authority, which in turn may result in an opportunity to do good.

Would you still advocate not lying? It may well be said that a true leader loves his people more than he loves his own soul. There would be no doubt in the mind of such a leader.

He would lie for the good of his people. Wisdom lies in moderation, in balance. If you lie to save an innocent person from some bandits, is that wrong? There was a time when he would visit my mother regularly. But after that incident, he stopped seeing her completely. He cut her off. Truth be told, Emperor Dashrath blamed Ram for his defeat at the hands of Raavan. He would have found some excuse or the other to stop visiting Kaushalya, regardless of the incident. Vashishta measured his words carefully.

But sometimes, just like a tiny dose of a poison can prove medicinal, a small lie may actually help. Your habit of speaking the truth is good. But what is your reason for it? Or, is it because this incident has made you fear lying? With a population of fifty thousand, it was practically a small town. The princes were enchanted by what they saw. Streets were laid out in a semi-urban, well-organised living area in the form of a square grid. Houses were without doors, each with an open entrance, simply because there was no crime.

The children were raised communally by the elders, not just by their own parents. During their visit, the princes had had a most interesting conversation with an assistant to the chief.

They had wanted to know who the houses belonged to: The assistant had answered with the most quizzical response: We belong to the land! They lead a more civilised life than we city-dwellers do. We could learn so much from them. Why have they not changed for centuries? These laws can never be broken, and must be followed, come what may. Laws are the foundation on which a fulfilling life is built for a community. Laws are the answer.

Truth be told, I too have occasionally broken some rules for a laudable purpose. But Chief Varun thinks differently. Their commitment to the law is not based on traditions alone. Or the conviction that it is the right thing to do.

Any recurrent breach of the law results in further shaming. Just like you find it difficult to lie even when it benefits someone because of what your mother suffered, Varun finds it impossible to do the same. It serves no purpose now but they follow it strictly. All they know is that my name is Vashishta.

That is also their law. However, they might expel us if they discover who the four of you are. Even as the nocturnal forest creatures returned to their daytime shelters, others emerged to face the rigours of another day. The four Ayodhyan princes though, had been up and about for a while.

Having swept the gurukul, they had bathed, cooked and completed their morning prayers. Hands folded in respect, they sat composed and cross-legged in a semi-circle around Guru Vashishta.

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The teacher himself sat in padmaasan, the lotus position, on a raised platform under a large banyan tree. In keeping with tradition, they were reciting the Guru Stotram, the hymn in praise of the teacher, before the class commenced. As the hymn ended, the students rose and ceremoniously touched the feet of their guru, Vashishta. He gave them all the same blessing: Thirteen years had passed since the terrible battle with Raavan. Ram was thirteen years old, and both Bharat and he were showing signs of adolescence.

Their voices had begun to break and drop in pitch. Faint signs of moustaches had made an appearance on their upper lips. Lakshman and Shatrughan had now begun combat practice, though their pre-adolescent bodies made fighting a little difficult for them.

They had mastered the divine language, Sanskrit. The ground work had been done. The guru knew it was time to sow the seed. Lakshman, always eager to answer but not well read, raised his hand and began to speak.

While he teased Shatrughan mercilessly for his bookish ways, he appreciated the fearsome intellect of his youngest brother. Vashishta looked at Bharat. Since large quantities of water were frozen in solid form, sea levels were a lot lower than they are today. It is not a belief, Nalatardak. It is fact. Gujarat and Konkan also reached out into the sea. He smiled and folded his hands into a namaste. Not belief, but fact.

One in south-eastern India called the Sangamtamil, which included a small portion of the Lankan landmass, along with large tracts of land that are now underwater. The course of the river Kaveri was much broader and longer at the time. This rich and powerful empire was ruled by the Pandya dynasty. It now lies submerged.

It was ruled by the Yadav dynasty, the descendants of Yadu. The Sangamtamil and Dwarka civilisations were destroyed, their heartland now lying under the sea. The survivors, led by Lord Manu, the father of our nation, escaped up north and began life once again. They called themselves the people of vidya, knowledge ; the Vedic people. We are their proud descendants. The Ice Age came to an abrupt end in the time-scale that Mother Earth operates in. We had decades, even centuries, of warning. And yet, we did nothing.

Evidence suggests that they were aware of the impending calamity. Mother Earth had given them enough warning signs. They were intelligent enough to either possess or invent the technology required to save themselves. And yet, they did nothing.

Only a few survived, under the able leadership of Lord Manu. Vashishta sighed. But he raised his hand again. Use the key. I assume their scientists had decoded these warnings? I have heard conflicting accounts.

Bad leadership, then, was responsible for the downfall of Sangamtamil and Dwarka. Conversely, men of questionable character can occasionally be exactly what a nation requires.

A king need be judged solely on the basis of what he achieves for his people. His personal life is of no consequence. His public life, though, has one singular purpose: Vashishta took a deep breath. The time was ripe.

He hated Raavan viscerally. No matter what he did, Ram would always remain inauspicious for his father and the people of Ayodhya. Bharat finally spoke. He is an able administrator who has brought prosperity through maritime trade, and he even runs the seaports under his control efficiently. Yes, he is a good king. He has converted his personal loss to that of his people. They suffer because he does.

Is he, then, a good king? The students were quiet for a long time, afraid to answer. It had to be Bharat who raised his hand. Trust the boldness of a born rebel. Ram immediately tied his pouch to his waistband. He first anesthetised the animal and then quickly pulled out the splinter of wood buried in its paw.

The wound was almost septic, but the medicine he applied would prevent further infection. The animal would awaken a few minutes later, on the road to recovery, if not immediately ready to face the world. As Bharat cleaned his hands with medicinal herbs, Ram gently picked up the rabbit and wedged it into a nook in a tree to keep it away from predators. He glanced at Bharat. But, if they came upon an injured animal, they assisted it to the best of their abilities.

Ram and Bharat turned around.