“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”-George R.R. Martin.
Well, I lived a thousand lives while reading just one series 'Shiva Trilogy'. The series consists of three books: The Immortals of Meluha, The secret of the Nagas and The Oath of the Vayuputras.
The story is about Lord Shiva who is worshipped as God now, but in the book, set in 1900 B.C, he is showcased as just a common tribal man trying to protect his tribe from the enemies.
He is taken to the land of Meluha by Nandi, where the people believe in the prophecy of Neelkanth: an incarnation of God. And sure enough, Shiva turns out to be Neelkanth who now has the responsibility of saving the immortals of Meluha from the evil.
He meets Sati, the Meluhan King's daughter, who plays his love interest and in the later part, his wife. She is also a warrior like every other Kshatriya in Meluha. The Meluhans consume Somras, the potion which keeps them immortal. The Somras are manufactured in Mount Mandar, near the Holy SaraswatiRiver. The water from the Saraswati River plays a major role in the preparation of the Somras. Shiva meets Brahaspati, the Chief scientist of the manufacturing unit. They become good friends.
The Meluhans face terrorizing attacks from the Chandravanshis, from the East. Shiva decides to declare a war against the Chandravanshis, who have allied with the evil Naga forces. Parvateshwar, the Meluhan army General, Shiva, his best friend Veerbhadra, Nandi and thousands of Meluhans fight and win the war.
On learning that the Chandravanshis are not in fact evil, Shiva is caught up in the dilemma of what is evil. The Brahmin Pandits in the temple help him in finding the path to recognize and destroy evil.
In The Secret of the Nagas book, Sati and Shiva is blessed with a boy baby, Karthik. On his journey to search of evil, Shiva encounters a lot of events that poses a lot of confusions about Nagas. Shiva then learns from Sati that her still born son from her first marriage is actually alive and that he is the Naga Lord, Ganesh. On recognizing Ganesh’s involvement in the destruction of Mount Mandar and the murder of his beloved friend Brahaspati, Shiva does not approve of him. But Ganesh proves to be good brother and a son on every occasion. This melts Shiva's heart and he decides to hear the Naga's side of explanation. So they all set sail to the mysterious land of the Nagas along with Sati's twin sister, the Naga queen, Kali.
No sooner than he sets foot in the Naga land, Shiva is taken aback by the presence of his long lost friend Brahaspati. That is when he realizes that the evil is nothing else but the somras which has been in the Meluhan dynasty for eons, not building the civilization but destructing it.
In the Oath of the Vayuputras, Amish Tripathi has revealed the masked man who has been the brain of all evil plans. It is none other than the Saint Bhrigu, who has the power of reading others' minds. He controls the Meluhan King and the Chandravanshi King and turns them against the Neelkanth for he, Bhrigu, does not believe in Neelkanth and the fact that the Somras are evil.
While the witty Saint hatches plans to disrupt every move of Shiva, Shiva seeks help from the Vayuputras who remain unbiased and strictly adheres to the rules of Dharma. The vayuputra's Council Head turns out to be Shiva's maternal uncle and he convinces the council members to provide support to Shiva's decision of destroying the Somras manufacturing unit and to declare war against those who don't agree to destroy the evil. Shiva procures the destructing weapon Pashupathiastra, under the oath that he would not unleash the weapon but use it just to threaten his opponents.
Meanwhile the king of Meluha, Daksha, is brain washed by Bhrigu and he plans to assassinate the Neelkanth. He invites the Neelkanth family to attend a peace conference in his country and sets up Egyptian assassins to strike down the Neelkanth. Since Shiva is not available, Sati attends the conference on his behalf and tries to convince her father on the repercussions of the Somra. When she realizes that the conference was just an eye wash and gets angry, the Egyptian assassins attack her and her troop thinking that Nandi is Neelkanth.
Sati fights the assassins valiantly, but gets killed. Sati's parents, Parvateshwar and even Bhrigu realize the blunder they have committed.
An enraged Shiva unleashes the Pashupathiastra on the Meluhan Empire. The Meluhan Empire burns down along with the dutiful Meluhan General Parvateshwar and his wife, and Sati's guilt ridden parents.
Shiva then finds his solace in Mount Kailash. Kali, Karthik and Ganesh avenge Sati's murder in Egypt before migrating with Shiva to Mount Kailash.
Thus ends the valiant journey of Shiva and Sati lasting forever in the reader's mind. There can be many reasons for liking this book but the main reason is that the author has managed to put forth his religious ideas in a contemporary fiction portraying Shiva as a valor and a warrior; not as a God, and at the same time not offending any pious readers while doing so. The author has clearly done a lot research on History, early civilizations, science and philosophy prior to the making of the trilogy.
I admired Sati's character the most. The author paints us a picture of a courageous warrior who is a loving daughter, a loyal Meluhan, an honest Suryavanshi, a true lover and a wife, a caring mother and sister. Her intention to not give up the fight even when she is at the mouth of death is simply breathtaking. I was awestruck by her integrity and her bravery. Apart of me died when her character was killed. Her character will definitely set as a role model to the future generation.
It is said that finishing a good book is like leaving a good friend. And I can safely say that the Shiva Trilogy is a series of splendid story and finishing them was like leaving a good friend.