Mankind is progressing towards evil to gain power, fame and wealth. In this race of greed and power, the world has reached to the brink of destruction. God will have to come in a mortal form to save this world from evil. But being a mortal can we trust this man? Will He be an opponent or the supporter of the unjust side? Will God turn corrupt too? To know the answers read Chronicles of the mortal Vishnu by Antar Atreya.
About the author
The 24-year old Antar Atreya, hails from Tezpur, Assam. Being passionate about writing, he made his debut at a tender age of 14. Since then there is no turning back. He is an author of a book of horror short stories and mythological fiction- Chronicles of the Mortal Vishnu.
This book is of interest for
- Mythology lovers
- Fantasy fiction readers
Premise of the book
Set in Treta Yug, this book questions the virtues of mankind. Satya Yug(good time) has ended. The holocaust that caused the end of Satya Yug has subsided. Only seven people have survived from it. Each of them after the extinction of the Satya Yug is successful in pleasing one or the other God of Swargalok(Heaven). Therefore, Gods have send these back to earth, with the aim of making the world into a bountiful and beautiful place. Each is assigned a region that they have to look after- thus dividing the world into seven kingdoms.
With the blessings of Lord Brahma, Narayan and Shiva, the seven mortals go back to the earth. Lord Brahma has contributed in making mankind, nature, flora and fauna. Lord Narayan makes them learn their duty of preserving the world. Lastly, Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati teach them the importance of living together as men and women. Eventually mankind progresses in a positive direction with new inventions and discoveries.
The society is divided into different classes that includes the intellectual class- the Brahmins, the warrior class- the Kshatriyas, the traders called- Vaishyas and the wage workers- Shudras. Even after this division, there is no distinction of any sort among them. Everybody lives amicably. But as time flies, things turn into wrong direction, ethical practices and virtues are replaced by the human traits of greed, lust and dishonesty. It is not a one day result, the seeds of evil were sown long ago that took its ultimate form, with Daitya’s multiplying and world losing its balance.
“To let men progress God has to leave them at their own and in this process the mankind forgets about the virtues that they were bestowed with.”
To understand the story let’s understand the character sketch first.
Character sketch & Story line
Born as Prathmjiv, one of the seven mortals send to earth. He was successful in pleasing every God and earning five weapons of mass destruction. This gave him an edge over the other six mortals. He was a man of values not until his distant relative who was a metal extractor deluded him into greed and evil means. His relative proposed that people should be rewarded in proportion to their type of profession. To second this he gave the example of hierarchical system that even Gods follow in Swargalok. This proposal created an imbalance, disturbing the whole system.
After one evil act, Prathmjiv didn’t stop and ended up gaining control over all the seven kingdoms. That earned him the title of Bhuswami-the Lord of the Earth. He is the ruler of the largest and the most fertile land- Samridhdesh. Samridhpur is his ruling capital, from where he yields power across the seven landmasses.
He conducts a Yagya to please Lord Agni Dev(God of fire), seeing his devotion Agni Dev is pleased but he also questions his deeds. To defend himself Bhuswami gives the example of system the Gods follow in heaven. Hearing his reason Agni Dev blessed him with a boon that:
“I bless you that no God will slay you nor any mortal shall punish you. You will be only killed if a human in flesh and blood would rise to the rank of a God.”
This incident haunts Bhuswami for several nights. He assures himself that he wouldn’t die and therefore decides to train the entire Daitya community into perfect warriors to prevent any challenge to himself and the clan. To make it happen he along with six other Samrajyapatis decide to create someone who could master the science of warfare, weapon designs and war tactics.
To create someone powerful all the seven Daityas find a bride and seed her. After that she is put under the care of the palace till she gives birth to a son. He is professed as the boon of Mahadev. When the child turns a teen he goes all alone and climbs the impossible Mount Kailash. As a man he returns back to Bhuswami to become Shastraraj, who has the knowledge of warfare like no one ever had. He starts mentoring Daitya’s but once Bhuswami’s elder son insults him. Because of which he flees to Kailash.
He was born into the family of a Kshatriya. His ancestors were the fore runner soldiers on cavalry in the army of Sumerastra, a sovereign kingdom ruled by Raja Mahat, that Bhuswami wished to take control of.
Ashok was sent to Gurukul, where he learned the art of warfare. His forte is sword fighting, that makes him capable of using both the hands for same. He is a Vishnu devotee, he even earned a bow as Garuda Dhanush( Arrow) from Vishnu. Ordinary bows could turn blasting ones using it. His ambition is to join the Mahat Sena and be a strength to his noble king Mahat Raja. Ashok is one of the two prodigal warriors that turn into Maharathis by discovering their true potential and realizing the power of love.
He is the other prodigal warrior. Being born into the family of ‘manoranjankars'(Entertainers), Tejas comes from a modest family. He is well-educated in scriptures and medicine. Tejas often accompanied his father to events, where he could execute risky tasks effortlessly. Since childhood, he has shown distinct traits that not only brought him applause but also caught his family by surprise.
One incident triggers his doubts and, Tejas himself realizes he is no ordinary man. He is bound to do something bigger and purposeful in his life. He gets to know about Guru Trigyani from people, and decides to learn from this Guru. Because of which he meets Ashok in the same place where Guru Trigyani resides. After passing tests against Ashok, he not only embarks on a new journey of self-discovery but also establishes a bond of friendship with Ashok. Later on, Tejas realizes that he is no ordinary being. He is the mortal form of Lord Vishnu, the destined one who will save this world.
Raja Mahat challenges Bhuswami, by not paying the ‘no evasion’ tax. As a result which, Bhuswami declares a war on the kingdom of Sumerastra. At that time, Tejas and Ashok volunteer to fight in the army. Unfortunately, Raja Mahat, loses the battle and as a sacrifice, Bhuswami takes away Ashok and Tejas, to serve in his army after seeing their valour in the war. They have to take the vow of serving Bhuswami till their death in the yagya. Thereafter they are inducted in Bhuswami’s army-Adi Sena.
She is the most beautiful women, that forces Bhuswami to bring her to his kingdom. Bhuswami uses her to satisfy his evil desire, her beauty is her enemy. Ashok once gets a glimpse of her and since then he is desperate to know about her life, her past and her agony.
” The absence of lust in his eyes for her was something that set him apart from every other man.”
Gradually, Meghnaini gets to know about Ashok, through his praises and achievements. They get to know each other and at a point they reveal their most vulnerable sides to each other. Ashok promises Meghnaini, that her bad days are gone and he will help her escape from Bhuswami.
In the backstory, we get to know that Meghnaini is no ordinary woman. She was the fragment of the Goddess Durga. And she is waiting for the right day to take revenge on Bhuswami. A day comes, when Bhuswami conducts a Brahma Brat Yagya. That day is auspicious because it comes once in 22years. Meghnaini decides to interrupt his yagya, by sacrificing herself in the fire, making it a funeral pyre. Ashok is not aware of her intentions. Seeing her, Ashok loses all his senses, he is heart-broken and bereft of love now. But he realizes, he can not let the sacrifice of Meghnaini go in vain. She died for a cause and now it’s his duty to ensure that it comes true. He sets away to Kailasha- the only place not monitored by any force.
In the meantime, Tejas is assigned to go as a messenger along with Daitya troop to Yogi Lok, the place of utter pious life where the great seven sages of Mahaguru Trigyani’s bloodline reside. Bhuswami has send a proposal to form an alliance with these sages. He proposes to grant the status of God to seven sages in favour of asking their blessings to conquer the heaven.
Navya is the daughter of one of the seven sage, Maharishi Naradan. Being of strong will, she doesn’t keep quiet on hearing Bhuswami’s selfish proposal through Tejas. Maharishi Naradan, makes a prophecy. He states that things will change from now on as a huge earthquake has occurred in the borders of Adi Samrajya and Sumerastra. The earthquake has altered the geography, making Sumerastra an isolated from one side, making it impossible to reach there.
No sooner Tejas hears this, he founds a new life. For him these words ends his days of slavery. In a second, Tejas, grabs Amartya, the daitya army chief and warns the soldiers to not take any action. Daitya troop calls him traitor, seeing his intentions Sage Naradan, help Tejas and his daughter Navya escape. He tells Navya his journey with her ends here. Now, she will have to leave with Tejas, for a greater good. To fulfill her purpose in life.
From here the rest of the story follows how Tejas and Navya, realize their true potential and find love in each other. How Tejas and Ashok meet Guru Shastraraj, who teaches them the art of warfare and helps them to devise a plan to fight against the evil Bhuswami.
Now, talking about the design and cover of the book, it aptly captures the theme and message of the book. With the portrait of Lord Vishnu in the background and image of a man standing in darkness- who is possibly his mortal form. This makes the book cover intriguing enough, giving a tough competition to other best selling myth books such as Immortals of Meluha. Also, Maps in the beginning of the book come handy, making it easier to understand the regions talked about in the book.
Reading about the author caught me by surprise. When I got to know that Antar Atreya was an atheist back in 2016. He mentioned in an interview about going through a tough phase and how Yoga came to his rescue. Then he started digging deeper into the ancient Hindu scriptures and philosophy. The result of which you can see today in his book that has significant amount of references from scriptures. This also shows his thorough research before writing the book.
After childhood conflict with his best friend at an innocent age of seven Antar shared his sadness with his mother, who advised him to pen down his emotions. That bitter-sweet episode sparked his desire to write something meaningful by transforming his emotions into words.
Antar Atreya has left no stone unturned in writing this book. The character development and descriptions of the scenes was beautifully done. Although one could decipher the entire story from the blurb of the book, his writing style was gripping enough to make you stick till the end. But sometimes it looked superfluous and redundant, that could reduce ones reading speed making it time-taking. Also with number of characters this description in between makes you lose track of the plot.
For example each and every war scene was described in so much detail, that one needs to be visually vigilant to imagine the entire scenario. Reading it was a similar experience to watching Bahubali movie, with visually stunning scenes and intrinsic descriptions. But a balance is an essential aspect of writing and in the zeal of putting out everything in his writing, he lost the measure of how much is substantial.
Nonetheless, keeping this aside there were plethora of lessons to learn from this book, even if it was a myth-fiction. Antar Atreya has mentioned the list of people and things inspiring him in his writing journey that also includes television show- ‘Tarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chashmah’. He has cited the show as his life savior during a depressive period. He mentions how the show not only succeeded in putting a smile on his face but also taught him several life lessons by merging social issues with the story line of the show.
I think he has also tried to blend this concept in his book. The mythological fiction, apart from talking about evil and good, Gods and wars, presents certain social issues. For example, Tejas- the mortal form of Vishnu grows up in a Manoranjankars(Circus workers) family, which doesn’t stops him from holding a sword and fight which only Kshatriyas were assumed to be doing. So societal obstacles can not stop anyone from achieving what he wants to in life.
Similarly, the episode of how Tejas, with his strong will and adherence helps a cursed village in drought by pleasing Lord Shiva and liberating river Ganga from his locks. That not only resurrects kingdoms but also stops the animal sacrifices, that the people of village resorted to earlier as a means of breaking the curse. This gives a message that by hard work and free will one could even move the impossible, instead of going by the traditional societal norms and prejudices.
Like this, there is gamut of wisdom and life lessons hidden in between the lines of the book. One needs to read this book judiciously, slicing it layer by layer to gain maximum out of it. In order to discover that, prepare your reading buds and dig into this new book– where a new world awaits you!