Story Of A Civilization
Amritanshu Pandey’s debut novel The Seal of Surya is a story of the first king of our lands—the founder of Suryavansha—of betrayel and loyalty, of dynasties and destruction. A perfect beginning to a mythical narrative is The Scrolls of Aryavarta.
The book is a part of a set of fiction which relies on the author’s views on the Vedic and pre-Vedic period. It is a story about the beginning of the Suryavansha and the first king of Aryavarta, Ikshvaku Manav. This book is not only the story of Ikshavaku, the son of Surya, but also gives us an idea on how the Suryavansh might have begun and the Ikshavaku Manav was made Aryavarta’s first king.
The story begins when the ancient tribes of Deva and Asura are no more and the last of their wars brought destruction to either side. The seal of Aurvan Surya—shared ancestor of all solar tribes, victorious Deva of the final Deva-Asura wars—is lost and the solar tribes are without a ruler. Due to this, the states of Aryavarta come together to form a confederation. The Rakshasas, Gandharvas and Yakshas threaten the emerging cities of Aryavarta. At this point, the son of Vaivasvat Manu, Ikshvaku rises to save the solar tribes. Ikshvaku rises to become the first king of Aryavarta.
As he commences a lifelong war, he must also search for the seal of Aurvan Surya. The search takes him to the far west of Aryavarta, across rugged terrain and wayward rivers. Before Ikshvaku can pass on his rule onto his son, he must locate his ancestor—Maharshi Kashyapa—build a grand capital and deal with his greatest enemy once and for all.
The incredible universe that the author has created is full of possibilities and a truly grand epic can be woven out of it. Talking about the life and times of a king in ancient India, the story spans across the decades; right from his early childhood to the age where he is ready to leave all and search for ultimate truths in life. There are references to the lineage and legacy he carries. There are conflicts that he faces and also those that are faced by his close ones as well as enemies. The narrative has all the necessary ingredients of a “masaala” Bollywood entertainer, playing with the emotions of both friendship and treachery.
This book is something like a cross between Mahabharata and Lord of the Rings. The story also gives you an insight into the human psychology, and somewhere along the journey of the founder of the Suryavansha kingdom, there is a spirituality lesson for the reader too. What is the purpose of one’s life and how does one understand it. The author does not preach the ‘ultimate truth’ of spirituality and abandonment; instead he has a far more practical and balanced approach to it. It was a delight to read about it in a very subtle manner.
By Nilabh Krishna