The third and the last book of the Shiva trilogy– The Oath of the Vayuputras , Shiva along with Vasudevs and Nagas, are in their quest for the evil that is affecting the nation. Shiva is shocked to find Brahaspati in the Naga capital of Panchavati .He cautiously reunites with this long-lost friend, who had faked his death and orchestrated the destruction of the Somras production facility at Mount Mandar.
At Panchavati, Brahaspati introduces Shiva to the real enemy, the ‘evil’, which separated the races and caused hostility among people from the same land and had always been present amongst them unrecognised. The ‘evil’, as Shiva discovers, is the ‘Somras, the elixir of longevity that had served the people of Meluha for centuries. But due to over- production it began to poison the rivers and caused deformities in the Nagas, and was in turn responsible for the drying up of the river Saraswati,. Hence, Shiva banishes the use of Somras and declares war against the supporters of ‘evil’ and starts building an army consisting of Brahaspati, Sati, Kali, Ganesh, Kartik and gathers forces to destroy the Somras manufacturing facility.
Since the kings of Meluha and Ayodhya have allied to protect Somras. Shiva expands his alliance around the neighbouring regions to eradicate the Somras with the help of Nagas,Vasudevs and Vayuputras. As the plot unfolded, I realised the Vayuputras are just a council of people who make a guest appearance once in a while and there is nothing that seems to be pertaining to any oath. According to my knowledge, Hanuman is referred to as Vayupurta, perhaps he was busy burning down Lanka when the oath was being taken.
Eventually the war takes place; Shiva seeks the help of Vayuputras by borrowing a weapon of mass destruction to intimidate his enemies and coerce them into submission. They agree to hand over the weapon, with a clause, that Shiva will not use it. But due to Satis brutal murder by Egyptian assassins, the grief-stricken Shiva unleashes this weapon and destroys the entire kingdom in spite of being warned of its consequences. The book has a tragic end with destruction of Lord Ram’s kingdom of Meluha and death of many important characters including Shiva’s beloved wife Sati.
While the concept, that good and evil are just different sides of the same coin. One eventually turns into another as it gets abused, is something that made sense, but the explanation as to why Somras turns evil was a little unconvincing. A couple of unsettling phrases and jargons are used just like the previous two books of the trilogy. Shiva using a word like ‘crap’ definitely did not go down well with me, and I am glad that just because he is divine he didn’t say “holy crap or holy shit ”. There are contemporary scientific terms scattered throughout the book that sticks out like a sore thumb. Even if they are overlooked, I wonder why kingdoms consisting of scientists capable of discussing amongst themselves through telepathic radio signals, well versed in nuclear sciences are still depending on the courier pigeons for communications. References to nuclear fission and fusion, cell division, cosmetic surgery, an ice manufacturing facility and a reference to terms like “commando”, feels out of place in a 4,000year old setting.
Throughout the book, Team Shiva uses ships to travel through rivers. Perhaps a 40-footer boat was below the Gods dignity and hence used 500 to 800 feet ships to transport hundreds and thousands of soldiers through rivers. I wonder how the Gods manoeuvred the ships through the narrow bends of a river or dealt with the rocks along the riverbeds, I can’t imagine how they managed to row over waterfalls. The concept of using ships to sail through rivers didn’t hold any water.
After reading the entire trilogy, I was as confused as Shiva himself. There were many things, which did not make any sense. According to Indian mythology Ganesh is depicted as a cheerful and fun-loving God, but here Ganesh is a gloomy young man with a facial deformity and dealing with a shaky hold on his temper, while his younger brother Kartik, is portrayed as a seven-year-old bloodthirsty furious warrior.
Shiva, according to mythology is seen as a God with immense power and commands respect, but this book failed to capitalize that image and reduces Shiva to that of a henpecked husband. Shiva’s Tandava is legendary, but again this dance of destruction is said to be spontaneous and impulsive. But here, the author describes a grief-stricken man assembling a nuke for two days and blowing up the kingdom on the third day. Such cold-blooded genocidal ambitions and calculated massacre of an entire city, to avenge the brutal killing of his wife are not what our Gods are made of.
The author just added to the pages in the book without moving the plot forward. Perhaps the book lacked a powerful opposing figure. Lord Bhrigu as the man behind the evil did not really cause an impact. It’s commendable that the women in the book are treated as equals and are given a lot of respect. The author uses the backdrop of ancient era and weaves a fanciful story around a few names from our mythology by throwing in a few philosophical statements related to Dharma, Morality and Karma. The quotes from Gita, Vedas, and Upanishads have also perhaps been used along with some names from the Arabian folklore.
In this book, the Hindu Mythology that we see as divine has been given a half-baked scientific outline and the legacy of Lord Shiva, has been reduced to that of a romantic Bollywood action thriller. The entire trilogy though generated a lot of curiosity within me, but now with my last review on the series, all I can say is that the author is inspired excessively with thriller, action, and romance. The books had enormous potential if they were executed in a more mature manner. In summary, it is good in certain parts, and may be enjoyed by those Indian readers who are not very picky about facts and details of mythology.