Book: King of Ayodhya by Ashok Banker (Ramayan series book-6)

“… When he had the rakshasha’s feet at his own waist level, Hanuman shoved them upwards with all his might; then, when Kumbhakarna was fully inverted and thrashing about desperately, he pushed downwards, literally shoving the rakshasha’s head down towards the bottom of the ocean.”

— Chapter 16, Kaand 4, King of Ayodhya

That was an excerpt from the fight scene between Hanuman and Kumbhakarna.

Cover King of Ayodhya

TitleKing of Ayodhya
SeriesVolume-6 of the 8 volume Ramayana series
AuthorAshok Banker

NOTE: Please read the comments on the whole series here , as the reviewer’s opinions on the series are expressed there.

The Story in Book-6

The high-level storyline in this book:

Hanuman returns to join Rama’s army at the site of the bridge construction (after inflicting huge damage to Lanka). Just when the army is about to cross the sea over the bridge, Varuna, the lord of the ocean, is beckoned by Ravana to unleash a storm and a tsunami. The storm-cum-tsunami destroys the bridge and kills and injures many of vanars and bears, even before they begin the journey to Lanka. They eventually do cross the sea (in an interesting way)  to reach Lanka.

Ravana, using sorcery once again, creates a huge earthquake to inflict further damages and also instill a sense of utter fear in Rama’s army.

The physical fighting starts and there are many evolving strategies, changing tactics, small battles won and lost, many vanars, bears and rakshashas killed. Eventually, Rama’s army wins, Ravana and his main generals are killed. Vibhisena is crowned the king of Lanka.

Rama, Sita, and Lakshman return to Ayodhya, and the vanars and bears return to their homes.

Interesting parts

The scenes of the fighting between the vanars and bears on one side and the rakshashas (of different types) on the other side are the most interesting bits. Here is an excerpt of a duel between a vanar-queen / leader and a rakshasha general.

“Mandara-devi, racing between the rakshasha’s legs, slashed upwards with both paws, talons drawn and held at an angle designed to cause maximum harm. She cut into the general’s most tender organs with ferocious strength….”

Chapter 8, Kaand 3, King of Ayodhya

Then there are strategies being decided based on various theories. Here is Jambuvana, the bear king expounding on the strategy of ‘shima’:

“… at times, letting the enemy know your plans is an effective strategy. For he then believes that he knows your plan of attack and defense and arranges his forces accordingly. So he is already reacting to you instead of acting. While you, knowing that he knows your every move, are free to change your plans at any moment, thereby surprising him and forcing him to continue reacting…..”

Chapter 7, Kaand 2, King of Ayodhya

The fights involving Rama and Lakshman are less interesting because they fight with bows and arrows. The confrontation with Ravana and his powerful son Indrajit are also not the most exciting ones. The one I liked the most was the fight between Hanuman and Kumbhakarn, two giants, fighting in the sea. The way Hanuman finally gets rid of Kumbhakarn is also ingenious (I won’t reveal that :-)).

In the Afterword of the book, the author says:

My Ramayan ends here. The page your just turned is the last page of my retelling.

My sense of interpretation has difficulty accepting this decision of Rama to banish the woman he loves so deeply… …Whether viewed on a personal or political level, this decision was hard to accept, for me, Rama’s self-styled biographer.

However, Ashok Banker seems to have changed his mind and written two more books in the series. So, two more reviews to go!

NOTE: Please read the comments on the whole series here , as the reviewer’s opinions on the series are expressed there.

Here is the full list of the series with links to the reviews and online bookstores:

Book 1Prince of Ayodhya
(reviewed here)
Book 2Siege of Mithila
(reviewed here)
Book 3Demons of Chitrakut
(reviewed here)
Book 4Armies of Hanuman (reviewed here)
Book 5Bridge of Rama
(reviewed here)
Book 6King of Ayodhya
(reviewed here)
Book 7Vengeance of Ravana
(reviewed here)
Book 8Sons of Sita (reviewed here)

If you have not yet read any of the books in the series, go for the first one right away! You will not regret it.

Your comments are welcome!

Author: Rajesh Naik

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