Perfect Love is the first book I am reading by author Shubha Vilas who used to be a monk earlier. I have heard him a couple of times at some literature festivals when he was still with ISKCON. This book was with me for a couple of years now, but it was probably now the right time to read it.
I was expecting a lot of sermons and preaching, talk about the stereotypes we carry in our heads. To my pleasant surprise, it was a lovely book to read. The many love stories from the Indian scriptures have been retold in a beautiful manner. The author has interspersed the narrative with his own wisdom on relationships and what these stories tell about nurturing relationships.
Buy Perfect Love: 5.5 Ways to a Lasting Relationship by Shubha Vilas at Amazon
I admire the way he has selected and organized the love stories to highlight different aspects of perfect love. If one story is about sacrifice, the other is about trust, and yet another about trusting your inner voice. My favorite section though is where he talks about love stories that cannot be called complete. He features a series of these stories, mostly known to us, but maybe not from a relationship angle.
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As the stories move, the author also shares his insights on what he thinks about the driver of the event. At times the advice makes immediate sense, at times it feels like an unnecessary insertion. I would confess that many times I skipped this part and read the stories. In fact, stories are told with so much of Rasa that you don’t really feel like reading its interpretation.
In my book Lotus In The Stone, I have written about Rukmini’s letter and how it is one of the most powerful letters ever written. While I was in awe of Rukmini, one sentence by Shubha Vilas, made me think about the reason for that – Krishna. He knew how to put his just abducted bride at ease by telling her that – Her army will take care of their enemies. If words have the power, this episode of Krishna Rukmini.
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Stories of Urvashi, Satyavati, and Ganga talk about conditional love, where people always live in the fear of losing the other. In these stories, there is always a backstory to justify the act. They still tell us that obsession that takes you to the edge and makes you commit unreasonable things will finally leave you in pain. So, choose carefully and be aware of your own passions and obsessions.
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Overall an interesting book to read. Language is simple and yet evocative. It keeps you grounded in the space and time of the stories. It seems simple but most modern authors fail at creating that ambiance with their words. The narrative flows like a river taking you along.
I enjoyed reading this book that is at the intersection of Indic knowledge and the lessons it holds for nurturing important relationships in life.