Kratham is the 12nd novel in the Venmurasu series, the modern rewriting effort of ancient epic Mahabharata by Tamil writer Jeyamohan. This portrays the spiritual journey of Arjuna, to get mighty weapons and from the directional forces.
This journey has connection with the previous novel Kandeepam. After he lost his one-to-one fight with Krishna, the king of Dwaraka, Arjuna scared to taste the bitter of defeat and vengeance concealed in their invaluable friendship. So he starts his journey to search and equip himself with mighty arms and spiritual wisdom to win Krishna.
The entire novel talks about Arjuna alone. Journey of Arjuna is not new to Venmurasu readers. He had his journey earlier to north eastern states of Modern India. He loved and married Ulupi and Chitrangkatha during the same.
But this journey is of a different kind, as Arjuna is much more matured now. It has been delineated as a journey of wisdom, truth and spiritual thoughts.
The storytellers are few travellers, those who are searching for their own way of spiritual life. Their conversations and controversies are endless – The wit, philosophy, vision are enjoyable, though I couldn’t understand many! Arjuna’s journeys were told as flashbacks, performances of traditional poets. Jymini, Sandan, Vysambayanan and Ukran – every one of these travelers are spinning this novel as a tasteful philosophical feast.
Arjuna tries to win the Gods of all directions to get their mighty arms. He approaches Gupera of the north, Yama of south, Varuna of west and Indra of east. Though it looks simple, Jeyamohan’s fiction brings spectacular visuals in our mind.
Arjuna’s meeting with Gupera is such a tasty laughter for the reader. I was literally smiling during my morning commute.
Varuna is hidden inside a dead sea (salt lake of Jordan?). Arjuna’s travel is so hectic in this desert. While reading this episode, you would be thirsty and long for a rain.
His meeting with Indra is like a dream on top of Indrakila mountain. Indran’s vengeance on Krishnan and his Narayana veda, Bali’s connection with Ramayana are interesting branches of Mahabharata epid, has come out well with Jeyamohan’s fantasy writing.
After getting the weapons and mantra from all directional drivers, Arjuna lost again to Kinnara God aka Krishna in the land of Kinnara Janya. He felt depressed, as all his efforts did not get him what he wanted. As directed by Kinnara Janya priest, he was directed towards Kailaya to get Pasupada.
Arjuna recognises Shiva and surrenders to him. Painting by Raja Ravi Varma, 19th century.
Again, another interesting fiction – Arjuna’s meeting with Kaalan (Lord Shiva) and Kaali (mother parvathi) of Jeyamohan’s fiction. This dalliant and charming episode portrays the love between them, their parenthood towards Arjuna, Komban (Ganapathi) and Kumaran (Murugan). Kailaya episode was so charming. It was beautifully narrated in all it’s kind.
I am helpless to understand the philosophical conversations fully. But that doesn’t force a lazy reader like me to get away from this.