Shubha Vilas, a TEDx speaker, storyteller, lifestyle coach, and the bestselling author who after completing the patent law and engineering degree, finally chose the path of the spiritual seeker. He preferred to bequeath the mainstream society to live in a life of ambition where he majorly concentrates on extensive studies and interpretation of Vedic scriptures.
Shubha Vilas believes in a simple lifestyle and his passion is to inculcate in children and their education which ultimately builds character. He has also created ‘Value Education’ modules that can be consolidated by schools and colleges into their present syllabus. He wants to develop knowledge that will accommodate to shape the human characters of his audience. His unprecedented capability to behold things from a pragmatic prospect which is implemented with ecclesiastical vision executes scriptures beneficial and essential to everyone’s life.
In 2013, he started writing a series of books on Ramayana and then started writing a 6 volume series title ‘Ramayana-The Game of Life’ which entailed comprehensive research from the original works of literature like Ramcharitamanas, Kamba Ramayana, and Valmiki Ramayana. Books like ‘Open-Eyed Meditations’, ‘The Chronicles of Hanuman’, ‘Magic of Friendships’, ‘Open-Eyed Meditations’, ‘Mystical Takes For A Magical Life’ are some of his national bestselling books.
How do you explain Mythology? Or according to you what is the definition of Mythology?
In my understanding ‘Mythology’ is a wrong word, in fact, ‘Mythology’ is a misnomer, because what we have with us is history. The word ‘Mythology’ comes from the word ‘Myth’ which means fiction. And if we see the pictures of ancient India like- ‘Ramayan’ and ‘Mahabharat’ are called as ‘Itihas’ which means history. And when you term history as Mythology or when you translate the word ‘Itihas’ to mythology, it doesn’t do justice to the substance of the text.
The history that we have plays a pivotal role in shaping our society and the future. So in my understanding, the ‘Mythology’ word should be completely removed and we should actually start using or preferring the word ‘Itihas’ or words like ‘Epics’ more.
Do you think the current generation is misrepresenting the concept of Mythology or the Indian Culture because with time things have been changed a lot?
Usually, the general masses of people are ignorant and innocent, so it’s about how the intellectuals view narrations. So if the intellectuals are trying to shift the narrations in a wrong way then naturally the entire generation will get affected with a wrong understanding except the new narration is put on. And it is important to be balanced where, if say 100 people are misconstruing the narrative, we need to have at least 100 people trying to keep the narrative as pure and authentic as possible.
So I don’t feel that the style has to be in the old style as it is not appealing anymore but the content cannot be deviated and changed or even exaggerated just because people don’t desire the content. People should try to keep the content the same but people can change the way to depredate the understanding in the context of time but people don’t have the right to completely change it.
So if you want to change the narrative how do you want to showcase it to the current generation so that they can take interest and shouldn’t be misunderstood?
So there are two ways – one in which the style of story is presented. So people can make ‘Mahabharat’ or ‘Ramayana’ as exciting as Harry Potter if it is written well. Because the story by itself has a lot of excitement in them but if people have a tedious narrative with no style and no anecdote in it, it won’t work. That’s what I am doing in my books, if you study my book – ‘Ramayan: The Game Of Life’ series, I am trying to completely change the way of style of narrative. Though I am sticking as much as the authenticity of the original text the style is what I am working on the most.
So I feel the youth are excited to read something which is exciting and beautifully written but at the same time, you try to bring the lesson that you can draw parallel drawn to your own life that makes it even more appealing.
Writing Mythology books must have challenged you a lot, what are the biggest challenges you have faced while writing?
One of the biggest challenges is getting authentic commentaries on it. So what happens, many Acharyas who commented on these epics or on the original texts, those commentaries are very useful and have a very powerful way of understanding of the epics. And those commentaries are not easily available in general. So whether in Sanskrit or in Tamil or Telugu or Kannada or in any language are probably doesn’t have that access to. So my biggest challenge is to get access to those commentaries and try to find the right sources.
How do you get ideas for your books and what is your way of researching?
I spent a lot of time meditating and my research has a combination of two things- one is a lot of ‘reading’ which is usually the original texts, commentaries from different Acharyas as well as modern writers who have much knowledge about it. Reading and knowledge acquiring thing is the first thing I do.
And the second is the ‘thinking’ part where I try to meditate and contemplate on how to make things relevant. So both things go hand in hand as a part of my research program.
In recent times there has been a huge outrage over the portrayal of Hinduism in the movies/web series on the OTT platform. Do you think this criticism or demand to ban certain craft is justified? What is your personal thought about it?
All of us have our own Right to Speech, so if I want to criticize someone and if somebody else says that we should not criticize certain work then in that case I am talking about my right of speech which will be different from what others say.
And talking about these web series or movies which show the history in a modern formation, well a few years back there was a journalist in France who made a little funny type of cartoon on Prophet Muhammad and people outrage the whole craft. So there with this people were offended and that lead to such an outrage so imagine here if people will portray one of our god in modern attire, misrepresenting it completely then it is obvious that the Hindu sentiments will be hurt and people here will get offended.
Even let’s keep aside the god, in today’s time of a celebrity is made fun of it then the fans of that particular celebrity gets hurt so badly that they start trolling others. And human sentiments are termed as to be very strong and in that case, you cannot say that they are right or wrong. And nobody can’t dictate that you shouldn’t have those feelings. If some people are feeling hurt or criticizing certain work which they don’t like then that is completely justified.
So in that case, we should act in a certain way that the other feelings are not hurt or offended. Why do we need to create content for money which is based on hurting somebody else feeling!
Do you think teaching on ancient traditions helps to understand the modern generation or the millenniums? What do you expect from the readers/audience will take away from your books?
I strongly believe that we need to have very high regard for our history. And with time I have been more convinced while researching and reading that the ancient pictures have a lot more to the world. The only problem is that you are not packaged well, so right now I am working on the packaging. If you look at western authors like John Maxwell, John MacArthur they are all pestered with their backgrounds. And most of their writings which are very successful in their non-fiction books are all based on the Bible. And if one Bible can give so much to the world and thousands of books can be produced based on just one text, here we have hundreds of texts but none of them has been explored properly. So in that case I want to make every picture that we have relevant, applicable, and transformational.
After completing your engineering why do you opt for this path of the spiritual seeker?
I did my engineering, then Law and now I am doing my PDH and MA in psychology… so I love knowledge. Where knowledge is available in whatever form I try to accept everything and learn from it. I don’t consider myself as educated but as a learner. There is a difference between education and learning. There are a lot of people who are educated but unfortunately, they don’t acquire knowledge. So personally I feel that the quest for knowledge is more important than the degrees in education that you acquire.
What is your next book? Or what about future plans?
I have a lot of amazing books coming up but due to the pandemic things have been a little slowed down. There are at least five to six books in the pipeline which may be coming in the next one or two years. And right now I am just completing my sixth volume of the “Ramayan’ series. And post ‘Ramayan’ series I will be working on the ‘Mahabharat’ series which will be completely different from the previous work.
I am writing a lot of children’s books as well and recently we have just launched the illustration of the Ramayan.
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