Mrithasanjeevani (Trans. The Elixir of Life) : Book Review

Now for the first time ever, I think I’m going to post a review on a book in Malayalam. I don’t read a lot of Malayalam books as I somehow don’t enjoy it as much as my mom does as the complexity in the language sometimes makes it pretty hard for me to understand despite me being fluent in the language.

If you’re wondering how I came across this book, well it was part of our compulsory reading in the tenth grade. We had a lot of these books for compulsory reading , for instance for English class we had books like “The Hound of the Baskervilles” , while for Malayalam we had this. I was such a weak student in the language and it was at that point I realised that knowing a language won’t make you proficient in it in any way. But nevertheless this was one book, that I had read enjoyed reading. In fact I finished reading it before the teacher went through the whole thing!

Mrithasanjeevani, or rather Sanjeevani is a plant famed in Hindu mythology for being able to cure you of dire illnesses, even bring you back from the brink of death. In the Ramayana, there was a part in the war against the demon kind Raavana, where Lord Ram’s brother Lakshman gets seriously injured and needs the Sanjeevani plant to be cured.

Lord Hanuman is sent on that quest, to get the herb from Mount Dronagiri, in the Himalayas. He reaches the mount but is unable to locate the herb and just decides to bring the whole mountain. Such a convenient solution right?

Anyways that’s enough of a backdrop. Onto the review!

Unfortunately I was unable to find an image of the book!

Title : Mrithasanjeevani

Author : Chandramathi Ayoor

Pages : 80

Yes, this book seems more of a short story than a novel, but the story counts for a full fledged one!

The story is of a boy who is onboard a shop for a pleasure holiday with his family.

However disaster strikes, and their ship sinks, he is separated from his family, and lands on an island, injured, hungry and dazed. He wanders the island in search of something and sees a tree in the midst of a plain filled with green healthy grass. He crosses the grass, plucks a fruit from the tree and eats it and soon passes out.

When he next wakes up, he’s surrounded by the inhabitants of the island including the king and his daughter. He is apparently fully cured now as well.

They inform him of a healer on the island, one who can reverse even death, which explains the really long lives of the Islanders. Every once in a while a new healer comes, and how they find out if the person that arrives on the island is destined to be a healer, is that person can cross the bed of poisonous grass and eat the fruit from the tree in the middle.

Eventually the boy trains and becomes a healer like the one on the island.

He eventually leaves to go back home, where he miraculously cures the captain of the ship, as well as realise his family is alive but his sister died from a snake bite. The story then shows how he saves his sister and brings her back from the dead, and how he later explains his view in death and how it’s not really a full stop to a humans life.

Strange, but exciting right?

The part till where he cures his sister was in a way expected but what intrigued me about this book was of his or rather his healing methodology’s perception of death. Rather than considering it a full stop to life, he explains it more as of a phase, a phase which can be altered.

He explains how his methods could help solve murders, and mysteries and so many other things.

Honestly though the story ends in like 80 pages, it’s only the story that ends. Our thoughts would then be spiralling into the world of bringing back the dead, a literal alter-reality of science. I still remember thinking about it, when we often see how people who were frozen in ice, come back to life once that melts.

Although not related to the book, there was even a wierd trailer of Titanic 2 (don’t know about it’s authenticity here), that showed Jack who kind of “defrosted” from the ice, came back to life and met Rose’s granddaughter or something.

I know a lot of you may have not come across this book in particular but let me know in the comments, if you know any other intriguing books like this one!

And for people who have read this one, give a shout out in the comments!

4 comments

  1. I cannot leave this space without leaving a comment. I had a random discussion about this book right now and ended up reading your blog. I absolutely loved every bit of what you wrote, You took me back to my fond memories of 10th grade Malayalam Class and Mritasanjeevani. Even I read the whole book out of curiosity before the teacher finished it in class! 😀 So So So happy to stumble upon this read and find someone who adores this story just like I did. Thank you, Anjali!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad I could find your comment too on this post! When I posted this I didn’t expect many views or comments or people reaching out to me because I just wrote this as a find memory. But the amount of love I’ve gotten for this has shown that I’m not the only person whose loved this book! Thank you so much for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This book was extended reading for my sister in school. It was probably the first malayalam novel I read when I was like 13.But it blew my mind. I never really heard anyone talk about this book. I believe its truly underrated. So glad somebody else enjoyed it too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for Arya for commenting! I read this as extended reading in school as well and loved it a lot too which led to me to write about it on my blog after so many years! I have never heard many people talk about this novel either but after publishing this post, I have received so much feedback from so many people who love this book! I’m glad you enjoyed it too!

      Like

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