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Book Review
Lustus: The Prince of Darkness

The epic, ‘Lustus: The Prince of Darkness’ is a neo-mythological epic. The epic is inspired by John Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’. In this epic, Satan anoints his cousin Lustus as his heir and transfers his obnoxious and vile mission to a big conglomerate of evil, headed by Lustus. Dr Maqsood Jafri reviews the book.

A Conglomerate of Evil

'Lustus: The Prince of Darkness’ is an epic poem written by Dr. Jernail Singh Anand, who has authored 150 books of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, politics and spirituality including six epics. Dr Anand is internationally known as a leading world poet and philosopher whom global literary icon, Dr Maja Herman Sekulic, has described as ‘One of the greatest philosophers among poets, and one of the greatest poets among philosophers.’


I found this epic quite interesting and was highly impressed and amazed at the poet’s imaginative and creative power. The epic, ‘Lustus: The Prince of Darkness’ is a neo-mythological epic. The epic seems to emanate from John Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’. In this epic, Satan has grown old, so he anoints his cousin Lustus and transfers his obnoxious and vile mission to a big conglomerate of evil, headed by Lustus. We find Satan and his successor Lustus, challenging the authority and sovereignty of God. The main characters in this epic are Greda, the goddess of greed and Amazinia the daughter of Satan. Other characters are Kal, Narad, Kuru, Indra, Beelzebub, Santez, Denzy, Singer, and Faustus. All play a specific role assigned to them. 


Lustus is enmeshed in psychic pride of having ‘excessive Knowledge’ and like the ten-headed ‘Ravana’ courts his own destruction. Lustus on becoming the Prince of Darkness, addresses the world and gives his own contrived, devilish and sacrilegious ‘Ten Commandments’, quite contrary to the holy ‘Ten Commandments’ given by prophet Moses in The Torah. This epic is not just a satirical sally like Alexander Pope’s ‘Rape of the Lock’, in which sylphs and nymphs ensure the safety of the protagonist, Belinda whose lock has been cut. Dr Anand has a reformatory mission like John Milton. Milton aspired to show the ways of God to Man. Dr Anand criticizes the modern man, who has ample electronic and scientific knowledge but no spark of nobility, divinity, sanity, sacrifice, and humanity. Lustus is an embodiment of lust for power, wealth and sexual extravagance. These vices are the quest of the modern man, laments the poet. There is a war between the demons and gods. In Milton’s ‘Paradise Regained’, Jesus Christ is the saviour and redeemer, while in this epic ‘Durga’, a venerated goddess, is the spiritual succour, ushering in the victory of God over Satan. In content and spirit, this epic differs from ancient classics in that it unveils the spiritual decadence of the so-called custodians of faith, the religious charlatans.  


Lustus plans to create disorder in the cosmic plan. With the help of modern science, he intends to change the natural properties and traits of birds, trees, and animals and free them from their corporeal being and thereafter provide them copious freedom from the yoke of godly controlled arena.  A war with God ensues in which Lustus challenges God and boasts about his great array of armies of the ‘Night’, the teachers, politicians, religious charlatans, technocrats et al. This evil challenge unnerves ‘gods’ and they send ‘Durga’, a venerated goddess, to defeat and destroy them. Durga destroys several of the monsters. Eventually, there is a truce between both armies for ceasefire after several setbacks and bloodshed. 


What the poet is trying to convey through his modern epic is that scientific knowledge bereft of vision, empathy, compassion and concern for human noble values is the contrivance of a devilish mindset.  People become selfish, cruel and callous. ‘The more we know, the more miserable we grow.’ The moral of this epic, like most classic epics, is the victory of virtue over vice. Also, there is a message of harmony, peace, and human equality in the cosmic scheme. The safety of birds and beasts is also desired with the safety of humankind. Aristotle in his book titled ‘The Poetics’ says that every play and literary work must end showing the victory of virtue and defeat of vice so that human society is purged of all ills and evils. Great literary scholars and poets like Dr Johnson, T. S. Eliot et al promoted didacticism in literature to change the world by making it the Kingdom of God, which is the Kingdom of Light. I would go so far as to say that like John Milton whose Paradise Regained shows the Ways of God to Man; Dr Anand’s Lustus: The Prince of Darkness takes us out from the dark and dreary dungeons of evil and shows the bright Ways of God to Man. 

 
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About the Author

Dr Jernail Singh Anand is Professor Emeritus in Indian Literature at The European Institute of the Roma Studies and Research, Belgrade He has authored as many as 150 books and is a Polymath who hails from India. University of Neyshabur, Iran, has initiated a Research Project on his poetry.