Ramayana Versus Mahabharata: My Playful Comparison – Devdutt Pattanaik – Book Review

Words are our (humans) most powerful and greatest tool. They have the power to inspire people, crush souls, create magical worlds and build empires. The art of storytelling has been hardwired into our lives and deeply rooted inside our brains. We, human beings crave for stories and it is clear as a crystal that we are obsessed with stories. The monomania for stories is palpable ranging from mythological tales from the past to the ultra-short micro-fiction to the latest epigrammatic stories composed within a single tweet and these disparate tales coexist side-by-side without any qualms.

It would be impossible for the people of our country to not being acquainted with the most popular epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata as we would have grown up hearing and reading it, relishing it with the appetite to read more of it. It never ceases to amaze that the zeal to know more about these epics never recedes as time passes but only surges with increasing time and changing periods.

Devdutt Pattanaik‘s latest book “Ramayana Versus Mahabharata: My Playful Comparison” delights us with its lucid cover and the tag ‘playful comparison‘ in the title piques the interest of the readers with an eagerness to discover to what “India’s Favourite Mythologist Writer” offers in this short book of 194 pages. He asserts that measuring is human delusion and comparing, divine play in the inception of the book.

The blurb of the book reads “In temples ritual, Vishnu is offered 8 different meals daily, different on all seven days of the week—56 dishes in all.” which is quite a surprise as the book is neatly divided into eight parts and 56 chapters, and both Lord Ram and Krishna are avatars of Vishnu.  Each chapter begins with the word “Both” and tries to convey the correlation between the epics giving the reader a glimpse into what the chapters offer within its words. The book, by and large attempts to compare the two epics, the idealistic Ramayana and the realistic Mahabharata for similarities and dissimilarities along with neat illustrations.

Ramayana Versus Mahabharata

The book is simple to follow and makes you wonder about some identical themes which have missed our eyes so far. It establishes the theme that each story share enabling us to view the identical building blocks, family structure, forest exile, and war. Devdutt also lays emphasis on the many retellings of both the epics spread all over the world and cleverly compares it with Greek, Buddhist, Jainist and Abrahamic mythologies. The book tries to introspect into the idea of complex casualty which is a key theme across epics. It dwells on karma and dharma as the basis of all happenings in the two epics.

Though the reader gets weary along the initial pages, the book with its beautiful comparison gets the reader on an exhilarating ride which would fill him with an immense knowledge of the epics. The book is a treasure trove of information on various retellings providing new insights into the epics which we would have unheard of. The arduous research that the author had undergone is evident from the unambiguous words and coherent concepts which he explains it with ease. The anecdotes from regional languages/versions of the ithihasas/epics will be a new experience for the readers. Although one couldn’t avoid a debate in the mind about the analysis of the epics by Devdutt Pattanaik, this makes it an interesting book to delve into, making it a staggering ride to remember with its brevity.

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About the Book:

Title : Ramayana Versus Mahabharata: My Playful Comparison

Author : Devdutt Pattanaik

Publisher : Rupa Publications

Genre : Non-Fiction / Philosophy

Copy : Flipkart Review Program

ISBN : 9789353332303

Rating : Image result for 3 stars out five

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Links :

Flipkart Ramayana Versus Mahabharata: My Playful Comparison

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Book Review – The Girl Who Chose : A New Way of Narrating the Ramayana by Devdutt Pattanaik

 

As children, we all would have been flooded with bed time stories from our grandparents with the valor of Ram saving his wife Sita from the monstrous Ravana with the help of Vanaras. So here is our favorite mythology and management writer Devdutt Pattanaik trying to retell the story via Sita for children. The cover design itself briefly explains that its his way of narrating the Ramayana and he hasn’t compromised anywhere inside the story for the gorgeous book.

The cover design is so simple with the usual illustrations of Devdudd occupying the limelight of the cover. The title may seem little bit commanding and may make you think its about female empowerment or about feminism. But he has totally laid it perfect for a beautiful reading experience without much fuss.The Girl who Chose - A new way of narrating the Ramayana by Devdutt Pattanaik

The book is all about Sita and the five choices she makes all along the story and how they change the course of the story impacting all the important and also the not so important characters in the epic. This book isn’t another retelling of the epic but rather focuses on what Sita chooses in  the story and Devdutt narrates fantastically without deviating or indulging in any contemporary thoughts staying true to the epic.

The illustrations by the author are uncomplicated making us inquisitive over reading he book and also looking at the illustrations savoring all our favorite moments from the epic. Even though it’s a children’s book he has made sure it could understood by all with making much complications. The  footnotes that are sprinkled along the pages in the middle enlighten us with more information on things about Ramayana and the unimportant characters. Also the most important thing is that the author doesn’t gives us a plain story with only version but rather they are a melange of various versions of Ramayana spun together that makes the readers cherish every page. 

Devdutt has yet again achieved in winning the hearts of the readers. The central character Sita leads all the way till the end and he hasn’t strayed away from her staying true to the narration he has taken. I think this book would be great introduction to children to know about Indian mythology and Devdutt like his other books such as Fun in Devlok and Pashu series would make this book an interesting even for adults as well as children. This is a short book with all illustrations and information and so doesn’t eats too much of our time.

 

My favorite lines from the book :

‘Humans make choices. Humans can also help. Thus human society is all about choices and rules. We can choose to help or choose not to ? All choices have consequences. The Ramayana thus shows that it is not easy to choose,  just as it can be very difficult to follow rules.”


 

About the Book:

Title : The Girl who Chose : A new way of narrating the Ramayana

Author : Devdutt Pattanik

Publisher : Penguin Books, Puffin

Genre : Mythology

ISBN : 9780143334637

Copy : Flipkart Review Program

Rating :


Links :

Flipkart : The Girl who Chose : A new way of narrating the Ramayana


 

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The Leadership Sutra: An Indian Approach to Power – Book Review – Devdudd Patanaik

Power is such a ” powerful ” weapon which can be used to create or to destroy anything. IF that is the scenario then the above said one could be easily connected with the organisational scenario in our country or even in any part of the world.

A famous quote describes this power as knowledge but after reading this book , you will get to know that power is always a combination of power itself and knowledge. In India we always follow a western cultural business model , which would contribute to the development of the company. But the whole process of these , lies in the leadership of the leader and their employees.

This book attempts to share different aspects of leadership mantras and sutras in an Indian way.This book offers advices and insights on leadership and power. It also gives us and idea about how mythology is connected in a way related to management and business and leadership. The author tries to break the leadership qualities and its essential things into simple myth stories in a connected way and enlightens the readers about the leadership qualities.

As you would be aware , the author is an illustrator and again he included sketches for easy understanding of those myths. The examples which are provided in every mantras gives us a quick reap of the myth in the present scenario.

These myths were from Hinduism , Jainism and Buddhism and they all speak of Leadership and power. The book is basically a derivation from the previous in this series called   ” Business Sutra “. This Leadership sutra answers the questions of how leadership can be done wisely and how effective a leadership can be.

This book also reveals the significance, property , rules, stability of leadership and the ways to achieve it. It also have various explanations about what a positive mind of leadership would have and that of negative one.

Whenever leadership comes into the scene, the other things which is always with it are power and rules. What would the significance and the rules make impact on the leadership is clearly portrayed in the form of letters and illustration with myths.

The book has a part titled ” Innovation is not possible unless rules are broken “. This is entirely true and the fact that is explained with the example connected with Krishna. Krishna defied rules and was considered as a real innovator ,but he always done these innovation without considering the rules. Unless these innovations are good , there is no harm when rules are broken. Like these things there are many such rules and insights which would definitely arouse your inner thoughts of leadership.

I would suggest this book to readers who are in want of motivation to improve their leadership qualities. Also to all mythology lovers who would like to know more in addition to myths and facts. Rather than these two categories the other set of readers will definitely find it less interesting. This is also a short book and that adds to the advantage of the readers.

 

About the Book:

Title : The Leadership Sutra : An Indian Approach To Power

Author :  Devdutt Pattanaik

Publisher : Aleph Book Company

Genre : Non Fiction/Business

Copy : Review Copy

ISBN : 9789384067465

Rating :


Links to Buy 

Flipkart : The Leadership Sutra : An Indian Approach To Power

Amazon : The Leadership Sutra : An Indian Approach To Power

 

 

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Book Review – Shakuntala: The Woman Wronged – Utkarsh Patel

We are at the cusp of the year 2015 awaiting for the new year to be exuberant all through. This year I have been lucky to read many mythological based novels which enriched my knowledge on various subjects. Although I am not the kind of reader who runs behind a particular genre, mythology has attracted me for the sake of how authors try to be different from the usual context of the yesteryear stories and how they make their own stamp in it.

I have been so curious to read the book Shakuntala : The Woman Wronged when I received the mail. The cover design illustration was particularly nice giving a indie feel intriguing the readers. Kudos to the designer for the excellent design. The author Utkarsh Patel tries to present his version of the tale of  Shakuntala from the Mahabharata based on Vyasa’s original characterization.

The author had portrayed Shakuntala as the women who is bold expressing her views without fears, debates with the well learned sages like a modern day woman. He also visually depicts to the readers the patriarchal society that existed during her age. The author has established a link with the readers by presenting the stories in a continuous manner  starting from Shakuntala’s childhood in the ashram, her meeting with the King of Hastinapur Dushyant and their marriage & separation due the curse and their reunion.

Shakuntala : The Woman Wronged (Cover Design) 

The fictional characters he has added as Shakuntala’s friends and Dushyant friends are adding good support for the flow of the story. Particularly when three friends see the peahen when Shakuntala worries about the marriage engaged to Priyamavada. Also the author gives his views on the patriarchal society through the thoughts of Shakuntala which was very satisfying.

The debate made by Shakuntala with his foster father Sage Kanva about Sati Ahalya on how she was made the victim while she was a scapegoat and her conversation with King Dushyant about hunting proves that Shakuntala was no lesser than a bold girl which every woman must acquire but at the same time be humble expressing her views in front of the learned and the aged.

The story was linear and is very helpful to the readers with the continuity without meandering elsewhere staying intact with the main thread of the tale. The peahen ignoring scene and the thoughts of Shakuntala on the same was the one I found particularly wonderful where the author has inscribed his stamp on the minds of the readers.

I haven’t yet read the version of Kalidasa’s Abijnanashakunthalam, so I found Utkarsh Patel’s version more interesting as  this was the first time I am reading more about the wronged woman Shakuntala. The views are expressed clearly without sugar coating and the characters add much flavor to the tale reminding in the readers mind even after finishing.

Any mythology book lover would surely love this book. I finished the book in a single sitting and the narration wasn’t allowing me to keep the book down. The Time chapter was something unexpected. So its time for me to search and read the Shakuntala by Kalidasa.

 

About the Book :

Title : Shakuntala : The Woman Wronged

Author :  Utkarsh Patel

Publisher : Rupa Publications

Genre : Mythology

Copy : Review Copy

ISBN : 978-8129137463, 8129137461

Rating :

Links :

Amazon : Shakuntala : The Woman Wronged by Utkarsh Patel

Flipkart : Shakuntala : The Woman Wronged by Utkarsh Patel

Kindle Edition : Shakuntala : The Woman Wronged by Utkarsh Patel (Kindle)

 

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Book Review : Rise of Kali by Anand Neelakantan

The gripping tale of the epic Mahabharatha in a never told before way unveiled when I got to read the new book on the series of the Ajaya. The new book is titled RISE OF KALI : DURODHANA’S MAHABHARATHA and to its name it is been said in the perspective of Duryohana. I have heard Mahabharatha in Krishna’s perspective, Arjuna’s perspective but I wonder why no one chose to say the tale on the sides of the Kauravas.

Rise of Kali
                              Rise of Kali

The author has always tried his ways on establishing the tales on the lineso f the anti heroes from his earlier books. His Asura : The Tale of the Vanquished was about Ravana’s perspective of the epic Ramanaya and the first book on the series Ajaya : The Roll of the dice was on the Kaurava’s perspective. This single aspect is sure to catch the readers and assure us that we are on for a fun filled epic read.

The author tells about the dharma and adharma in this gripping novel. This tale included some of the best works that I have read in his books and became my favourite one among his novels. He has written in a non boring fashion and the readers are sure to keep the book till the end without closing it. The very different perspective ushers us to read nad know more about it and we are not disappointed anytime. The story begins with the  Panchali Cheerharan and continuees go on. The part where Suyodhana explains on why he chose his path to be right is excellent and a delight to read.

I would recommend this to all mythology lovers. This would sure usher the readers to read more about the mthology. A brilliant read is sure assured.

About the Book :

Title : Rise of Kali: Duryodhana’s Mahabharata

Author : Anand Neelakantan

Publisher : Platinum Press

Genre : Mthology

ISBN : 978-9381576045

Rating : Image result for 4 star rating

Links :

Flipkart : Rise of Kali : Duryodhna’s Mahabharatha

Amazon : Rise of Kali : Duryodhana’s Mahabharatha

Kindle Edition : Rise of Kali : Duryodhana’s Mahabharatha (Kindle Edition)

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The Curse of Surya – Book Review

Too many thrillers these days made me to think in a different perspective. That’s not the end of reading , you know , So here I am with another interesting book called , “The Curse of Surya” written by the award winning author of “Pitch It”, “DEV PRASAD”.

I haven’t read his previous one “Pitch It”, When I got the book, I had no idea about how it will be. The cover design of the book , well gave me a small idea. Thought that the story would be revolving around a character called Surya, and yes as usual it’s always the opposite.

Image Credits

What’s this story is all about ?

The story is about finding the precious gem called Shyamantaka , which is a 5000 year old stone and it can make the man powerful who is having that and all the nations are behind the hunt for the most valuable stone. The interesting story starts from singapore , where Ms. Sangeetha Rao, a TV Reporter was sent to India to cover the events which are going to be historic as the most influential political leaders of the governing nations meet in Taj Mahal in Agra. Also another big event is being arranged in Mathura which is The All Saints conference hosted in the Krishna Janmasthan Temple in UP.

Swami Brij Mohan assures the media that he will reveal the place where the precious gem/stone Shyamantaka is there. Sangeetha meets Alan Davies a welsh man who introduces himself as an archaelogical professor from Oxford. Due to unfortunate happenings , they were marked as international terrorists in the media, due to the bomb blasts in the All saints conference killing Swami Brij Mohan. During the escape from the temple in mathura, they meet Anton Blanchard. The three of them , unfolds the quest to capture the stone which will fortunately help them to escape from the big threat ahead of them.

The story travels further and has answers to the questions like

  • Who killed Swami Brij Mohan?
  • Who is Alan Davies?
  • What is the link between the tibetian who was killed in the temple and who killed Swamiji?
  • Was the stone found?
  • Will Sangeetha , Davies and Anton escape from the threat ?

The author have made it very clear about the story of Krishna and why the gem was missing. He unfolds the history through a quest and the link between his dynasties and also how the Kings of the Ruling was wise enough to hide a gem from a tchnologically equipped nation today. The turns during the quest were splendid and also he reminded that always a information has both a original and a duplicate meaning in it.( That was really interesting and when they discovered that they were fooled , they look at that piece of information in a different way). I would make it as a sure read for the newbie’s going to start thrillers.

The history linkage was excellent and the readers will be astonished to unfold the quests through their travel of reading.

This book will suit a reader who wants to read a thriller with a mystery and historical stories involved with a fast paced mythological story.

                                                                  About the Book :

Title : The Curse Of Surya

Publisher : Random House Publishers India Private Limited

Genre : Fiction/ Thriller

ISBN : 8184006225

Rating : Image result for 4 star rating

Links :

Flipkart : The Curse of Surya

Amazon : The Curse of Surya

Kindle Edition : The Curse of Surya

Happy reading.

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