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Book Review : Jaya

Book Title : Jaya - An Illustrated Retelling Of The Mahabharata

Author : Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik
Genre : Mythology
ISBN : 9780143104254
Publisher : Penguin Books India
Publication : 2010
Pages : 372
Binding : Paperback


Plot :
High above the sky stands Swarga, paradise, abode of the gods. Still above is Vaikuntha, heaven, abode of God.
The doorkeepers of Vaikuntha are the twins, Jaya and Vijaya, both whose names mean 'victory'. One keeps you in Swarga; the other raises you into Vaikuntha.
In Vaikuntha there is bliss forever, in Swarga there is pleasure for only as long as you deserve. What is the difference between Jaya and Vijaya? Solve this puzzle and you will solve the mystery of the Mahabharata.
In this enthralling retelling of India's greatest epic, the Mahabharata, originally known as Jaya, Devdutt Pattanaik seamlessly weaves into a single narrative plots from the Sanskrit classic as well as its many folk and regional variants, including the Pandavani of Chattisgarh, Gondhal of Maharashtra, Terukkuttu of Tamil Nadu, and Yakshagana of Kamataka.
Richly illustrated with over 250 line drawings by the author, the 108 chapters abound with little-known details such as the names of the hundred Kauravas, the worship of Draupadi as a goddess in Tamil Nadu, the stories of Astika, Madhavi, Jamini, Aravan and Barnareek, the Mahabharata version of the Shakuntaiam and the Ramayana, and the dating of the war based on astronomical data.
With clarity and simplicity, the tales in the elegant volume reveal the eternal relevance of the Mahabharata, the complex and disturbing meditation on the human condition that has shaped Indian thought for over 3000 years.

My Rating : 5 ☆'s

Review :
How many of us have read Mahabharata (excuse me elders, the question was intended for the teenagers and people in twenties) - guess, not many of us. No shame in that - I tried reading bible, trust me I couldn't read it. Truthfully, its not even our age to bury ourselves in religious scriptures - well that was what I thought, till I came across this author and his beautifully written books.
This wasn't my first book and it wasn't the last either. This book was recommended to me by my sister-in-law, who by the way, is 5 years younger to me about an year ago(the reason I mentioned the age difference was to point out how teenagers are finding the book interesting too).

Well, Dr. Devdutt's writing style is so different, that you will get hooked to the book. He doesn't narrate it like a religious scripture, but breaks down the story into smaller anecdotes and passages. What's even more interesting is, he adds his own perceptions and his own ideas at the end of each chapter that makes it an ever more interesting read. 

People who have read Mahabharata, the original religious scripture i.e., even they will find some new and interesting bits in this retelling. I read the book and then I asked my mom to read it and trust me, she found it interesting too - and she found something new in there too.
As if, this wasn't an inspiration enough to pick up a copy - reading these books and later discussing them leads to some real awesome discussions and chats.

And to add to the fun, pick up Ajaya (by Anand Neelakantan) before or after reading this one and you would really have some food for thought.
So, here's to hoping, these books would get a chance...

Happy Reading!

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