No. of pages: 219
Price: Rs.163/- on flipkart
I have been following Devdutt Pattanaik’s blog for sometime now. I like his writing and moreover his passion for all things mythological, though I do tend to disagree at times 😉 So when BlogAdda announced this book for review, I just had to go grab it 🙂
When we had been to Khajuraho in 2002, the priest in one of the temples had explained to us how circumambulating the temple with it’s walls adorned with erotic art figurines and then entering into the Garbhagriha [innermost sanctum] signifies that man sees and experiences all the worldly pleasures in life and finally realizes that God alone is the Ultimate Truth. Interesting, no?
Every single place with such ancient, glorious works of art I have visited including Hampi, Belur-Halebidu and the smallest of temples in the remotest corners of India have left me mesmerized and a tad bit more knowledgeable 😀 Well, that’s how most sculptures, rituals and folklores in India are – they do mean a lot more than what meets the eye!:)
A collection of such ‘Behind the Scenes‘ about this world, our life-cycle and the significance of different day-to-day activities in our own lives including sowing, harvesting etc.., the mistake we commit in the pursuit of Saraswathi just for the sake of Lakshmi [Knowledge vs Money], in the light of Lord Vishnu and his 10 different avatars [incarnations/Dashavatara], is what this book offers to the reader.
The Author’s Note at the beginning sets the right tone for what is to come. The story behind every incarnation of Vishnu and the lessons it teaches us make for a wonderful read. Parallels are also drawn with the different strata of society [Kshatriyas, Brahmanas, Vaishyas, Shudras] and we realize how something which was divided purely based on abilities/ skills has now taken a turn for the worst 😦
What I felt though was that the first chapter, while introducing many new terms and concepts, profound ones at that, seems really hurried through. This becomes very confusing as we move on, mainly due to a lack of Index in the book, given that this is a kind of book where you may need to go back to refer something and not breeze through like a casual read!
Beautiful illustrations of carvings, various kinds of paintings, wooden dolls, bronze images, presiding deities of temples and even calendar art, not only from different parts of India but even from Cambodia et..al on every alternate page of the book add a lot of colour and value to the explanations, and make them very interesting and easy to understand.
For all the new things we get to learn about old tales we have heard since our childhood, starting from our grandparents, this book definitely makes for a worthy read. This one will definitely set you on a journey down the nostalgic lane 🙂
My personal favourite is the chapter on the secrets of Krishna – Ahh! What a colourful form of the Lord he is!:) Read the book and do let me know which one you loved the most 🙂