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Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata – by Devdutt Pattanaik

I have grown up listening to the stories of Mahabharata and Ramayana, and among the two Mahabharata has always fascinated me more. Maybe it was the charm of Krishna which has lured me in my teenage. But as I grew up I started loving it for the complexities and layers of human nature depicted in the story.

If you haven’t read it or heard about it just read this amazing blurb at the back of this book and it will definitely make you pick this book. I think I can’t describe the blurb of the book better than this one, so I am not even going to attempt it.

One of the most amazing parts of this story is that if you dig deeper nobody seems like a pure saint or a pure evil. Yes, history has a habit of glorifying the winning party and hence we tend to find all virtue in the winning side and all the vices in the losing side. But this is the beauty of this story. Everyone has faced some or other injustice in life or is a victim of circumstances. While reading it you often keep on wondering whom to blame or with whom to sympathize.

It draws so many parallels with human life too. All of us do operate in grey areas of life only. One thing that can be right from your perspective can be very wrong from others.

The most beautiful thing about this book is that it is unlike other Mahabharata retellings where authors mostly get sentimental and devotional when telling the stories of God. Devdutt Pattnaik I believe is the master in storytelling without getting swayed by emotions. He just tells us the story as a story rather than giving a moral lesson. In the trivia section after each story, he mentioned various viewpoints of various scholars on this story and the different versions told in different parts of India and different books.

Since I am hearing these stories from childhood I believed that I have mostly heard all the stories, but I was surprised to find a lot of stories that I haven’t heard before. The book is quite comprehensive and yet covered in just 350 pages. The language and writing style is so easy to read and it can be easily picked by any beginner.

I really loved this book and enjoyed thoroughly and hence I will highly recommend it to anyone looking to read about Hindu mythology. I have learned so many new things from this book that I am looking forward to reading other books too from the same author.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Published inBooksFiction

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