Book Review: Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik

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Title: Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik

Author: Devdutt Pattanaik

Pages: 162 pages

Plot: Journey into the amazing world of Hindu mythology with Devdutt Pattanaik. Why are most temples dedicated to Vishnu, Shiva or the goddess, but not to Brahma or Indra?  How are an asura, rakshasa, yaksha and pishacha different from each other? Why did the Pandavas find themselves in naraka rather than swarga? Over several months, EPIC Channel’s ground-breaking show Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik has enthralled countless viewers. Here, finally, is the book based on the first series of the ever-popular show, which will take you on a scintillating tour through the myriad stories, symbols and rituals that form the basis of Hindu culture. Prepare to be surprised and thrilled as Devdutt narrates magical tales about larger-than-life figures – gods, goddesses, demi-gods and demons who you thought you knew well but didn’t. Learn about the intricacies of Hindu thought as he explains the origin and meaning of different creation myths, and throws light on why we believe in a cyclical – not linear – concept of time. This book is your perfect introduction to the endlessly fascinating world of Hindu mythology. About the Author Devdutt Pattanaik is the author of over twenty-five books and 500 articles on the relevance of mythology in modern times. Trained in medicine (MBBSfrom Grant Medical College, Mumbai University), he worked in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries for fifteen years before devoting all his time to his passion for decoding beliefs of all cultures, modern and ancient, located beneath the veneer of rationality.

Thoughts:  Mythology has always been an intruding subject for me. As a child I loved the stories of Ramayan, Mahabharata and the others but now I have a curiosity to dig in deeper and find out the reason behind why certain rituals are followed, why certain Gods are worshiped and so on.

Mr Devdutt Pattanaik is renowned for his mythological knowledge and this book is based on season one of his show on Epic channel. The book is in a conservative form where the questions are answered by the author. The author touches upon the various aspects of Indian mythology such as devs and asurs, Gods and foods, avtaars, devi worships, Gods and marriages, yugas, etc.

The book is in a question and answer format which makes the reading feel like a conversation or a one on one interview with the author. The concepts are very well explained and are segregated into various chapters, making it easy to understand even for mythology beginners. The book is well documented and the language is very simple to understand. I got answers to a lot of questions that had risen in my mind once upon a time. The book is definitely too informative and cannot be read in one sitting. I had to divide it in various sitting to grasp every bit of it. Over all the book explains the complex concepts of Indian mythology in a simpler way.

PS: The cover of the book could definitely have been better.

Ratings: 3.5/5

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Book Review: The Indua Challenge

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Title: The Indus Challenge

Author: R. Durgadoss

Pages: 286 pages

Plot: Bharat is in chaos. While the kingdoms fight each other, Alexander’s forces gather for the assault, their leader lured by tales of supernatural weapons and the elixir of immortality. Only one man can save the subcontinent from domination by the Greeks: the young Chandragupta Maurya, trained under the aegis of the ‘dark brahmin’, Chanakya.

When an ancient seal is found, sharing the secrets of the brahmastra, the redoubtable weapon of the Mahabharat, it is up to Rudra, young commander of the Mauryan Nava Yuva Sena and lifelong friend and confidante of Chandragupta, to decode it. Along with his fellow commandos, and with the able guidance of his guru, Rudra embarks on a quest that takes him from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the seas of Rameshwaram, hunting the clues that will lead him to the brahmastra. On the way, he meets the Chiranjivis, ancient beings tasked with divine duties, and learns the secrets behind his own birth and his mysterious powers.

But Rudra must be careful, for not all enemies were dispersed with the death of the mighty Alexander. Treachery lurks in the home, and when Rudra is framed for the attempted murder of his sovereign, he must pull every trick at his disposal to reveal the enemy, and save his kingdom from plunging, once more, into bloodshed and chaos.
A historical, mythological adventure story, The Indus Challenge is sure to appeal to readers interested in the storied past of India and the legends woven into its soil.

Thoughts: The Indus Valley Civilization is based over centuries right from the times of Kuru war to the Kal yuga. The plot is mainly based in the time zone when the Greek King Alexander aims to extend the boundaries of the kingdom across the world, to Chandraguta and Chankya’s conquest to dethrone ‘Nanda- the evil King’ and accomplish an ‘Akhand Bharat’.

The story focuses on the hidden knowledge of unveiling the secrets of Bramastars, Chiranjivi’s and other mythological events. Along with the historical facts about Alexander and Chandragupta, the fictional tale of Rudra, the Yuga Purash is weaved in. The blend of fiction, history and mythology is the highlight of this book.

The most intruding part of the book for me was reading about Alexander and Chandragupta together. We have read of them individually but imagining them together was quite a treat. I loved the historical and mythological insights that the book gave. The drawings and the symbols were very helpful while devouring the book. The narration was crisp but I felt it got too text bookish at times.

If you love historic and mythological tales, you can give this book a shot.

Ratings: 3/5

PS: – Thanks to TBC for sending a copy of this book for an honest review.

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