I love the Indian epics, I have loved them since childhood, and Mahabharata is my absolute favorite. My love for fiction, fantasy, and complicated grey characterizations and dark humor can be traced back to Mahabharata. It has everything, EVERYTHING that a story should have.
But wait; don’t get me wrong these 5 star words are not for Vyasa’s epic, I am too lowly a man to even think of judging that. These 5 stars are for MR. Pattanaik, he has done great deal of research and although many stories differ, he is right, there are so many versions, even contradictory accounts of the tale that to compress them all and validate them in one version is impossible. But he has done a remarkable job, i specially enjoyed his notes and his PICTURES ( I know sounds ,CHILDISH!, right!), but I maintain there is no better way to tell a tale than with depictions and his were spot on.
The book is great, to distill Mahabharata in 350 pages is no small thing, his anecdotes into the story, attempts to dwell in the deeper meaning, understanding the characters and symbolism, to attach the references to substance are very enlightening. We all know from experience in Social science classes that there is no better way to teach morality and philosophy than by storytelling.
I was very pleasantly surprised when i found that this was what Mr. Devdutt’s intention was all along.
To connect Sanatan dharma teachings, to link the logic of Karma, and core Hindu philosophies , even admitting, which tale got joined maybe when and because of what social change is truly refreshing.
I specially loved the book because it went beyond the story and Myths, which Mr.Pattanaik, have not simplified however ludicrous they might sound to a foreign audience, he has kept the wonder in the story intact and tried to decipher the ancient lessons of the Vedic teachings this tale was meant to impart in the first place.
Every man woman and child in the Indian subcontinent is aware of this great epic, like the ancient Greek heroes, who have enthralled the European public, every child in India dreams of being one of the Pandavas, the stories themselves are fantastic and unlike Ramayana, in Mahabharata it is very difficult to pick a favorite character, My personal favorite are Karna and Krishna , and yes in that order. Might sound like blasphemy , but in this tale, i find no greater character and warrior than ‘Dan-veer’ Karna.
This book should absolutely be read by people who are not familiar with Mahabharata, though the writer has distilled the stories many times over, condensed them and confined them within a few pages, I could find no fault in his attempts or intentions. This is a wonderfully written book, i am glad i got to finish it on a Sunday (in one go I might Add, such is my love for this epic).