Book Review: Jaya, An illustrated retelling of the Mahabharata.

Jaya @Tangled_tourista

Hello beautiful people out there,

Today we have brought a book review for all you guys. So let’s begin.

Book: Jaya, An illustrated retelling of the Mahabharata.

Author: Devdutt Pattanaik

Genre: Indian Mythology

Pages: 346

Price: Rs. 499

Publications: Penguin Books India

Plot: This book is a retelling of the great Indian epic, ‘Mahabharata’. It starts with the snake sacrifice done by Janamejaya who is the grandson of Abhimanyu(Son of Arjuna). It is during this sacrifice, Astika retold Janamejaya the Mahabharata, from the stories of their ancestors to  Bharata, Shantanu, Bhishma, Dhritsrashtra, Pandu, and then to the Pandavas and Kauravas. Explaining the reason behind each and every part of the story. Author Devdutt Pattanaik weaves into a single narrative plot from the Sanskrit classic as well as its many folk and regional variants.

This is not only the story of winning a war – Vijaya but is more about Jaya, which is the spiritual victory, where there are no losers. The book does not end with the war but also tells about the after war situation of Pandavas, Hastinapuri, Krishna, and Dwarka. It describes the reason behind why the Pandavas went to Narak, while Kauravas were in Swarga after death. It also emphasizes on the essence of Mahabharata – ‘Gita’, and describes the law of Karma in a very simplistic way.

My reviews: The book starts with Parikshit’s (king of Hastinapuri) death. He was killed by a snake. In revenge his son, Janamejaya decided to perform a yagna in which all the snakes would be sacrificed. And from here starts the retelling of Mahabharata, originally known as Jaya.

In the beginning, the book actually confused me a  little bit. The vast number characters in it, really made me go crazy. But after turning few pages the known characters started to speak to me and I could make sense of beginning. This book not only tells you the story of Mahabharata, but it also contains part of folk stories.  It describes the change in time, from how women who were in power to choose her husband, who had the power to actually put in front conditions to marry a man, who had the power to her sexuality became subordinate to man. This book illustrates not only Mahabharata, but also describes the change in era.

I liked the book, it is a concise version of Mahabharata and as I was reading Mahabharata for the first time it made easier for me to understand it.

Recommendations: I will definitely recommend this book to someone who wants to start reading on Indian Mythology or Mahabharata. It will give you a great start. But to those who have already started reading Indian Mythology and specially Mahabharata, this book may be too fetus for you.

Ratings: 4/5

Komal Bagri
A traveler and a bookworm at heart, Komal Bagri has explored many destinations across India. But that never seems to be enough and she’s always ready to hit the road again. Her obsession for travel is combined with a love for books. She is currently working as a Content Developer at an eminent press.

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