Book Review: Jaya- An Illustrated Retelling Of The Mahabharata

Devdutt Patnaik, strikes you with yet another Indian epic story, viewed from the eyes of a commoner.

How well do you remember the old stories narrated to you by your elders?

If you’re fascinated by mythology, this book is bound to catch your attention. Even before the content of the book is narrated to you, you get all confused and mesmerized with the illustration of the introduction. Devdutt Patnaik, strikes you with yet another Indian epic story, viewed from the eyes of a commoner.

“High above the sky stands Swarga, paradise, abode of the gods. Still above is Vaikuntha. Jaya and Vijaya are two doorkeepers of Vaikuntha. Both whose names mean victory.”

The author leaves you wondering on the lessons you’ve learnt from the Mahabharata. With clarity and simplicity, this retelling of the greatest war known in the history of India, has tales that was never narrated on a bigger scale, and that has shaped the Indian thought for centuries now.

The most important lesson the author augments on the reader is about life having planned something or the other for you all the time. Think about how being human to others, in every minor situation- at work or your personal life could make a huge difference to you. The summary at the end of every lesson in the book, tells you how our way of living affects others and that the traditions we’ve been following since ages, were implemented by our ancestors for the greater good.

The illustrations of stories by line drawings, not only attract the attention of the reader, but also creates a vision in the mind, that no other drama, onscreen soap or drawing has ever created. Why is it called an “illustrated retelling of the Mahabharat”? Because with every chapter you finish in the book, you understand the interpretations the author has tried to tell you. They are not the usual, intended moral of the story, but the cultural, political, practical explanations, and at times simply to enlighten you on how stories got changed while passing it to the next generations to cover up or make it suit to the situation people found themselves in.

A must read for those who have a strong fascination for mythology.

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