ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik is a doctor by training, a marketing manager by profession and a mythologist by passion. He conducts regular lectures and runs a TV show that elucidates the relevance of the sacred stories, symbols and rituals of Hinduism in the modern times. He has authored many bestsellers such as Shiva: An Introduction and Shiva to Shankara: Decoding the Phallic Symbol, among others.
Awareness leads to discovery. Discovery is Creation.
Have you ever wondered about the greatest myths of Hinduism? We have 3 crore gods and goddess and yet believe in the oneness of God. We have the holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, who are all powerful but we still hold the belief that they originated from an all-pervasive divine source. Have you ever wanted to read the Sanskrit texts to learn about the myths of Hindu philosophy but did not know where to begin? If so, Myth = Mithya by Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik would be a recommended read for you.
In this book, the author makes an attempt at decoding various myths from Hindu mythology and unraveling the truth about life, death and the ultimate goal of human life. He simplifies the stories from Hindu scriptures and retells them in layman’s language, using illustrations and tables, not to mention his unique style of writing.
The author relates the several stories associated with the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. He brings together different versions of the same stories written in different scriptures, or the Puranas, and compiles them at one place. This helps the readers to comprehend those stories along with their context.
The book has brief descriptions of the well-known Gods and Goddesses worshiped by the Hindus along with their pictorial representations. The author touches upon various topics related to Hindu rituals such as visiting temples, importance of the Prasad, why the Yagnas were performed and so on.
The short paperback book is divided into three sections. The first segment is related to the creator of the universe, Brahma, and the Goddess of Knowledge, Sarasvati. It deals with the many aspects concerning the birth and expansion of the universe. The second portion deals with the protector of the universe, Vishnu, and the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi. It mentions the various avatars or incarnations of Lord Vishnu and what necessitated those incarnations. The third and final part is about the destructive force of Shiva, and the Goddess of Energy, Shakti. This fragment of the book expounds how Shiva destroys the world through His withdrawal.
The book contains 215 pages in all, which include a glossary of non-English words used in the descriptions, a bibliography and an index. The author has also given decent recommendations on how to read the book, before starting out with the first part. He insists on the readers reading the book at a slow and measured pace so as to gain a better understanding of the concepts and stories presented therein.
The language used by the author is clear and crisp. He conveys the messages hidden in the various Hindu rituals and practices in an easy-to-understand manner, which further boosts the reader’s curiosity to know more about the proud history of Hinduism as a philosophy and belief system.
Myth = Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology deserves a 3.5-star rating. The book contains some known and unknown stories from the Hindu scriptures. The language is simple and the content is fairly high in quality. However, the author fails to provide any specific details for his references. The analysis of some concepts appears to be superficial to say the least. The book, though, is interesting to read, thanks to its descriptions, flow charts and illustrations.
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