Book Reviews

In Review: Devlok – Musings on Hinduism by Devdutt

devlokaDevlok with Devdutt Pattanaik by Devdutt Pattanaik

Published by Penguin
Genres: Mythology, Religion
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback

My Review in 15 Words: Question & Answer session on world’s oldest religion – Hinduism

About the Book:

“Devlok with Devdutt Pattnaik” is about Hindu religion, culture, and mythology.
This book is a literal transcript of Epic Channel Television Show “Devlok with Devdutt Pattnaik”. The Epic Chanel TV series was a tête-à-tête between the host and the famed mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik.

India and one of its prominent religions – Hinduism has always fascinated the world. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world – dated back more than 4000 years. And, as it is famously said, “Hinduism is more than a religion. It is a culture, a way of life, and a code of behavior. “

No culture exists without mythology and in Devlok, Mr. Pattanaik takes us on a voyage of Hindu mythology by highlighting characters, stories, events and symbols. Devdutt Pattanaik shares his expertise by attempting to demystify and decode the folklore and traditions that accompany Hindu mythology.

In each section, Devdutt covers one phenomenon from the great texts. From the concept of the Holy Triad – Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva to the different avatars of the Devi (Goddesses of Hindu mythology). This book discusses anything and everything from Vedas, Puranas, Bhagvad Gita to Avatars of Vishnu -from Matsya to Ram/Krishna to Kalki.

My Thoughts:

I have a fair idea about Hinduism, even the Gods and their back stories I am aware of. I chose this book considering it to be my light read. With a page count of 180, and based on a TV show of Mr. Pattnaik, I thought I will breeze through this book. How wrong I was?

The first thing I noticed that the topics covered in this book are wide-ranging and concerning many areas of Hinduism. As this book gives insights into many topics -and areas concerning Hinduism – I had to stop reading at regular intervals just to grasp the information that was imparted.

This book is based on the television show by the same name and very briefly discusses a variety of topics concerning Hinduism. That being said if you read this book expecting a detailed and scholarly discussion regarding Indian Mythology, get ready to be disappointed.

Pros:

Devdutt in his own unique conversational style makes mythology relevant to the common man.
Author redefines mythology as something that is comprehensive. He gives relevant, day-to-day examples to simplify otherwise complex and sensitive subjects as polygamy and death amongst others.
Though Devdutt has mentioned that whatever is written in the book is as per his knowledge and can be disputed. However, we can not take the credit away from him for his in-depth knowledge on the vast range of topics that are covered in this book.
The language used and explanations are simple. The entire book is of 26 topics which are discussed in the form of Q&As. The topic content is very engaging and related to each other.
Even though this book has 26 topics, you need not start from the first topics per say. All chapters are exclusive and are not completely dependent on the previous chapters knowledge -making it easy to start from any topic in the book.

Cons:

Some stories are repetitive
This book is basically Hinduism 101, If you already have a basic understanding of Hinduism, you will probably know most of the stories discussed here

Overall Reaction:

If you are a beginner in respect of Hindu mythology and want to know its bits and pieces, then this book is for you. It is a good read which throws limited light on multiple facets of Hindu Mythology.

thumbs-up

Thanks for Reading!!!

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