Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata

Front Cover
Penguin Books India, 2010 - Literary Collections - 349 pages

High above the sky stands Swarga, paradise, abode of the gods. Still above is Vaikuntha, heaven, abode of God.

The doorkeepers of Vaikuntha are the twins, Jaya and Vijaya, both whose names mean 'victory'. One keeps you in Swarga; the other raises you into Vaikuntha.

In Vaikuntha there is bliss forever, in Swarga there is pleasure for only as long as you deserve. What is the difference between Jaya and Vijaya? Solve this puzzle and you will solve the mystery of the Mahabharata.

In this enthralling retelling of India's greatest epic, the Mahabharata, originally known as Jaya, Devdutt Pattanaik seamlessly weaves into a single narrative plots from the Sanskrit classic as well as its many folk and regional variants, including the Pandavani of Chattisgarh, Gondhal of Maharashtra, Terukkuttu of Tamil Nadu, and Yakshagana of Kamataka.

Richly illustrated with over 250 line drawings by the author, the 108 chapters abound with little-known details such as the names of the hundred Kauravas, the worship of Draupadi as a goddess in Tamil Nadu, the stories of Astika, Madhavi, Jamini, Aravan and Barnareek, the Mahabharata version of the Shakuntaiam and the Ramayana, and the dating of the war based on astronomical data.

With clarity and simplicity, the tales in the elegant volume reveal the eternal relevance of the Mahabharata, the complex and disturbing meditation on the human condition that has shaped Indian thought for over 3000 years.


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User Review  - PiyushC - LibraryThing

Mahabharata is an epic, the longest one in the world. It forms the most important part of Indian mythology and is a cornerstone of Hindu religion. Many of its sub-sects, like the Ramayana (an ... Read full review

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Ever since i have started reading between the lines of scriptures and exploring the life of spiritual persons i have found the immensity of wisdom underlying within. Since then i have wondered in search of someone who can rediscover all those insights of life revealing the laws of Nature, way of God and Human instincts, understanding of which have started fading away to make room for political menace, historicity of facts, countless narratives of superiority and logical minds lacking enlightenment. Long ago Brahmins, the transmitters failed to show the way to Brahman and also distorted what they transmitted to fit their own human logic, ambition and personal accord. For the sake of debate and to satisfy false ego people started isolating facts and incidents which actually have never ending sequence.
It was the high time for emergence of someone who through his works could once again show the world "the river of wisdom that flows within the maze of stories", someone who could prove that in this great land Bharata, Itihasa is not what happend in past but "what always happens in what manner".
May be i am praising your karma because our thoughts are aligned and i see the world the way you see. Even if do not think alike i must revere you for presenting something that was told many times in the past not because human memory is short but for new audiences need to percept in a different way, different language and perspective. Boundaries change, clans disappears, names fade away but karma remains. Hence i will request you to publish your works in all possible languages at least the two retellings - "Jaya and Sita" and if feasible make those available at open sources for great knowledge must flow freely. May God bless you in your endeavors of spreading the enlightenment you have achieved till He grants you peace.
"हर्-ए कृष्ण"

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About the author (2010)

Devdutt Pattanaik is a medical doctor by education, a leadership consultant by profession, and a mythologist by passion. He has written and lectured extensilvey on the nature of sacred stories, symbols and rituals and their relevance in modern times. His books include "The Book of Ram, Myth=Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology "and "The Pregnant King "and "The Book of Kali "is based on his talks.

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