Jaya: Retelling of Mahabharata by Devdutt Pattanaik


I don’t always judge a book by its cover but in this case, the cover just tempted me in. I came across this book, read the back cover and was hooked. It goes thus,

A son renounces sex so that his old father can remarry

A daughter is a prize in an archery contest

A teacher demands half a kingdom as his tuition fee

A student is turned away because of his caste

A mother asks her sons to share a wife

A father curses his son-in-law to be old and impotent

A husband lets another man make his wife pregnant

A wife blindfolds herself to share her husband’s blindness

A forest is destroyed for a new city

A family is divided over inheritance

A king gambles away his kingdom

A queen is forced to serve as a maid

A man is stripped of his manhood for a year

A woman is publicly disrobed

A war is fought where all rules are broken

A shift in sexuality secures victory

The vanquished go to paradise

The victors lose their children

The earth is bathed in blood

God is cursed

Until wisdom prevails

As the title suggests it is ‘retelling’ of the Mahabharata, it’s neither a paraphrase nor an original version.  This is a great book for someone who wants to get an understanding of Mahabharata as a whole and is not yet ready to read the entire Mahabharata. Salute to Author Devdutt Pattanaik for accomplishing the task of rewriting the Mahabharat in such a lucid easy way, fit to be enjoyed by everyone who doesn’t want to weigh themselves down with dreary details, but wants to taste the wisdom of the world’s longest epic

Author has also done a fantastic job of containing this epic in 300 odd pages and making sense of almost everything in the story. Initially, it might get overwhelming to keep track of all the numerous characters. But as you go further into the book, it’s a pleasant read. Devdutt uses extremely simple language. The 108 chapters feel like 108 short stories. His interpretation and explanations at the end of every chapter make it even better

Most of us feel that we already know what happened in Mahabharata then why should we read it? And this is where this book makes a huge difference, we all have heard those stories but did we really make something out of those stories? This book is a link between what we have heard or perceived and what it actually was. Mr. Pattnaik has done a massive amount of investigation on this topic and he has written some really good comments at the end of each chapter. Actually, these are the things which will enlighten you at times; these observations and opinions by Mr. Pattnaik contain the gist of the epic and will clear many misconceptions.

Nowhere in the book has author allowed emotions to take hold of the story. Though we have been told that Pandavas were the heroes and Kauravas were villains, this book does not portray anyone as a hero but everybody is a villain in one or the other sense.

I highly recommend this book!

want to buy this book ? here are the links Amazon and flipkart

1 thought on “Jaya: Retelling of Mahabharata by Devdutt Pattanaik”

  1. What a book to review on world book day.Devdutt has his own understanding of such mythological subjects and truly hold his own place in literary world with series of such books.I am sure you would recommend other books too. Happy reading.

Leave a Reply