BOOK REVIEW: SHYAM AN ILLUSTRATED RETELLING OF THE BHAGAVATA by DEVDUTT PATTANAIK
TITLE: SHYAM AN ILLUSTRATED RETELLING OF THE BHAGAVATA
AUTHOR: DEVDUTT PATTANAIK
IF I COULD REVIEW IT IN A SINGLE LINE: Palate Cleansing
I’ve recently been devouring mythology books day and night because let’s face it all of us have mood swings and well this is mine for now. DevduttPattanaik is one of the foremost mythology scholars in our country at this time and well rightfully so.
I was sent a review copy of the book by the author and Siyahi and I’m grateful for that.
The book beings with King Vajranabhi, great-grandson of Krishna running errands and on an escapade to find out what his ancestor truly looked like, albeit having heard a lot about how resplendent he was. The author’s note starts with King Vajranabhi’s meeting with Abhimanyu’s widow Uttari who paints a magnificent word picture of the Lord’s beauty. In the succeeding chapter we are introduced to Shuka, unborn son of Vyasa, who had knowledge of all the vedas having learned them in the womb, had no intention of living on Earth because of the miseries it carried forth with it. Just as he is about to learn, Vyasa stops him and puts forth the many alterations and turns of Shyam’s life, thus urging him to stay.
Shyam, as called in the book, is the Purna-purush, he accepts every aspect of his nature and condemns none, which is so rare of any of us to achieve.
To be fair at this point I think it is important to mention that this book was indeed a well hyped and overly awaited one because of a simple reason that Krishna, the fantasy, the love of Radha and the husband of Rukmini, the prayer of Meera and the deity of his Gopis, is one of the most beloved and endearing Gods of our religion. There is a part of the book very special to me and that’ll be the retelling of Draupadi’scheerharan, and yes the beauty of Radha Krishna’s relationship which was bounded by pure love and is a reincarnation of nothing less.
What I adored most about the book were the absolute apt illustrations which play a vital role in capturing the reader's attention through and through. DevduttPattanaik is a genius whose books are so perfect renditions of our Gods and Goddess because of his immense and unbound knowledge of our literature.
Writing and Presentation: 5/5
I was sent a review copy of the book by the author for an honest and unbiased review. This review is my own and hasn’t been influenced by anyone else.