Monday, December 6, 2010

TO READ OR NOT TO READ...

Let us take a quick break from the routine of posting and reading Mythology stories and instead delve on the sources and what can one do to read and learn about this common yet obscure subject. It is common in the sense that it is all around us, in our day to day lives. At the same time, it is obscure too as the prevailing knowledge of this subject is shallow & restricted, and soon there will be a desperate need to know more, no less.

But when we come to sources, the big question is where to start! And the answer can be as many as one can imagine. So, I think I will take the liberty of enlisting what I think will make learning Indian Myth a smooth and enjoyable process.

1. Mahabharata and Ramayana, Sri. Rajagopalachari:

Though not really the start point, but the two mega epics by Rajaji certainly are a must read and even collectible items. The flow is lucid, divisions in chapters convenient and the language is simple enough.

2. Myth = Mithya, Devdutt Pattanaik:
This is an almost objective yet brilliant book on the divine triad of Hindu Mythology – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The book may present some uncomfortable matter for unassuming readers (and hence to be read by children only under the guidance of elders). Yet, an eye opening exercise of anyone who cares about the subject.
3. The Book of Ram, by Devdutt Pattanaik:
A detailed analysis of Lord Ram and his various roles may be found in this book. Though spanning only about 200 pages, this book is a simple yet effective read on the many aspects of Lord Ram.

4. Jaya, Devdutt Pattanaik:
A brilliant piece of work on Mahabharata, this book stands out for its illustrations and the many local versions of the stories we thought we knew so well. It explores certain origins very well, notable one being that of the South Indian dish Avial. Again, this has strong content and as my sister puts it, almost challenges ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’.


5. Hindu Mythology, W J Wilkins:
This one is for hard core fans of Indian Mythology and resembles your thick, modestly illustrated School History book. But extremely well researched; composed over 100 years ago by the Brit, this one can dispel all your doubts and questions!





6. Amar Chitra Katha Series - http://www.amarchitrakatha.com/products/Epics-and-Mythology:
An absolute must for any growing child (others too), this can be a potential trigger towards interest in Mythology. Excellent illustrated stories, ACK sources are quite credible and optimally detailed. And if you don’t have time for heavy reads, then this is exactly what you’re looking for.

7. Immortals of Meluha, Amish Tripathi - http://shivatrilogy.com/index.html
One of the very few Indian Mythological Fictions ever written, this book follows the story of a tribe’s leader, Shiva, who is regarded as an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Part 1 of the proposed Trilogy, this book makes an interesting read with a well paced story and an intriguing lead into the next book.

8. Devdutt Pattanaik Articles - http://devdutt.com/category/articles/:
If you’re looking for a regular dose of gyan on Indian Mythology, Devdutt’s articles are probably the best in class. His ability to extend the stories to a modern context and to compare them with the western ones brings in an amazing perspective. But don’t expect instant replies to your questions or feedback on the articles! Yet, an article a week, and in this topic you will no longer be weak.

9. Blogs on Indian Mythology (just to list a few):
http://vneelima.wordpress.com/
http://www.blogtoplist.com/entertainment/blogdetails-8581.html
http://moralstories.wordpress.com/list-of-stories/

10. Movies / TV Serials (just to list a few):
a. Ramayan, an animated movie (in the 90s) – neat animation and a compact story
b. Dashavatar, an animated movie (in 2008) – simple yet elaborate details of the 10 Avatars of Lord Vishnu
c. Mahabharat, by B R Chopra – 94 elaborate episodes with commentaries
d. Ramayan, by Ramanand Sagar – 78 Elaborate episodes with commentaries
e. Karna, Tamil movie starring Shivaji Ganesan – Highlights on Karna’s friendship with Duryodhana.
f. Maya Bazaar, in Telugu & Tamil (in the 50s) – About Ghatotghaj and his role in Abhimanyu’s 1st marriage
g. Veer Hanuman, in Hindi (in the 80s) – About a serpent princess who is reborn as Satyabhama in the Krishavatar. Deals with Ravana’s brothers and Hanuman’s son too!

That’s about it. This is just a miniscule part of a really long list. But if there is one thing I know for certain, then it is that choice is not necessarily good. So, stick to these and I am sure you’ll emerge better learned. Once you’re done with these, I am certain that you can search for the rest on yourself. Enjoy Reading and Watching! Until later, whenever that is…Om Shanti Om!

5 comments:

Abhishek Paul said...

The Ramayana Series by Ashok Banker ?? Not that I have read it, but surely worth a mention. No ?

Anand said...

Yes Yes...I admit the slip. Like Meluha, it is also a Mythology Fiction. Haven't read it yet, but I think those who have, swear by it. Will add soon...

Aparna K.S. said...

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Netra Vathi said...

Can any one suggest a book in English with all 10 detail stories of Lord vishnu.. Dashavatha - incarnation of Lord Vishnu..

Abirami mall said...

This blog is nice and I have a one idea to know secretes about Shiva. On the whole, the secret and adventures of Siddhars in different moulds is what is Siva Ragasiyam.
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