It is significant that the only character in Hindu mythology, a king at that, to be given the title of ekam-patni-vrata, devoted to a single wife, is associated with the most unjust act of abandoning her in the forest to protect family reputation. This seems a deliberate souring of an uplifting narrative. Ram's refusal to remarry to produce a royal heir adds to the complexity. The intention seems to be to provoke throught on notions of fidelity, property and self-image.
And so the mythologist and illustrator Devdutt Pattaanik retells the Ramayana, drawing attention to the many oral, visual and written retellings composed in different times, in different places, by different poets, each one trying to solve the puzzle in its own unique way.
This book approaches Ram by speculating on Sita: her childhood with her father, Janaka, who hosted sages mentioned in the Upanishads; her stay in the forest with her husband, who had to be a celibate ascetic while she was in the prime of her youth; her interactions with the women of Lanka, recipes she exchanged, emotions they shared; her connection with the earth, her mother, and with the trees, her sisters; her role as the Goddess, the untamed Kali as well as the demure Gauri, in transforming the stoic prince of Ayodhya into God.
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Devdutt Pattanaik is a medical doctor by education, a leadership consultant by profession and a mythologist by passion. He has written and lectured extensively on the nature of sacred stories, symbols and rituals and their relevance in modern times. His books with Penguin India include The Book of Ram, Myth = Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology, The Pregnant King, The Book of Kali, Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata, and the Devlok series of stories for children. Devdutt's unconventional approach and engaging style is evident in his lectures, book and articles.Review:
ot fare I got this book for 374 now its 339. Wow what a book. My friends came home when I was reading this book and they all liked this book so now all our group has ordered it. This is not bound by religion or class. Expands and aligns the understanding and perception. Must read by me. I have also read his earlier works. Thanks for mentioning me Dr Manoj Agarwal. I later thought price does not matter when I compare it to the wisdom I received after reading this and earlier books. Thanks to Devdutt Pattanaik from sharing and helping me to see quite a different viewpoint. --Archana on Oct 24, 2013
A masterpiece by Devdutt Pattanaik. I used to doubt about Ram being a God. After reading this, the question is gone. The Sita was never gone, Ram never abandoned her. Hanumaan knowing the truth about Sita's Ram and Ram's Sita. Great story, even greatly re-told. The wisdom of Sita is the true rule, the rule of Ram is the true wisdom! --Hardeep Singh on Feb 2, 2014
Fantastic read. If you read it with soul and emotion and not like some "Hindu" scripture, and just like a novel, you will surely be touched and might even have watery eyes at some places in this epic of wisdom and logic. My only message to the readers is, people, buy it. It is a treasure chest for a successful and peaceful life ahead and a healthy human psychology if you understood Pattanaik's perspective. Well, It's all about perspective, isn't it. A famous line from this book, --Bharat Aswal on Dec 10, 2013
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Book Description Penguin Publishing Group, 2013. Softcover. Book Condition: New. First edition. Ramayana is the story of Rama, the son of King Dasharatha. He was the heir to his kingdom, an empire. Yet, due to the malice prevalent in the palace, the Prince was exiled. He had to live in the forest with his wife and his younger brother for fourteen years. Rama took this step to ensure that his father?s reputation as a man who keeps his word, was not tarnished. One of the underlying themes of the Ramayana echoes the upholding of tradition, reputation, and the family image. The Ramayana is all about obeying the rules and laws of Dharma, and about maintaining reputation even if it means personal loss and unhappiness. According to this book, this is the key to understanding the story of Sita in the Ramayana. Who is Sita? She plays a prominent role in the epic, but is a very quiet and restrained character. Her husband adores her, yet he abandons her in the end because of the persistent gossip among his subjects about Sita?s fidelity. Through all her travails, Sita remains quiet, does not lose her composure, and does not vocally demand retribution, like the fiery Draupadi of the Mahabharata. Draupadi is acknowledged as a strong character, and she is. But, Sita is often viewed as meek and submissive. Sita?s silence is not the silence of the weak. It is the silence of the ascetic, who knows the truth, and so is patient. She knows her husband loves her, and she is indispensable to him. Moreover, she knows she is the Goddess who makes him the God, the woman who makes him the whole man. She was found as a baby in a furrow when Janaka ploughed a tract of land to prepare for a yagna. Thus, from the beginning, she is special and stands apart. Even when she is held captive by Ravana, she does not really fear him. Sita: An Illustrated Retelling Of The Ramayana explores the enigma of Sita and explains her real strength of character. It is a very interesting analysis of a woman most people might think was a weak character, who was supposed to represent the ideal of submissive womanhood. This book shows why this was not so. Printed Pages: 339. Bookseller Inventory # 104251
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