Devdutt Pattanaik, who is a medical doctor by education, a leadership consultant by profession and mythologist by passion approaches Ramayana, one among the two mythological Indian epics that have been told and retold over the years, but with totally different perspective.
“To all those who believe that the Mahabharata is more realistic and complex than the Ramayana: May they realize that both epics speak of dharma… In one, the protagonist is kingmaker who can move around rules, while in the other the protagonist is a king who must uphold rules, howsoever distasteful they may be.”
The book begins with a very catchy and intriguing authors note titled ’What Shiva Told Shakti’. Ramayana is actually narrated by Shiva to Shakti from where a curious crow ‘Kakabhusandi’ overhears this narration and shares with Narada and he then passes the story to Valmiki. Valmikiteaches it to the twins Luv and Kush.
The Author, in the note, put forward a question. Where the story of Ramayana does end? Does it really have an end? But then the answer is cyclic. In a very well observed and researched way, Devdutt Pattanaik succeeds to convince us with the fact that Ramayana is a story that never ends. And that reminded me of a Quote by J. Michael Straczynski
“The point of mythology or myth is to point to the horizon and to point back to ourselves; this is who we are; this is where we came from; and this is where we are going”
One of the most interesting parts I found in the book was the teaching of Upanishads. The detailing about ‘Aham’ ‘Atma’ ‘Tapasya’ and all will definitely be a treat to mythology lovers. This story of Ramayana has a hero who they describe is so perfect and Sita is even better.
Devdutt Pattanaik offers wide images of women in his book than how other Ramayana story does. It is about Sita. From finding an abandoned child as a gift from the mother earth, to the return of a woman to the same; who was abandoned by her husband. Devdutt Pattanaik’s Sita: An Illustrative Retelling of Ramayana is a brilliantly researched book. Despite of being a story that has been told and retold, the author succeeds in keeping it a page turner. But then, as the authors note ends
I hope I succeed. If I don’t, indulge me, for:
‘Within infinite myths lies an eternal truth
Who sees it all?
Varuna has but a thousand eyes
Indra, a hundred
You and I, only two.’
Previously published in : Gulmohar Online Magazine