An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata
High above the sky stands Swarga, paradise, abode of the gods.
Still above is Vaikuntha, heaven, abode of God.
The doorkeepers of Vaikuntha are the twins, Jaya and Yijaya, both whose names mean 'victory'.
One keeps you in Swarga; the other raises you into Vaikuntha.
In Vaikuntha there is bliss forever, in Swarga there is please for only as long as you deserve.
What is the difference between Jaya and Vijaya?
Solve this puzzle and you will solve the mystery of the Mahabharata.
In this enthralling retelling of India's greatest epic, the Mahabharata originally known as Jaya, Devdutt Pattanaik seamlessly weaves into a single narrative plots from the Sanskirt classic as well as its many folk and regional varians, including the Pandavani of Chattisgarth, Gondhal of Maharastra, Terukkuttu of Tamil Nade and Yakshagana of Karnataka.
Richly illustrated with over 250 line drawings by the author, the 108 chapters abound with little-known details such as the names of the hundred Kauravas, the worship of Draupadi as a goddess in Tamil Nadu, the stories of Astika, Madhavi, Jaimini, Aravan and Barbareek, the Mahabharata version of the Shakuntalam and the Ramayana, and the dating of the war based on astronomical data.
With clarity and simplicity, the tales in this elegant volume reveal the eternal relevance of the Mahabharata, the complex and disturbing meditation on the human condition that has shaped Indian thought for over 3000 years.
[Source: Inside cover of the book]
This is the third book of Devdutt Pattanaik which I read, the other ones being 7 Secrets of Vishnu and 7 Secrets of Shiva.
Doing full justice to Mahabaharata, one of the longest epics ever written (more than 100,000 verses), in 300 odd pages is a challenge to any author.
Therefore the author has focused on the lesser known incidents in this epic. He has also provided his own interpretation after every chapter which are quite interesting to read.
The line drawings and the layout of the pages of this book are simple yet very elegant. This proves you don't really need colors to make things attractive.
All these aspects make this book a highly readable and enjoyable one,as evidenced in more than 300 reviews by the readers in Goodreads site.