Book: Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik Part 3
Author: Devdutt Pattanaik
Pages: 256; Price: Rs 199
It is amazing that nowadays when I ask people what is their favourite genre in books an increasing number of them say ‘mythology’. And if you are in India (maybe the question should be — Indian or an Indophile?), it would most likely be due to one person and one person only — Devdutt Pattanaik.
With Goddesses in India: Five Faces of the Eternal Feminine in 1998, Pattanaik unleashed, successfully, a continued deluge of contemporary literature that revealed mostly in the myths of a multi-cultural and -religious India with a keen focus on the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain worldviews.
Be it the Vedas, Puranas or the epics, they all made their presence felt in his columns, books, lectures and then his long-running television series on the EPIC channel called Devlok. This show sees Pattanaik and an amicable host discuss different sections and questions of mythology through his inimitable storytelling manner that makes for interesting viewing for the audience. This book is the third in the series of compilations of the discussions on this eponymous show.
Part 3 here is the next portion of information shared on TV to get captured in the written form. It is the next quasi-erudite endeavor to explain Pattanaik’s rationale behind many Hindu beliefs, rituals, values and traditions, without hard selling the religion or white-washing it. His singular aim seems to be to educate people with his understanding of the religion so that whatever their belief or action, they can no longer plead ignorance. And for it to be packed simply in a slim volume should be enough reason for most curious people to pick it up; and such is actually the case.
It is easy to label a book or author ‘mass-y’ to deride the research that goes into the literary attempt; I will refrain from doing so. The author has time and again mentioned that all his outpourings are his understanding and his understanding alone of his religion that he tells in a good storyteller’s tradition; there is only so much to read in it. If we keep that caveat in mind, it enhances our understanding of his viewpoint so much more.
Thanks to the vastness of the subject he is approaching, this third book is justifiably merited. Being a part of a series means that you are falling in the footsteps of others who preceded you. This, if you leave your ego aside for a bit, is not such a bad thing. And that is how the cookie crumbles in this case for sure. I, for one, enjoyed this book!