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Indian Mythology: Tales, Symbols and Rituals from the Heart of the Subcontinent [Paperback]

Devdutt Pattanaik
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 16.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

24 May 2003
An exploration of 99 classic myths of India from an entirely non-Western paradigm that provides a fresh understanding of the Hindu spiritual landscape - Compares and contrasts Indian mythology with the stories of the Bible, ancient Egypt, Greece, Scandinavia, and Mesopotamia - Looks at the evolution of Indian narratives and their interpretations over the millennia - Demonstrates how the mythology, rituals, and art of ancient India are still vibrant today and inform the contemporary generation From the blood-letting Kali to the mysterious Ganesha, the Hindu spiritual landscape is populated by characters that find no parallel in the Western spiritual world. "Indian Mythology" explores the rich tapestry of these characters within 99 classic myths, showing that the mythological world of India can be best understood when we move away from a Western, monotheistic mindset and into the polytheistic world of Hindu traditions. Featuring 48 artistic renderings of important mythological figures from across India, the author unlocks the mysteries of the narratives, rituals, and artwork of ancient India to reveal the tension between world-affirming and world-rejecting ideas, between conformism and contradiction, between Shiva and Vishnu, Krishna and Rama, Gauri and Kali. This groundbreaking book opens the door to the unknown and exotic, providing a glimpse into the rich mythic tradition that has empowered millions of human beings for centuries.

Frequently Bought Together

Indian Mythology: Tales, Symbols and Rituals from the Heart of the Subcontinent + Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata + 7 Secrets of Shiva
Price For All Three: 44.16

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions Bear and Company (24 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892818700
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892818709
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.5 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 143,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Further calls on the ability of the Western mind to see from another point of view."

About the Author

A medical doctor by training, Devdutt Pattanaik moved away from clinical practice to nurture his passion for mythology. His books include "The Goddess in India" and introductions to Shiva, Vishnu, and Devi. He lives in Mumbai, India, where he works as a health communicator and writes and lectures on Hindu narratives, art, rituals, and philosophy.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
In this chapter we shall see how myth emerges from the fight, flight, and freeze reactions of a community to establish paradigm of perfection and possibility for a culture. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern Indian looks at Hindu Traditions 7 Oct 2007
By Aditya
Format:Paperback
Many people have commented that there are at least two nations in India: India and Bharat. The first looks Westwards for inspiration, the second is not heard mostly, at least in mainstream literature. Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik breaks the mould. A modern Indian, a medical doctor by profession (who turned to mythology and writing), he has brought a freshness of interpretation to Hindu icons.

Dr. Pattanaik comes from Orissa where the fine arts continue to blossom. You can see that special touch of his heritage in his drawings and painting of Hindu icons. I have been a collector of his beautifully illustrated books on Hindu icons for many years, and have been fascinated by his grasp of Hindu traditions.

The first chapter provides an introduction and the basic approach behind his interpretation. The second is a comparison between Hindu, and Western myths. The third and fourth deal with some of the key Hindu traditions. Each of the selected tradition is described briefly, and also analyzed and linked up with the larger whole.

Dr. Pattanaik also covers a large ground, taking material from main Puranas, as also the regional and the sthal (local) puranas. A large amount of the material is from Mahabharata. He also takes some material from the Vedas.

This book is much more analytical than his earlier works, which were more descriptive. In the book, he offers a visual framework, diagrams and illustrations, to help interpret our traditions. These are superb and I have been deeply enriched by these.

Hindu traditions have mostly been interpreted by Western scholars, and most Indian scholars writing in English have been influenced by this. As a result, these often appear baffling to practicing Hindus, who therefore mostly keep away from such works. Dr.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good book!! 17 May 2011
By skarmda
Format:Paperback
I read all the time. I read this book in a trip to India, so that i could understand a little bit better the place I was. It is a very interesting book! It was a good pleasure to read it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, thoughtful, insightful 4 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful survey of Indian Myths written by an Indian doctor. The only qualm is that he roundly condemns Western attempts to classify these myths, then goes ahead and writes a book which does precisely that. But other than that, I could not recommend this book more strongly for those outsiders looking to understand and feel the magic of Indian Myths.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern Indian looks at Hindu Traditions 1 Oct 2007
By Sanjay Agarwal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Many people have commented that there are at least two nations in India: India and Bharat. The first looks Westwards for inspiration, the second is not heard mostly, at least in mainstream literature. Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik breaks the mould. A modern Indian, a medical doctor by profession (who turned to mythology and writing), he has brought a freshness of interpretation to Hindu icons.

Dr. Pattanaik comes from Orissa where the fine arts continue to blossom. You can see that special touch of his heritage in his drawings and painting of Hindu icons. I have been a collector of his beautifully illustrated books on Hindu icons for many years, and have been fascinated by his grasp of Hindu traditions.

The first chapter provides an introduction and the basic approach behind his interpretation. The second is a comparison between Hindu, and Western myths. The third and fourth deal with some of the key Hindu traditions. Each of the selected tradition is described briefly, and also analyzed and linked up with the larger whole.

Dr. Pattanaik also covers a large ground, taking material from main Puranas, as also the regional and the sthal (local) puranas. A large amount of the material is from Mahabharata. He also takes some material from the Vedas.

This book is much more analytical than his earlier works, which were more descriptive. In the book, he offers a visual framework, diagrams and illustrations, to help interpret our traditions. These are superb and I have been deeply enriched by these.

Hindu traditions have mostly been interpreted by Western scholars, and most Indian scholars writing in English have been influenced by this. As a result, these often appear baffling to practicing Hindus, who therefore mostly keep away from such works. Dr. Pattanaik helps us understand why this happens.

According to him, Western scholars try to interpret Hindu traditions from their own standpoint, which is squarely in the middle of Western culture, and sensibilities. As a result, even the best meaning among them, fail to elicit deeper meanings that would resonate with practicing Hindus. This perhaps could explain the recent controversy reflected in invading the sacred.

Dr. Pattanaik offers an interpretation which is at once modern (analytical) and traditional (reverent). This creates a unique blend, invaluable for modern Hindus.

This is medium sized book, paperback, with glue binding. The paper is non-reflective. The font is clear, though the ink is slightly faint. There are some color photographs - though somehow the colors have not come out as well as are usual with Inner Traditions books. There is also a brief index to the book.

He has also recently written another book called Myth = Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology, which takes the ideas presented in this book further.

All in all, a good, interesting book. Worth buying if you want a fresh, modern look at some of the oldest traditions in the world.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A totally different vision 8 Aug 2003
By Rajesh Datar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have read Hindu myths since I was a child. But this is a totally different vision. I never realized that the concept of 'evil' or 'prophet' or 'heaven' or 'hell' makes no sense in Hinduism. How it is foreign idea. How modern language is dominated by Western concepts. I was always confused about the many 'heavens' there were in Hindu myths - the heaven of Indra, the heaven of Krishna. Now it all makes sense. The author systematizes this highly complicated body of myth. Sometimes he does take too much artistic license but that is ok.
5.0 out of 5 stars An informed and well written book. 30 Jan 2014
By S. J. Palit - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I consider Devdutt Pattanaik to be a first in a generation of modern thinkers in India. His understanding and writings throw a new light in looking at India's culture and history. I have read his book, Jaya. Indian Mythology is a must read for those who are interested in this subject.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Read 30 July 2013
By nina martinez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I would recommend this book---- life skills!!!!! the Indian Tales are a great read .Quick and easy reading that I found very enjoyable.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another one of Devdutt Pattanaiks masterpiece 17 May 2013
By Sandeep - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Devdutt has become like a guru to me, when it comes to understanding the meaning of Hindu Culture& Rituals. This is his 6th book I have read on Kindle, and In many ways found it to be a extension of Myth=Mythya, but in further detail.

Highly recommend it to all, especially the ones who are scientific minded.
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