Sita: An Illustrative Retelling of the Ramayana by Devdutt Pattanaik

 

Just like the perfect piece can complete an obscue jigsaw puzzle, this book works as that exotic and essential piece of philosohpical, mythological, spiritual and folkloric literature that completes the complex puzzle of indian literature and subsequently, hindu philosophy and folklore. In terms of both the interpretation and the original story, this book is nectar for the seekers, philosophy for the speculators, wisdom for the seers, entertainment for the common man, knowledge for the curious and a fresh perspective for the commentators. For me, it is much more than just a novel. A delicate tale of Ramayana with some of the most exquisite beads of regional variations is intricately woven with the never-ending thread of vedic wisdom and intrinsic philosophy.

But, when you leave apart the emotive part of the book, you still have a novel that has to live up to certain literary standards! And Sita is no exception. As a reader, if you can part yourself from the web teachings and stories, you will see how every story has been enriched with not only awe-inspiring symbolism, but also an overall view of all the kinds of variations present regarding that particular story. This theme of symbolism and variation is persisten throughout the book.

The story is the basic authentic original story of the Ramayana. Although the title suggests Sita’s perspective, the novel does not adhere to the title. Instead, it is an observation of how Sita was different from Rama and how they sustained their love and respect even in times of distress. It is a new perspective on the Ramayana itself, new character analysis presented as actual variations of the epic and teachings that warm you up from the inside.

The characters are not developed ad such since it is more of a collection of stories and symbolisms related to Ramayana rather than a novel in itself. However, what I liked the most about the book was the fact that it always has some facts or folklore related to each character definining their role or importance in the epic. There are no mind games, emotional outbursts, anguish and anxiety, or anything associated with character development or change. But the information in itself give you an idea of how different the characters have been portrayed in different versions of the epic. Which is why, as a reader, I’d suggest to pay more attention to the knowledge given rather than the competence-capacity of the book.

To be honest, Sita is not a conventional novel. It does not tell you a new story. But it takes you to a whole new depth in that old story. And as an avid mythology reader, that depth engulfs your soul just like the words below engulf your rationality:

“Within infinite myths lies the eternal truth; Who sees it all?

Varuna has but a thousand eyes, Indra a hundred;

You and I, only two!”

As you keep contemplating on this beautiful creation of Devdutt Pattanaik, let me tell you, the book is filled with such verses, teachings and lines that will make your mind question the conditioning of the society. Because of the richness, great-stories quotient and easy comprehension of the book, I give ot Four stars.

Other must reads by the same author: Jaya, Shikhandi, 7 secrets of the Goddess.

Book Details:-        

Author: Devdutt Pattanaik
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Year: 2013
ISBN-13: 9780143064329 ISBN-10: 0143064320
Cover: Paperback No. Of Pages: 328
MRP: Rs 499 Buy From: Amazon.in
Flipkart.com

(Review By Aayushi Shah)

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“I dare do all that may become a man. Who dares more is none”. And all, may be. It may be the vigor. Or the spirit. Or the courage to avoid being “politically correct” or bent. And, ban all averse with immaculate overture of graciously fathomable words firm in views. Subtle. Justifying the undying conscience. Values. Knowledge. And, dares to stay true. True to own. True to the world. And, to the words. With a dream in eyes it exists. In you. In me. In all. The sprite that never shies away. The spirit that never dies!
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