Interesting books from India

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  • By Dr. Rajwant Singh Chilana
  • Book corner Pic 1 JayaJaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharataby Devdutt Pattanaik.  New Delhi: Penguin Books, 349p, : Paperback.

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 Sanskrit classic as well as its many folk and regional variants, including the Pandavani of Chattisgarh, Gondhal of Maharashtra, Terukkuttu of Tamil Nadu, and Yakhagana of Karnatka.

Richly illustrated with over 250 line drawings by the author, 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, Iravan, 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 the Indian thought for over 3000 years.

Book corner Pic2  Hindu RitesHindu Rites, Ritual, Customs & Traditions- by Prem P. Bhalla. New Delhi: Hindoology Books, 2014, 326p, Soft Cover.

Rites, rituals and customs play a major role in the life of every person, irrespective of religious affiliations.  However, this is more prominent in the case of Hindus.
Right from the time of conception and birth, up to a person`s passing away and even after it, rites and rituals follow a Hindu at all times, much like a shadow.

Indeed, there is one or the other rite, ritual or custom that comes into play for Hindus 365 days of the year. However, unlike other religions where many customs are mandatory, the Hindu way of life is comparatively flexible, with people in different regions following a variety of customs and traditions.

While a monotonous way of life could figuratively kill many people from sheer boredom, Hindu rituals and customs enliven Hindus` daily existence.  Besides, they also ensure that in the hustle and bustle of daily life in this materialistic era, people do not lose sight of spiritual goals. This book outlines all these practices right from the sunrise to the sunset years and makes a most enlightening read for all readers, Hindus as well as non-Hindus.