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A hundred beautiful forms

Sarasvati is the feminine force worshipped as the goddess of learning, yet we barely know much about this goddess. In Sarasvati’s Gift, Kavita Kané brings to light Sarasvati’s story. The goddess of art, music and knowledge – told in the voices of nameless celestials, powerful gods and lesser mortals. Through the passage below, you can get a glimpse of an extraordinary woman and her remarkable life.


Sarasvati’s Gift || Kavita Kane

Brahmalok looked warmer in the daylight. The mist had thinned, and from her palace window, Sarasvati could glimpse the five peaks of the golden Mount Meru on whose summit lay the vast city of Brahmalok, encircled by a river, the Akash Ganga.

Her palace stood halfway down a steep hill and from her window, she could glimpse a narrow strip of the sea below and, opposite, the city of Brahmalok.

Sarasvati had not ventured outside the palace yet, but she intended to scour the capital city as well as the other eight cities that surrounded it. One was supposed to be of Indra, and the other seven of the other devas like Surya, Chandra and Agni.

Perhaps they were more populated than Brahmalok: this city was unusually isolated, she frowned as she absently strung at the veena, thoughtfully placed in her chamber. In a vague way, she realized that this was all for her benefit. Even the lake outside her window turned obligingly to a deep wine colour in the evenings, with the ivory swans loitering delightfully at her windowsill. It was a privileged paradise, this white little palace on the water, surrounded by woods in which she was free to do what she liked because . . . she was Sarasvati.

She was surrounded by beautiful things that breathed of taste and refinement. If you live in an atmosphere of luxury, luxury is yours whether it is yours or another’s, Sarasvati decided. She would rather treat it like an educational institution.

Likewise, since the past week, the palace had kept her busy: it was well-stocked with enough books for her to stay put. She had barely browsed through half of the enormous library downstairs, and she was yet to explore the music room. Brahma was as generous as he was thoughtful; she pursed her lips, pondering.

Brahma. He was a strange person; a person of few words, and almost no presence. She had met him a few times since that first day and from what she could gather, he seemed to be a loner, or rather an intellectual hermit, always deep in work and thought. Everyone revered him, with less fear and more awe. He mixed very rarely, very little with people. In the mornings, she occasionally spotted him in the distance, strolling by the seashore, lost in his thoughts and then retiring to his palace for the day, often disappearing for weeks. He was seldom invited anywhere, as people found him daunting. Besides, he seldom accepted the invitation.

Just as she did; she preferred her own company. She vaguely strung the instrument again. She had to do something, she sighed.

‘Look up,’ she heard a voice command her. She turned around with a start to see Brahma standing at the doorway.

He walked in slowly, his gait guarded and careful. ‘When you play music, always look up,’ he said to her, pointing to the sky with his long, muscled arm. ‘Look up at the sky! Even the tiniest stars are all worlds! And you are creating an entire new world yourself with the music you make—how significant you are compared to the universe!’

She was surprised to hear the vehemence in his voice, so dissimilar to his otherwise stony demeanour.

‘A modest speck!’ She beamed her brilliant smile, gesturing with a wide wave of her hands. ‘This palace is a trove, a museum of sorts, and I haven’t gone through even half of it.’

‘As is Brahmalok,’ he remarked, his lips pursed thin. ‘You will take some time to get used to it. It’s not very . . . lively, more on the quieter side. Because it is a planet composed entirely of Brahman—the highest thought.’

Sarasvati gave a knowing nod. ‘The land of the abstract Supreme Soul, greater even than Svarga, or Heaven: sated with eternity, knowledge and bliss.’

As always, her words pleased him more than he thought could affect him. Brahma watched her as she gracefully stood up to greet him, her hair delectably tousled, flowing free down her shoulders, below her waist, her sari creased as she attempted to smoothen the wrinkles at the waist. Yet she looked heavenly.

And as he looked at her, he felt a thickness in his throat.

‘There is no hurry, you can take all your time to study, to explore,’ he said unevenly, his tone slipping to slight hesitancy.

He cleared his throat, his face an expressionless mask again.

‘Er, I would not have interrupted you from your pursuits but for a reason. A certain urgency . . .’ he faltered. ‘I come here today, asking for a favour . . .’

‘Favour?’ she frowned, tilting her head sideways, appraising him with her steady stare. He flushed, feeling the heat climbing up his neck.

‘Am I supposed to run some errand?’ she asked bluntly.

Some could term her forthrightness rude, but he found it strangely exhilarating. He looked at her, hoping he was not staring. He saw her face turned at an angle and at the same time he was again struck by that strange thing about her which excited him. He swallowed convulsively, the thickness tight in his throat. She was oddly disconcerting.

He struggled. ‘I created you as a woman so as to aid me in my work of creation. Shatarupa, a female deity in many forms . . .’ he said, not moving a muscle except to speak.

She widened her eyes. ‘Am I supposed to be her?’

She had this charming way of framing her views as a question, as opinionated as herself. Brahma found himself relaxing in such talks, enthralling his mind and his heart.

He raised his brows again and nodded.

His brows seem more vocal than his words, she thought irreverently.

His baritone had gone husky. ‘Like your presence, your origin holds great importance in the balance and creation of the world. After creating the universe, I checked what was made and realized it was utterly lacking in concept. To help me with this monumental task of creating a form, I created you to help me out . . .’

Love that brings heaven and earth together

A magnificent drama based on an episode from the Rig Veda, Vikramorvashiyam is filled with dramatic turns of event, music and dance. The scenes, characters and dialogues are at once lively and theatrical as well as sensitive and speculative. Believed to be the second of Kalidasa’s three plays, Vikramorvashiyam is an undisputed classic from ancient Indian literature. A.N.D. Haksar’s brilliant new translation gives contemporary readers an opportunity to savour this delightful tale about star crossed lovers, King Pururavas and the celestial nymph Urvashi.


To enable you to feel the full extent of the intensity of the drama and emotions in this play, we find ourselves compelled to give you a glimpse into this magnificent story.


Front cover of Vikramorvashiyam

Chitraratha: Great Indra heard from Narada that Urvashi

had been kidnapped by the demon Keshin. He then ordered

the army of celestial singers to get her back. On the way, we

heard from the bards about your victory, and have come here

to you. She must salute Indra, together with you and me. For

you have indeed done what he wanted, sir. Look,

Long ago did the sage Narayana

present her to the king of heaven,

and now she has been rescued

by you from the demon’s hands. (14)


King: No! It is not so!

It is indeed by the power of

the wielder of the thunderbolt,

that his allies defeat the foe:

from his mountain cave, even the echo

of a lion’s roar can terrify elephants. (15)


Chitraratha: This is quite well said. Modesty does indeed

ornament valour.


King: This is no time for me to visit Indra, the lord of a hundred

sacrifices. You should yourself take this lady to meet him.


Chitraratha: As you wish, sir. Ladies, this way.


(The nymphs mime to leave.)


Urvashi: Friend Chitralekha, though this saintly king did save

me, I cannot say good-bye to him. So, please be my mouthpiece.

Chitralekha (approaching the king): Great king, Urvashi says

she wants to express her gratitude to you and, as for a dear

friend, to carry your fame to great Indra’s realm.


King: Do go, till we meet each other again.


(The nymphs mime mounting to the sky, together with the

celestial singers.)


Uravashi (miming great reluctance): Alas! My string of pearls

has been caught in the vine of a creeper plant. Chitralekha,

please set it free.


Chitralekha (with a smile): It is stuck hard, and is difficult to

disentangle. But I will try to do it.


Urvashi: Remember your words!


King (to himself ):

Creeper, to me your deed is dear,

it delays for a while her going,

and her side-long glance at me

as she turns away her face, I see. (16)


Charioteer: Noble lord,

Having hurled into the sea

the demon who had great Indra wronged,

your wind-like arrow has again

come back to its quiver now,

like a serpent to its burrow. (17)


King: Then, bring back the chariot so that I may mount it.


(The charioteer does so and the king mounts the chariot. Urvashi

gazes at him and sighs as she exits with her friend Chitralekha.)


King (looking towards where Urvashi has gone): Alas! My

desires did look for something hard to attain!

As she flies to her father, the sky,

this divine damsel has torn

the heart out from my body,

like the mate of a royal swan

pulls a stalk from a lotus bloom. (18)


(Exit all.)


End of Act One

Waiting to take the bait

One Hero. Many Monsters. Before I came to be known as the greatest sailor in the world, I was a young monster who fell in love. As all legendary love stories go, things were…well, not smooth sailing. And of course, there was the problem to the Armageddon.


Kevin Missal’s new book Sinbad promises thrill, fun and adventure. Here is an excerpt from the book.




The corpse was laid there under the darkening sky.

And Sinbad watched it, in silence, from the bushes.

He could hear his own breathing, his blood pumping in his ears. It was late evening. His almond eyes were focused on the beach, hawk-eyed. Owls hooted. The waves rolled and the blurry skies darkened.

Any time now…

‘Let’s hope the blasted ghoul takes the bait,’ said Husayn, his blue eyes scanning the area. He flicked his frizzy, curly hair back and looked at his friend who crouched down beside him. ‘There’s a lot of money we’re gonna get out of this, tee-hee,’ he said, referring to the tavern owner who had hired Sinbad to end the horror of the Qutrub.

Sinbad turned his head and looked up, his onyx hair falling over his forehead. ‘For the hundredth time, it’s not a ghoul. It’s a subclass of jinnis.’

‘Apples and oranges, to be honest.’ Husayn shook his head in dismay. ‘How do you kill it?’

‘You can’t’ Sinbad signed. ‘You trap them and then send them back. Or keep them locked in a ring or something. And one of the easiest ways to do it is by knowing their true name.’

‘Well, whatever it is, you have no clue how tough it was to get that,’ said Husayn, pointing to the dark mound that they had been eyeing. ‘Let’s see: paid the gravedigger; dug up the ground with him; got drenched in mud; and then finally got it for our friend, the Qutrub, here because you said it would be the perfect bait.’

‘Well, at least you were helpful this time.’ Sinbad rolled his eyes and decided to look at the stars that remained still, distracting himself from the beach. It was only a few times in his life that he had caught them blinking.

‘I’m always helpful, all right?’ Husayn said, his voice growing louder in protest.

Sinbad darted his eyes back to the beach and the corpse. ‘No, please, do yell some more and let the whole world know what we are doing.’

‘Apologies!’ Husayn whispered. ‘And the world knows already. That thing has already killed twenty of our travellers. If more would become its victims, taverns might as well close down.

‘I know.’ Sinbad sighed.

‘You said it’s a jinni, though, right?’ Husayn asked. ‘But aren’t jinnis like wish-granting baboons?’

‘Nor all,’ Sinbad said and shook his head ever so slightly. ‘Only the Marids. While the thing we are waiting for right now is called a Qutrub. Strange creatures. They come from the jinni world of Barzakh. But what I don’t understand is, Qutrubs feed on the dead, and thus are seen around graveyards. Then why is it attacking the living?’ He narrowed his eyes in contemplation.

But before he could mull it over, Sinbad say the unlikely: A couple walking on the shore, a few yards away from their bait, oblivious to it and the gruesome presence that it would invite. They were busy chatting and laughing. Barefoot. The girl was wearing her veil and the man a sailor’s tunic.

‘Humans. Always butting in when they are not supposed to.’ Sinbad gritted his teeth.

‘Aren’t you a human yourself, my dear friend?’ Husayn cheekily asked.

‘Well…’ Sinbad said, ‘the Qutrub would attack them then. Fresh blood.’

‘Um, Sinbad?’ Husayn tapped on his shoulder.

‘What?’ he snapped as his eyes followed the couple’s steps, hoping they won’t notice the trap that had been set on the beach. But the smell would be a dead giveaway!

And they were close…getting closer…

‘Um, Sinbad? Would you please turn around?’ Husayn’s voice had turned into an almost high-pitched scream.

‘What?’ shrieked Sinbad, irritated, as he turned towards Husayn. And it was then that he saw it. A ghastly eight-foot-tall creature – skeletal, scarlet red, dressed in rags. Its elongated mouth and slits, in place of a nose, quivered. A long, black ponytail on its otherwise bald head was the only hair it had. Its ribs were visibly jutting out of its diaphragm. Even the spine was visible, protruding from the skinless skeleton. But the eyes – they were pitch-black as if the creature had no irises. It was so close to him, breathing hard. And it was then that their eyes met.

If that weren’t bad enough, then came a bone-chilling scream. From the side of the beach were the unknowing couple stood.

Great. They found the corpse.

When Young Chintamani Woke Up in a Place He Had Only Read About: ‘Lost in Time: Ghatotkacha and the Game of Illusions’ — An Excerpt

Chintamani Dev Gupta is on a trip to a bird camp near Lake Sat Tal! Away from the drudgery of urban life in Gurgaon, Chintamani finds himself near the cool, blue water of the lake and dives in for a swim. But when he emerges out of it, things look different. Where is he?
Find out with Namita Gokhale’s beautiful new novel for your little one, ‘Lost in Time: Ghatotkacha and the Game of Illusions’.
Here’s an excerpt from the book telling you where it all started.
A figure was approaching. He, she, it, was holding a burning branch of wood and breathing deeply. I had slouched down, suddenly tired and drowsy, in a bed of dry leaves. An enormous face came into view a long way above me. I wondered if I was dreaming, but the warmth from the flaming torch seeped into my bones, as did the long, careful breaths of this giant. I sat up bolt upright.
He was sniffing me, and I could smell him too. The tang of leaves and the forest, with a whiff of animal and the scent of human.
‘Who are you?’ he asked in a language I didn’t understand. And yet, strangely enough, I did. Was this telepathy?
‘And who are you?!’ I asked back, the question was put forward in sheer panic mixed with some cunning. I was still trying to take in the awesome size of this Godzilla, and figured my question might help establish a bond with this primeval creature. But then, how would he understand my question, which probably sounded more like a squeal?
‘I am Ghatotkacha,’ he replied. ‘I am the rakshasa Ghatotkacha, born of the lord Bhimasena and the lady Hidimbi. I rule over hill and vale, forest and stream to protect the spirit of the forest and all who live in it.’
I understood this too, through some sort of teleprompter that seemed to have lodged itself somewhere in the left lobe of my brain like a Google Translate implant.
‘I am Chintamani Dev Gupta,’ I replied tentatively. But it wasn’t me speaking at all, perhaps some sort of decoder that seemed to be picking up on signals from my brain. Take control, I told myself, take control, or you will lose this mind game.
‘I am speaking Paisachi, but I am fluent in Prakrit and Sanskrit too,’ the giant replied.
He had huge red eyes that were lit up by the burning torch he held in his hand. But they were kind eyes . . . there was not even a hint of cruelty in them.
‘And don’t worry, I am not trying to take control of your mind!’
Weird, weirder, weirdest. He could actually read my mind! Holy cow! This situation was just impossible. I pinched myself even harder this time, so that I might now wake up from this fast-accelerating nightmare.
It only gets “weird, weirder, weirdest” from here on! You wouldn’t want to miss it! Grab your copy and dive right into the charming world of Ghatotkacha!

Meet the Characters from ‘Bheem’

Jyotin Goel in Bheem has created a fascinating amalgamation of mythology and adventure in the modern setting. The plot of the book revolves around a deadly threat which has arisen from the ancient battlefields of Lanka and Kurukshetra. Ripping through the vortex of time, Bheem arrives in the twenty-first century to combat this crisis. But to make sure of his failure, a sworn enemy from the past-Ashvatthama-has also journeyed to the present.
Here are some of the characters from the riveting novel:

Don’t wait anymore, pick up Jyotin Goel’s Bheem now!

Just Before We Set Off For Earth — 'Earthward Bound'

As one recovers from the heavy hearts left behind after a brilliant week of Durga Puja fun and festivities, here’s a little throwback with a short story, ‘Earthward Bound’, by writer Nayanika Mahtani, on what happens in Goddess Durga’s household just before she descends on earth with her children, ushering in a joyful autumn!
‘Come on kids, get ready – we’re off on a little journey,’ said Goddess Durga. Her four children Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartikeya and Ganesha were busy having a snowball fight in the mountains of Kailash.
‘Where are we headed, Ma?’ asked Ganesha.
‘To Earth of course, silly!’ said Saraswati.
‘Have you forgotten – we go every year when Ma is invited by her devotees?’ said Lakshmi.
‘I knew that – obvio!’ mumbled Ganesha.
‘Yup, he would never forget the sweets at Puja,’ piped in Kartikeya.
‘Could you four please stop squabbling – we need to get there in time!’ said Ma Durga. ‘Oh, quick check – have I taken everything?’
‘Hmm, let’s see Ma,’ said Saraswati. ‘Have you got Vishnu’s discus, Shiva’s trident, Varuna’s conch and noose, Agni’s flaming dart, Vayu’s bow, Surya’s quiver full of arrows, Yama’s sword and shield, Vishwakarma’s axe and armour and Indra’s thunderbolt?’
‘Whoa! That’s quite a handful – good thing you have so many hands, Ma!’ said Ganesha. ‘How come you get to keep all the weapons that the Gods gave you to fight Mahishasur – even though he is now long dead?’
‘Well, Mahishasur may be dead but evil lives on, Ganesha – and I always need to be ready to fight evil,’ replied Ma Durga.
‘Will we be riding on the lion given to you by Himavat?’ asked Lakshmi.
‘Of course!’ said Ma Durga. ‘Now as you know the Devi Paksha rituals start from Mahalaya, when we begin our journey to Earth. Who remembers what Mahalaya means?’
‘Ahem, I do!’ said Kartikeya, casting a sideways glance at Ganesha. ‘“Maha” means ‘big’, and “laya”, means ‘destruction’. It refers to the colossal war between the Devtas, Rishis and Asuras – where many Devtas and Rishis died at the hands of the Asuras. People on Earth consider Devtas and Rishis to be their forefathers. That’s why the ritual of Tarpan or Shraddh happens on Mahalaya, when prayers are offered in remembrance.’
‘Bah! Such a show-off!’ muttered Ganesha, whose mind was now feasting on the soon-to-be-had sandesh and laddoos.
‘Though the actual Puja starts from the sixth day, the Shashthi, when we five arrive on Earth,’ added Saraswati.
‘That’s right,’ said Ma Durga. ‘It begins with Bodhan, which marks the moment when I was given all the divine arms to rid the Earth of Mahishasur’s tyranny. On Shashti, my face is uncovered – to show that I have arrived on Earth. The next day is Saptami and it starts with a ritual called “Kola Bou”.’
“Ha ha! Kola Bou’s your wife, Ganesha!’ teased Lakshmi. ‘Such a pretty banana tree stalk, bathed and draped in a white sari with a red border and placed by your side!’
‘Tsk, don’t make him blush, Lakshmi!’ chided Ma Durga. ‘Actually it is not just a banana stalk that is bathed; nine plants are placed by my Ganesha after the bathing rituals. It’s called “Nabapatrika” puja – and these nine plants represent the nine forms of Shakti, of which you are one too, my Lakshmi.’
‘I feel a bit sidelined, to be honest,’ said Saraswati.
‘Come on! You get a day all to yourself to be worshipped,’ said Kartikeya.
‘Well, you get a day like that too, Kartikeya’ said Ma Durga. ‘Anyway, let’s not get sidetracked, kids! So then follows Ashtami which is considered the most auspicious day of Durga Puja – with its most significant ritual being the Sandhi Puja.’
‘Let me elaborate,’ said Kartikeya with a flourish. ‘Sandhikshan, when Sandhi Puja is done, falls between the last 24 minutes of Ashtami and the first 24 minutes of Navami. This is the exact time when the Asuras Chanda and Munda were slain by Ma.’
‘It for this reason I am also called Chamunda,’ said Ma Durga.
‘Aarrgh! Why doesn’t our family keep just one name for each of us?’ asked Ganesha. ‘I have such a hard time keeping track of all my names. It’s so tricky figuring out when I’m being called!’
Ma Durga smiled and carried on. ‘Then comes Dashami or Vijaya Dashami which is the day I killed Mahishasura – and freed the Earth of his torments. Vijaya Dashami is the last day of the puja.’
‘And it’s also when Ma’s idol is taken to a water body and immersed, denoting her journey back to Kailash,’ said Saraswati.
‘That’s right! Well done, all of you!’ said Ma Durga. ‘Now hold on tight – we’re about to take off!’
‘Have a safe journey, family,’ boomed a deep voice in the background. He watched Ma Durga and the children fly earthwards. Lord Shiva closed his eyes. ‘Ah! Now for some peace and quiet, finally.’
Would you like to look up what each of the weapons of Goddess Durga signifies? Hindu mythology is such a treasure trove – there’s always more than what meets the eye. Look for these treasures – you won’t be disappointed!
Note: Ganesha was of course just pretending to not know all the answers in this story, to rile his Mum and siblings. He in fact is quite the know-it-all. Though he can get distracted when sweets are involved. ☺
Nayanika Mahtani is a copywriter by day and a storyteller by night. She lives in London with her husband, two daughters and their two goldfish named Sushi and Fishfinger. Nayanika has published two books with Puffin, ‘Ambushed’ and ‘The Gory Story of Genghis Khan’.

The Great Animal Kingdom of Hindu Mythology: ‘Pashu’ — An Excerpt

Hindu mythology not only has some of the most interesting human characters ever, but a huge kingdom of animals too. From fish that save the world to horses that fly higher than birds, every animal in Hindu mythology has a story to tell and a lesson to teach.
Devdutt Pattanaik’s ‘Pashu’ dives into this bizarre, wonderful world of mythological animals and unravels a secret or two about it.
Here’s a snippet from ‘Pashu’ that is sure to make you want to find out more!
Brahma, the creator, had a son called Kashyapa. Kashyapa had many wives who bore him different types of children. Aditi gave birth to the devas—gods who live in the sky. Diti gave birth to the asuras— demons who live under the earth. Kadru gave birth to the nagas, slithering serpents and worms that crawl on trees and on earth. Vinata gave birth to garudas, birds and insects that fly in the air. Sarama gave birth to all the wild creatures with claws and Surabhi gave birth to all the gentle animals with hooves. Timi gave birth to all the fishes and Surasa gave birth to monsters. Thus, all gods, demons, animals and even humans have a common ancestor in Kashyapa. They call him Prajapati, father of all creatures. His story is found in the Puranas, books that are at least two thousand years old.
There are also other theories of how animals came into being. Some can be found in earlier books, while some have never been written but passed down orally by stargazers and storytellers.
Brahma and Shatarupa: The first man, Brahma, saw the first woman, Shatarupa, and fell in love with her. He tried to touch her. She laughed and ran away. He followed her. To avoid getting caught, she turned into a doe. To catch up with her, he turned into a stag. She then became a mare. He became a stallion. She transformed into a cow. He turned into a bull. She became a goose and flew up into the air. He followed her, taking the form of a gander. Every time she took a female form, he took the corresponding male form. This went on for millions of years. Thus, over time, all kinds of beasts came into being, from ants and elephants to dogs and cats. So say the Upanishads, conversations that took place nearly three thousand years ago.
Yogasanas: Shiva, the great yogi, was at peace with himself. In his joy, he assumed many poses, known as asanas. Many of these poses resembled animals. For example, the ustra-asana resembled a camel. When Shiva took this pose, camels came into being. From the matsya-asana, fishes came into being. From the bhujang-asana, snakes came into being. From the salabh-asana, locusts came into being. From the go-mukha-asana, cows came into being. Shiva thus stood in millions of poses, giving rise to millions of different kinds of animals. So says the lore of yogis.
Avatars: From time to time, Vishnu, who resides on the ocean of milk, descends to walk on the earth. He takes the form, or avatar, of different animals when he does so. Sometimes he is a fish, sometimes a turtle, sometimes a wild boar, sometimes a swan . . . In memory of the many forms he took, various animals came into being. So the next time you see a fish, remember that it was once a form of Vishnu. And when you see a swan, remember that, too, was once a form of Vishnu.
Rashi: A cluster of stars is known as a constellation. Ancient rishis divided the sky into twelve equal parts, each occupied by a constellation. The constellations are called zodiacs in English and rashis in Sanskrit. Some of the rashis take the form of animals. There is the Mesha or ram constellation that the sun passes through in early summer. Then there is Mina, the fish; Vrishchika, the scorpion; Simha, the lion; and Vrishabha, the bull. After the sun passes the Makara constellation, whose tail is like a fish and head is like an elephant, the days grow longer and warmer, heralding the approach of summer. After the sun passes the Karka or crab constellation, the days become shorter and colder, indicating the approach of winter. This information comes from Jyotisha Shastra, or the books of astrology. Poets often wonder what came first: the constellations or the animals. Did the design of the stars inspire the gods to create the animals?
Yoni: Many Hindus believe that a being gets a human life only after passing through 84,00,000 animal wombs. Astrologers say that one can find out which was the last animal’s womb or yoni one was born in from one’s time of birth. That yoni determines an aspect of one’s personality. Some of the yonis are: elephant, cow, mare, snake, cat, dog, rat, monkey, tiger, goat, buffalo and deer. Which yoni came first—that of man or that of an animal? Are humans the ancestors of animals or is it the other way around? There is no escaping the fact that we are related to the birds and beasts of the forest. They may be our ancestors or they may be our descendants.
Have more questions on the origins of the mythological animal kingdom? Get your copy of ‘Pashu’ now!
Pashu Footer.jpg

‘The Story of Ravana, Ram or Sita?’: ‘The Girl Who Chose’ — An Excerpt

India’s favourite mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik’s ‘The Girl Who Chose’ brings a fresh perspective to what we have commonly known of the Ramayana — the story of Ram.
However, it has largely gone unnoticed that it was the choices that Sita had made which becomes the pivot for the Ramayana.
Here’s an excerpt from Devdutt Pattanaik’s book telling us why the story of Sita is at the heart of all that happens in the epic.

“Once upon a time, there was a man called Ravana, also known as Paulatsya—being the descendent of Rishi Pulatsya from his mother’s side. He was king of Lanka and ruler of the rakshasas, who tricked a princess called Sita, dragged her out of her house in the forest and made her prisoner in his palace. He was killed by Sita’s husband, Ram, the sun-prince. This story is called the Pulatsya Vadham, or the killing of the descendent of Pulatsya.
The story of Ravana’s killing is part of a longer tale called the Ramayana, which tells the story of Ram from his birth to his death. However, in the din of Ravana’s cruelty and Ram’s valour, something is often overlooked—the story of Sita, the girl who chose.
Valmiki, author of the Ramayana, written over 2000 years ago, tells us how Sita is different from Ram and Ravana. Ravana does not care for other people’s choices, while Ram never makes a choice as, being the eldest son of a royal family, he is always expected to follow the rules. But Sita—she makes five choices. And had Sita not made these choices, the story of Ram would have been very different indeed. That is why Valmiki sometimes refers to the Ramayana as the Sita Charitam, the story of Sita.

Do you know what were the choices that Sita had made? Grab a copy and find out now!

'A Very Long Epic': 'The Boys Who Fought' — An Excerpt

When an army of five fights against a battalion of a hundred, what happens? Devdutt Pattanaik’s ‘The Boys Who Fought’ looks at the Mahabharata not as an epic war for revenge, but one for the cause of dharma.
Here’s an excerpt from Pattanaik’s Mahabharata with a twist.
Once upon a time, there was a man called Vyasa. His father was a sage. His mother was a fisherwoman. He was born on a river island, and had a dark complexion.
Vyasa grew up watching animals fight. Then he saw humans fight. And he wondered, what was the difference?
In the forest, the mighty eat the meek. In human society, the mighty can take care of the meek. This is dharma, realized Vyasa. It creates a decent human society.
Inspired, Vyasa wrote an incredible story in 1,00,000 verses, split into eighteen chapters, about the fight between a hundred brothers and their five cousins.
Ganesha, who has the head of an elephant, wrote down Vyasa’s story, which became renowned as the Mahabharata, the great Indian epic, for Bharata is another name for India.
Others called it Bharata Kavya, the song of the Bharatas, for the hundred brothers and their five cousins belonged to the Bharata clan, also known as the Kuru clan, which once ruled over India.
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Some people called the story Vijaya, the story of victory, for it describes how the Pandava five, with just seven armies, defeated the Kaurava hundred, with eleven armies, in an eighteen-day-long war.
Vyasa, however, insisted that his epic should be called Jaya, a victory in which no one was defeated. For, in the story, Krishna of the Yadu clan, cousin to both the Pandavas and the Kauravas, reveals a different kind of fight—a greater fight that takes place before weapons are raised on the battlefield, a fight of thoughts and emotions that arises inside our minds and hearts.
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Can’t wait to read more? ‘The Boys Who Fought’ is coming soon!
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Have You Introduced Your Child to Devdutt Pattanaik’s Mythological Stories with a Twist?

Hailed as one of India’s favourite mythologists, Devdutt Pattanaik’s books introduce us to the world of Indian mythologies and epics with a fun and interesting twist.
Before you wonder how you’ll take on the difficult task of getting your child to remember the countless stories from our epics, let’s look at the wonderful world of some of Devdutt Pattanaik’s books.

Fun in Devlok Omnibus

Fun in Devlok cover
Do you know the name of the demon with poor memory? Do you know the story of the time Lord Krishna landed at the airport? Have you heard of the big fight between Kama and Yama? Dive right into the amazing world of Devlok with this beautifully illustrated book!


Pashu cover
In Indian mythology, a fish rescues the world from destruction and a horse can fly high. But where do these animals come from? Why are some of them looked upon with dread, while the rest are worshipped with the Gods and Goddesses? Devdutt Pattanaik unravels the mysteries of the interesting animal world in Indian mythologies in this delightfully illustrated book!

The Girl Who Chose

The Girl Who Chose cover
The epic of Ramayana has been told and retold through generations from the points of view of Ram and Ravana. But little did we notice that the pivot always was Sita and her five choices. What were they? Find out with Devdutt Pattanaik’s beautiful book with stunning illustrations!
If you’ve plunged right into the fascinating world of Devdutt Pattanaik’s books, here’s one more about the Mahabharata waiting for your collection!
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