Book Review Of “Mahagatha -100 Tales From The Puranas”
“Mahagatha – 100 Tales From The Puranas” by Satyarth Nayak is a “must read” book for everyone who has an interest in Hindu mythology. Satyarth has penned the stories in easy-to-understand, simple and effective language. He has brought the age-old wisdom of Puranas to ordinary people.
Puranas, as the name points out are the storehouse of ancient happenings that chronicles the traditional legends of gods, goddesses, demons, kings, queens, sages etc. Puranas cover the topics like cosmology, folk tales, medicines, astronomy, grammar, mineralogy, humour, love stories etc. They are encyclopedic in nature. The Puranas contain a vivid description of the history of the Universe from creation to destruction.
Selecting 100 stories from this vast body of work itself is a huge task. The selection process consisted of threefold criteria.
- How fascinating is the story?
- The entities involved.
- The story is not so well known and deserves a larger audience.
The chronological order in which the stories are collated is in accordance with the yugas and the avatars of Vishnu. As one goes ahead through Mahagatha, one can see that the occurrence of events in the universe is not isolated. There is a cause and effect for each action taken. (Does it point to Newton’s third law of motion?) There is a hidden pattern in the interconnection of events.
The first chapter of the book takes you back to the creation of the Universe. How and under what circumstances or thoughts Brahma begins creation? This book will let you know why Shri Krishna has been given names like Tripurari, Murlidhar, Gopal or Giridhar and many more. There are relatable fables about scientific natural phenomena like the waxing and waning of the moon. Now we know the scientific reason for this phenomenon, but the mere mention of such happenings in Purana points out the richness of knowledge of these old writings.
Some stories may kindle your childhood memories, which you might have heard as bedtime stories from your grandparents or read in Amara Chitra Katha. I would like to say that Mahagatha is Amar Chitra Katha for adults.
The book raised an interesting point that even the gods took actions that were morally wrong. But these actions were always for the greater good, and the Gods did face the consequences.
The cover, an illustration of Ardhnareshwar, is striking. The intricate illustrations complement the text, as they translate the words of the author into pictures. And as they say, a picture is worth thousands of words. Thus enhancing the overall reading experience.
Why you must own it?
It is a must-have for every house as it exposes us to our traditional roots. We must expose our children to our rich heritage and this book is a direct link between our present and rich past. Besides, as one immerses in the book, from one chapter to another, one learns to handle life in a positive and better way. It is not a discourse on Hinduism as it does not go deep into the religious symbolism.
It takes the reader on a journey from the beginning of the creation through all yugas…in the form of short stories. This is a book that deserves a place in every Indian household. Every school library needs to add this one book to their collection….!!!
Satyarth Nayak holds a Master’s degree in English Literature. He is based in Mumbai. Satyarth has been awarded by SAARC and is named one of the top 50 authors to follow on social media. Satyarth is a regular speaker at national and international literary festivals.
My rating – 4.5/5
It has kindled an urge in me to go deeper into Hindu scriptures.
Highly recommend it to everyone.
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You can buy the book here – Mahagatha 100 Tales from the Puranas