Book review of ‘Shyam: An illustrated retelling of the Bhagavat’ by Devdutt Patnaik
The first book I ever read of Devdutt Patnaik was Myth=Mythya. It was gifted to me by my Mom as I am a Mythology Fan. But Oh Boy! The impression it left on me was lasting and amazing.
Author Devdutt Patnaik has crafted a niche for himself in the Mythology genre amongst young and old, and that is very commendable. Very few Authors have succeeded in achieving this place in India and Devdutt Patnaik is one such Author.
In ‘Shyam: An Illustrated Retelling of the Bhagavata’ Vyasa narrates the story of Shyam to his unborn son Shuka, who is half Parrot and half human. Shuka who has learned every Veda in his mother’s womb believes Earth to be full of pain and suffering and is very reluctant to live on earth. To entice Shuka to stay on Earth, Vyasa tells him about Shyam in every stage of his life, be that of Yashodha’s little son with the whole Cosmic being in his mouth to the Cowherd of Vrindavana, or being the Kamsa Destroyer or to the Charioteer and a Counsel to Arjuna.
As always the Author has put dark grey boxes of notes at the end of every chapter, comparing various [simple_tooltip content=’Hindu religious texts that are part of the Vedas. They contain narratives about the history of the Universe from creation to destruction and the genealogies of kings, heroes, sages, and demigods.’]Puranas[/simple_tooltip], giving us facts, Historical occurrences and details related to the chapter, giving it a fresh perspective. The book is divided into 16 chapters. The story is narrated in a very sequential manner, from the Prophecy of Kamsa’s death to many forms and Avatars of Krishna’s to Krishna’s death.
‘Shyam: An Illustrated Retelling of the Bhagavata’ is pure poetry to the aching soul. The writing is beautiful bouquets of words, simple yet very alluring. The illustrations, mesmerize and enchant you. The best thing is that the Illustrations are done by the Author himself, which gives the retelling of Shyam more personal touch.
This book is an amazing mythological joyride and definitely not a book you should miss.
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About the Author
Devdutt Pattanaik trained in medicine, he worked in Healthcare Pharma industry for 15 yrs and subsequently did a course in Comparative Mythology from Mumbai University as he is very passionate about Mythology, now he writes on the relevance of mythology in modern times, especially in areas of management, governance, and leadership.
He has written and lectured extensively on the nature of sacred stories, symbols and rituals and their relevance in modern times. Pattanaik has written over 30 books, including My Gita, Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata and The Book of Ram. Devdutt’s unconventional approach and engaging style are evident in his lectures, books, and articles.
He was a speaker at TEDIndia 2009 and spoke on Myths that Mystify East versus West.
His TV shows include Business Sutra on CNBC-TV18 and Devlok on Epic TV.
He consults organizations on culture, diversity, and leadership and also consults various television channels and filmmakers on storytelling
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