It is significant that the only character in Hindu mythology, a king at that, to be given the title of ekam-patni-vrata, devoted to a single wife, is associated with the most unjust act of abandoning her in the forest to protect family reputation. This seems a deliberate souring of an uplifting narrative. Ram's refusal to remarry to produce a royal heir adds to the complexity. The intention seems to be to provoke thought on notions of fidelity, property and self-image.
And so the mythologist and illustrator Devdutt Pattanaik retells the Ramayana, drawing attention to the many oral, visual and written retellings composed in different times, in different places, by different poets, each one trying to solve the puzzle in its own unique way.
This book approaches Ram by speculating on Sita: her childhood with her father, Janaka, who hosted sages mentioned in the Upanishads; her stay in the forest with her husband, who had to be a celibate ascetic while she was in the prime of her youth; her interactions with the women of Lanka, recipes she exchanged, emotions they shared; her connection with the earth, her mother, and with the trees, her sisters; her role as the Goddess, the untamed Kali as well as the demure Gauri, in transforming the stoic prince of Ayodhya into God.
About the Author
Devdutt Pattanaik is a medical doctor by education, a leadership consultant by profession and a mythologist by passion. He has written and lectured extensively on the nature of sacred stories, symbols and rituals and their relevance in modern times. His books with Penguin India include The Book of Ram, Myth = Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology, The Pregnant King, The Book of Kali, Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata, and the Devlok series of stories for children. Devdutt's unconventional approach and engaging style is evident in his lectures, book and articles.
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 328
Published: 26th February 2014
Publisher: Penguin Books
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 18.2 x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.41