Within infinite myths lies the Eternal Truth?
Who sees it all?
Varuna has but a thousand eyes
Indra, a hundred
And I, only two.
Since I started reading preface /Author's note of the books , This is the quote that I admire the most.This is a humble opening to all books by Devdutta and it eloquently sums how every myth must be treated in all fairness. That is in terms of many truths or many versions. Devdutta Pattanaik is one author whose books I await eagerly. Thejourney that started with "the Pregnant King" is perhaps my initiation into reading mythology and acknowledging the fact that it is a definitive factor that shapes us and the society in general.
Seven Secret Of the Goddess starts with the differences between goddess and Goddess , devi and Devi. The subtlety yet the significance of the differences set the tone of the book for me. It prepares one to be concious and aware during the reading else one might miss something. The book is divided into seven sections - Gaia (the Greek Goddess of creation), Kali, Gauri, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Vitthai (A female form of Lord Krishna). The first section talks of mother of Gods and how in each religion / mythology , the female domination turned into trading first and then into male domination and ownership as we see today. It nowhere says the merits of one over another but presents the truth as it is, leading the reader to question the way we treat women today.
Many of hindu readers are already aware of some of the Devi forms from the frequently read "Durga Stuti" so it was quite relatable and interesting to know of other versions and stories popular in different parts and communities of the country.From the wild and powerful Kali to the domesticated and docile Gauri, the book covers all moods of the devi and the women in general emphasizing that since long, all variations of devi have been present and worshipped by human. All the forms are as important as the Devi from who they emerge.
Another reason that I love this book (and others by Devdutt) is for the mention of source for all the tales. Even in this book, all the scriptures from which the stories have been picked are mentioned so that any reader with further interest can refer them any time. Linking the stories not just across geographical boundaries but also across cultures in different centuries has been done flawlessly.
Every page of the book has the images / artforms depicting the stories and hence is so easy to relate with the text. The images are from all over the country and some from old texts and paintings , each with captions making it really engaging read for anyone.
My rating : 5/5
This is a book that can be and should be read by every one interested in mythology or history or society.
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