Review of Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata

Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the MahabharataJaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata by Devdutt Pattanaik

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wanted to read Mahabharata before I moved on to reading some other books which compare their content with Mahabharata and its characters.

I remember reading the condensed version in grade 7 which was part of the syllabus under Hindi literature but never had a chance to go deeper. There are many variants of the epic with different point of views, delivering different level of depth and in different languages. After a bit of search on Quora and on a friend’s recommendation I settled on this one.

The author has delivered the book in a very readable format with engaging illustrations in each chapter. The size of the book doesn’t disappoint both in terms of depth of content and number of pages. There are 108 chapters in total grouped in 18 sections (like parvas in the Sanskrit version), each chapter spans 3-5 pages and makes them very easy to read while on a short break. I bought the Kindle version and read the book on my mobile phone, on my tablet and on Amazon Cloud Reader.

Couple that with the fact that author has tried to remain neutral about various meanings that can be derived from each chapter and tried to present variations among different versions of Mahabharata and its stories among the folklore from different parts of India and a version from Indonesia. I think it gave me a very holistic view about the epic.

A worthy 5 star and recommended read.

EDIT: Forgot to add, reading this book brought back so many memories from childhood when I used to watch B R Chopra’s Mahabharat with family over 12-15 years ago. I could recall some of the scenes and characters (especially Krishna) so clearly. This left me wondering how our brain can recollect long forgotten things when something related is encountered much later.

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