From childhood, I have never felt any connection with the whole religion part of the society. I mean I did not know if I was an atheist, nor that I am now. But during my teenage years my relationship with my parents suffered a rocky patch following their separation. It was the time when I would really question where is God when I actually need Him?
I never hated my Hindu Brahmin status but I did have questions regarding how it all started and how is God related to this. The dial-up connection and the limited results on Google did serve the purpose. As I read more what I understood, it wasn’t just about being Hindu; every person is conditioned to believe into something that if comprehended well, is absolutely logical and relevant to the culture of its origin.
Oh boy did I sound too heavy here?
Ever since then I became a serious sucker for mythology. Later I also started reading about other mythological tales. Gita remained my forever favorite.
I bought it from a second hand book store (most of my books are secondhand; I don’t like paying tax for books), at first I was quite apprehensive to the title. It says “my GITA”. So the “my” gives the writer ample scope to dissect and display his thoughts on this mighty book. Devdutt Pattanaik has done just that. And let me tell you it is brilliant!
It is not a complete verse to verse translation but a compilation of the philosophical ideas. Krishna’s discourse to Arjuna within the realm of life and the liberal perspective of Dharma penned by Pattanaik was intriguing. His non judgmental and simplistic style of writing will actually help first time Gita readers to understand the different angles and parallel concepts that goes into making the holy book one of the most read books around the world.
He not only talks about the philosophical but also the historical parts of this book. He also draws relation and contrasts with Buddhism, Jainism and the Abrahamic religions which I would say added more meaning to the understanding of the whole idea of belief.
One thing that bothered me were the frequent sketches. That seemed pretty unnecessary. Also, at times the explanations of the verses seemed metaphorical and it brought down the energy of the book at times.
Overall, it is an inspiring read and it will excite the readers to go and check out the original Bhagvad Gita with confidence.And when I say confidence you know you need that to read the book, isn’t it?