To be very honest, I am not much of a religious person since the whole presupposition of an imaginary being sitting in a wonderland and judging you for your deeds is plain stupid to begin with. Not to mention the rabid blind followership of man-made doctrines, passed on as the “word of God” forcing people into uncomfortable territories, using it as an excuse to enforce inequality amongst masses. So the thought of me reading such books may come as a surprise to my closed ones. But My Gita by Devdutt Pattanaik does away with the very factors about religious scriptures that irk me so much. This book isn’t simply a set of paraphrased text with a little commentary here and there, but instead is a biased way of looking at all the texts and highlighting the focus on moderation, based on actual facts.
This very approach comes in as a fresh breath of air since almost any and every ‘Holy Book’ out there always finds a way to get into extremities (or at least their interpretations do) and end up influencing generation-wide hatred and hostility. The thing I love the most about the book is, how Devdutt gives references to some very specific words, and what they actually mean, versus the modernised derived meanings. This completely changes the tone of the conversation and surprisingly makes complete sense towards the end. Another thing that I loved about this book (or the actual Gita for that matter) is how it does not guilt you into the hermit’s way of life, and actually appreciates the householder’s responsibilities. Every now and then, the common man has been associating religion and the concept of ‘Moksha‘ (or eternal freedom from Karmic circles) with the way of life of the Sages where they leave all the ‘worldly belongings’ behind them to go closer to God. But the Gita explains to you that you don’t need to administer abandonment of your social responsibilities for the selfish longing for Moksha.
The book is not a verse by verse translation of The Gita, but instead, it’s chapters are thematically rearranged in order to provide simplicity and make better sense of all the discourse.
I especially appreciate all the efforts in the typography, formatting, and font selection in the book. The illustrations in the book are the prime focus and are very helpful in grasping simple yet elaborate concepts which are the part and parcel of such books. The book focuses on deliverance of self by the liberation of others without any focus or inclination towards a particular religion. So, for those who follow religions other than Hinduism, do not worry, this book will not convert you into a Hindu by any means, but will definitely make you a better human being.
You can get the book on Amazon.in and Flipkart.Com now. I recommend going for the paperback since that’s where the real joy of reading resides.
Kshitij runs The Patil Post and Zetabyte Solutions Pvt. Ltd. - a web development company focussed on E-Commerce implementations. Loves to eat, sell, write and talk. He is an avid reader, an enthusiastic traveller and trekker at heart.
Excellent & crisp review, I agree with the reviewer. I have read various interpretations of Gita incldg the ones by Dr.Radhakrishna,Rajaji,etc.& have heard many discourses too ever since the age of 25; but this book of Devdutt has made me really understand the Gita at the age of 65. It’s just wonderful.
I’m glad you liked the review Raghav. Share it with your friends, so that they too can make a choice about reading this book.
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