This is part of my series of posts to aid in the reading of Devdutt Pattanaik’s book: Jaya: An illustrated retelling of the Mahabharata. See my Mahabharata index for more.
Readers can either buy the book now and read it slowly with each post, wait until the series is over and then buy the book or just read the posts without reading the book.
Why read the Mahabharata:
(1) Understand Hinduism: The Mahabharata is one of the classic Hindu you need to read to understand Hinduism. It is not the dry philosophy of the Upanishads or the hard to read Vedas, and it is more complex that the simple good-vs-bad Ramayana (the other Hindu epic, see my posts here.) And just reading books about Hinduism won’t help you feel the complexity of the faith as reading the Mahabharata will.
(2) Understand Religion: One of my agendas is to help Christians perhaps see their own religion by comparing and contrasting to Hinduism. Perhaps some Hindus will also enjoy learning about Christianity this way. And then for both the secular and religious readers, I hope to point out some of the deep structures in religion. And all of this done in a very lay fashion — because I can do no differently! 🙂
Why read Pattanaik’s Version:
The actual Mahabharata text is about 5,000 pages long so most translations are short retellings. I list many of the translations and retellings available here. Pattanaik’s retelling is easy reading with lots of fun illustrations and thus an easy way to learn the story. Simply put — I like this version.