Book Review: 7 Secrets of the Goddess

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TITLE: 7 Secrets of the Goddess
AUTHOR: Devdutt Pattnaik
PUBLISHER: Westland
GENRE: Mythology

THE AUTHOR

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Physician turned leadership consultant, mythologist and author, Dr. Devdutt Pattnaik’s literary works focus mainly on myth, mythology and management. Prominent among his works are ‘Myth = Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology’, ‘The Pregnant King’ and ‘Jaya’. As Chief Belief Officer of one of India’s largest retail chain The Future Group, Dr. Pattnaik brings in his wisdom of Indian Mythology into Indian business, especially in Human Resource Management.

THE BOOK

Blurb

As nature, she is mother
As culture, she is daughter
Creator of humanity
Creation of humanity
She is wealth, power, language
Lakshmi, Durga, Saraswati
She is Devi
Answer to that masculine anxiety
Which keeps resisting enquiry

Locked in her stories, symbols and rituals are the secrets of our ancestors.

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The Start- Author’s Note On Reality and Representation

Lakshmi massages Vishnu’s feet. Is this male domination? Kali stands on Shiva’s chest. Is this female domination? Shiva is half a woman. Is this gender equality? Why then is Shakti never half a man?

Taken literally, stories, symbols and rituals of Hindu mythology have much to say about gender relationships. Taken symbolically, they reveal many more things about humanity and nature. Which is the correct reading? Who knows?

WHAT I FELT ABOUT THE BOOK

Highs

Content : The content points to a well researched material. The author takes us on a virtual tour of the myths and beliefs associated with 7 Goddesses i.e. Gaia, Kali, Gauri, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Vitthai. While Gaia is associated with Greek mythology, Goddess Kali, Lakshmi, Saraswathi and Vitthai are generally associated with Hindu mythology. Apart from exploring the myths and beliefs associated with each of these seven goddesses the author gives us an insight into the changes that have taken place in the interpretation of the powers and nature of each of these Goddesses over a period of time. The strong link between Hinduism and Buddhism are established time and again. The book is also interspersed with facts from Indian History thereby assisting the reader to understand the facts that contributed to the change in peoples perception of the Goddess over the years especially during British Rule.

The subject of male and female domination is underlined of and on. Some convincing explanations are put forth in respect of certain beliefs and practices. The author reveals the significance of every minute aspect of a Goddess. He sees the unbound hair of Kali as symbolizing her wild nature. She stands for nature, the mother. Gauri on the other hand stands for culture, the daughter, the sister or the wife; demur and dressed with hair bound. Durga is a mix of Kali and Gauri. Her unbound hair reveals her wild nature while the nose pin indicates domestication.

Many practices, beliefs and facts hitherto unknown to many are revealed in the pages of this book. The illustrations one gets to see on every other page adds value to the book. In short, 7 Secrets of the Goddess is a book of facts. The philosophical nature of the author is very much evident in each and every page.

Language and Illustrations : Language is simple. The illustrations are beautiful, relevant and self- explanatory.

Lows

Content : The content is repetitive and confusing at times. At one point the author reveals that Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Gauri and Goddess Lakshmi were created from the ashes that was once Adya, mother of Shiva and that they married Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu respectively. At another place the author allures to the Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Lakshmi as daughters of Parvathi also known as Gauri, wife of Shiva.

Editing : The editing could have been tighter. This would have taken care of the repetitive portions and would have ensured better presentation of facts. At present the feeling that one gets is that of reading a diary wherein the thought process is translated on paper as and when it comes. The flow is missing thereby making the book a bit heavy after a few pages. In short, it is difficult to finish reading the book in one go. The reader is forced to take breaks and revisit pages. There is lack of clarity at times.

WRAPPING UP

Recommendation & Rating : If you are looking for an insight into Indian Mythology, secrets of gender bias/ dominance, links between Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism then this is for you. Overall an interesting read I rate this book 3 on a scale of 5.

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7 Secrets of the Goddess (The 7 Secret Series, #4)

BUYING LINKS

amazon.in II amazon.com II flipkart II easygrab
rediff II landmark II exotic india
bookganga II netshop18

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