“Yada Yada hi Dharmasyaa glanirbhavati bharata.
Abhithanaamadharmasya tadat manam srijayam yaham.” (Chapter 4, Verse 7)
It is an elaborative yet eloquent book which has laid out the basics of life. The book comprises of 18 chapters similar to the Bhagavad Gita, but the interpretation by the Chief Belief Officer of Future Group, Devdutt Pattanaik is resoundingly easy to understand. I for one had a pre-conceived notion that the book might be philosophical, religious and all about God. But I was totally proved wrong.
The book starts with the definition and overview of Gita. The author then goes on to explain the meaning of Tyagi, Yoga and Yogi. All the three are distinctive and are explained elusively. The book incessantly stresses that the humans have a “Need for Association” and social acceptance. It is a proven fact that many people assert validation in life to make themselves feel important.
The explanation of Matsyayana is also provided in the context of life. People often ponder over the difference between Ramayana and Mahabharata in terms of the learning obtained from mythology. The difference between the yugas such as dvapara yuga and kali yuga is provided in terms that are understandable to the common man. The taxonomy used to explain important facts and concepts by Devdutt is intriguing. The usage of matrix to explain the difference of rules and principles, arrow diagrams and block diagrams for other concepts help the reader recall the same with minimal effort.
The book further delves deeper to help the reader understand the differences between deha, dehi, aatma and aham. All four are different and knowledge about the same is vital for a person to remain at peace. The elucidation of dharma and adharma is also outlined with the help of relevant context. The importance of subjectivity countermands objectivity in the real world unlike MCQ question papers at college or school. This concept is driven home with placid examples eliciting the perception of truth from the participants of the conversation.
The innocuous approach of Arjuna in Mahabharata guided by Krishna in the battlefield is synonymous to a guide seeker striving in his/her life to accomplish a goal. Krishna provides the words of wisdom to Arjuna on a constant basis to enable him to unleash his entire potential. The book further elicits the effects of the “Three Gunas” viz. Rajas, Tamas and Sattva in defining a person’s life. Greed drives away peace. The analysis of Maya and Moh is commendable. Speaking frankly, this was one of the best concepts explained in the book!
Also, one wonders the differences existing between heaven and hell, except the colloquial fact that states, suffering is in hell! Devdutt has conveyed as to why only one pandava went to heaven (Read the book for further details on who went to heaven) and not all. The book also highlights the involvement approach vis-à-vis the hermit and solitary approach which focuses on an amazing act called “Meditation”. The learnings one can embark on practicing the suggestions from the book is almost infinite.
So, why should one read this book? Should one be mythology savvy or a connoisseur to appreciate the script? My take on this is simple. The reader should accept the arguments of the author with an open mind. One need not necessarily be a connoisseur to appreciate the book. No doubt, one needs to be interested in listening to stories as most of the concepts in the book are substantiated with stories. All in all, this is an outstanding book which focuses on awakening the inner self of a person. I would rate the book a 4 on 5 and it is a must read for all. Business leaders have a lot of takeaways with respect to designing the motivational programs and leadership summits as well!
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