7 SECRETS OF VISHNU : DEVDUTT PATTANAIK: WESTLAND LIMITED: PAGES 219 : RS 250/-
One amongst the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, Vishnu’s role is that of preserving the universe created by Brahma. Mythology writer Pattanayak is an expert in navigating through the complex web of Gods and Goddesses in the Hindu religion and presenting a deeply soul-satisfying picture to the common man of their respective roles. During the Vedic period, ritualism and philosophy represented by the Vedas and Upanishads remained exclusive to the Brahmins while the common man had no moors to hold on. Buddhism entered at this stage and overtook Hinduism with its simplicity sans rituals and addressed the common man’s problems in an appealing manner. However, it tended towards monasticism which resulted in a gradual loss of interest in this religion among the common folks. Back came Hinduism with its rationalization of the roles of Grihastha and Sanyasa- householder and ascetic through Puranas (stories) which became very popular with the masses. Wisdom belonging to a select few spread rapidly through story-telling of the Puranas, firing the imagination of the people. Anointed with rituals and symbols, these stories of Vishnu and Siva touched a chord in the common man. The book has seven chapters, each devoted to one of Vishnu’s incarnation. Starting from Mohini, the author moves on through each chapter to Matsya (fish), Kurma (tortoise), Trivikrama (dwarf), Rama, Krishna and yet to appear Kalki. The war between Devas and Asuras, the symbolism around Sarawati and Lakshmi and stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata have been narrated very well and they are interspersed with pictures of murals, sculptures and paintings, beautiful handicraft and poster-art images from different parts of India. Pattanayak’s brilliant story-telling makes the Puranas easier to understand to the modern generation.