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Myth = Mithya: Decoding Hindu Mythology [Format Kindle]

DR. DEVDUTT PATTANAIK

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

A decoding of Hindu mythology

Hindus have one God.

They also have 330 million gods: male gods; female gods; personal gods; family gods; household gods; village gods; gods of space and time; gods for specific castes and particular professions; gods who reside in trees; in animals; in minerals; in geometrical patterns and in man-made objects.

Then there are a whole host of demons.

But no Devil.

In this groundbreaking book Dr Devdutt Pattanaik; one of India’s most popular mythologists; seeks an answer to these apparent paradoxes and unravels an inherited truth about life and death; nature and culture; perfection and possibility. He retells sacred Hindu stories and decodes Hindu symbols and rituals; using a unique style of commentary; illustrations and diagrams. We discover why the villainous Kauravas went to heaven and the virtuous Pandavas (all except Yudhishtira) were sent to hell; why Rama despite abandoning the innocent Sita remains the model king; why the blood-drinking Kali is another form of the milk-giving Gauri; and why Shiva wrenched off the fifth head of Brahma.

Constructed over generations; Hindu myths serve as windows to the soul; and provide an understanding of the world around us. The aim is not to outgrow myth; but to be enriched and empowered by its ancient; potent and still relevant language.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 5980 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 232 pages
  • Editeur : Penguin (11 juillet 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0143099701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143099703
  • ASIN: B008ET3WKO
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°231.164 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  61 commentaires
44 internautes sur 45 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Artfully written and extremely engaging. 27 février 2008
Par Anand Bhardwaj - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Pattanaik's Myth=mithya approaches Hinduism from an interestingly rational standpoint. This was one of the first things that struck me about the book. Normally, books about God(s) tend to be pretty partisan in their world-view. Religion in general feeds into the overwhelming human urge to explain everything with one grand all-encompassing sentence or formula. A theological 42, if you will. Myth=mithya on the other hand, approaches the world with the same rational observation-theory-hypothesis method that I would expect from a scientific paper. It makes no arrogant claims to authority, nor does it even pretend to be the be-all/end-all as far as Hindu Mythology goes. It simply states cases from Hindu Mythology and then draws correlations to different aspects of Hindu philosophy as opposed to religion. What makes it all the more interesting, and why I refer to it as theology is- Hindu Mythology is still a very integral part of Indian culture (and by stating this, I dont intend to undermine Muslim and Mughal influences on Indian culture in any way). While Greek, Roman and Egyptian myths are arguably more popular, globally; and are definitely studied/analyzed to a far greater degree, they are artifacts of now-defunct religions. Hinduism and the Hindu pantheon are still very much practiced and believed in, respectively. No scholar of Greek Myth actually believes that Aphrodite was born from Ouranos' genitals, but you try to tell my grandmum that Brahma was not born from a lotus that grew out of Narayana's navel while Narayana reclined on a thousand-headed serpent that floated on an infinite ocean of milk and I guarantee you that you are in for a bit of an argument.
As a consequence of Hindu Mythology being a popular belief in Hindu society, any discussion of Hindu Mythology has a lot of theological implications to weigh it down. To analyze and dissect the myth of the birth of Brahma or the nature of Rama's betrayal of Sita is to analyze and dissect Hinduism itself. With verbal dexterity that verges on magic, Pattanaik neatly sidesteps any large theological implication and simply discusses the Myth for what it is: a popular story that attempts to explain and justify the world-view of a largish group of people.

You can clearly see the Pattanaik loves and respects Hinduism. He presents Hinduism as it is and does not pretend that it is THE way or THE truth like some ridiculous religious fanatic. His humility, and the fact that you are not assaulted with religious propaganda make this book all the more enjoyable.
15 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An eminently readable and dispassionate look at Hindu myths and legends. Highly recommended. 31 décembre 2010
Par Abhinav Agarwal - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This book takes a look at some of the most common and popular myths, legends, stories, and tales about Hinduism, and peels back the layer of myth to reveal the core of rationalism and philosophy behind. A quick read that will leave you thinking for a long time. An excellent book.

Based on my reading of the author's two books, Jaya, and Myth=Mithya, what seems to stand out are two things.

Firstly, the style of writing is very crisp. To the point. For example, in "Jaya", there is little buildup of drama, of tension, of a sense of the sweeping drama that the epic can convey. Think of staccato as a style. Not as disconnected though, but still very crisp, and sometimes jumps from one point to another without much preamble.

Secondly, and more importantly, the author's ability to pause and provide an insight, a learning, a point that the reader would most likely miss, is amazing. And therein, I believe, lies the value that the author is able to bring to the table. This ability to take learnings from several sources and distill them into concise pieces of learning is very valuable.

Selections from the book:

"Narayana's slumber represents a state when the consciousness is totally unresponsive to the world around. So deep is the slumber that Narayana is not even aware of himself. This is pralaya, dissolution, the period before the split between the Purusha and Prakriti. There is neither observer nor observation. Things have no form or name. Space collapses. Life entropies into a formless, nameless mass - the ocean of milk. Time is no longer sequential. The past, present, and future telescope into each other. The serpent of time coils rather than slithers." [pgs 40, 41]

"Curses and boons are narrative tools to explain the concept of karma. A curse is a manifestation of debt." [page 57]

"An overview of Hindu narratives shows an obsession with curses and boons. They are used to explain situations. They take the narrative forward. Curses and boons are essentially narrative tools to explain the idea of karma. Nothing in the Hindu world happens spontaneously." [page 59]

"Hindu funeral rites involve the use of both fire and water. The body is cremated and the bones and ashes cast into the river. Fire represents the fire of moksha or release. The river represents samsara, the realm of rebirths. The two possible destinations of the soul are thus symbolically acknowledged." [pgs 54, 55]

"The story of the Kauravas in Swarga informs us that there is always hope in the Hindu world, even for the worst of villains.
...
But there is one place where there is no hope. That place is called Put. It is reserved for Pitr who are trapped in the land of the dead with no hope of being reborn.
...
That is why a son and daughter are known as put-ra and put-ri i nSanskrit, meaning "deliverers from Put". By producing a child, a living person not only repays his debt to his ancestors he also helps a Pitr escape from the land of the dead into the land of the living." [page 75]

"The disrobing of Draupadi is a visual representation of the collapse of order. The rise of the law of the jungle. Draupadi responds as Kali, refusing to tier her hair until she washes it in the blood of the Kauravas." [page 128]

"Shiva communicates the truth of life through dance. Dance is the symbol if life. It is impermanent, lasting as long a the dancer dances. It flows through space and time, unfettered by any dimension or monebt. The wheel around the dancing Shiva is the merry-go-round of worldly events. The ego is swept away by the wheel. Shiva crushes the ego and dances on its back, offering an alternative. He balances himself on on his right foot, indicative of the still Purusha, and swings on his left leg, indicative of the ever-changing Prakriti. His right hand comforts his devotees while his left hand points to the interaction of the left and right feet. The fire he holds in one hand is tapa, ignited by refusing to submit to worldly stimuli. The rattle-drum in the other hand is created with the downward pointing triangle of matter separated from the upward-pointing triangle of the spirit." [page 162]
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 An Useful Reference book on Hindu Myths 19 novembre 2012
Par Raghu Nathan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Most Indians, me included, do not have a good knowledge of Hindu myths. We often have a poor understanding of how they influence our thoughts and feelings. We tend to take our beliefs and customs as something stemming from the Hindu religious doctrines but in reality, often they come derived from our myths and mythology. In this context, it is useful to quote the author of this book as he explains the concept of Myth in the introduction. He says: "....Myth is essentially a cultural construct, a common understanding of the world that binds individuals and communities together. This understanding may be religious or secular. Ideas such as rebirth, heaven and hell, angels and demons, fate and freewill, sin, Satan and salvation are religious myths. Ideas such as sovereignty, nation state, human rights, women's rights, animal rights and gay rights are secular myths. Religious or Secular, all myths make profound sense to one group of people. ....From myth come beliefs, from mythology customs"

This book explores primarily Hindu mythology associated with the Trinity of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. It recounts many of the tales from mythology and discusses the 'truth' behind the myths. At times, the truth is about Life and Death, at times Nature and Culture and at times about the Ideal and the Possible. I found it an useful book, clarifying many aspects of the mythological stories that I know from childhood. It provides one possible interpretation to the idea behind the tales. The author is non-judgmental and he implies clearly that these 'truths' of Hindus is neither superior nor inferior to other truths, including scientific ones. They are simply yet another understanding of human life. In this respect, the author upholds the best philosophical traditions of India.

Though I am irreligious and atheistic in belief, I wanted to learn more precisely aspects of my culture and tradition. This book helped me learn a number of things, many of them rather fundamental. For example, I didn't know that in the Hindu view, the Gods like Vishnu resided above and beyond the three worlds of Swarga, Bhuloka and Patala. I would think that the popular notion is that the Gods lived in Swarga! I learnt the difference between the Tantric and Vedic approaches to self-realization. In Tantra, the world is experienced to the fullest, shattering all cultural norms and restrictions and judgments. In the Vedic approach, self-realization is achieved by detached adherence to cultural values, judgments, social roles and ritual conduct.

From a psychological perspective, I found it interesting when the author invokes the story of Yayati to show the roots of the Indian psyche wherein the younger generation is praised for sacrificing its happiness to satisfy the demands of the older generation. Many of us in India would relate to this very well.

The other point that I found illuminating is the discourse on Desire. According to the Vedas, before all things , came Desire. It is desire which caused the restlessness which led to creation. It is desire which links possibilities to fruition. Without desire , there is no action. Without action, nothing exists. This is in sharp contrast to Buddhism, where Desire is considered the root cause of all sorrow and unhappiness on earth.

On Creation, Dr. Patnaik says, "...according to the Vedas, God does not 'create' this world. He simply made all creatures aware of it. Awareness leads to discovery and discovery is creation.......all existence is a manifestation of the Divine and hence there is no room for Evil in the Hindu view..."

Overall, I found it an interesting book from which I learnt things more precisely than before. For believers in Hindu religion as well as others who are just interested in the subject, this book can be a good reference.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING! 3 février 2013
Par Savar Suri - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
There's definately a DEARTH of good narratives and good writers on the subject of Indian mythology and specially the lesser known stories and symbols, Dr Patnaik has magically appeared on the Indian Non Fiction Mythology scene as a saviour! Kudos to the writer for creating a crisp and to the point concise writeup(yes!Its that crisp!) about the lesser known nitty gritty's of the Ramayan and the Mahabharata, with some snatches also from the Bhagvad Gita,The Skanda Purana and The Linga Purana.. I totally recommend it to you even if you do not read mythology regularly/don't know much about..Give this a go and you'll be hooked on to it...and hey, a little extra knowledge never hurt anyone ;) It may just give you a little extra brownie points in front of the elders!
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The best starting point 10 avril 2011
Par Ashu - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
It is in my opinion a great starting point for anyone trying to understand Indian culture or even dwelve into the million scriptures that the sub-continent has to offer.

After ages of having read illustrations that humored ancient Indian concepts or turned the Myths into comic tales of the objects in the tale vs. the moral/ concept of the story, I was dlieghted to find this book which provided a more precise or rationale view of the scriptures and the concepts that India has to offer.

This also aids others of my generation who are tired by the demonstration of linguistic prowess by authors in many translated Indian scriptures (for lesser mortals like me who do not have the expert ability of interpreting sanskrit) than an illustration or narration of the concept in the scripture.

All in all a great read that I will strongly recommend!
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