Book Review: 7 Secrets of Vishnu

Book, Review, Tales Pensieve, 7, Seven, Secrets, Vishnu, Devdutt, Pattanaik

The bright yellow cover with a painting depiction of the blue god Krishna on it, is eye-catching enough to get added to any book collection. The cover design by Dhaivat Chhaya completely justifies the title and contents of the book – 7 Secrets of Vishnu. The god who is said to be draped in yellow silk has a book cover that symbolizes his choice of garment. Devdutt Pattanaik is one of those writers who have brought mythology out of seemingly boring hard-bounds and deliver it in the most simplified and interesting forms, every time. This time he brings the secrets of the most glamorous god of the Hindu trinity – Vishnu. Vishnu is possibly the only god amongst the whole hindu paltan of gods who has been touring the earth so frequently, helping his people maintain some method to the madness. Devdutt brings to us the imbibed details and secrets of his tours/ avatars hidden in the art and folklore of India.

The book starts with the secret of Mohini, the only female incarnation of the male god and advances to his other avatars, their metaphysical meanings, secrets of every symbol the arts depict – right from his cup shaped vertical mark on the forehead to the conch in the hand, from the snake he sleeps on to the chakra he wields. The book gets into the details of all the major accepted avatars of Vishnu and detail out their journey on earth based on the both the legends and art forms of the land. The writer curiously points out that, the god with preserver of earth duties enlisted in his job description, has followed meticulous planning in his forms and stories from time to time. It could be no coincidence that while Vishnu appears in different forms on earth in order of the evolution of life forms – staring with the aquatic Matsya, followed by the amphibian Varaha, then followed by the animal Kurma, leading to the half animal-half man Narasimha and finally followed by the human forms of Parashurama, Rama and Krishna, he also follows the strata rules of the Hindu society by his human forms appearing in descending order of the social strata’s/ varnas followed in the hindu society with his Brahmin Parashuram (born Brahmin, lived shatriya), a shatriya Ram (born shatriya, lived shatriya) and a shudra Krishna (born shatriya, lived shudra).

Devdutt works are always pleasant and breezy reads and this one is no different. This one too helps us immerge out more knowledgeable about that Krishna statue in our pooja room or that Ram statue in the neighborhood temple. Anyone with an interest in understanding the metaphysics of the labyrinth of Hindu mythology should find this book a very interesting read.

After reading this book one will never look at a Vishnu temple with bored ritualism, the stories you read here will come back to you, every time.

Title: 7 Secrets of Vishnu
Author: Devdutt Pattanaik
Publisher/ Imprint: Westland Books
Pages: 217
Genre/ Sub-Genre: Non-Fiction/ Mythology
Rating: 4.00 of 5.00
Reviewed for: Personal Copy

Part of South Asian Challenge 2012

Read the reviews of other books rated 4 star by Team TP HERE

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