Book Review: Shakti – The Divine Feminine


After last year’s success with Kamadeva – The god of Desire, Anuja Chandramouli returns with this striking work on Shakti – The divine feminine.

We all know about Shakti – She is the Mother Goddess, Mahamaya the enchantress, the supreme consciousness, the pure source from which all creation emerges and to whom all must eventually return. As Ushas, the enchanting goddess of the dawn, she is loved passionately and hated fiercely, leading to a horrific tragedy. As Durga, the invincible warrior, she defeats the savage Mahishasura, whom none of the male gods could vanquish. As Kali, the fearsome dark goddess, she delights in chaos. Yet she is also Shakti, beloved of all, who, when united with Shiva, restores balance to the universe. In this captivating narrative, explore the contrasting facets of the sacred feminine, the author walks us through the different aspects of her divinity through different stories she is known for. You grow to respect her for her stand on Feminism in a male dominated world.

Being her third book, we can see the author has gotten comfortable in the space of narration and does not fail to reel you into the stories on Shakti. The characters of Lord Indra and his wife Sachi has also been well defined, perhaps a little more than needed. It sure did make me wonder why is Indra even a god after all his wrong doings! What is probably the most important thing about this book is how the ideas of feminism is spread throughout it – the fierce independence of Usas and the strong will of Shakti, they just radiate through the pages, though not enough.

What I felt was a little off was the unnecessarily complicated language and passages that strives hard to push your attention off to some other thoughts. It seemed like the author put an extra effort to make her story verbose and unnecessarily wordy just to give it a literary feel. I did feel the same way about her earlier book – Kamadeva, but more so with this one. Also, the part of Indra and Sachi take up too much of the plot space that you feel like the author has temporarily forgotten that the protagonist was Shakti. If her purpose was to provide a strong background, I feel it was too much of it.

On the whole, this book begins with a promising start but gets lost midway through the book. From an author who gave us Kamadeva, this is a little disappointing. But, if you are a fan of Anuja’s writing, this one will definitely satiate your appetite.

The good is perfectly good writing but the flaws are too glaring.

Title : Shakti – The Divine Feminine
Authors: Anuja Chandramouli
Publisher/ Imprint: Rupa Publications
Pages: 288
Genre/ Sub Genre: Non-Fiction/ Mythology
Rating: 3.00 of 5.00
Reviewed for: Author

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