24th Book of 2022
Well, any name of Lord Vishnu or his avatars make me curious and that’s the reason why I have most of the books related to this subject with me. In case I don’t have any, I am on Youtube searching for the videos related to the almighty. This love for the Lord made me pick up Meghnad Desai’s latest book called “Mayabharata” the tagline of which says “The Untold Story behind the Death of Lord Krishna”. The book is published by Rupa Publications in around 145 pages hence it’s a good short mythological read. Every one of us is aware about the story behind Lord Krishna’s final moment when he was resting under a tree and a hunter named Jara unintentionally strikes a bow in his toe which leads to his death. I have read many interpretations of this where few also say that Bali was reborn as Jara to complete the cycle as Lord Rama killed him so the karma had to be balanced.
Talking about the concept shared in this book by Meghnad, the whole interpretation is completely distinct from whatever I have read till now. This made me turn the book after completing it and read the back cover which said “the book is the deployment of the author’s imaginative and creative powers” which relieved me as I must say that the whole thing doesn’t sound convincing at all. There’s always a question as to how can such sub-standard conversations and incidents happen after the epic Mahabharata – the tale which has so many nuances that every time you think it’s done, there’s a new layer which raises many new questions and provides you many more insights about life and relationships.
Author’s writing style is definitely very easy and beginner-friendly hence you won’t find difficulty in reading this mythological book written with creative liberty. The chapters are also divided interestingly based on characters initially and later deep dives into the respective sub-plots which takes us to the final climax. The book starts with several characters but the one chapter which gave the story a push was the one about Ashwatthama. How he thinks of every pandav as a liar and cheater makes you look at all the five brothers along with Lord Krishna through a very different lens.
One of the highlight and main element of the book is conversation between an outsider called Maya and Lord Krishna. The character of Maya is the reason behind the title of the book hence you can comprehend the importance of him in the story. The way Maya questions Lord Krishna and makes him accept that he may have been wrong in the way he dealt with the whole war scenario and the kind of strategies he implemented to make Pandav survive surprises you as a reader as we have never heard Lord Krishna not being able to win a conversation. Though this is an interesting read and a unique version but the whole thing sounds very fictitious because we know how Lord Krishna tackles any conversation or situation and wins it with his tactics.
The sexual tension between Draupadi and her husbands is spoken enough. Similarly, Yudhisthira sleeping with all the widow women in order to ensure that the clan doesn’t vanish completely is given a good emphasis upon. On the same note, Lord Krishna’s love-making and intimate moments with his wives and gopis are mentioned in many chapters repeatedly. Frankly speaking, I have never heard or read about Lord Krishna in such a manner and the way author has narrated these segments, it sounds disrespectful and demeaning. I just felt that author doesn’t have any belief in Mahabharat and the whole thing is written just to gain some fame by writing on this topic as nation is interested in Hinduism and its tales these days. This is the 1st book I have read where Lord Krishna looks like the weakest characters of all.
Overall, I would say that after a long time, a book has been quite disappointing to me; and particularly, from the mythology genre. I give this one 2 stars out of 5.