Books 2014 Vol. 9 – “7 Secrets of Goddess” by Devidutt Patnaik

7 secrets of goddess by devidutt patnaik

About the Author

Mythology has always been an inherent part of Hindu culture. Where we used to spend our Sundays being enriched in the epics, the newer generation is gradually being drifted apart by the new age technology. So, how do we fulfil this gap? 
Devidutt Patnaik is one of the authors who has been constantly churning stories from various epics for our delight and trust me when I say, we are unaware of some them. I have already read a few of them and would definitely recommend The Pregnant King. Yes, some of his books may be just too mature for kids but we can always retell the stories in our way!
Along with such retelling of small episodes in the puranas or retelling of the major epics themselves, he also specializes in writing about the interpretation of the epics in the factual form as they come! Whether this interpretation is true or not is something which the author right away absolves himself of by stating that every man’s interpretation of these works is correct.

About the Book

As much as we all love our mythology, we love it as a fiction. We love to visualize characters, we love to hail some of them and wish the others to the dungeons. But, here we have the stories of the Goddess and not just the stories but the literal interpretation of the female standing through the ages in our culture. 
It was a matriarchal society earlier, the male could not refuse the woman. In Mahabharata, Urvashi curses Arjuna for refusing her advances. In Greek mythology, Artemis turns Actaeon into stag that is ripped to pieces by his own hunting dogs….

Did you know what a virgin really meant? According to the book, it meant a woman who was ready to bear a child. Every woman was a virgin during the ovulation period which also explains how Draupadi’s virginity would be restored before going to the next husband. Also, the term whore was meant for females who were free to go to any man. As the times changed, both the terms lost their true meaning and started denoting the chastity of women. – Gaia’s Secret

7 secrets of goddess by devidutt patnaik
the book is full of such illustrations and the font itself is easy to read and easy on the eyes

Kali has been portrayed as a symbolism for both violence and sexuality. She is wild and naked (Smashan Kali) which represents she can not be domesticated. She (Bhadra Kali) also has been portrayed as the medium who connects Shiva to the universe and his domestic responsibilities by indulging in familial duties with him. 
 
As opposed to Kali, Gauri is the calmer version of the Goddess who is dressed in bridal finery but her unbound hair reveals her independent nature. She is self-created and rides a tiger. Brahma seeks to control her making him unworthy of worship. Shiva is indifferent to her which makes him desirable to the Goddess and Vishnu values both the importance of Kali and Gauri as opposed to both the extremes. 
Hinduism is mainly symbolism and even the small stories can be interpreted than what they actually appear in their face value. Similarly, Brahma represents the human mind that misbehaves. Shiva vehemently rejects this misbehaviour. Vishnu is the human mind which does not condone this misbehaviour, ye understands it. What is the misbehaviour? It is the assumption of property – that culture and all its creation belong to humans. 

My Verdict

The book is not a light read. It talks about philosophy but while reading it, one should remember that it is just one man’s interpretation and does not provide a holistic perspective of the issue. 
For example, while saying that the earliest of our culture was actually matriarchal, we also find a contradiction made by the author himself- the male partner chosen by the female (specified above) is killed at regular intervals.  
The chosen came to her during the sowing season and he was sacrificed at the harvest season.  

While the female gets the right to choose her partner, she does not have the right to stay with him for lifetime! In fact, love is then doomed in such circumstances. How does it become a matriarch society? 

Have you read the book or any other book by the author? How do you like his writing? 

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    After reading the preview, I would very much like to read it, but where can I get it? I am a Muslim but very much like to read on religions of the world. Your preview is very interesting, even though it is a heavy read, but it certainly will be an interesting read.

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