Read Myth = Mithya : Decoding Hindu Mythology by Devdutt Pattanaik Online


Hinduism can be a puzzle or even an enigma to the uninitiated there are so many different beliefs, so many rituals and so many myths and legends, it can be hard to follow myth = mithya: a handbook of hindu mythology is an attempt by the author to shed light on this seeming tangle, to show the deeper meanings of the different stories he explains about the hindu trinity andHinduism can be a puzzle or even an enigma to the uninitiated there are so many different beliefs, so many rituals and so many myths and legends, it can be hard to follow myth = mithya: a handbook of hindu mythology is an attempt by the author to shed light on this seeming tangle, to show the deeper meanings of the different stories he explains about the hindu trinity and their divine consorts he also goes into the puzzle of why hindus believe in one supreme reality and yet claim the existence of 330 million gods the book explains concepts like the pitr, jiva, and about the devas and the asuras he explains the significance of various rituals he discusses how the warrior-like kali and the benign gauri are different forms of the same goddess he also compares the roles and the powers of the trinity, brahma, vishnu and shiva he goes into the idea behind the various avatars or incarnations of the preserver, vishnu he examines why the rama and krishna avatars have assumed such significance myth = mithya: a handbook of hindu mythology also compares the two major epics, the ramayana and the mahabharata it analyzes why the two avatars in the epics, rama and krishna, were so different it shows that the age that these epics were set in demanded different perspectives to handle similar situations this book is not a continuous narrative, it does not read like a novel instead, it is a source of reference for those who want to gain a deeper understanding of the stories and rituals and symbols that permeate the hindu faith the book is not aimed just at those who are non-hindus even those who have been brought up in the hindu faith can gain some deeper insights into their customs and beliefs through this book myth = mithya: a handbook of hindu mythology also includes illustrations which are drawn by the author...

Title : Myth = Mithya : Decoding Hindu Mythology
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780143423324
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 227 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Myth = Mithya : Decoding Hindu Mythology Reviews

  • B.F.
    2019-02-03 19:03

    Dr. Pattanaik has undertaken a massive project with this little book; condensing centuries of philosophy, profiling hundreds of epic characters, and attempting to provide an introduction not only to the major holy books of Hinduism (the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Ramayana, and the Mahabrata) Not only does he succeed in this seemingly impossible task, but he also succeeds in writing an intellectually stimulating and entertaining read. Dr. Pattanaik has written the survey course on Hindu mythology, and bookended it with the most cursory of conceptual guides. Readers of this book should expect a semi-chronological re-telling of the major events in Hindu mythology (with brief but profound interpretation), short length profiles of the major Hindu deities, and various tables and charts illustrating complex concepts and sacred geometries. 'I left my time with this book feeling inspired to read the holy texts myself, and to seek out alternative interpretations. I also left with a deeper appreciation of the design of Hinduism, the way in which these epic tales were not only told but illustrated through centuries of artwork, and how each of these images is a complex arrangements of signifiers coalescing into a greater overall meaning. It made me realize that my western eyes are unaccustomed to looking so thoroughly at an image. That there is a capacity for meaning in an image that I have am failing to pay enough attention to to see. In this world of instant images we only see the surface of things. This book taught me to respect the nuances of language. For instance, I had always been taught that Shiva played the role of the "destroyer". To me, this word had always meant violence. I would imagine Shiva in the explosions of bombs and the falling of bricks. But, this is a faulty understanding. Shiva destroys through withdrawal, not violence. He is a hermit and ascetic, who renounces the world and all worldly concerns. It is through the act of closing his eyes to the world that he destroys it, as it was the perception of the world by Brahma which created it. This new interpretation of the linguistics of the myth allows me to have a deeper understanding of its philosophical implications to my own spiritual practice, and its relationship to the prevailing paradigms of Hindu thought. I highly recommend this book for those like myself who think they maybe might know something about Hinduism, or simply those curious to know how Hindu culture has codified the concepts of metaphysical and existential philosophy.

  • Girish
    2019-02-06 16:39

    This book could be a condensed doctorate paper on possible meanings in Hindusism as explained in puranas. Or, it could be a quick and dirty replacement for Amar Chitra Katha for the grown ups (or those who are trying to grow up). I enjoyed the book as both.Devdutt's Myth = Mithya is a simple read with not so simple content. The book explores the metaphysical and psychological elements hidden away in Puranas, presented with modern sensibilities, packaged in an attractive manner. The disclaimers that were unintentionally put like every culture tries to survive by questioning the practices of other cultures made for a careful author. Having said that, the book has been bold in expressing ideas that might be tough to digest (especially in a sensitive country)The three sections centred on Origin, Culture (social) and Yogic (intenral) give a lot to think about if you are having an open mind. Otherwise, it tells you a lot of stories, some known - some unknown on Hinduism. This is a book that is not for heart but for the brain. Because faith comes from believing without questioning and logic from questioning. I am also glad since this has been a book on my shelf for 3 years, especially since it was autographed and all...

  • Anupriy Kanti
    2019-02-16 20:56

    There are not enough words to describe the book's effect on me after I had finished reading it.Mr. Pattanaik does not only tell stories and give analysis, but also makes one introspect and internalize what is being said.He makes the mythology sound not just deep, but interesting and enjoyable. Being a mythology enthusiast from the time I had baby tooth, I always tried to find good books and information that could expand my knowledge. But most materials I read were either had to complex literature or were very haphazard. Devdutt Pattanaik, through this book, by not only give it a very structured look but also helps in deciphering (in his own way)the contents of ancient wisdom through mythology.I would suggest everyone, Indian or not, to read this as it gives a sneak at the questions of life that we ask (or need to ask) ourselves.

  • Shaonli Nath
    2019-02-19 20:03

    The Hindu cosmos is a confused space. Stories often contradict, conventional reasoning is absurd and characters are convoluted. Devdutt Patnaik makes sense out of this imbroglio rather dextrously in Myth=Mithya.For experts of Hinduism studies, the book is perhaps a superficial treatment of the expansive subject. But for someone who got her mythology download from Amar Chitra Katha, this book offers lucid insights into Hindu mythology.At times the logical conclusions seem to be over-stretched. Yet Myth=Mithya doesn't judge. It interprets. An interpretation that is unapologetic and unbiased. Next on the shelf, Jaya.

  • Sameeksha Ugvekar
    2019-02-19 14:56

    We All are in the Myth=Mithya Worldbecause in us The Gods and The Goddesses Why didn't i had it Before on my TBR PileI liked this book so much it is so inevitable goshand the #3 Parts description is the Nicest part everThe Brahma and The SaraswatiThe Vishnu and The LakshmiThe Shiva and The Shaktithe perspective of humans so neatly described and in so simply and going to the to grab some more books from the Same AuthorTake it As Easy as you can it Really is Just not A coffee table Book But so Much Important for every Human.

  • Raghu
    2019-02-12 21:56

    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.

  • Ambar Parashar
    2019-02-05 16:49

    Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik books are always fun to read, as i like to read lot of mythological storiesfrom all over the world not just India as-greek,norse,egyptian,atlantis etc. Best part of this book is preciseness,author as per Indian mythology tells us how this world initiated through short story.There are number of stories(random) but at some point connection b/w stories could be made.Even a total laymen in Indian mythology could go well along with his book.Author made me love again with 33crore Indian god&goddesses and their rich,fascinating stories.:)

  • SavirHusain Khan
    2019-02-10 19:44

    This is a summarized version of popular Hindu Mythology. I have heard most of the stories that are presented in this book, but earlier I didn't know the context behind these stories.This book clarifies most of my doubts and gave me the unique way of the seeing the Popular beliefs of Hindu's and how these beliefs are associated with mythologies or how various things comes in to practice. This book could be stretched more, so we could have a much broader view on these mythologies, however, it's a good book and you will definitely add something in the pond of your knowledge.

  • Ayushi Nayak
    2019-02-24 19:41

    For some strange reasons, I guess philosophy helps me now.Our ancestors were geniuses; I mean even if it were all stories and mythology, there is this fact that can 1 person actually think that all by himself and jot it down. Maybe that's an elite club of super dudes (read storytellers), how? plain, simple how can people of long, long ago be so insightful?!? You see, genius spotted.And what a piece of unattenuated thoughts. Pure and simple translation of thoughts. I wish it were longer and I could read it forever...

  • Deboshree Chatterjee
    2019-01-25 22:56

    ok... ok...actually lots of these infos were known to me.. because am kind of mythology and lore freak.... and secondly I have read his other books like ..Jaya and 7 secrets box set ( Shiva, Vishnu and Hindu calendar art) .... which, as per my opinion were way far well written (specially Jaya) than this one.... :)but those who have not read his other books like I said before... they can read this and enjoy the hidden meanings of Hindu mythologies and rituals...

  • Sabita
    2019-02-03 20:40

    Liked the concept. Good to understand more about Indian myths. As a devotee of frameworks I liked the way he puts things in context through comparisons and charts. His sketches are also interesting. However, this reads more like a trivia book rather than a literary work. Not so much my cup of tea. Sometimes there's a bit of jumping around whereas I like flow. Good for trivia lovers.

  • Peter Mcloughlin
    2019-02-09 18:57

    Nice primer on Hindu cosmology and mythology written by an insider grappling with this tradition and bringing it to a modern audience. Short book but a lot of ideas in between the pages. I suspect the audience is for modern Indians and diaspora Indians who wish to reconnect with their tradition.

  • Satish Inamdar
    2019-02-15 20:05

    The inital essays on purusha and prakriti were good, but then most of the other stories i was aware of since i was bought up in such a household. They wont surprise you, if u r initiated, but for a beginner or an outsider this book can serve as something near to introduction for Hinduism 101

  • Virat hooda
    2019-01-27 17:45

    True WondererThis was my second book by Dr.Pattanaik, The first one that i read "Jaya" was absolutely brilliant.And although 'Mithya' predates 'Jaya' ,which could be felt as you read his later works, i found this too to be absolutely marvelous. 'Sanatan Dharma' or 'Hinduism' is not only the oldest but it is also the most complicated religion there is,was or perhaps ever will be.It is filled with paradoxes and symbolism ,complicated rituals and narratives,mixed with all kinds of superstition that all of it just boggles the mind.In the midst of all this Dr.Pattanaik's work is a brilliant attempt to find logic in this chaos, to follow the bread crumbs and lead to the crux of it all. I admire this a lot about him.The book is designed cleverly too,he has used the Hindu trinity to divide the book, 'Brahma-Saraswati' as the First, 'Vishnu-Lakshmi' as second and 'Shiva-Shakti' as third. To anyone jumping right in, the myths might seem randomly all over the place, i would encourage the readers to read the intro and all the tid-bits too, they are not to be skipped. Although a lot of the stories were familiar to me, the associations made and explained, with a lot of visual flow charts and tables were quite refreshing and intriguing. This book deals with a lot of core Hindu ideologies, our idea of Rebirth, Creation, Afterlife, Heaven and Hell, Justice, Samsara, Moksha, Sex, Nature, Culture, Civilized and Uncivilized practices,etc etc.And on almost all accounts i was in agreement with Dr.Pattanaik save few, like his idea of 'Caste system' and the fact that if followed as per 'Family' legacy there stays harmony in the system,although some do say such a thing, couldn't it have been the 'High Caste' Brahmans who started this just to keep the knowledge to them the select few, because as per my knowledge there is a para in Rig Veda (IX.112.3), where the poet refers to his diverse parentage: “I am a reciter of hymns, my father is a physician and my mother grinds corn with stones. We desire to obtain wealth in various actions.”So, the 'Varna' system was initially not meant to be hereditary, though it later became as such, so did a lot of ideas,mutated into something they were not supposed to.So, the stories in Ramayana promoting 'Varnas'(Castes) as per birth didn't sit well with me, Dr.Pattanaik should have mentioned the other side of the coin as well.'Nature' And 'Culture' are the two pillars of the Vedic ways, often at odds with each other striving for that perfect balance, this idea is thoroughly researched and explained in this book.This was perhaps my favorite part. To explain the difference between 'Vishnu' & Samsara and 'Shiva' & Sanyasa. That too with his brilliant depictions and illustrations. pattanaik_hari-haraThe relevance of 'Soul' and 'Matter', of even the color 'White' and 'Red'. There is just so much that you can take away from this book.To anyone remotely interested in Hinduism or Philosophy or Symbolism or even in Myths in general i whole heatedly recommend this book. To any guy with an urge to make sense , this is a must.I rate it 4 out of 5 stars. Goodreads rating system.To end with a quote from the book :-"Within infinite myths lies the eternal truthWho sees it all? Varuna has but a thousand eyes, Indra has a hundred, You and I, only two."

  • Karan Gupta
    2019-01-25 21:59

    It was at Chennai Airport, while I was waiting for a flight back to Pune that I entered the airport bookstore. Weirdly, after all this time I am somehow naive enough (or stupid enough) to believe that I will just look around and not buy anything from a bookstore because of the big stack of pending books. Yes, I see you pointing a finger at me and laughing your head off, but that was my intention. For real! So as you must have already gathered, I bought this book and stowed it away for a not so distant future.I had heard of this book earlier but never given it a serious thought. But a recent argument about the Hindu religious philosophy with a colleague and the pending Basham's "The Wonder that was India" drew me to the book. I flipped through randomly and saw a lot of small sections of stories, a page at most, and many crudely drawn sketches of the various Hindu deities. I was to find out later that the book was full of such drawings, tables and flowcharts. I found the pedantic efforts of Dr. Pattanaik extremely cute. The work did not seem half baked and incomplete. The research was well done. At no point of the book did it seem that the author was fleeting through the topics, despite the concise nature of the work. Also, the work is not theistic in nature like religious texts tend to get. Pattanaik does not impose his opinions anywhere. Rather he states in the preface that religion is a matter of faith and can be rationalised only till a point. He recommends seeing it as a way of understanding human life rather than an explanation for it.The book revolves around the three primary Gods of the Hindu mythology (Bramha, Vishnu, Shiva) and their counterparts (Saraswati, Laxmi, Shakti). It seeks to explain the Hindu religious beliefs in the light of modern concerns. Dr. Pattanaik comes up with an extremely persuasive way to present what we currently know as Hinduism. Scattered throughout the books are the various small stories from the Puranas and Vedas describing the conflict between the devas and asuras. The author brings this strife to a new light by deeming every section of the mythological league as essential in the Hindu culture. The asuras are as important as the devas. He interprets the Hindu culture as non-judgmental, saying there is room for every type of culture, but each has its place and time.The read was an interesting one, to say the least. There were aspects of the Hindu culture that I was unaware of (at least the aspects as Devdutt Pattanaik sees them). There were also many stories that I did not know of, and many lesser deities that I knew no more than the name of. I am very impressed by Dr. Pattanaik, though I doubt I would reach out for another such work of his any time soon.

  • Amisha Mehta
    2019-02-10 16:52

    i have always liked Devdutt Patnaik's style of writing. he has a way of explaining complex stories in simple and minimalistic fashion. Nothing more than you need to know. But after reading the book i'm more confused about concepts in Hinduism. What is more important destiny or determination. Although this book is not aimed at answering any existential or other ethical, moral or philosophical questions, it leads to thinking. As always, Hinduism is an all-embracing religion or rather way of life and this comes out even in the book. Good, bad, right, wrong, all the other contrasting moral concepts have place in Hinduism and this is well brought out in the course of the book. its good light read. the book just focuses on the concepts and stories as it is and does not elaborate much on the 'why'. Nonetheless i would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know all the stories of Hinduism and doesn't have grand-parents to tell.

  • Abhay Nair
    2019-02-03 20:45

    It says on the cover "A Handbook of Hindu Mythology" and it's bang-on right!If you are interested in Hinduism this is essential start - a macro level view of the "Hindu Landscape". And if you are a English-speaking (reading) Hindu... how come you haven't read this yet?!!Inspite of all the Hindu Spiritual background that I had grown up with, this work brought a lot of clarity to How and Why on things. The Author clears the bulk and pushes the core message. Stories so often heard, told and thought about in pieces are put into the right place on the rich and complex "Hindu" puzzle.It brings clarity from turbulence yet leaves one questioning all that they understand, precisely like the subject matter it handles.A pointer - Do not rush through this! It is deceptively easy to do so. Lest you miss the message!

  • Janaki Murali
    2019-01-30 20:49

    One more book off my bookshelf Devdutt Pattanaik's Myth=Mithya. He says it as is. His detailing out the seven chakras of Tantra reminded me of Maslow's Theory of Self actualization.Quoting Pattanaik,' Who is God? Why should the world matter so much? Why does the world exist? Is participation in worldly affairs the only validation of existence? But what is existence?...Who is this person reading this book? Who is this person writing this book? The mind? The soul? The world?' I read his 'Jaya' and enjoyed the retelling of the Mahabharata a lot. Now waiting to read 7 Secrets from Hindu Calendar Art, also languishing on my bookshelf.

  • Saumya
    2019-02-18 21:03

    I wanted to like this book, I really did. I love reading about the meaning behind things in religion and mythology but my God, is this a badly written book! Some of the frameworks seemed so forced like they were put in for the sake of having a framework. And the constant jumping from one random story to another without having any coherence between them was so exhausting to get through. Instead of enjoying myself while reading this, I found myself just waiting to reach the end. Nope, not how a book should make you feel!

  • Vani
    2019-02-03 20:01

    This book by Dr. Devdutt Patnaik, not just decodes the symbolisms in Hindu culture, it enlightens the readers with the philosophy behind the relative truths, many a times taken as absolute by its followers. He discusses the Hindu system as a way of life, giving us an idea about the relevance of various practices, narrating those interesting stories which many of us have grown up with.For me it has become a handbook of my faith and realities; it is one such book which you would want to go back to, all through your life.

  • Nanthini
    2019-02-13 22:57

    This book compiles all the myths/stories in hindhuism and explains how some God/Goddess come into existence. The different avatars by God/Goddess briefly explained giving insight to all their many names. He covers regional differences between worshipping of the Gods in north and south of India. Somehow the book got real weird when it came to the chapter on Shiva. Especially when the author started explaining on white seeds and red seeds and proceeded to explain the relationship between Shiva+Shakti. Read with an open mind.

  • Sonelina Pal
    2019-02-15 20:44

    Like all of Dr Pattanaik's books, written in bald plain speaking fashion. The concepts are reminiscent of stories I heard while growing up. But the familiar nature of the Myth does not necessarily translate into understanding the truth. Another book that will need to be revisited later.23 JulyStill reading. Definitely needs re thinking and revisiting. It is empowering to rethink the myths. 14 August going slowly

  • Surabhi
    2019-02-10 21:40

    A very interesting read. Devdutt Pattnaik provides logical explanations to a lot of Hindu stories and symbols. I am now inspired to read more of his books; and the holy texts myself. I highly recommend this book for those who, like me, know only few things about Hinduism, or simply those curious to know more about the origins of our beliefs and customs.

  • Ketki
    2019-02-04 18:56

    Wow... almost all unanswered questions are answered in this little handbook. the details are not required as the sketches explain a great deal. some revelations are kind of shocking but interesting, all the same! a must read for people who want to explore this religion and its facets. a good start to learning about the deepest secrets of hindu mythology! LOVED IT!!

  • Arnav
    2019-02-08 19:47

    This book is only for those who are interested in Mythological Semiotics. They will find their curiosities met in this book. I wish this book was a bit bigger so that the mythological anecdotes would have been discussed in a much detailed manner.

  • Shivakiran Makam
    2019-02-02 19:01

    This is a nice book which gives a newer dimension of looking at our ancient mythological stories. After reading this book, I feel a much humble reverence for our ancient wisdom and richness of our culture.

  • Surbhi
    2019-01-29 17:43

    Never pictured the Hindu mythology and the Gods the way it was presented in this one.Further strengthened my belief that every superstition,folklore or custom has some logical background to it. Must read if any of the 330 million deities ever fascinate you !

  • Manish Goel
    2019-02-10 22:59

    It does provide a new perspective to look at mythological stories. But still not fully able to explain it in logical-manner. Framework, charts, tables provided in book is though a very good feature.

  • Tejaswini
    2019-02-13 14:55

    Read my review of the book here:

  • krishna Fūjin
    2019-02-23 22:40

    4.5*Author neatly explained relation between material things and spirituality in Hindu culture.