Book Review: Ramayana versus Mahabharata

Title: Ramayana versus Mahabharata- My Playful Comparison
Author: Devdutt Pattanaik
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Pages: 208
ISBN: 978-9353332303
Source: Publisher


Devdutt Pattanaik’s Ramayana versus Mahabharata, as the subtitle suggests is a comparison of the two great epics. Devdutt Pattanaik is no new name in mythological literature and thus the question of his mastery on the topic doesn’t arise. Beginning with a brief introduction of both the epics, Devdutt begins drawing similarities and dissimilarities between the two.

The author has divided the book into eight sections and he makes his comparison on the basis of these aspects- narration, family, war and exile to name a few. Along with the similarities and dissimilarities between the two topics, the reader also gets several little capsule of knowledge.

The book certainly makes us more familiar to what we consider the most familiar stories that we hear in our life. Devdutt has also mentioned several regional variations that appear in the two epics. These variations provide a glimpse of the richness of the Hindu mythology. Pattanaik also shows how these two epics have caused the very significant shift from the Vedic Hinduism to Puranic Hinduism.

Reading Devdutt Pattanaik is a delight because of his charming writing. His signature illustrations act as a cherry on the cake. All in all I enjoyed this book and it is a quite short and quick read. In the final analysis, I would say that the comparison between the two epics is indeed a ‘playful’ one. There is hardly any in depth analysis and it seems as if the book has been made out of the margin notes that one keeps on scribbling while reading a book.

This was my first book by Devdutt Pattanaik and so I don’t have any other work of his to compare this one with. Those who have read his earlier books say that this book stands nowhere near to his other books. But that doesn’t affect me in any way.

My Rating: *** (3.5/5)

What do you think about this book? Which is your favourite book by Devdutt Pattanaik? And which epic do like more- Ramayana or Mahabharata? Do share your views. Thanks.

*I was kindly sent a copy by the publisher in exchange for a review. Views expressed expressed are entirely personal & unbiased.*

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Ramayana versus Mahabharata

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