Saturday, August 5, 2017

Vishnu Purana - Review

Vishnu Purana (Great Epics of India: Puranas Book 3)

Translated by Bibek Debroy
This is the seventh Purana that I am reviewing. The name of the Purana is obvious since the title says, “Vishnu Purana”. The Vishnu Purana is third in the list of Mahapuranas and is an important Purana. I decided to do the Vishnu Purana because it was a satvik purana, a purana that glorifies Vishnu. If you go to my blog you will see that recently I have written three continuous tamsik puranas, puranas that glorify Shiva, so this time I decided to have a break and switch to another type of Purana. Well here I am writing a satvik purana’s review. There are five other satvik Puranas. They are:
  1. Bhagavata Purana
  2. Padma Purana {reviewed this one}
  3. Narada Purana
  4. Varaha Purana
  5. Garuda Purana
This Purana has twenty-three thousand shlokas and these are divided into six sections. The last section is shorter than the rest. The Vishnu Purana is a medium sized Purana. As you must have read in my Shiva Purana review I have said that Vedavyasa has composed all the eighteen Mahapuranas. Well, when I read the Vishnu Purana I found that was not completely true. Vedavyasa had composed most of the Puranas except the Vishnu Purana. The Vishnu Purana was composed by Parashara, Vedavyasa’s father. Well I think this much introduction is enough. If you want a bit more information on what is a Purana read my first Purana review, the Shiva Purana Read its first and second paragraphs for information. Let us move on.

The day I fell into cow dung - Hindi

जिस दिन मैं गोबर मे गिरी 

एक सड़ती शाम मै 5th Cross Road पर चल रही थी | तभी मुझे एक बहुत गंदी बदबू आयी | जब मैने नज़र उठाके अपने आगे - पीछे देखा , मेरी नज़र एक गोबर के ढेर पर पड़ी | वही बदबू  का कारण था और गोबर का कारण एक भैंस थी जो मेरे  बहुत पास खड़ी थी| दुर्भाग्यवश तभी एक आदमी जिसका ध्यान पूरी तरह एक किताब में था एक दुकान से बहार निकला | वह किताब पढ़ते -पढ़ते जा रहा था और उसने अपना पैर सीधा गोबर के ढेर मे डाल दिया | आदमी आश्चर्यचकित नीचे देखता है |

सीधा दो क्षण के बाद मुझे एक इतनी ज़ोर से चीख आई की दरवाज़े और खिड़खियाँ खड़-खड़खड़ाने लगे | उस चीख का स्रोत वही दुर्भाग्यशाली आदमी ही था | वह आदमी चीखता और भागता हुआ नज़र आ रहा था | उस आदमी की किताब भी गोबर मे गिर गयी थी | मुझे पक्का लग रहा था कि अगर किताब बोल सकती तो वह भी चीख़ती हुई नज़र आती |

तभी मुझे शोरगुल सुनाई दिया | पूछने पर मुझे पता चला कि पास मे Bannerghatta zoo से एक हाथी भाग निकल पड़ा था और 5th Cross Road कि तरफ़ आ रहा था | जब मैन पीछे मुड़कर देखा तो मैंने देखा कि हाथी सीधा मेरे  तरफ़ ही आ रहा था |  इसे पहले कि मैं भाग सकती मैं लड़खड़ाकर मुँह के बल गोबर के ढेर मे गिर गई | मै इतनी ज़ोर से चीखी कि पक्षी भी उड़ गए | मुझे यकीन नही आ रहा था कि मैं गोबर मे गिर गयी थी | मैं फिर जल्दी से उठकर सबसे पास वाले नल पर गयी और अपना मुँह धो लिया | मैं फिर अपना थैला उठाने गई जो गिर गया था जब मैं गिर गयी थी | जब मैं जा रही थी मैंने फिर से उसी गोबर के ढेर मै अपना पैर रख दिया| पर मुझे यह घर जाने पर ही पता चला | घर पहुँचने पर  मैने एक और चीख निकाली | मै बहुत दुर्भाग्यशाली थी | उस दिन के बाद मैं कभी 5th Cross Road पर कभी नहीं गई और मैं भैंस और गोबर से बहुत नफरत करती हूँ | 

 The End 

© 2017, अनिका अग्रवाल Anika Agarwal

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Vayu Purana - Review

Vayu Purana, translated by Bibek Debroy

This is the sixth Purana that I am reviewing. The name of the Purana as you can probably guess from the title is the Vayu Purana. The Vayu Purana has a bit of confusion surrounding it when you come to the list of Mahapuranas. This is because some people believe the Vayu Purana is fourth in the list of Mahapuranas whereas others believe the Shiva Purana is the fourth purana. However, the Vayu Purana is an important Purana.

This purana is a tamsik purana, a purana that glorifies Shiva. This Purana is a medium sized Purana and it has twenty-four thousand shlokas in all. These shlokas are divided into two parts. They are then further divided into one hundred and twelve chapters. There is just one last point before I start the review. The Vayu Purana is so named because it is believed that Vayu himself recited it.

Enough of introduction. Now, I would like to summarize and tell you my favourite story from this Purana. I am also sure that this is a story that very few would have heard.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Anvita and Anika's Book Newsletter - July 2017


eGranth - The July, 2017 Books Newsletter

Editor: Our July Newsletter is finally out. I know it has come after a long wait and I’m sorry for the delay but we finally completed it. This time we have added two brand new sections. Hope you enjoy the additions. This time I, Anika donned the editor's cap. My sister provided the content for quite a few books. She has given the content for at least eight to nine books and they are very well written. Well here are this issue's sections:
  • Epic Reading
  • Notable Books
  • Classic books
  • Yikes! I read what?
  • All work no play
  • Horrific Horror
  • Tickled my stomach

Epic Reading

This section contains books on the Ramayana and Mahabharata. It is the first section and has two books. If you are a fan of the Ramayana and all myths related to it, this section is just right for you.

Lanka’s Princess - This is yet another book written by Kavita Kane. This book is about Shurpanakha also called Lanka’s princess. Shurpanakha means hard as nails. She is the sister of Ravan. Ravan is an asura and the villain of the great epic the Ramayana. The first opinion that forms in your head, if you have read the Ramayana is that Shurpanakha is an evil shape shifting monster. She had tried to kill Sita, but had her nose and ears sliced of by Lakshmana brother of Ram. If you are hearing about the Ramayana for the first time, then after reading this you too would have formed a bad opinion about her. This book is different. It portrays the not well-known side of Shurpanakha. Kavita Kane has tried to sympathize with Shurpanakha while being fair to Ram and Lakshman. She has succeeded in doing so. I as a kid think the book could have done well without the overwhelming romance between Shurpanakha and Vidyujiva. Others might find this important or interesting but I didn’t care about this much. In the book Kavita Kane describes the small and trivial yet crucial events in Shurpanakha life that has not been written in other versions of the Ramayana. She has described most of the story from Shurpanakha eyes and concentrating on her emotions too. It has been a nice experience reading this book. You can also visit my blog to know more about this book. [k] [link]

Scion of Ikshvaku - This book is written by Amish, and is his second series which he has written. The first one was the Meluha series, and this is the second one, the Ram Chandra series. I want to give you a small idea on the storyline. The story covers the birth of Rama, his marriage and it ends when they are in exile and Sita is abducted, and Rama sees the Pushpak Vimana taking off with her. This is not the original Ramayana, but it is a fictional retelling of it. Amish has added his own changes to the story, with the basic storyline. I really liked the book. He added so many twists, which made the story one which you will read. I found each change in the story unique. The start of the book is slow, but later you really start to enjoy it. You might have to read some parts of the book again to understand it. It is a worthwhile book to read. It describes many things in detail, making it simple for the reader to understand. It is very different from the Ramayana and has many things that have been changed, but it does not make it unpleasant to read. [v] [link]

Notable Books

This section has all the must-read books. It contains the books that we thought most children would like. Trust me the books in here are totally amazing. Even if you are reluctant to read the books in here, do not miss them out. There is no need to buy them, just get them as an e-book or borrow it from a friend or library. The moment you start reading these books you will fall in love with them and would want to buy them. If they don't spark your interest follow the fifty-page rule before you put it down. They are totally amazing.

Esperanza Rising - This book is written by Pam Munoz Ryan. It was given to me by my cousin. As most of the books she gives me are nice, I started reading it. The story was about a young girl named Esperanza. It talks about how she struggles in her survival in the escape from Mexico to the United States. It starts with the unfortunate and sad death of her father and the way she her mother and servants, escape from the mercy of her cruel uncles to the United States. Even after reaching the United States luck is no better. They must do very tough work to survive and when things could get no worse, Esperanza’s mother falls sick. Can Esperanza stay strong and support her mother in this struggle? Read ‘Esperanza Rising’ to find out. This book was very nice. It gave the message to show hope and strength in even the worst of times. This book was based on the author’s grandmother’s experience on hermove from Mexico to the United States. There ae a few Mexican words in it which you may not understand but otherwise it was an amazing experience reading this. [k] [link]

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Matsya Purana, translated by Bibek Debroy - Review

Matsya Purana - Translated by Bibek Debroy

This time I am reviewing the Matsya Purana. This is the fifth Purana that I am reviewing, that has been written by Bibek Debroy. The Matsya Purana comes sixteenth in the list of Mahapuranas. The Matsya Purana has fifteen thousand couplets. It is a medium sized Purana. There are fourteen thousand shlokas which are divided into two hundred and ninety-one chapters. You might get a bit confused at this point because I earlier mentioned fifteen thousand shlokas but in the fifth line I mentioned the division of only fourteen thousand shlokas. The book doesn’t mention the division of the last thousand shlokas. Well, that must means that the last thousand shlokas have not been divided into chapters at all. The Matsya Purana is a tamsik Purana, a Purana that glorifies Shiva. Lomaharshana is the narrator of the Puranas to some sages in the namisharanya forest.
This Purana was originally recited to Manu by Lord Vishnu in his Matsya avatar. It is also considered as the most holy of Puranas because it was recited by Vishnu himself. Well, the question now is how and when did Manu hear the Matsya Purana? It so happened that Manu was meditating at the foothills of Mount Malaya. A pleased Brahma appeared and asked Manu what he wanted. Manu replied that he wanted to be the one to save the world from destruction in the current era. Brahma granted the boon and disappeared. Soon, the time of destruction dawned. As promised, Manu got a boat and collected all the great rishis and animals in the boat. However, before all this had happened, Manu had found a fish that had kept growing size. It became so large that it was too big for the whole ocean. Well that same fish came back and helped Manu steer the boat in the tossing and turning waves that were engulfing the entire Universe. The fish was none other than Vishnu in his Matsya avatar. Manu asked many questions, and the answers of the fish were written down in the Matsya Purana.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Scion of Ikshvaku, by Amish - Review

Scion of Ikshvaku

This book is based on the Ramayana. It is the first book in a series. It goes up to the part when Sita is abducted. It is a fictional retelling of the Ramayana not the actual story. There are many types of retellings. This book is a type of retelling in which the basic idea remains the same but there are a few twists, changes and additions that make a huge difference to the book. Let me just warn you that before you plunge into the review there are few minor spoilers here and there. Well, here goes.

There are many instances in which there are a lot of changes because it is a fictional retelling. Let me tell you about some of them.

Spoilers and more!
The story starts from before the birth of Rama. It starts with the important battle between Dasharatha and Ravan. The battle is not mentioned in most of the books on the Ramayana that I have read. It could have been an addition but I’m not that sure. The battle was important because it was crucial in affecting the lives and relationship of Dasharatha and Rama. This is one of the biggest changes that Amish has added in the book, but I won’t tell you what it is.

Guess, guess, guess!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Lanka's Princess, by Kavita Kane

Lanka's Princess, by Kavita Kane

This book is about Surpanakha, also called Lanka’s princess. Surpanakha means hard as nails. She is the sister of Ravan. Ravan is an asura and the villain of the great epic the Ramayana. The first opinion that forms in your head, if you have read the Ramayana, is that Surpanakha is an evil shape-shifting monster. She had tried to kill Sita, but had her nose and ears sliced of by Lakshmana, brother of Ram. If you are hearing about the Ramayana for the first time, then after reading this, you too would have formed a bad opinion about her.

Now, the question is, was Surpanakha evil? Or was it because of some event or tragedy she turned evil. Let’s find out.