The Vedas and Upanishads for Children, by Roopa PaiThe title of this book is the Vedas and the Upanishads. To give you a little information, I’ll give a short summary. The Vedas are one of the most sacred texts of the Hindus. There are 4 Vedas, which in order of composition are, the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sama Veda and the Atharva Veda. They basically describe the rituals, sacrifices, who were the Hindu gods, etc. Another important thing is that the Vedas were not written for a long time but were instead composed and kept in the head. The Vedas are also made up of four layers and this is where the Upanishads come in. The Upanishads are the last layer of the four layers that make up a Veda. They contain stories and myths that explain the different possible meanings of the first three layers. It is also kind of similar to the third layer of the Vedas. I know this is all very confusing and you also must be wondering why I am reviewing this.
To cut a long story short, we first went to the book launch of this book, which was pretty good. Afterwards my dad gave this book to me and asked me to review the first three chapters. Sounds kind of simple compared to the rest of the tasks given to me but here’s the catch. Only one week to read and review.
Wasn’t that hard? I found it quite easy and fun to read, and completed the first three chapters quickly.
You might think that this is all completely boring and exactly like a history class so how was it fun. Well, the author Roopa Pai has a knack of telling the most boring stuff fun. The title also includes the words “For Children” and this book is exactly that. She asks us questions in-between, interacts with the reader, connects the Vedas to everyday things that we ourselves do. I have read the Taranauts series that she has written and it is amazing and so is this book. It also teaches you a lot of things on the way and even though I have read only three chapters I love this book. There are footnotes at the bottom to explain different words. My favourite parts till now are when she talks about the styles of Vedic chanting and the processes needed to enter a gurukul. I love the styles of Vedic chanting as they are so different and how there are so many ways to do the same thing. There are many ways of chanting but I’m going to include a few that are given in the book.
1. The Samhita Patha – the normal way we do it. Like ‘Happy Birthday to you’
2. Krama Patha – It goes like this, Happy Birthday, Birthday To, To You.
3. Jata Patha - It goes like this, Happy Birthday – Birthday, Happy- Happy Birthday, To - To Birthday – Birthday To, To You - You, To - To You
There are 4 examples but the last one is super confusing so I din’t include it. I know you must be thinking “OMG, this is so weird and confusing”. I know but now can you imagine how the disciples had memorize each shloka this way and then there were so many different confusing ways. Plus they had to do this for 12 whole years and we complain about exams!!!
To conclude, I think that we all should read this book and not only us kids, but even adults as this book teaches a lot of things about our culture and heritage in a fun way.
© 2019, Anika Agarwal. All rights reserved.