Book Review : Jaya; An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata

JAya- Retelling of Mahabharata
Jaya- Retelling of Mahabharata

If you are bought up in Hindu family like me, the stories from Mahabharata can never escape you. Such is a cult of Mahabharata in Indian society that every sub-plot and character has maintained a metaphoric reference in the lives.

Jaya is the ancient name of the epic, probably the name given Vyasa himself, who is credited to be author of the epic. In the adaptation of television series of Mahabharat produced by BR Chopra, the story is narrated by body less figure called “Samay” (Time). In this book, the story is narrated to Janamejaya (Great-Grand son of Arjun) to re-consider the mass killing of Nagas that he had ordered. Then this great epic  of love, hate, revenge, family drama, murder, death, war and redemption was narrated to him.

Dr. Devdutt Pattnaik, who has authored many mythological books, has beautifully compiled this book. Every episode is complemented with folk tales from different parts of India. There are many explanations like why Draupadi is worshiped in Tamil Nadu or Duryodhana is worshiped in Uttranchal or Barbareek is worshiped in Rajasthan.  The spiritual understanding of Heaven, Hell, Vaikuntha, dharma , Karma , re-birth etc is explained  throughout the book.

(Bonus Read: Book Review of Shikhandi and Other Tales They don’t Tell You by Devdutt Pattaniak )

Also the book has a small summary of Gita,  which is narrated by Lord Krishna to mighty warrior Arjuna. Also the book tells why Karna is the most tragic hero in the history, or how Shadeva got all the knowledge of the world. In the story of Devas, Asuras, Gods and Demons, Devdutt protected the human aspect of the story. There are also visible illustration in the book, similar to Myth= Mythya by same author and folk reference like Devdutt’s Pregnant King.

Palace of Illusion-
Palace of Illusion-

Place of Illusion, another book in English based on Mahabharata is also recommended if you like this genre.

Also on My Blog 

Book Review: Sita


Book Review: The

Pregnant King


33 Comments Add yours

  1. I have a lot of respect for Devdutt pattanaik. I have read his other book, ‘Business Sutra’ and that was a gem! I think I’ll want to read palace of illusions someday, as well.

    Destination Infinity


    1. I also want to read “Business Sutra”. I read the review few weeks backs an i was turned in. Palace of Illusion is not authored by Devdutt though, but if you enjoy this genre then you would love it too.


  2. Its time I read this book..sounded fascinating with his many blog posts I’d read earlier. The TED talk is also cool. thanks for reminding!


    1. Yes, Vinaya, Go ahead and read it. You won’t be disappointed.


  3. Looks interesting….. A nice review…………….


    1. Thank you for your kind Comment


  4. Hi Avinash,
    Looking for a post on your blog for a long time. This book review is really good and makes one to really have a look at the books here. Mahabharata has been engaging for many reason and it seems to have been made interesting in the book. Thanks for sharing the information.


    1. Hi Suhas,
      Thanks for your Comment. I know, this post was due for long time & I am glad you notice that. If you enjoy the plot & sub-plot of Mahabharata then you will surely enjoy this book.


  5. PNA says:

    Avinaash … hi…
    You know what, I was just reading and re-reading Jaya this week. And Palace of Illusions as well.. read it long time back, onetime read but loved Divarkunni’s perspective of the Mahabharatha through Draupadi’s … Even Devdutt’s blog posts on India Mythology are good… the design students here are all praise for this doctor turned mythologist.. aiming to read more of this shiva and vishnu series..

    a post after my heart… good day


    1. Hi there. Thank you for your lovely comment.
      They both are very insightful book. If you enjoy little fiction in mythological space, then I recommend you The Pregnant King by Devdutt (Here is my review,
      Reading Mahabharata really gives us cultural, social & moral roots of our society and I am sure & I am glad that designers, marketers, motivational speakers & entrepreneurs,all are appreciating his blogs and books.


      1. PNA says:

        That’s one book I’ve been looking forward to read but its been acting elusive… 🙂



  6. narenkandala says:

    Very nice article..Seems an interesting read.Thank you so much for recommending.Will surely read it.Thank you Avinash.:-)


    1. Thank Laura. Cheers

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on <3……….Laura Crean………..<3 and commented:
    This sounds like my kind of book. It sounds amazing. I might just have to put this on my mental to buy bookshelf


  8. nmafzal says:

    Thanks for visiting my Blog. Nice blog you have. Keep up the good work!


    1. Thank you.. Wish you the same. 🙂


  9. d3b01946 says:

    Thank you for deciding to follow my blog. I like this post about the Mahabarata. Saw the theatrical Peter Brook version in Perth, Australia and have always loved it and have recently read a newish translation. You might like my daughter-in-law’s book Leyla’s Book by Alice Albinia, or even her earlier book about the River Indus – Empires of the Indus.
    Thank you for re-blogging my post


    1. Thank you for your kind comment. I have heard about River Indus. I will definitely these books to be to-read list.


  10. latasun says:

    I liked the review. Planning to read it someday. The cover says ‘illustrated’. What is illustrated in the book?


    1. Lata, there are hand drawn illustration at the start of each chapter. For example:
      The above illustration is from Sita: An illustrated Retelling of Ramayana

      Glad you liked the review 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. vishalgrover1 says:

    It’s a great book. Covers lots of unspoken events which not many of us are aware of. I really liked about the post war events covered in Jaya.
    Devdutt Patnaik is really good on writing about mythology. Good review.


    1. I agree with you Vishal. It is beautifully composed book and credit goes to Devdutt for making this one of the best books written on Indian Mythology


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