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October 23, 2013

Mythical Notes on 'Classic Tales from Mystic India'

Author : Kamla K. Kapur
Publisher : Jaico Books

Rating : 2.5 / 5

How much you enjoy 'Classic tales from Mystic India' is directly proportional to how much you have been interested in Indian mythology and how much you have read before. The concept is not new - it is a collection of 24 short stories of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha and Krishna and from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Divided into 7 sections - Each section starts with an introduction to the stories which sets a concise background to the God and His story and nature and set of duties.

The book establishes the theory about the illusion of life and how the cycle of birth and death is essential to keep the continuity of Life going on and also the fact that one has a separate set of duties in a particular life. It also establishes the theory of destruction and evolution and finally culminates into telling stories about the two famous texts of India.

Stories of how Ganesha got the elephant head or Hanuman bares all to Ram after the war are done and dusted kind. So as the story of Narada trying to beat a Vishnu follower or the one in which Ganesha accepts the lunch invitation from Kuber. There are couple of stories from the Mahabharata - one involving Arjun and a bird just after hearing the Gita from Krishna and another one involving Gandhari's pangs of hunger just before she curses Krishna which provides different point of view than the usual.

The writing is lucid and editing water tight. The illustrations in the book don't necessarily always go with the story but the tone is brisk and always eager to provide something different than the usual. All in all, a book which can be more "fresh and new" to the younger generation who are less exposed to the Indian mythology. For me, it was a one time read to freshen up the usual stories i have been hearing and reading all these years.

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