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Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata
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Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  4,498 ratings  ·  417 reviews
High above the sky stands Swarga, paradise, abode of the gods. Still above is Vaikuntha, heaven, abode of God.

The doorkeepers of Vaikuntha are the twins, Jaya and Yijaya, both whose names mean 'victory'. One keeps you in Swarga; the other raises you into Vaikuntha.

In Vaikuntha there is bliss forever, in Swarga there is please for only as long as you deserve. What is the
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Paperback, 372 pages
Published October 5th 2011 by Penguin Global (first published January 1st 2010)
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The Immortals of Meluha by Amish TripathiThe Secret of the Nagas by Amish TripathiThe Oath of the Vayuputras by Amish TripathiMahabharata by Krishna-Dwaipayana VyasaThe Chronicle of Sapta Sindhu by Aporva Kala
Indian Mythology
11th out of 134 books — 245 voters
Jaya by Devdutt PattanaikThe Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee DivakaruniAjaya by Anand NeelakantanAdi Parva - Churning of the Ocean by Amruta PatilThe Guardians of Karma by Mohan Vizhakat
Books on Mahabharata
1st out of 16 books — 5 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Riku Sayuj
EDIT: I am stripping a star and retracting the positive aspects of this review (well, at least in statement) in light of later readings. Pattanaik's myths are not to be read to 'know' the myths but only for fun. Think of them as a modern variant of the Amar Chitra Kathas for the modern professional who has no time for unabridged epics!


Original Review:

The book started well as it provided a fresh and clear take on Mahabharata without rationalizations and without apology. Devdutt adopts a very trad
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Manu Prasad
I consider myself more well-versed with the Mahabharata than the average person, because of my interest in Hindu mythology and the amount of reading I've done on the subject. But I'm really glad I read this, not just because of the small details I learned about (I counted 6 things I hadn't known about - Sahadeva's precognition gained by eating Pandu's flesh, Draupadi cursing dogs to copulate in public for stealing Yudhishtira's slippers, Vibhishana being present at Draupadi's swayamwar, a couple ...more
Dyuti
Mr. Devdutt Pattanaik, meet your latest die-hard fan: ME!

Hats off for accomplishing the task of rewriting the Mahabharat in such a lucid easy fashion, fit to be enjoyed by everyone who don’t want to weigh themselves down with dreary details, but taste the brilliance of the world’s longest epic.

Indeed, I had tried several times before this to read the Mahabharat in its entirety, but could never finish it. Not that I was not familiar with the stories: every Indian child is fed on them with their u
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Kartik Singhal
Wanted to read Mahabharata before I moved on to reading some other books which compare their content with Mahabharata and its characters.

I remember reading the condensed version in grade 7 which was part of the syllabus under Hindi literature but never had a chance to go deeper. There are many variants of the epic with different point of views, delivering different level of depth and in different languages. After a bit of search on Quora and on a friend's recommendation I settled on this one.

The
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Henna Achhpal
Loved it! A complete page turner. I don't think there's any other book that puts the Mahabharata so simply for the lay person. Initially it might get overwhelming to keep track of all the numerous characters. But as you go further into the book, it's a pleasant read. Devdutt uses extremely simple language. The 108 chapters feel like 108 short stories. His interpretation and explanations at the end of every chapter make it even better. A must read, for sure.
Anubhav
I don't always judge a book by its cover but in this case, the cover just lured me in.

I hardly ever write a review (I'm too lazy; rating the book is as far as I go because all it takes is a click) but in this case I felt like making an exception.

Where to begin? With the beginning.
So the author chooses to call his book 'Jaya - An illustrated retelling of the Mahabharata' rather than simply 'Mahabharata retold' or some such... It is not just to stand apart from the other versions, no maam; he just
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Raghu
In my teens in India, I used to be fascinated by the retelling of the Mahabharata by Rajaji in Tamil. I read it repeatedly over the years and was well conversant with the myths, the war and its aftermath. One thing that always stood out as an anamoly was the repeated conduct of 'adharmic' actions by the Pandavas during the war and Krishna's collusion in most of them. However, Rajaji, being a devotee of Krishna himself, always glossed over these acts of adharma and presented mostly a sanitised pi ...more
Rudrangshu Das
Reading mahabharata was a sudden and unexpected choice on my part. I have never been much interested in mythology but I remembered some of Mahabharata from B.R Chopra's epic TV adaptation and I thought to give it a try. I didn't realize reading this would be such an epiphany. Whether Mahabharata is a myth or history maybe a matter of perspective, but the one thing it is for sure is an epic, in all sense of the word. The numerous characters, their inner conflicts, their complex relations, their d ...more
Pallavi
Where do I even begin to review this book? I was on my way back to Boston from Hyderabad, India and had a lot of time to kill at the airport after the security check. As I was wandering in the airport bookstore, I came across this book, read the back cover and was hooked. It goes thus,

A son renounces sex so that his old father can remarry
A daughter is a prize in an archery contest
A teacher demands half a kingdom as his tuition fee
A student is turned away because of his caste
A mother asks her so
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Ipshita
Aug 31, 2012 Ipshita marked it as to-read
The year was 1988. Indian households awaited the stars, planets and celestial bodies to fill their television screens while the background voice of 'Samay' (Time) echoed 'Main Samay hoon' (I am Time).

One of our first associations with the Mahabharata probably dates back to B.R. Chopra's televised series on Doordarshan, a programme part of our daily routine that let us enter the gates of a kingdom full of stories on romance, love, revenge, murder, death and war. How we rejoiced reading about the
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Rixi
When I picked the book I was totally intrigued by the description given in the cover saying towards the last "God is cursed"
Now how is possible that God gets cursed!? aren't we the ones who receive the boons and curses from God? Then who dares curse the Almighty. I knew only bits and pieces of the tale. But such a large epic I wasn't sure if I wanted to boggle my head with so many names of Kings and queens and plots. But once I started "Jaya" I just couldn't put it down. Jaya is not the same as
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Ripudaman
Based on an classic Indian epic, Devdutt Pattanaik created a masterpiece book. He captures not only the story/plot but conveys the nuances and philosophies within this Indian epic.This text is extremely focused for reading compared to the plethora of books on this topic. Nonetheless, it captivates the reader. Devdutt Pattanaik is a great storyteller.Excel
dely
I think I will never get tired to read about the Mahabharata. It is such a deep epic full of wisdom and teachings to improve our life, the spiritual one but also everyday life.
"Jaya" could be considered a good introduction that contains also basic explanations of the Mahabharata. I have already read the Mahabharata and I'm following lessons with a Swamini about the Bhagavad Gita, so I know there is a lot more and deeper meanings but "Jaya" is really a very good book. I have found a lot of things
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Anjali
When this book was released last year, it immediately caught my attention. Many readers in my circle were reading this book and the attractive book cover and the subject itself was so interesting, I ordered a copy for myself without much thought. Now that I have finished reading this book, I can safely say it was a wise decision.

Jaya, in simple words, is Mahabharata retold. It narrates all the stories connected to the war between Pandavas and Kauravas - the incidents that led to the war and whic
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Arvind
I am not a big mythology fan but this book got my attention as soon as I read the back cover of book which mentioned that Mahabharata is an ancient Hindu epic where:
a daughter is a prize in a archery contest
a student is turned away because of his caste
a mother ask her sons to share a wife
a man is stripped of his manhood for a year
a war is fought where all rules are broken
God is cursed
until wisdom prevails


It made me really curious about such epic which I saw in childhood just for fun but never th
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Varsha
Awesome were past few days spent with this book. I was literally transferred to that era and those places where Mahabharata took place. Thanks to Author Devdutt Pattanaik who made it so real with his simple language, deep research, unknown facts and beautiful illustration!! Needless to say this book became more and more interesting and unputdownable every time I picked up, so I did not even think of any other book till I finished this one. Mahabharata is a story which always leaves me wanting mo ...more
Abhinav Jaganathan
I have always been an ardent fan of the Mahabharata and this book had only increased my love for the epic. Written in clear prose with beautiful illustrations almost on every page, this is a must read if you have read any version of the epic before. The notes at the end of every chapter drawing parallels between the tales and the times during which they were entwined with the Mahabharata are absolutely brilliant. It provides great insight into the workings of the minds of the people at that time ...more
PSmith
Jan 16, 2014 PSmith rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all Indian mythology fans
Am IMPRESSED. Confession - am not a die hard mythology fan. I sometimes get bored by the various stories and sub stories. But this was a refreshing read. Was more like a precise guide to Mahabharatha. It made me think, made me understand many incongruities in the story and now that I see the characters as ordinary people I like them more, even the Kauravas. This was a mine house of less known facts. At least 1-2 illustrations per page, which made reading pleasanter. Many thoughts which prodded a ...more
Ishita Moitra
Like most of us, I have read various retellings of Vyas's epic ever since I could read. My favourite one before I read this book used to be Chitra Banerjee's Palace of Illusions. For some reason this story finds its way into my life each time when I need it the most. Carl Rogers in his theory of self speaks about how every person has a "real self" and an "ideal self". I think that is the key difference between the Ramayan and the Mahabharat. The Ramayan is about the ideal self, while the Mahabha ...more
Bhavna
This book is written in Devdutt's typical un-pedantic yet elegant style and filled with so many back stories, different perspectives, and snippets from other versions and interpretations of the Mahabharata. A wonderfully simple retelling of an epic which usually makes my brain hurt after reading just a few chapters.
Sourav Bangotra
This re-telling of Vyasa's epic tale is perhaps the most accessible form of the epic available to the modern reader of our age. For someone like me, whose knowledge of the Indian mythology is restricted only to the faint memories of the TV shows watched during childhood, this book was full of surprises and some really good ones. The fact that the writer, Devdutt Pattanaik, writes an unbiased account of the epic is the most impressive aspect of the book. The stories and perspectives collected fro ...more
Tanmoy Mondal
I read Mahabharata before and also a few books on this epic. The story was not new, yet I really enjoyed this short version. It is a good research work and is written in a very lucid style.

It is full of small details and I have found many things I didn't know before.

The comments after each chapter helps to understand the story. Author has emphasized on the symbolical importance of any action taken by the characters.

Concepts like dharma, justice, karma etc are well explained. I found chapter f
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Sukanta Maikap
I stated reading this book because my wife is a big fan of Mahabharata and she watches this sitcom version of the same, which is a over acted, immature, cheap and loud. Somewhat like a cheap Telegu movie ( comes on *Plus). I definitely hate the sitcom but wanted to understand and know about Mahabharata.

I'm not a big fan of religious or fairy tale scriptures because as per me they are irrational, unexplainable, unscientific and almost always contradicting in nature. Mahabharata is no exception.
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Kritika Swarup
I had always wanted to approach reading Mahabharata. But the sheer size of this mythological book seemed discouraging.
I am sure this version/translation captures only a few points. The major idea remains in the acceptance of what the book offers, and letting it sink in. If one can do that, the purpose of the book should be fulfilled, or, at-least for me it did.

Another point about Mahabharata and Gita is that it is integral to the stem of many religions in India. It makes it more tempting to rea
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Geetika
It was a type of book which once started can't be dropped and i read it in straight 2 days.

As the name indicated it is about the great epic of India " Mahabharata " or as the author says it as " Jaya ".

As i have seen the Mahabharata tele-series and also read different stories about it, so i thought what new this book could offer me but at the same time, i watched some videos of Mr Devdutt Pattanaik on YouTube and really like his way of indicating implicit factors in the stories which are often
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Zenia
A retelling of the Mahabharata for modern readers, Jaya is an engaging and easy read, which not only tells the epic tale, but also provides religious, political, economic and socio-cultural commentary on it, along with trivia and parallel story details. Highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good story and wants to know more about Indian mythology.
Vinit
I have grown up listening to the stories about the lilas of Shree Krishna as well as Mahabharata. Wasn't quite aware about the smaller details which were lucidly covered in the book i feel. I would say this book would help me change some of my perspectives regarding life, Especially after i read the chapter song of God.

Important thing is, being a follower of Sanatan Dharma right from child-hood, i had heard the Bhagavad-Gita outline from my elders. But what i read here was something really amaz
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Santosh
Devdutt's insight, historical anecdotes, beautiful illustrations, careful explanation of complex decisions taken in Mahabharata is just outstanding. He has a done extensive research on numerous versions of Mahabharata from many parts in India and out side India too.

Every action of person, no matter how UN-noticable it is, has a consequence. It's not certain that a action of ours, which we think is a positive one, will bring good thinks towards us and its equally applicable to a negative action.
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Payal Jain
My first Indian mythology read and though it took me a few chapters to get used to the layout, I liked it. Definitely reading more Indian myth books.
If you're new to the genre like me, this book's a good way to start.
Shubhi Agarwal
For a mythologically challenged person..this book is a boon. Such simple yet powerful depiction of the Mahabharata that you cannot put it down until you have read all through it.
Having seen the television rendition of this huge epic, reading the book was like reliving each character and event.
The best part of this book is that the author has mentioned all the local versions and beliefs of all events and highlighted the spiritual and moral implications of the actions of the Mahabharata characte
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200940
Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik (born December 11, 1970) is an Indian physician turned leadership consultant, mythologist and author whose works focus largely on the areas of myth, mythology, and also management. He has written a number of books related to Hindu mythology, including Myth = Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology, a novel, The Pregnant King, and Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharat ...more
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“Refusal to accept the flow of the world is the root of all misery.” 6 likes
“Through Karna, Vyasa reiterates that our knowledge of the world is imperfect based on perceptions and false information. We are surrounded by Kuntis who hide the truth in fear. We are surrounded by Karnas, villains who are actually brothers.” 2 likes
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