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The Indian Epics Retold: The Ramayana, The Mahabharata, Gods, Demons, And Others

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  165 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
One of India's finest novelists retells the two great Indian epics as well as some well-known tales from Hindu mythology and folklore. While the eleventh century Tamil poet Kamban's version inspires his Ramayana, Narayan's Mahabharata is based on Vyasa's monumental work. In Gods, Demons and Others, he includes stories from Kalidasa's Sanskrit classic Abhijnana Shakuntalam, ...more
Paperback, 630 pages
Published October 14th 2000 by Penguin India (first published August 1st 1995)
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Apr 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Every time I read a book written by RK Narayan, I am reminded why he is one of my favourite authors. Narayan is such a great story teller and in this book he brings to life the great Indian epics. You get to partake in the written word from the comfort of your own seat, the stories stir the heart and motivate the soul.
I got to follow Hanunam and Rama on their action filled escapades, appreciate the intricacies of the Mahabhrata, got to meet demons and enjoyed such great epics made so palatable b
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
R.K.Narayan's oversimplified narration is excusable to some extent given that he had to condense whole epics to a few hundred pages. However, the stories end up reading like a badly written summary and fail to stir any emotions. Also, without the philosophical arguments and justification, most of the actions of the characters seem ridiculous or contradictory. I think this version is better suited as an introduction to Indian mythology for kids. Adults would probably find it frustratingly devoid ...more
Apr 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Anything less than four stars to this masterpiece would be almost a sacrilege; as the author is none other than one of the legends of Indian English literature - R.K. Narayan. However, Narayan's gigantic attempt at retelling the exhaustive Indian epics left me asking for more.

I felt the read was just too simplistic, almost meant for young readers. The language or the style of narration is rather casual, because of which I feel it is perhaps meant to be an easy read for those not greatly familiar
Natasha G
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
[Only read Mahabharat.]

Technically not a bad book. Read it if you're entirely unfamiliar with the epics and need a starting point. In Mahabharat at least, all the nuances of the tale were done away with for brevity. The complexity of characters, their duality and various interpretations of morality were all missing. Narayan made this a tale about good vs evil. In places, paragraphs read like actual summaries, which was really quite off-putting.

It's a shame because Narayan is a great writer. I s
May 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
The book is for amateurs who would like a concise view of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Though, lots of parts have been omitted (especially from Mahabharata) to keep the volume the size it is, it does justice and is enjoyable to read. There are parts where one would realise that there are different versions floating around and the author has used only one version (e.g: Kamban's version of Ramayana). Overall a good book, read it only if you are new to Indian mythology.
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
It was just the Marabharata in the version which I read, but it was very enjoyable.
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't bear reading the pooja books that preached Ramayan and Mahabharat. They were much too dry and boring for me.
In addition, it took painful efforts to understand the complex language.

This R.K. Narayan's book on Ramanyan & Mahabharat was like a refreshing..and yet covered all the details.

There were even instances, where Ram was criticized towards his actions against Bali, wherein Bali who was the death bed questions Ram in detail about what was his fault...why was he subjec
May 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Amazing! I first heard the stories of the epics from my mother at bedtime when I was young. I've encountered various versions in the form of comics and short stories. This compelling and succinct retelling took me in and completely immersed me in the story and in the atmosphere of ancient India. Until now, I have but had a detached knowledge of the epics. R.K. Narayan's gripping voice caused me to forge a bond with them, instilling in me a unique sense of pride and fond attachment to this legacy ...more
Sharang Limaye
Oct 04, 2014 rated it liked it
A bare-bones version of the epics, it would perhaps draw in the uninitiated (read Western) reader. For the average Indian who's heard and seen innumerable enactments of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, there is little of interest here. Still, one is left with a profound sense of respect for the original author/s who created such engaging tales and complex characters. Purely from this viewpoint, its worth a read.
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, children
Even though i had read "Ramayana" and "Mahabharata" in my childhood, stories which come in between the main story are very difficult to remember. It was a revisit to ma childhood memories. "Ramayana" doesnt have much of twists, but "Mahabharata" is just awesome.. It has comedy,hatred,jealousy,sympathy,honesty,loyalty,cruelty.... all the drama... just love it...
Masen Production
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
A simple rendition of the epic, quick read version. Will help you rehash the saga for the intricate details one might have to look elsewhere.

A book that one should recommend to those who have never read or know the saga. It will give them a nice perspective.
Jun 22, 2010 rated it liked it
My Penguin India edition had 50 pages missing in the middle--a typesetting error, I kid you not. Pretty good, but I still prefer the mythological comic books I had growing up.
Sourabh Kuipally
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very good book for providing insight into the indian epics though i think it misses the little details.
Jaseena AL
Rating : 3 stars
Jun 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
A warm, erudite and sensitive re-telling of some of the most loved, and most important, literature of the Indian civilisation.
Classic Narayan.
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R. K. Narayan is among the best known and most widely read Indian novelists who wrote in English.

R.K. Narayan was born in Madras, South India, in 1906, and educated there and at Maharaja's College in Mysore. His first novel, Swami and Friends and its successor, The Bachelor of Arts, are both set in the enchanting fictional territory of Malgudi and are only two out of the twelve novels he based the
More about R.K. Narayan...

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