Book Review: 7 Secrets of the Goddess By Devdutt Pattanaik

Let me confess. I have not read a single book by Devdutt Pattanaik. However, I have heard a lot, and when I say a lot, I literally mean 'a lot'. His books were on my list of "to-read" for quite some time now. Hence, when BlogAdda announced that they had 25 copies of this book to be reviewed, I registered instantly. Knowing well that I am not used to read mythological books, I gave this book a try. I must admit, I don't regret reading it. So, here goes my review of the book.

The book, 7 Secrets of the Goddess, is divided into seven chapters where each chapter talks about seven different goddesses- Gaia, Kali, Gauri, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathi and Vitthai. The book starts off with Gaia, which seems to have been added to make the book more 'inclusive'. Gaia or the earth mother from Greek mythology, is represented as the primal female deity. The chapter then goes on to explain the various other mythologies and tribes across civilizations to show the importance of female deities over the male; the earliest meanings of the words- virgin and whore; and the shift of the social attitude from matriarchal to patriarchal society. This chapter seems a bit of a drab as it focuses on so many minute details in one. 

As the chapters progress to the Indian goddesses, we find ourselves in a familiar territory again and then the book paces up. All familiar stories that we've been hearing for years, are sectioned logically. The terrifying Kali vs Gauri, the homely. The rich and luxurious Lakshmi vs Saraswati, the humble. The pure women gods vs Vitthai. Besides exploring the myths and beliefs associated with these goddesses, the book gives us an insight into the changes that have taken place in the interpretation of the powers and nature of these Goddesses over a period of time. Each chapter explores in its way the playful, sensual, benevolent, angry and generous sides of those women who were created by the gods, those women who married the gods, those women who gave birth to the gods, those women who are the actual gods.  

Links between Hinduism and Buddhism are established often. The book consists of facts from Indian History where the reader has to understand the facts which contributed to the change in people's perception of the Goddess over the years. The underlying theme of the entire book is- Goddesses rule. They are everywhere, as mothers, consorts, sisters. They are the ones who have the male Gods under control, and who keep coming to them for help when in trouble. 

The 260 pages long book delves into many hitherto known and unknown facts thus forcing the reader to stop and absorb what he just learnt. While the book has illustrations on left side of the pages, and the text was huge too; it makes it a little distracting for a reader as he/she will have to either read it together or read the text through at once and venture back to the images later (like what I did). 

Whatever be it, have a read. :-) Happy Reading! :-)

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