by Devdutt Pattnaik
Rating : 4.8/5
Indian Mythology holds all forms of stories within it, greatest of which is Vasuki’s Mahabharata. Devdutt did an amazing job with it & threw me some more insights. I never imagined that one can write a fiction novel using the mythology. Taking help from little elements from the popular characters of Mahabharata, he has woven a simple & rich story. It doesn’t matter whether you know the actual Mahabharata, it can still entice you with its characters & its subtle messages.
It’s about the life story of the ‘Pregnant King’ Yuvanashva, King of Vallabhi. The story runs in parallel with the incidents of Mahabharata, which are sung by the bards to the King, to clarify his doubts. Story moves just like any other family drama without any war like situations in contrast with Pandavas story. King father died before his birth – the mother rules the kingdom till he fathers a child – three wife still no child – sorcery is used & by accident king becomes pregnant. That’s all a surface description, what underlies this is rich drama with politics, duties, riddles, dilemmas, sexual acts, symbols, desires, lies and ‘the truth’.
If you get astounded to hear about the 3rd gender, just wait when you see the characters. Each new character throwing a new gender, a new state of mind & a new state of body. A man with a vagina, A women with a penis, a homo gender, a hetero gender & a mother without a womb , a woman with a mans head…well you just read it. Only our mythology can hold them without any repercussions from the present. But all through the story runs the stream of desire, always in conflict with the truth or should I say the truth was there all along. Playing with the currents of change or nature & the stillness or the dharma. As the question of Dharma was raised in the Mahabharata, here also dharma is at stake. Finally, the drama unfolds & gives way to the truth. The novel is impeccable.
Devdutt Pattnaik is ingenious in his approach, just awesome I would say. That is what creativity is. Anyone can reflect on this book, it doesn’t fits in a single category of fiction or mythology or spiritual. It was a great choice just after the exams – breathed in me some new perspectives. I would surely recommend it. Do read it.
Just like this small picture, the book was short & succinct. It is a self-help or management book.It uses the metaphor of monkeys to present the triumphs & trials to become a Monkey King.The story unfolds with a monkey in career crisis, he gets some advise by an older monkey on leadership.Then just like the Robin Sharma’s Monks book moves – the same happens here also.Slowly the monkey is presented with the Trials one faces & Actions one should take to become a King.Then it presents it with the scrolls of wisdom & finally the monkey meets the present Monkey King; voila another lesson and book ends presenting a Happily Ever After.There also comes a Mind Map poster with the book , which is the summary of the book.
I think they chose the Monkey metaphor because of its relevance for the behavior of people & also the main part was of the monkey experiment( a real psychological experiment done on monkeys).The best moment from the book was the extension of the experiment; i never heard that part of experiment i think it was created for the book only.It showed how a brave monkey changes the culture whose origin everyone has forgotten . The next best thing was the encounter with the monkey king, where he tells that he didn’t expected that he will move ahead after getting all the wisdom.The one who dares to move ahead becomes the King.The scenarios presented as banana tree environment, swamp & mirror were really good metaphors.The messages are direct but well presented by the use of symbolism in a Monkey World.Overall book was a good read but felt heavy on price.(Now its just Rs100(link) – i foolishly bought it in 250 😦 )
Having said all that i didn’t found any-new piece of information or knowledge from it.I think I’ve already read an ample number of this type of books & they propound the same teachings.I have a problem with all this ” being successful as a King ” ideology.Being a King supports an inflated ego & a King may slip into becoming a tyrant with time.When the people demand equality how becoming a king solves this? Can everyone become a King as being a King represents a hierarchy & not equality ? I am still waiting to read or learn something which present each person as a King & how things works if everyone is a King.