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 Vijaya, 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 pleasure for only as long as you deserve.
What is the difference between Jaya and Vijaya? Solve this puzzle and you will solve the mystery of the Mahabharata. In this enthralling retelling of India’s greatest epic, the Mahabharata, originally known as Jaya, Devdutt Pattanaik seamlessly weaves into a single narrative plots from the Sanskrit classic as well as its many folk and regional variants, including the Pandavani of Chattisgarh, Gondhal of Maharashtra, Terukkuttu of Tamil Nadu, and Yakshagana of Karnataka.
Richly illustrated with over 250 line drawings by the author, the 108 chapters abound with little-known details such as the names of the hundred Kauravas, the worship of Draupadi as a goddess in Tamil Nadu, the stories of Astika, Madhavi, Jaimini, Aravan and Barbareek, the Mahabharata version of the Shakuntalam and the Ramayana, and the dating of the war based on astronomical data. With clarity and simplicity, the tales in this elegant volume reveal the eternal relevance of the Mahabharata, the complex and disturbing meditation on the human condition that has shaped Indian thought for over 3000 years.
Courtesy: Penguin Books India
Reading between the covers of Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata By Devdutt Pattanaik - Birth of Madri’s Children’ from Page 51 of the book:
Birth of Madri's children
'Since you cannot go to other men,' said Pandu to Kunti, 'invoke a Deva for Madri. Let her be mother too. And let me be father of more sons.'
Kunti obeyed. 'Who shall I invoke?' she asked Madri.
'The Ashwini twins,' said Madri. Instantly the two gods, lords of the morning and evening star, appeared and gave Madri twin sons: Nakula, the handsomest man in the world and Sahadeva, the most knowledgeable man in the world.
'Madri can go to another god,' Deva,' he told Kunti.
But Kunti refused. With one invocation, Madri had cleverly called twin gods and become mother of two sons. She feared with another invocation, Madri could call another set of gods, a male collective, and have as many as three, four,
five, why even seven sons. And with the following one, she would be mother of
more sons. She could not allow that. She
would not let the junior wife have more
sons, hence more power than her.
The five sons of Pandu, three by Kunti and two by Madri, became known as the Pandavas. Collectively, the five sons had the five qualities of the perfect kinghonesty, strength, skill, beauty and wisdom.
Devdutt Pattanaik is a medical doctor by education, a leadership consultant by profession, and a mythologist by passion. He has written and lectured extensively on the nature of sacred stories, symbols and rituals and their relevance in modern times. His books include The Book of Ram (Penguin India), Myth=Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology (Penguin India) and The Pregnant King (Penguin India). The Book of Kali (Viking India) is based on his talks. Devdutt’s unconventional approach and engaging style is evident in his lectures, books and articles.
Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling Of The Mahabharata
by Devdutt Pattanaik
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