I love Mahabharata, the most magnificent Indian epic. Every time I watch or read Mahabharata, it never fails to fascinate me, especially the sub tales. We all know Mahabharata is a story within another story and with infinite myths. It’s the story that gave the Bhagavad Gita. Amidst all these, it hard to tell the Mahabharata story to kids. But why?
We parents always want to teach the ethical principles of sharing, staying united and taking care of each other. But the story of Mahabharata deals with the fight among the cousins, gambling, abusing and what not? So how do we appropriately share this and teach kids what exactly is Dharma?
Here is a book just for you and your kids. The India’s favorite and famous mythologist brings the retelling of the Mahabharata in his unique style, especially for the kids – The Boys Who Fought, The Mahabharata for Children by Devdutt Pattanaik published by Puffin books.
The plot is the same, the story of Pandavas Vs. Kauravas. Still what makes this book special?
I could see the magic of Devdutt Pattanaik in all the chapters right from one to eight. Excluding the introduction and conclusion, the author encompasses the entire Mahabharata in six chapters. He did not miss any of the prominent sub tales too. Be it the story of Eklavya or Shikandi or King Draupada, Hanuman’s appearance, he touches it all. He explains the entire story via the fights, How the Pandavas fought as orphans, as refugees, as kings, as exiles, as warriors, and as hermits.
He takes the story in both narrative and conversational style which I liked the most. Every chapter captivates the young readers(errr elders too), and even though the sections are about the fight, the author explains why it was fair to fight, and he tries to teach how the battle follows the principles of Dharma.
I have no words to explain the illustrations. I simply loved it. IMO, that’s what makes this book so unique. As the book intro says, the pictures are evocative. Couple of my favorites are,
Seriously did any cared about Draupadi’s thought when she was made as the common wife of Pandavas?
Did You Notice / Did You Know Columns
These small sections or tidbits are equally fascinating as the story. I learned new things, the sub tales and how other cultures embrace the Mahabharata tales.
Yes, I need to talk about the conclusion. As a parent, I love this section. The author explains all the lessons learned by Pandavas and how the entire world is dependent upon sharing and what exactly is Dharma.
My Favorite Quotes
Dharma is about fairness, not revenge. It is about love, not hatred. It is about forgiving, not fighting.
As long as we look for excuses, reasons, and justification to not share, the might will never take care of the meek, and the meek will always hate the might, There will be no dharma in human society. If we have to fight, let us fight that urge within us that stops us from sharing, that urge that stops us from being human.
A perfect thought-provoking read for all mythology lovers and excellent book for young readers who would like to get introduced to the great Indian epic Mahabharata.