Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Book Review - 7 Secrets of Goddess by Devdutt Patnaik

7 SECRETS OF GODDESS by Devdutt Patnaik - A book review

     Lakshmi massages Vishnu’s feet. Is this male domination? Kali stands on Shiva’s chest. Is this female domination? Shiva is half a woman. Is this gender quality? Why then is Shakti never half a man? Taken literally, stories, symbols and rituals of Hindu mythology have much to say about gender relationships. Taken symbolically, they reveal many more things about humanity and nature. Which is the correct reading?

About the Author:

Devdutt Pattanaik is a doctor who worked in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry for many years. Throughout his life, he has also been deeply interested in Hindu mythology, the epics, Puranas and the many legends and divine tales. after almost fifteen years in the healthcare industry, he switched his career and started writing about Hindu mythology and using the Hindu scriptures to teach lessons in business management.
His books include Myth=Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology, The Pregnant King, The 7 Secret Series, Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata, An Identity Card for Krishna,Business Sutra: A Very Indian Approach to Management, Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana and Shikhandi: And Other Tales They Don’t Tell You.

About the book:

Introduction to the book

As nature, she is mother
As culture, she is daughter
Creator of humanity
Creation of humanity
She is wealth, power, language
Lakshmi, Durga, Saraswati
She is Devi
Answer to that masculine anxiety
Which keeps resisting enquiry

Locked in her stories, symbols and rituals are the secrets of our ancestors. This book attempts to unlock seven.

Title: 7 Secrets of Goddess
Author: Devdutt Patnaik
Publisher: Westland
Pages: 259
Genre: Mythology
Price: Rs.395/-

This is the fourth book in the 7 secrets series. The previous ones were 7 secrets of Vishnu, 7 Secrets of Shiva, 7 secrets from Hindu Calendar Art.
This book is dedicated to the divine Goddess.

I have read two of his previous books namely, Sita - An Illustrated retelling of Ramayana and Jaya - An illustrated retelling of Mahabharata. Those two books were more voluminous than this one. And they formed an interesting read and were store house of information.

This book starts with the authors note on reality and representation.
The book deals with secrets of seven Goddesses namely
1. Gaia's secret
2. Kali's secret
3. Gauri's secret
4. Durga's secret
5. Lakshmi's secret
6. Saraswati's secret
7. Vitthai's secret

Wikipedia links to the Seven Goddesses is in the following. Click on it to know something about them before reading the book. Not that it is necessary, but just for inquisitive minds.
1. Gaia
2. Kali
3. Gauri
4. Durga
5. Lakshmi
6. Saraswathi

The entire book has pictures on one side and text on the right side. These pictures are not like as in Jaya and Sita, but these are real photographic ones. Some are photograph of statues and some are of paintings and art. This makes the book even more readable. The pictures alone will tell a different story each.

This book is meant for adult readers only.


As I have mentioned earlier, this book is about Goddesses. But one look at the cover you will misinterpret it as a religious one. don't get me wrong, but it is not. For eg,.  Each chapter deals with a secret of Goddess. The author has written about the development of the Goddess, the development of a patriarchal society.
       The author also speaks about how the female society which was once revered has changed with time. What made these changes. Why should everything be Male? And where and when did the female lose their importance and what could be the reason behind it.
The author has compared multitude of cultures and has given in a way that is simply awesome. You can see the similarities within the cultures. Both the high reverence of the females in society and also domination of the females are so similar in many cultures.
       This book also feeds the mind of a feminist. A feminist will absolutely like this book, because it deals with females as the first reason and also it gives you thoughts on it. In his previous books, he used to mention at the end of every chapter about how that part of the story differ in each culture and yet retain the core of the story. That fact box at the end of the chapter is not in the 7 secret series.

       But apart from it, the writing style of the author has not changed. He has given us facts and mythological stories from every culture that is present and even if some of you may know something about Ramayana and Mahabharata stories, it still makes a wonderful read because it includes stories from Greek Culture and also from Biblical Mythology and thus this book is not a religious one and it leans more towards anthropology.

        If you are a person who likes to read about cultures and the development of the society and in addition to this book if you are a feminist, this is for you. And for others too it will make you thirstier than you had been before and you may want to quench it by reading more.

        A picture is worth a million pages and half of this book is in pictures and this makes it it a very good reading material.
       The pages go very smoothly. You are not going to be stuck in middle. Never!
       The content is so addictive
       The different cultures mentioned are going to be so awesome read.
       Similarities will make you awestruck.
       The content will make you to appreciate the authors effort and inclination

     Not much
     Can be a heavy read. Of course it is not a fiction novel. So if you are looking for a single story throughout, this is not for you.
     But a real reader will know the joy of reading many little stories in one book and I felt it. Hope you all do too.

One word for this book: Inquisitive

Rating: 9.5/10

I want to thank Blogadda for this opportunity to review this wonderful book.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program  by Blogadda.com for Indian Bloggers.
Participate now to get free books!

Buy this book at Buy 7 Secrets of the Goddess ">Flipkart

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