Sunday, February 4, 2018

Avishi by Saiswroopa Iyer

 Avishi: Reimagining Vishpala of the Rig Veda

By Saiswroopa Iyer
 Category: fiction: mythology: Hinduism
Age: +13
Buy from: Amazon US, Amazon IN

This book is written by Saiswaroopa Iyer, and is the second book she has written. I liked her first book also a lot, so I decided to give this book a try. I also picked it because the book’s title itself was extremely interesting. The title of the book is ‘Avishi: Vishpala of Rig Veda Reimagined’. I have never heard of Vishpala, and so the title intrigued me. I love the book, and so far, I would recommend you to place it on top of your ‘To read’ list. This fabulously written book revolves around the Avishi, whose life is based on the life of Queen Vishpala, a valiant woman who fought against Khela. Khela was an evil king who wanted to change the rules and regulations that everyone followed, and twist them according to his tastes. During a battle, Vishpala loses a leg, and has it replaced with a metal leg. Even though she now has a metal leg, it does not stop her from fighting Khela at the end. I loved this book, and it has inspired me. The way Avishi fought even with serious injuries, and her leadership should be a lesson to all of us. Saiswaroopa Iyer was able to build the plot up well, as towards the end when Avishi and Khela fought, I was holding my breath, waiting for how it would end.

[this book has been included in our January 2018 edition of eGranth]

I have written a longer review of Avishi here.

© 2018, Anvita Agarwal. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Saraswati’s Intelligence by Vamsee Juluri

The Kishkindha Chronicles: Saraswati’s Intelligence
By Vamsee Juluri
Category: fiction: mythology: Hinduism
Age: +12 
Buy from: Amazon IN, Amazon US

This book talks about Hanuman before he met Lord Rama. Vamsee Juluri wrote the book, and it’s the first book in the trilogy of Hanuman’s life, that he has been writing. It starts with a small race between Hanuman, Sugriva, Vali and other monkeys. Sugriva hurts himself, and spills blood, which Hanuman touches when he goes to help Sugriva. When the other monkeys saw the blood, they yelled ‘Parama Dharma Apchara’ and ran away. Parama dharma apchara was the violation of the prime duty. The people in Hanuman’s time believed in Ma Saraswati. She was the one who poured blood into their body when they were born. A single drop of blood was made of the sunlight of one hundred and eight leaves which made it so precious. Parama dharma apchara was when you spilt blood. He was thus banned from Kishkindha. He took Sugriva to Vishwamitra who healed him. They decide to accompany Vishwamitra on his journey to uncover hidden secrets in the north, followed by Sugriva. On their journey, they met the Ganeshas (elephants) who accompanied them. On their way, they discover a pack of deadly barbaric creatures who ate elephants and then used their skin to disguise themselves. After a study of the child, they realized that these creatures had to be tamed, or the parama dharma would be breached. Vamsee Juluri knows how to capture the reader’s attention and not make the book boring in between. He beautifully describes the story of Hanuman’s life. Through the whole book, he keeps talking about what is Dharma, Parama Dharma, etc. This way he also teaches us more about Indian culture, through a story. I liked the way he favored Hanuman and told us about his habits, culture, fears and his qualities. He also sympathized Vali as he was almost a servant for his mother Riksharaja.

[this book has been included in our January 2018 edition of eGranth]

© 2018, Anvita Agarwal. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Avishi: Vishpala of Rig Veda Reimagined, by Saiswaroopa Iyer

Avishi: Vishpala of Rig Veda Reimagined, by Saiswaroopa Iyer

Avishi, Vishpala, these are names you may not have heard before. This book talks about Vishpala, a queen mentioned in the Rig Veda, who lost her leg during a fight and then had her leg replaced with a metal one. Saiswaroopa Iyer, the author, has reconstructed Vishpala’s life through Avishi and also imagined some of it, to present before us this wonderful book.

Saiswaroopa Iyer has written another book called ‘Abhaya’. Both her books have one thing in common - both talk about tales of women with unimaginable courage. When you start reading Avishi, you will be enthralled by the immense hardships she had to face and her bravery in facing those hardships without flinching. This gives a message to everyone, that women aren’t weak and never were. It dispels that misconception and inspires children who read it.

Here is a gist of the story.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Garuda Purana, by Bibek Debroy

Garuda Purana, translated by Bibek Debroy

This is the ninth Purana I am reviewing, and as you all might have guessed, is a Sattvika Purana. It is listed seventeenth in the list of Puranas, and is nineteen thousand shlokas long. It is divided into two parts, the Purva khanda, and the Uttara khanda. The Purva khanda has two hundred and thirty-four adhyayas (chapters), and the Uttara Khanda has only forty-five adhyayas. This Purana was recited to Rishi Kashyapa by the great bird Garuda himself. This Purana says that Vishnu had twenty-two incarnations, not ten! The names of the incarnations are as listed below:
  1. Kumara (young boy)
  2. Varaha (boar)
  3. Devarishi (great sage)
  4. Nara and Narayana
  5. Sage Kapila
  6. Sage Dattatreya
  7. Son of Ruchi and Akuti
  8. Urukrama (son of Nabhi and Meru)
  9. King Prithu
  10. Matsya (fish)
  11. Kurma (turtle)
  12. Dhanavantari (physician of the gods)
  13. Mohini avatara
  14. Narasimha
  15. Vamana
  16. Parashurama
  17. Vedavyasa
  18. Narada
  19. Rama
  20. Krishna
  21. Buddha
  22. Kalki (yet to come)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

eGranth - Books Newsletter, December 2017

Editor’s Note: - This is the December Newsletter, that I, Anvita Agarwal, am editing. This time, we have many books in the Fantasy section, and all of them are books you will love to read. During this month, I managed to complete another Rick Riordan series, and have shared that with you. Along with that, I have included a book that will simplify your History and Geography lesson’s. ‘The Incredible History of India’s Geography’ is a book that will surely spark you interest in these two subjects. Two other famous series have been included in this newsletter. The ‘Tom Gates’ series, a series of side-splitting books on the life of Tom Gates, and his journey through school with Mr. Fullerman, his grumpy teacher, and Delia, his annoying sister, and a lot of unexpected accidents. Enjoy as you delve deeper into the mystical world of Narnia, as you read the adventures of Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy, as they solve the different issues that keep popping up in the wonderful world of Narnia. Join them as they visit different lands and meet different creatures. Hope you enjoy this newsletter!     - Anvita 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Markandeya Purana, by Bibek Debroy

The Markandeya Purana, translated by Bibek Debroy

This is the eighth Purana I am reviewing, and it is a Rajasika Purana as it goes into detail about the process of creation. It is the shortest Purana and is only nine thousand shlokas long. This Purana talks in detail about a few unanswered questions from the Mahabharata. When you read the Mahabharata, questions will start popping up like, ‘Why did Draupadi have five husbands?’, ‘Why did Draupadi’s sons die in the dead of night instead of on the battlefield?’ This Purana has answered these questions. It has many stories, but focuses more on the histories of the different Manvantaras (duration of a Manu). The Markandeya Purana has 137 chapters. Towards the end of this Purana, it starts narrating stories of the goddess Chandi. In the original text, this extends from chapter eighty-one to ninety-three.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Kurma Purana, by Bibek Debroy

Kurma Purana, translated by Bibek Debroy

This is the seventh Purana that I am reviewing. It is the fifteenth Purana in order, and is a Tamasika Purana. 

You must be a little confused at this point. Doesn’t the name clearly state ‘Kurma’ Purana, and one of Vishnu’s avatara’s was the Kuma avatara? Here is where everyone gets confused. This Purana got its name because Lord Vishnu narrated this Purana when he was in the form of a turtle (kurma), hence Kurma Purana. This Purana is seventeen thousand shlokas long, and is divided into four samhitas (sections). They are the Brahmi samhita, the Bhagvati samhita, the Souri samhita, and the Vaishnavi samhita. Unfortunately, only the Brahmi Samhita is available to us now, and goes by the name of the Kurma Purana. The Brahmi samhita is divided into two parts, which are the Purva bhaga and the Upari bhaga. The Purva bhaga has fifty-two chapters, and the Upari bhaga has forty-four chapters.
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