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)

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