India has one of the richest and most diverse histories and mythologies in the entire world. Starting from the first-ever text known to mankind, the Rig Veda, to hundreds of Upanishads and Puranas. Mythology is basically defined as folklores belonging to a certain culture or religion. The age-old Hindu or Sanatan culture of India has so many texts and schools of thought to offer.
This article has been written to brief you about the best books on Indian mythology. You must have heard many mythological folklores from your elders. Some people do not believe it to be mythology but rather the history of this nation. Either way, there is a lot to learn from these epics. So, read this article to know about the right mythological books to read.
Let us look at some factors that should be considered before buying yourself a book on Indian mythology. You probably should know the difference between mythology and mythological fiction first. There are ways you can take the reviews on the book beforehand; we have shared all such ways like following Goodreads for rating. So, check out how to choose the best books on Indian mythology in India 2021.
Mythology is studied to know the worldviews of cultures. It sheds light on how people think in a culture. An example of a mythological Indian book is Shiv Purana. Puranas are specifically sacred Sanskrit writings of the Hindu folklore.
One can directly read Shiv Purana and know the story of Shiva. However, one requires a thorough understanding of the Sanskrit language and some knowledge of the basic culture. A mythological fiction, on the other hand, is a book filled with fantasy rooted in traditional tales.
For example, the author Amish Tripathi has gained a lot of popularity for mastering writing mythological fictions. The Shiva Trilogy written by him takes themes from the Puranas, but he gives the ancient stories a different outlook and claims them to be mythological fictions. These books constitute the majority of our list in this article.
It might sound surprising, but writing about mythology can be risky. Even if one has to write mythological fiction, he or she is expected to have read the original mythological texts. To have read those, one must be well-versed with Sanskrit. It is important that you read a little about the author's credentials and critical reviews to get an idea.
We have taken care of this in our list of recommendations. It is also important because many things get lost in translation. It is acceptable if an author claims that the story in the book is his or her rendition of the mythology, as Amish Tripathi does. However, if a writer claims his version to be the translation of the original text, one needs to be careful of the writer's education.
Books on mythology can be really intense. The folklores can sometimes be so exciting that you would not want to stop reading. Many people feel that it is better to read such interesting books in their physical form as they give a lovely feel. On the other hand, there is the convenience of e-books with devices like Kindle. Let's find out the pros and cons of them both.
We all remember the first day of a new session in school. The feel of the new books and the musky scent from them always encouraged most of us to read them. Physical books have that power in them. Many people can only read physical books as it is proven that they facilitate more focus and emotional connection.
You always have an idea of the remaining pages, which makes it a target for you to finish it. This is a good way to give yourself a sense of accomplishment. Also, if you are new to reading, you must definitely start with physical books. They will provide you with a more personal touch and get you hooked.
There are tons of practical benefits of an e-book. In addition to being convenient and portable, they save a lot of paper. You can also sync the books on your mobile phone and read them as per your convenience. It eliminates the need to carry books with you. However, it can strain your eyes more than a regular book would do.
Another big advantage of e-books and devices like Kindle is that you can read them in the dark as well. These devices are backlit and enable you to read them easily while lying in bed at night. Audiobooks are another trendy thing that is quite useful. You can listen to the recorded narrations of books on the go.
Reading mythology can be overwhelming as it might have ideas and words beyond your understanding. It can be heavy, especially for new readers, as it may have complex, entangled ideas. In Indian mythology, particularly, like Mahabharata, there can be hundreds of characters, which can be hard to keep a track of. Many different plots may be running simultaneously too.
Our list of books has only those books that are easy to grasp and take lessons from. The language is simple and fun to read. These books' authors are bestsellers mainly for how interesting they have made mythology for the modern generation. The major reason for this is the authors' efficient and articulate writing skills.
Here is a collection of some of the best Indian mythology books and stories. Some of these are partial fictions, which are almost like superhero books. On the other hand, authors like Purnaprajna Das have merely translated books like Valmiki's Ramayana in English. Let us take a look at the 10 best books on Indian mythology out there!
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
The Valmiki Ramayana
The Shiva Trilogy
The Palace of Illusions
The Siva Purana
Yuganta: The End of an Epoch
Scion of Ikshvaku
Vanara: The Legend of Baali, Sugreeva and Tara
Ganga: The Constant Goddess
Karna's Wife: The Outcast's Queen
Read the Timeless Indian Epic
The Greatest Battle Ever Fought
The Bestselling Work of Mythological Fiction
Mahabharata From the Perspective of Draupadi
The Book as It as - the Story of Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati
One for the Contemporaries
Another Epic by Amish Tripathi
Story of the Great Brothers - Baali and Sugreeva
Goddess Ganga - The Epitome of Purity
Story of Karna Through His Wife's Eyes
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Watch this video in which Jay Lakhani articulately discusses the Hindu way of looking at God in His saakaar, nirgun niraakaar, and avatar forms. Saakar is the concept of God with form as in idol worshipping, nirgun niraakaar is the concept of God without form but with attributes, and avatar is the incarnation of God as human. This will help you look at mythology in a completely different light. The video highlights:
1. Concept of God with form
2. Concept of God without form
India can never cease to surprise you. With yoga, spirituality, meditation, warfare, classical music, Vedas, and so much more, this entire culture was built on the principle of constant elevation and liberation. Even the relatively modern history is filled with tales of bravery, love, and commitment. You may start exploring the richness of this land by reading a few books from the following review articles.
It is not easy to read the entire Indian mythology as it is so rich and diverse; The books mentioned in this article can be a good start. That's the thing about reading - you start with one, and the subsequent books start coming to you.
Indian or Hindu mythology has something for everyone. Every story has thousands of characters for you to associate with. There are numerous lessons to learn, and the best part is that these lessons are still relevant in modern times.
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