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Eden by Devdutt Pattanaik: Book review

An Indian Exploration of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Lore

About the book

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Penguin (20 December 2021)

Language ‏ : ‎ English

Paperback ‏ : ‎ 312 pages

Order your copy : Here

This book has been kindly sent across by Penguin India in exchange for an unbiased review.

Eden is the garden of happiness that humankind lost when Adam and Eve the first human couple, disobeyed the one true God, i.e., God, and ate the fruit of the forbidden tree. To this garden, all humanity shall return if we accept God's love and follow God's law. It represents paradise in Abrahamic lore, which emerged over 4,000 years ago in the Middle East and has since spread to every corner of the world in three forms: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Like the Ramayana and Mahabharata, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic tales too are cultural memories and metaphors, i.e. mythologies. They seek to make life meaningful by establishing a worldview based on one God, one life, and one way of living based on God's message transmitted through many messengers. But these stories contrast Indian mythologies that are rooted in rebirth, where the world is without beginning or end, where there are infinite manifestations of the divine, both within and without, personal and impersonal, simultaneously monotheistic, polytheistic, and atheistic.

Eden explores the vast world of Abrahamic myths from a uniquely Indian prism, through storytelling that is intimate but not irreverent and introduces readers to the many captivating tales of angels, demons, prophets, patriarchs, judges, and kings. It also retells stories from Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Zoroastrian mythologies that influenced Abrahamic monotheism over time.

My thoughts

My old English teacher from school had this big illustrated bible. That was one of the few opportunities that I got to know and learn about religions beyond mine.

Eden by Devdutt Pattanaik is my first baby step in understanding Jewish, Christianity, and Islamic religions and the history of the middle east and certain parts of Europe. I learned how similar yet different the course of events is and also the fact that events get different narratives among people and centuries.

With his signature, quirky illustrations, the author guides us through the stories that often overlap with each other. Not only he retakes the Lores but also gives a contextual explanation.

Although, it’s a short book of just 285 pages, the exhaustive yet crisp manner of writing ensures to give an overall knowledge about the religions, reading this book, in a nutshell, is a fulfilling experience.

About the author

Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik (born December 11, 1970) is an Indian physician turned leadership consultant, mythologist, and author whose works focus largely on the areas of myth, mythology, and also management. He has written several books related to Hindu mythology, including Myth = Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology, a novel, The Pregnant King, and Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata (2010). He is the Chief Belief Officer of Future Group, one of India’s largest retailers, bringing the wisdom of Indian mythology into Indian business, specifically in human resource management. He also writes a column for the newspaper MID DAY. He has also written a novel based on a tale from the Mahabharata titled 'The Pregnant King' published by Penguin Books India.

This post is a part of #blogchatterA2Z2023 and Blogchatter.

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