BOOK REVIEW OF- The Panchatheertha Part 1
By- Rajiv Mittal (Author)
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 1075 KB
Print Length: 352 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Sold by: Amazon Asia-Pacific Holdings Private Limited
THE PLOT IN BRIEF-
The Panchatheertha (five pilgrimages) is an outrageously funny, satirical revision of sections 1 & 2 of The Panchatantra, the masterpiece Vishnu Sharma wrote between 1200 BCE to 300 CE. The stories are primarily about statecraft and full of wisdom and morals. Despite that, youngsters found them very entertaining. In the tales, animals act and speak on behalf of human beings. The series begins with a parent story that unfolds story after story; each strung to the other by a narrator. Vishnu Sharma’s reincarnation Shiva Varma has, in this redraft, revived the ancient Indian tradition of parampara (continuation of knowledge from one guru to the next). In his excitement, he forgot the younger age group of his shishyas (students). His characters now try to explain the motives for their actions, also express their feelings; something The Panchatantra had cleverly avoided doing. Within its pages, animals are still made to think and behave like human beings but have not otherwise been harmed in any way. The Panchatheertha was considered lost but the discovery of two altered strategies ‘The Loss of Friends’ and ‘Gaining Friends’ should create hope within the large and growing community that has had considerable success with the first and complete failure with the second. Those wanting to meet Shiva Varma are hereby informed he dislikes economists, preferring astrology. He is in samadhi (seclusion / deep meditation) and not in hiding. There are many intriguing characters not known to Vishnu Sharma in this adaptation; from a sex consultant plying his trade in the locality Ajilundpenodhoka in district Makasam… to a devadasi (courtesan) wanting to conduct the temple prayers because she is bored… to Sage Narada Muni !! Bibliophiles are urged to read the original Panchatantra (which Shiva Varma did consider including as an appendix), to truly appreciate the extent to which history gets distorted when it is made to explain itself. Historically, the appendix has been viewed as a vestigial organ with no real function. This is why Shiva Varma chose not to include it… or so he claims.
The Panchatheertha or five pilgrimages is a book which tries to venture in seeking after what the soul desires we become pilgrims with no home but the path the soul would have us follow. The purpose of a pilgrimage is about setting aside a long period of time in which the only focus is to be the matters of the soul. Many believe a pilgrimage is about going away but it isn’t; it is about coming home. Those who choose to go on pilgrimage have already ventured away from themselves; and now set out in a longing to journey back to who they are. Many a time we believe we must go away from all that is familiar if we are to focus on our inner well-being because we feel it is the only way to escape all that drains and distracts us, allowing us to turn inward and tend to what ails us. Yet we do not need to go to the edges of the earth to learn who we are, only the edges of ourselves. Being inspired from Vishnu Sharma’s The Panchatantra, the book revisits the morals coupled with emotions and the messages that were left behind the book
REVIEW OF THE BOOK-
The book revisits the first couple of sections from Panchatantra dealing with the ‘The Loss of Friends’ and ‘Gaining Friends’. Morality does play a pivotal role in shaping up the entre plot of the story. Certainly the most destructive vice if you like, that a person can have. More than pride, which is supposedly the number one of the cardinal sins – is self pity. Self pity is the worst possible emotion anyone can have. And the most destructive. It is, to slightly paraphrase what Wilde said about hatred, and I think actually hatred’s a subset of self pity and not the other way around – ‘ It destroys everything around it, except itself ‘. Self pity will destroy relationships, it’ll destroy anything that’s good, it will fulfill all the prophecies it makes and leave only itself. And it’s so simple to imagine that one is hard done by, and that things are unfair, and that one is underappreciated, and that if only one had had a chance at this, only one had had a chance at that, things would have gone better, you would be happier if only this, that one is unlucky. All those things. And some of them may well even be true. But, to pity oneself as a result of them is to do oneself an enormous disservice.
The author had critically analysed both the perspective of Loss and Gain from a very different perspective keeping Panchatantra in the backdrop. A lot of things are inherent in life -change, birth, death, aging, illness, accidents, calamities, and losses of all kinds- but these events don’t have to be the cause of ongoing suffering. Yes, these events cause grief and sadness, but grief and sadness pass, like everything else, and are replaced with other experiences. The ego, however, clings to negative thoughts and feelings and, as a result, magnifies, intensifies, and sustains those emotions while the ego overlooks the subtle feelings of joy, gratitude, excitement, adventure, love, and peace that come from Essence. If we dwelt on these positive states as much as we generally dwell on our negative thoughts and painful emotions, our lives would be transformed. On the contrast, speaking about gain, A true friend does not make you win by making you the winner to the detriment of the true winner. He makes sure that you become a loser, not because he likes the way you fail, but to enlighten you on how it feels to be treated that way and to demonstrate that love and respect are not exclusive.
The use of lucid English makes the book more lucrative. Not only does the bok entertains the reader, it also reflects certain traits of morality deciphered from the original Panchatantra texts. f history shows anything, it is that there’s no better way to justify relations founded on violence, to make such relations seem moral, than by reframing them in the language of debt—above all, because it immediately makes it seem that it’s the victim who’s doing something wrong.
A true pilgrimage requires letting go of the very things most people try to hold onto. In seeking after what the soul desires, we become pilgrims with no home but the path the soul would have us follow.
YOU SHOULD READ THIS BECAUSE-
THE BEAUTIFUL PORTRAYAL OF ALL THE CHARACTERS.
THE SWEET AND SOUR VIEWS OF THE HISTORICAL TEXTS
THE REVISITING OF PANCHATANTRA
Overall I would like to rate the book 41 on a scale of 50.
4 stars out of 5
Originality of the plot and sub plots- 8/10
Net emotions in the story- 8/10
Usage of words and phrases-8/10
The title, cover and the illustration-8/10
The net impact on the readers- 9/10