Since my childhood, I am a huge fan of mythology. I grew up reading the Amar Chitra Katha comics, listening to bed-time stories from my grandparents. My mom used to read to me while I was little and as I grew, the fascination for reading stayed with me. During the lockdown, I binge-watched the BR Chopra’s Mahabharata on YouTube.
Our mythology and rich Indian culture has always left me enthralled. I came across Piyusha Vir’s book, Dashavatar when I was looking for a book to quench my thirst for learning more about Indian mythology.Abhimanyu Amarkant (DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter)
I was impressed by three things:
- The narrative style of the stories I had not heard earlier
- A fresh perspective the book provided me on the stories I knew about
- The manner in which the author answered the questions about the stories I knew about
About the book:
Dashavatar is a book about the ten stories of the 10 main avatars of Lord Vishnu and how each of them saved the earth from the rule of evil in their own way and what challenges they faced while doing so. The 10 avatars are Matsya (fish), Kurma (turtle), Varaha (boar), Narasimha, Vamana (dwarf man), Parashurama, Ram, Krishna, Buddha and Kalki.
Arranged in chronological order, each story describes a situation in which the avatars were in a distressed, disturbed state, their heart in conflict with themselves and how they overcame these struggles to save the world from a rule of terror and malice.
Each story defines the avatar for who they were and describes it from a fresh, unbiased point of view where you can truly see the merits and flaws of each character, so the true hero of the story is left for the reader’s imagination to decide.Abhimanyu Amarkant (DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter)
What I loved about the book:
I love how the author connected these stories with each other despite them being actual yugas apart. The book links the order of the avatars with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. The ten avatars go from a simple fish, to a complex sea animal, to a mammal, to dwarf men, to humans. That shows the evolution of us as a species, showing how we evolved into humans. However, after the Vamana avatar, the avatars are all humans. They evolve, not into another species, but as humans in their ideology.
If I say anything more than this, it will lead to spoilers. I urge you, therefore to pick up the book and experience the magical story-telling by Piyusha Vir.
I feel Dashavatar belongs amongst the best sellers. It deserves to be recognized as one of the definitive books on the 10 main avatars of Lord Vishnu. I do hope that the marketers, distributers, publisher and all those concerned with the book’s publicity take my suggestions seriously.Abhimanyu Amarkant (DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter)
A big applause to the author, Piyusha Vir for her thorough research. There are 24 avatars of Lord Vishnu, ten of which are the most revered. The author had to select the 10 avatars and make them factually and mythologically correct. Selecting the right avatar and getting the correct information about them was a tedious task as many scriptures say different things about the same icon.
In her prologue she shares how many people don’t regard Gautam Buddha as an avatar instead they believe that he is a concept and not a man. People also believe Krishna wasn’t an avatar of Lord Vishnu, but he was the Lord himself. Such religious thinkers call him the Poorna Avatar. Still others consider his elder brother, Balram as the ninth avatar.
To understand the perspective of the author, reading the prologue is necessary. Personally, I felt that the prologue is a total eye-opener.Abhimanyu Amarkant (DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter)
Kalki, the last avatar of Vishnu, is not a story, but a prophecy that Lord Vishnu will descend on Earth when all hope for humanity is lost. I can only imagine how hard information gathering for Kalki would have been since there is hardly anything written about Kalki. On the other hand, a lot has been written about the popular avatars of Lord Vishnu. Sifting through the clutter and making an unique point while remaining factually correct is a knack that Piyusha has mastered.
I loved the way the author tackles all these problems and crafts this collection of stories. Her rivetting style makes the book universally acceptable but not diplomatic or biased.
The book makes these age-old stories relevant to today’s times. It doesn’t idealize the 10 avatars; it humanises them by showing their merits and flaws from a neutral perspective.Abhimanyu Amarkant (DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter)
Downsides of the book:
Honestly, there is no real downside in this book. The author could consider marketing the book in a better manner. The pacing of stories 6, 7 and 8 is slow for me, but that is purely subjective. The illustrations were amazing. I wish the author had included more of them. The author mentions the Samudra Manthan event a bit extensively in the book, but other than that I think the book is surely an excellent choice and makes a pleasant read.
This book is for anyone looking to explore Indian mythology but doesn’t know where to start.DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter
- Book Name: Dashavatar.
- Author: Piyusha Vir
- Reviewed By: Abhimanyu Amarkant (DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter)
- Publisher: Readomania (25 December 2019)
- Pages and format: 216 pages, anthology
- Price: INR 230
- Language: English
- Genre: Myths, Legends & Sagas
- Rating: 5/5
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