Gods, Demons, and Othersby Published 01 Jan 1970
|Gods, Demons, and Others.pdf|
|Publisher||University of Chicago Press|
Following in the footsteps of the storytellers of his native India, R. K. Narayan has produced his own versions of tales taken from the Ramayana and the Mahabarata. Carefully selecting those stories which include the strongest characters, and omitting the theological or social commentary that would have drawn out the telling, Narayan informs these fascinating myths with his urbane humor and graceful style.
"Mr. Narayan gives vitality and an original viewpoint to the most ancient of legends, lacing them with his own blend of satire, pertinent explanation and thoughtful commentary."—Santha Rama Rau, New York Times
"Narayan's narrative style is swift, firm, graceful, and lucid . . . thoroughly knowledgeable, skillful, entertaining. One could hardly hope for more."—Rosanne Klass, Times Literary Supplement
"Gods, Demons, and Others" Reviews
Narayan sticks to what he set out to do in this book, and succeeds admirably. This is a collection of some of the more interesting tales from Hindu mythology, with the focus on the spiritual rather than the physical. There are of course great tales of heroic feats but the recurring theme is men and women of priestly and warrior classes who go through extreme physical hardships to attain spiritual awakening and a higher plane of existence.
In the tales of some of the more famous characters, such as the Pandavas and Rama and Sita, you get a sense of great and terrible events rushing by, but always the focus is on the characters themselves, and not the plot--although Narayan gives enough detail to make you understand it.
This was a good precursor to Narayan's The Mahabharata and The Ramayana--I'll be tackling those next.
Masterful story-telling, as if sitting at a storyteller's feet. To be read and re-read many times over the years. One of my favourite classics.
I liked the idea of sitting at the storyteller’s feet and listening to the myths and tales of an Indian village. Unfortunately, the names, places and practices that make up the stories are so foreign to my Western mind, that I had trouble following a lot of the tales! I enjoyed the exposure to new Gods, Demons and Others, but am apparently too simple-minded to unravel many of the mysteries the tales are teaching. I did glean a few obvious nuggets of wisdom however: “The King (Sikhi-Dhvaja) burst out, ‘Man’s truest guru is his wife!’” Nice to know women were validated on some level in this ancient culture! Also great wisdom in: “You must understand that my strength comes from my inner being. Within every one of us there is a spark of godhood. When you are able to rouse it and employ it, you will acquire matchless strength.”
R K Narayan is always a delight to read. I'm embarrassingly ignorant when it comes to the mythological tales from Ramayana, Mahabharatha, Geetha etc and this served as a great initiation. I'd definitely pick up Narayan's re-telling of these epics some day.
It was a good engrossing read, especially to read at length the tales of not so familiar characters like Yayati, Chudala, Lavana, Sibi, Vishwamitra, Nala etc.