Kali stands on Shiva’s chest. Is this female domination?
Shiva is half a woman. Is this gender quality? Why then is Shakti never half a man?
Taken literally, stories, symbols and rituals of Hindu mythology have much to say about gender relationships. Taken symbolically, they reveal many more things about humanity and nature. Which is the correct reading?
The fourth title in the bestselling ‘7 Secrets’ series focuses on the Goddess, and respected mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik tries to unravel the secrets locked within her stories, symbols and rituals.
In the Seven Secrets of the Goddess, he explains about the evolution of the Goddess cult, it's popularity in the ancient times and the reasons that led to the Goddess to make way for the predominance of the God , a reflection of the change in the position of women in society. Did you know the meaning of the word 'virgin' was very different that time? A virgin was a woman who was ready to bear a child. Now understand why there is a 'Virgin Mother'? That word over the years got convoluted and became a mark of a woman's 'purity'. Many practices, beliefs and facts hitherto unknown to many are revealed in the pages of this book. The illustrations one gets to see on every other page adds value. While I absolutely loved the content, one of my complaint is that at times, he did make it repetitive and confusing which meant that I had to go back and re-read pages. Despite these shortcomings, I loved the book and would definitely recommend you to read it if you are interested in Indian mythology and want to get more insight into the secrets of gender bias/difference. It is by no means a light read but a very interesting and thought provoking one.
7 Secrets of the Goddess by Devdutt Pattanaik is priced at Rs 395 and available at leading bookstores and online.