• Devdutt Pattanaik: So many mothers, and tongues

    Devdutt Pattanaik: So many mothers, and tongues

    The devas were threatened, as usual, by the rise of yet another asura. This time it was Taraka, and he was exceptionally powerful. He had declared that only a six-day-old child could kill him.

  • Devdutt Pattanaik: Revenge as nobility

    Devdutt Pattanaik: Revenge as nobility

    Before surrendering to the court, the general secretary of the AIADMK party, V K Sasikala visited the memorial of the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and struck her palm three times on Jayalalitha’s grave, an act of slamming that observers interpreted as a ritual act, based on ancient Tamil lore of kings, indicating a solemn oath to take revenge

  • Devdutt Pattanaik: If not Valentine, then Kama?

    Devdutt Pattanaik: If not Valentine, then Kama?

    Here it comes. 14th February. The day dreaded by some earnest Indian youth leaders who are convinced that love and desire and sex are foreign contaminations that will destroy the minds of young Indians. Terrified, they would rather spend the day worshipping fathers and mothers, or brutally assaulting lovers on dates

  • Devdutt Pattanaik: Last hymn of the Rig Veda

    Devdutt Pattanaik: Last hymn of the Rig Veda

    The Rig Veda has over a thousand hymns (sukta) that are arranged in ten chapters (mandala). The first and the tenth mandalas have precisely 191 hymns, indicating that the arrangement of hymns is not random, but deliberate. This organisation of hymns is attributed to Vyasa

  • Devdutt Pattanaik: The Sexuality of Villains

    Devdutt Pattanaik: The Sexuality of Villains

    Some people are upset that Bollywood is once again distorting history. This time it deals with Padmavati, the queen of Chittor, who killed herself rather than letting the Delhi sultan, Alauddin Khilji, capture her

  • Devdutt Pattanaik: Momaji & other horse-riders

    Devdutt Pattanaik: Momaji & other horse-riders

    My friend told me of a ritual practice in some parts of rural Rajasthan. When the marriage party is passing a shrine of Momaji, people offer lamps (usually in a dry coconut), food (wheat) and other indulgences (beedi is common)

  • Devdutt Pattanaik: Dayanand & Vivekanand

    Devdutt Pattanaik: Dayanand & Vivekanand

    The 19th century saw Hinduism being reframed for two reasons. First was missionary activity that, with its aim of gaining converts, consciously spotlighted aspects of Hinduism that the elite could not explain and found embarrassing

  • Devdutt Pattanaik: Epics as novels

    Devdutt Pattanaik: Epics as novels

    Most people in India are not familiar with the Sanskrit Ramayana or Mahabharata. We read popular versions, which in turn are based on regional retellings, which began appearing less than 1,000 years ago, and became very prevalent from around 500 years ago

  • Devdutt Pattanaik: A Harappan Parvati?

    Devdutt Pattanaik: A Harappan Parvati?

    All my life I had seen photographs of a Harappan girl, found in the ruins of Mohenjo Daro, standing with attitude, face up, one arm on her waist, the other on her slightly bent knee

  • Devdutt Pattanaik: Use for Rudolf's nose

    Devdutt Pattanaik: Use for Rudolf's nose

    Do you remember the story of Rudolf, the reindeer, who had a shiny red nose? And how every other reindeer made fun of him? His father even asks him to hide his nose so that he fits in

  • Devdutt Pattanaik: Is God judge or accountant?

    Devdutt Pattanaik: Is God judge or accountant?

    In Abrahamic mythology, God is the judge. In Hindu mythology, God is not a judge; he is an accountant. Ask yourself, who do you instinctively respect more, the judge or the accountant? How do you see yourself: as judge or accountant

  • Devdutt Pattanaik: Money maya

    Devdutt Pattanaik: Money maya

    A stone, a statue, a lump of turmeric, a pot, anything can be turned into a deity, in Hindu rituals

  • Devdutt Pattanaik: When asked a question

    Devdutt Pattanaik: When asked a question

    At the end of my lectures I am often asked questions. I restrict my answers to clarifications on the topic of my lecture

  • Devdutt Pattanaik: Gods of plurality

    Devdutt Pattanaik: Gods of plurality

    In 2011, the Harvard University dropped two economics courses taught by Indian MP Subramanian Swamy after he wrote two articles that “demonise” Islam

  • Devdutt Pattanaik: Misunderstanding Saraswati

    Devdutt Pattanaik: Misunderstanding Saraswati

    Most Hindus have reduced Saraswati to vocational training — something you learn in school to get a job

  • Devdutt Pattanaik: End of Enlightenment?

    Devdutt Pattanaik: End of Enlightenment?

    A WISE man is calm in fortune and misfortune. He does not separate good times and bad times

  • Devdutt Pattanaik: Reverse devotion

    Devdutt Pattanaik: Reverse devotion

    BHAKTI is translated as devotion. And, generally, devotion is viewed as something feudal, a kind of loyalty, the kind demanded by cult or tribal leaders from their followers

  • Devdutt Pattanaik: 21 Days to Diwali

    Devdutt Pattanaik: 21 Days to Diwali

    One morning, I got an excited WhatsApp message, one of the many that try to prove Hinduism is scientific, a popular trend seen in religions around the world ever since the scientist began to be taken more seriously than the priest

  • Devdutt Pattanaik: Has Kalki arrived?

    Devdutt Pattanaik: Has Kalki arrived?

    Donald Trump fits the idea of what Vishnu’s last avatar epitomises — an invasive, violent, disruptive force that redefines old ideas

  • Devdutt Pattanaik: A Jain Jatayu

    Devdutt Pattanaik: A Jain Jatayu

    Many Jain scholars have retold the Ramayana epic. Here, Ram is addressed as Padma and is considered a Baladeva, one of the 63 types of great men who live in a single human era