“A read-and-colour children’s book, which talks about the favourite animal companions of various gods and how these companions became their vahanas.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
Vahanas are the mounts or the vehicles of the Hindu gods. Devdutt Pattanaik makes them the subject of this colouring book for children embellished with his illustrations. The story is told simply since the main focus is the illustrations and one might question the selection of some of the author’s deities – Rati Devi, for example, the goddess of desire, who favours the pigeon, though her field of divinity is kept out of the book, Kali and the lion as a companion of Shiva Bhairava, whereas the more accepted lion goddess is Durga. Vishwakarma the god of work, Vulcan’s counterpart, does not find a place. Varuna is given a shark as his mount, though Timi may, to many in Bengal, translate as whale rather than shark. Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge, is linked to a hero though folk lore mounts her on a swan.
However, the concept of the ecological interdependence of the divine and animal worlds is skilfully portrayed and Pattanaik has attempted to give as wide a range of animal life, as possible, drawing on his knowledge of myths, while giving full credit to the Goddess of Knowledge for adroitly solving the transport problems of the gods, something that children are bound to appreciate while they colour the illustrations.
Added 27th October 2020