Dr. Dev D.

Devdutt Pattnaik writes extensively on Indian mythology, and given the scores of gods and goddesses we have, plus all the other players, demons, and so on, there is a lot to explore and interpret. His new book, featured in today's Hindu is a 177 page analysis: 7 Secrets from Hindu Calendar Art.

Describing the book on his website, Dr Pattnaik says "Hindu Calendar Art maybe gaudy and kitsch, but it is the most modern and democratic expression of a mythic imagery that once adorned temple walls and palm leaf manuscripts. They speak a language that is indifferent to rationality. It is the language of a people’s faith."

And as described in the Hindu article by Rana Siddiqui Zaman, the book- which despite its glossy colour cover, has only black and white reproductions inside- "replete with pictures and chapter-wise explanations on seven gods — Ganesha, Narayan, Ardhanari, Shiva, Devi, Vishnu and Brahma — is penned in a simple, narrative style. According to the book, for instance, the popular god Ganesha, who is worshipped by Hindus before beginning a project, has all logical bearings. His elephant head is symbolic of power. The elephant is a strong animal with no natural enemy in the forest. No animal dares to cross his path, making it a creature that is unstoppable. His fat body and belly imply availability of abundant food and possibility of less work, suggesting affluence and prosperity."

Dr Pattnaik practised medicine for several years before he discovered this avocation, namely that of dissecting myths and explaining them to others.

In our Art and Religion Sections, 177 pages, softcover. Rs 295, ISBN: 9788189975678