Devdutt to examine ideas of death, rebirth in new book
New Delhi: Author-mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik will come out with a new book in September in which he will examine the ideas of death and rebirth as laid out in the Garuda Purana and other Hindu texts.
Written in, and for, a post-pandemic world which has seen much death and sorrow, "Garuda Purana and other Hindu ideas on death and rebirth" will be released by Westland Books in the second week of September, just before the Pitrupaksha, Shraddh or Tarpan.
This 16-day period, observed by practising Hindus, is marked by rituals performed in memory of 'pitr' or ancestors.
The book introduces readers to early representations of death and interpretations of these according to the Hindu belief system.
Pattanaik explains the different, and often contradictory, beliefs as well as the symbolism, rituals and reasons behind various aspects of Hindu worship.
He also explains the significance of the god and goddess of death, the mythical land of ancestors, the many funeral rituals and the explanations behind them, the storied idea of outwitting death, concepts of 'paap' and 'punya' in relation to death, and finally, liberation or moksha.
Commenting on his book, Pattanaik said, "Many people are disturbed by what they hear in the Garuda Purana during funeral ceremonies. I wanted to help readers overcome their fear with knowledge and clarity, while also drawing attention to the 3,000-year-old practice of feeding the dead, which is still observed by Hindus."
He added that he thinks this is a book to "regenerate a society and also a publishing house storm-tossed by Covid and the events of the past two years".
According to Vidhi Bhargava, editor at Westland Books, "The past two years have been dark and depressing for the entire world, and so many people are still struggling to come to terms with the loss of their loved ones.
"Devdutt Pattanaik's interpretation of the Garuda Purana, of the meaning of various Hindu rituals associated with death, and his exploration of the philosophy of rebirth will hopefully help many comprehend the cycle of life, death and liberation," added Bhargava.