I was longing to read about Ravana frm a very long time n dis book quenched me thirst. Beautifully explained. It has 3-4 stories but I was mesmerized by reading about Ravana n mandodri. 4 stars just fr dis half of d book
Prem Purana by Usha Narayanan is a collection of 3 short stories. The first story revolves around a much loved God – Ganesha (and his brides), the second one is the story of the widely feared demon king – Ravana (and Mandodari), and the third tale is of a well known mortal king – Nala (and Damayanti).
All 3 of these stories made for interesting reads, as they were informative while being entertaining. Now of-course, since I read a lot in the genre, I was already aware of many of these stories, so there was some amount of repetition (for me), but for someone relatively new to the genre, this will be an absolute treasure.
Having said that, there were many things I found out after reading this book. For one, I had no idea that Ganesha had 3 wives and not 2. For some reason I always assumed that Riddhi, Siddhi were Ganesha’s 2 wives, and was completely clueless about Buddhi.
Though let me tell you, this small surprise was completely inconsequential compared to the shocker that waited for me in Ravana & Mandodari’s story. I used to think that I knew Ramayana and Mahabharata backwards & forwards, but there was one big reveal in Story #2, which totally blew my mind!
All in All, this was a wonderful read, which stayed true to its promise, and delivered not one, but three wonderful, yet dramatically different love stories. Highly recommend to everyone who loves this genre (or not). Read this book.
first of all, I would like to thank the author for providing me with her beautiful work ( as an Amazon gift card ) and for giving me an opportunity to give an honest opinion on the book. mythology is a critical subject and more critical is it's retelling as if you do not know the tale properly and cannot narrate it in a gripping way then the reader would not find it interesting. I feel it is just a cup of tea for Usha Narayanan for retelling mythology. the author has penned down the book with such seer perfection that I would not hesitate from calling the book as a "masterpiece". love is not about only sensual pleasure and lust, it is rather about true faith during adversities and sacrifice. the book is a collection of the love stories of Ganesha and hiswives, Ravana and mandodari, and Nala and Damayanti. Pages after pages, I lost myself in the story of Ganesha, Ravana, and Nala. Ganesha's story starts with him meeting Riddhi and then Siddhi and Buddhi are introduced. The characterization of the three is very interesting, as a brain, beauty and brawn just as Durga, Saraswati and Lakshmi. The way the author has penned down the stories and scenes that you feel them a lot of vivid and lively. the tale of the love story of Ganesha- which is very less known to all- is truly mesmerising and informative if you do not know the tale at all. Ravana and Mandodari’s story gave me a totally different perspective. the love story of mandodari is just I would say is never ever thought or written in an English fiction. chapters like beauteous sita, a mother's grief and will love triumph? will send chills down your spine. the pain and grief of mandodari along with her true love can be truly felt in the narration of ms. narayanan. Nal and Damyanti's story was about the pain in love. The pathos. the third part's name "Damayanti's riddle" truly is appropriate for the whole tale. the love, losing of Nala and the regain of her love is very vividly explained. an intriguing tour-de-force and a perfect coup of myth and romance. Each story deals with a particular rasa of love and each one has some message to impart. For those who think that there is no romance in mythology, the book would break their wrong notion. I would recommend the book to all romance and mythological lovers. I would truly wait for the next book of the author ( whose release month I know.....ha.....ha.....ha) and would even read her earlier works even. imaginative. intrigue. intense.
Prem Purana is mythology and love, spiced with romance and royalty. A lot of love and lot of valour. The gods in heaven sure know how to woo their love and Usha has ensured that we understand it was not easy even for them either. “Stories of love and extraordinary devotion” is the description of the book and it is absolutely true.
I am not overly fond of reading mythology but when Usha came out with the book of gods in love I had to pick it. After reading Pradyumna, I knew this would be a treat and I was not disappointed at all. The book, Prem Purana has three love stories. The first one was of Lord Ganesh and his three wives, Riddhi, Siddhi, and Buddhi. I had always heard about them and was fascinated to know how and why the benevolent god had not one but three wives. The justification and details are so deftly explained that I forgot to be upset that he had three wives J each beautiful, talented, identical yet so different. The way he wooed these amazing women was a pleasure to read. Ganesha sure is a multitalented god; no wonder in these uncertain times he is worshipped foremost.
It is a fast-paced book, filled with interesting anecdotes and twists in the path of love. Gods become human and even animals to win their love in face of adversities. Each story by itself is a treat but more so with the way the stories unfold. For someone like me who has very rudimentary knowledge of mythology, it was a delight. I was astounded by the various forms Ganesha took, the manifold powers Ravana had and the treacherous challenges Nala faced.
The bond of love that transcends lives and times between Ravana and Mandodari. The love they shared faced unimaginable challenges yet finally love only won. A different and genteel side of Ravana, his love and his quest for victory and the change into the demon god we fear are highlighted in this story. How Mandodari tries her level best, yet her love is just not enough. How she cannot win from the fates or change the prophecies kept me turning the pages. Even the wise gods could not fathom the ways of love, so mysterious and challenging they are.
Nala and Damayanti were the ones whose story was filled with challenges akin to what humans may face. Of course, the magical, mythical twists were there. In spite of his love and wisdom, he fell prey to the treachery around him. Even though Damayanti faced a lot following the path of true love I felt Nala had the most difficult journey in love. I was rooting for him; he just melted my heart as well as Damayanti’s.
Ah! Love – it does make the world go round, even heavens, as Usha will have us believe. I hope you have a Prem Purana 2 for us, Usha since I just loved reading this one. A fresh, light read for lovers of love and lovers of Mythology.
Romance is one of my favourite genres and so is mythology. Therefore, a mythological romance made me really excited about reading this book. And it has been a really good read.
The book contains three love stories. The first is about Ganesha and his three wives. It was a bit difficult to accept Ganesha trying to woo three girls at the same time. But, when you look at the deeper meaning of the words Riddhi, Siddhi and Buddhi, it all makes sense. After all, isn’t Ganesha the lord of these three achievements – intelligence, learning, wisdom. I enjoyed reading this story which was light and had a playful take on loving and wooing the ladies.
The second love story is about Ravana and Mandodari. It is highly unusual for those brought up on the Ramayana to imagine Ravana as a lover. The third love story is of Nala and Damyanti. It is a famous one in the south, though I knew it in bits and pieces. But the book brings out the essence of true love which transcends physical attributes.
In an age when mythology is written, rewritten according to the perception of a writer's viewpoint, it's a miracle that we still remember Krishna or Rama as they were perceived during the times of Mahabharata and Ramayana. It's becoming equally difficult to distinguish between the original and the perceptions. Mythology is no more true to its form and changing rapidly according to the need of the hour. And it's not wrong to do so. Clinging to age-old values is not possible if one has to inculcate values amongst the younger generation. I think Amish Tripathi in his perception of Shiva has done a great job in bringing out the love of mythology amongst the younger generation. And with that, the floodgates have opened and many writers are now leaving their mark in this genre.
One of the leading personalities in this field is Usha Narayanan. With her Secret of the God's Son and Pradyuman she had captured the hearts of many mythological lovers weaving the story of Lord Kama's rebirth with all its fascinating details. Prem Purana, the latest publication of Ms. Narayanan is a collection of three short stories that kept me engrossed for a long time. I took time to read this book. Pages after pages, I lost myself in the story of Ganesha, Ravana, and Nal.
Ganesha's story starts with him meeting Riddhi and then Siddhi and Buddhi are introduced. Frankly speaking, I had no clue about the three wives of Ganesha and always thought he had two wives. The characterization of the three is very interesting, from being the beauty to a brain to a brawn. Somehow I found that the doctrine of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati is retold through these three sisters. Or maybe that is what needs to be told to the younger generation, every time, in every form. Ganesha needed all these qualities to fulfill the reason behind his future reincarnations. Beautiful thought. The way he went about wooing each of the sisters and how it ended with each of the sisters finding their true love is the crux of this beautiful saga. While Polygamy is no longer in vogue, we somehow have to raise our consciousness to understand that these stories are not about three women but three qualities in a woman. My research told me that it is us, humans, who have bifurcated the three qualities into three women but in reality, it was one for they all were one soul. And this is true in all the stories of our Gods and Goddesses. Again, this is my theory.
Ravana's love story sent a few chills down my spine. I had a mixed feeling about this one. Ravana, you just can't like in this story, yet he has a love story. Should I feel sorry for Mandodari or applaud her strength in finding something good in a man who is hated till today? There was not one redeeming quality in this man according to Ms. Narayanan's interpretation. Yet many historians and mythological writers believe that Ravana was a demon who dared to challenge the Gods but according to Ms. Narayanan's penning, Ravana was a brute who had no redeeming quality. Except for the last line where he recognized the great soul Rama was.
While Ganesha's story was the innocence of love Ravana's was the fiery passion where a dark soul could love yet destroy the very person he claimed to have loved. As against these two stories Nal and Damyanti's story was about the pain in love. The pathos. How after getting the love of one's dear desire, one is not able to stay with their loved ones due to the wrong decisions that are taken on a spur of the moment.
Each story deals with a particular rasa of love and each one has some message to impart. One of the strengths of a mythological tale is to leave some message for the present generation and I think Ms. Narayanan had achieved them beautifully.
Totally recommended for those who love mythology and would love to know where our Indian philosophies of life and love stem from.
Prem Purna is a collection of three mythological love stories. The concept or the premise of the book itself piqued my curiosity. To read the romantic stories of the divine beings that we worship and adore and are always kept on a pedestal was a premise that really sparked interest. Personally I have grown up reading and listening to a lot of mythological stories but always these stories are narrated with an attitude of prayer and respect but the romantic angle is never as such explored. As the blurb says it is the narration of three tales of Ganesha and hiswives, Ravana and Mandodari and Nala Damayanti. Ganesha’s love story with Riddhi Siddhi and Buddhi: This was one story I had never heard of. Reading this story was very magical and insightful too. The way the author has woven so many concepts from the puranas is amazing. It not only talks about the romance but it gives a very holistic pictre of why and what of their relationship. There were so many small small parables within the story that were seamlessly narrated that they automatically answered the many questions that arose in my mind. The description of the places, the war and the meeting of the characters all very vivid. Ravana and Mandodari’s story gave me a totally different perspective. Ravana is the eternally negative character but the way the author has narrated the story it never gave scope for me to become judgemental. It very well highlighted as to why Mandodari persisted to love Ravana despite his aggressive behaviour. Nala and Damayanti’s love story is very beautifully narrated. The love, loss and the regain of love was very tastefully described. I look forward to read the earlier works by this author and would also eagerly wait for the nextwork. I highly recommend this read to all those who love mythology and romance as this is one tastefully written mythological romance.