Kathasaritsar!

1. I began reading the new book in Hindi. It was written about 900 years ago! Author is unknown but it seems to be either Somdev or some contemporary. Who Somdev is…is a matter of investigation at present.

2. Stories are intriguing. They’ve magic, reincarnation and many classes of beings including gods, demigods, goblins, ghosts and humans.

3. Stories have references to Shiva, his consort Parvati and their son Kartikeya along with references to Kubera: the lord of wealth in Hindu mythology and others.

4. The very first story goes like this:

Parvati is fond of listening stories from Shiva. Once, upon his demand Shiva tells her a story about reincarnations. She gets bored and asks to tell her a fresh one. Then Shiva considering them valuable, asks his mount Nandi to guard the door.

As he begins to recite; one of his attendants named Pushpadanta reaches there. Nandi halts his advances. Then Pushpa using yogic powers enters surreptitiously into the citation hall.

Later he tells these stories to two ladies. These two ladies, unable to keep these gems of stories as secret tell about them to Parvati when they visit her.

This makes her furious. She first interrogates her husband about why he told her tales which were already known to many. Using his Samadhi Shiva comes to know about Pushpadanta : he is summoned. Parvati curses Pushpadanta and the two ladies to be born as goblins.

They beseech for her pardon. She melts but unable to completely undo her curse tells them about alleviation.

The next story is based on their births.

5. As might be clear to you by now: emphasis on importance of stories, morality and storytelling is apparent right from the beginning of this book.

It can be compared to Arabian Nights in this regard. The preface tells us that storytelling first evolved in India and then was taken to Persia and the rest of the world. The Sanskrit literature is rich with such stories. This book has been translated from Sanskrit to Hindi. I would try to share some stories here.

#book-recommendation, #books, #kathasaritsar, #stories