The Vedas and Upanishads for Children
Author: Roopa Pai
Publisher: Hachette India
(Pp 412, ISBN 978-93-5195-296-1, Rs. 399)
If author Roopa Pai’s attempt at decoding the Bhagavad Gita for children seemed a feat, then her second ‘The Vedas and Upanishads for Children’ is no less than a herculean task. The title maybe ambiguous for many, however Chapter 1 comes as a breath of relief: you may be a novice, someone who’s heard about Vedas and Upanishads or someone who’s never heard even the ‘V’ of Vedas. The book is an eye-opener, no matter which category you fall into. The author begins with a basic introduction about Vedas and Upanishads and delves deeper into the subject.
Author Roopa Pai does a good job with choosing from the vast contents keeping the limited scope of the book in mind. Sometimes it’s merely touching on a concept. Some chapters come with a backstory setting stage for the explanation.
Some others have an after story to explain its relevance in real-time situations.
From translating verses to explaining them, Roopa Pai takes extra care in using simple terms without compromising on the essence of the same. Sample these basic yet mind-boggling questions: What is ‘Self’?, ‘What is flexible and inflexible’ or simply, ‘The Power of chanting ‘AUM’. For instance, the three conclusions drawn from the Upanishads are explained thus: God is not Santa Claus or The world is only as real as Netflix (Maya/illusionary) or that your body is a costume. Also, how could we relate the concept to our daily activities? A convoluted concept like ‘Nishkama Karma’ is all about doing an action without worrying about the outcome. Perfectly applicable to any day-to-day activity!
The subject is multilayered yet Roopa Pai adds light-hearted moments to the narration. There are stories, lessons to take back home and scope for self-introspection. A heavy read yet something that would make us rethink our lives.
– Janani Rajeswari S