Some books are meant to be read over and over again. They do good to be used as reference. This book has been like that for me. I took a long time to finish it. Not that I couldn’t have done it earlier. But I decided to take it slow, savoring each and every word, relating them to life that I have led and of those around me. And I still am not done. I would want to go through it again, establishing the interpretation that had come out the first time. Trying to get some more answers and permit more questions to come out of each page.
The fact that I am so intrigued by Mahabharata did help in retaining the interest throughout. The book did get heavy at times, but never overwhelming enough to make you put it down. It does make you realize the very purpose of the author of Mahabharata (if it indeed is a fiction) was to make the reader analyze and understand life and the ‘right’ way of living it. Interestingly, neither Mahabharata nor Gurcharan Das gets preachy through their words. They just state facts and the analysis is more or less left to the reader. Gurcharan Das does make an attempt to provoke some deep thinking though. But again, that is his analysis and he doesn’t ‘impose’ it on the reader.
(It is interesting that we just follow the epics as if they are religious books. They are not. Instead, they should be used as the reference books – that make us learn from the mistakes which the characters make, get inspired by their brave and just actions, encourage us to get closer to the ideals which we worship ourselves.)