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Hindu mythology holds many important events and stories which have been handed down generation after generation as a part of society’s ways and norms. The Mahabharata is one such epic that speaks of the King Yuvanashva and his unique story.
The popular and just ruler of Vallabhi, King Yuvanashva, is an obedient son and an equally devoted husband to his wives. But even the happiest of homes have secret tragedies hidden in their midst. Shilavati, the king’s mother, refuses to give him permission to join the famous battle of Kurukshetra, because the king is unable to sire a worthy heir for his throne despite years of devotion and rituals. Finally, out of sheer desperation he turns to Yaja and Upajaya, two powerful sages, who create a magical potion that when taken by his queens will impregnate them.
But what happens next is unexpected, King Yuvanashva accidentally ends up drinking the potion. Here arises a series of complications; a pregnant king? What happens to his son, Mandhata, who is unaware of the circumstances of his birth?
And perhaps the greatest irony of the tale is that the virile King faces his life’s greatest dilemma, when the great upholder of virtue (Dharma) and the epitome of manhood longs to hear his son call him ‘Mother’ just once, before he breathes his last. A rich and complex weave of tales intersecting both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and its characters, The Pregnant King takes its readers through a journey of realism and contemporary ideologies that seem to haunt mankind not just today, but also in a world built 2,000 years ago.
The novel does not end here though. We are introduced to Shilavati, who cannot rule as a king because she is a woman, Pruthalashva, who must sire a child because he is a man, a Yaksha named Sthunakarna, who surrenders his manhood so that Shikhandi (a woman) can become a man and a husband, and later reclaims it, and of the great warrior Arjuna with his many wives, who is forced to disguise himself as a woman when a nymph castrates him. And in this journey, we witness King Yuvanashva’s struggle to be just to all, his conflict with himself, and his duty to bring about Dharma in his kingdom.
About the Author
Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik, born on December 11, 1970, in Mumbai is an Indian physician, a leadership consultant, and author who focuses on Indian Mythology.
His other works are also mythology based and include Myth = Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology, and Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata, written in 2010.
Having completed his M.B.B.S degree from Mumbai’s Grant Medical College, Dr. Pattaniak, went on to take a course in Comparative Mythology from the University of Mumbai. Currently serving as the Chief Belief Officer at one of India’s largest retail conglomerates, the Future Group, Dr. Pattanaik strives to bring awareness about Indian mythology into the world of business management, specifically, Human Resource management, and is also a columnist for the tabloid, Mid-Day.
Definately a MUST READ
25 Nov, 2011
One of the best fiction novel!
10 Feb, 2015
20 Sep, 2014
22 Aug, 2014
8 Apr, 2014
Good one and Capturing till end
30 Jan, 2014
good book but too lengthy
14 Jan, 2014
reallly very nice book intersting
26 Dec, 2013
If you are a mythology fan... You cannot ignore this one
5 Dec, 2013
The Pregnant King - a must read
29 Nov, 2013