Devdutt Patnaik: The Myth Maker

Watching Television for entertainment or enlightenment is a huge risk nowadays. While news channels have turned into high decibel zones, serials have turned into venom breweries and comedy is reduced to its lowest crass with obscene debauchery to tickle your nerves, sports is all about IPL and swerving shiny bottoms so I was left with only travel and history.

The first time I watched this channel called EPIC TV I was quite impressed and I started watching more of it! With program topics ranging from travel, history, ancient lifestyles, kings and famous personalities, wars, pre-independence era, religion, spirituality, politics, sports together with cuisines and their origin, films, art and culture and all our gory filled as well as glorious pasts told from an Indian perspective, it has become the talk of the town!.

I was instantly fascinated with this channel and particularly the sketching stories with crisp narrations in the ‘culture machine’, the “Stories of Rabindranath Tagore”, although they are mostly stories of debauchery and extra marital affairs of the rigid Bengalis in the pre-independence era, the stories, the depiction and narrative somewhat touches you especially when their crew cast with artistically relatable big eyed white-saried seductive actresses showcase and portray a women’s perspective along with the spectacled men with coats and dhotis taking you into an Eastman era.

The main attraction seemingly is the narratives and interpretations of Devdutt Patnaik, a self-declared mythologist, although I admire his explanations and interpretations that keeps the uninitiated curious the fact that he calls the Vedic history as a myth is something I cannot agree with.

Interestingly the channel also hosts programs anchored by people like ‘Nasir-Uddin Shah’ and ‘Mahesh Bhatt’, whose anti-national left leaning credentials and outright support for terrorists is no secret. So I mused as to what, an impressive speaker like Mr.Patnaik was doing amidst this crew and this only intrigued me further into reading more about him and his other works on his website and Facebook page and twitter as well.

I enthusiastically began following him on Twitter and was surprised to see that his Dharmic tweets are mostly politically angled to suit today’s Indian political scenario and of course with an unseen subtle judgemental pitch oscillating between Modi and his strategies.

He also says when he interviewed Wendy Doniger that “Anyone who is serious about studying Hinduism needs to study the works of Wendy Doniger (b.1940), who for over 40 years has been researching, translating, and commenting on Hindu scriptures and stories. Had it not been for her, I would not have had access to so many tales hidden in our scriptures”.

Most of the people he follows on twitter are the same enigmatic brigade who cried intolerance a while ago. I know that Retweets and one’s choice of whom they follow on social media are not categorical endorsements of any ideology as such but I would mostly follow people whom I can relate to or I am curious about!

I also read his article on the Scroll.in where he attempts a Dharmic narrative with a seeming obsession with Narendra Modi’s past and future like most twitterattis he follows!

I shall quote a particular interesting line from that article

Only the asura, says Krishna, thinks he created the wave. He assumes he controls nature. He assumes the world exists for him, or should exist for him.

A deva submits to a world where there are forces at work that are beyond his control. He gracefully accepts the fruit that comes to him.

Remember the author is giving a dharmic discourse in comparison with Modi’s political past and future, although he claims the write up is not about Modi!

Whoever the Asura here is in our political context that Mr.Devdutt Patnaik refers to who he thinks created a wave, but in writer’s lexicon this kind of writing is called subtle ideological baptism or in short “subtle agenda poison” where the writer cleverly downplays or degrades someone yet he projects as if he does not take a stand but compares and contrasts leading the audience into a compulsive conclusion!

It is not a new concept that spiritual gurus and Dharmic discourses quote political contexts for better explanations, but unlike today in earlier times spiritual gurus made their affiliations clear to their followers by endorsing certain ideologies but the threat today is the disguised propaganda and hidden agendas of our own people who use religious discourses to influence political decision making or culture bending. Art and literary work have often been seized for cultural makeovers, as they are portrayed subtly but have the potential to mesmerize the moron and the mastermind! Loud messages are often sent in the most muted forms!

It’s a smart world out there today where wars are no longer fought with violence but with agenda based propagandas, inflicting cultural terrorism by diluting beliefs and misleading masses with sweet words where the biggest tool to bond or break people always has and is religion.

False propaganda or cultural terrorism is more lethal than violent wars today as it has become the modern artillery of western nations vying to climb the power ladder.

The Puranas and Vedas can be best understood by individual interpretations if attempted with the same detachment and humility of our ancient sages but it is important that these epics, their scientific and spiritual significance be passed on in the same original form without distortions or forcing other’s interpretations as truth.

In today’s scenario where religion is a rage and Dharmic gurus and amateur historians are sprouting up from all corners of the world, you need to first enlighten yourself about the reliability and genuineness of the author/guru and ascertain his credentials of integrity before you seek the real enlightenment!

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