“Gita: The Battle of the Worlds” is written by Sonal Sachdev Patel and Jemma Wayne-Kattan, illustrated by Soumitra Ranade and published by HarperCollins Children’s Books. This book aims to introduce young readers to the Bhagawad Gita, a part of the 6th parva (book) of the Mahabharata.
The plot of the book goes like this:
11 year old Dev’s father has recently passed away. Unable to cope with the grief and loss of losing a loved one at a tender age, Dev takes the path of lashing out at the people he loves: his mom and younger brother. But that’s about to change, thanks to the entry of a sprite-like being, Sanjay (who is fashioned after the namesake who was Dhritarashtra’s charioteer in the Mahabharata).
Sanjay tells Dev about ‘the battle inside him’ within a Bodily Kingdom, a battle caused by the wicked Prince Ego. Sanjay wishes to help Dev, and hence proposes to enter Dev’s body and ask Arjun, the great warrior who is also within Dev, to fight and win this battle for Dev. Reluctant and unbelieving, yet, Dev gives his assent to Sanjay’s idea. The magical being disappears into Dev’s spine, and travels along the “The Great Spinal Trail”, on a quest to find Arjun among the destruction wreaked by Prince Ego.
What happens next? Will Sanjat be successful in his quest? Will Arjun save the day and Dev?
You’ll have to read the book to find out.
I must admit, this book has been an introduction to the Bhagawad Gita for me too. I started reading “My Gita” by Devdutt Pattanaik for a further understanding of this Hindu scripture and to assist me in writing a well-informed review of “Gita: The Battle of the Worlds”.
What I liked about this book is the easy-to-follow narration and the beautiful illustrations which enhance the reading experience. I also liked the concept of “the battle within” and the the metaphorical path that Sanjay had to follow in order to find Arjun: from the base of the spine right up to the top.
I’d like to share a favourite passage from this book:
… Arjun felt the presence of love like he’d never known. How can we imagine it? First, imagine your mother touching your forehead when you’re ill, her cool hand soothing, calming, reassuring, smelling comfortingly of her. Then think of your father holding your arm through the jostling of a busy market, firm and enveloping, never losing you. Think of their voices as they hum well-sung melodies, or the way their eyes gaze upon you when you learn something new, lighting up with your victories, supporting you through your failures. There they stand, to protect you and cheer you and guide you. Krishna was that.
I give this book a 4/5 star rating and recommend it to kids in the age group 9-12 years old. I would also suggest that the parent could read this book along with the kid, specially if the kid is uninitiated to the Bhagawad Gita or the Mahabharata. This book is a good way to build a base upon which the further Hindu epic of Mahabharatha and its part, the Gita can be introduced, explained and discussed.