Become a Myth Master

Become a Myth Master

So go ahead, take this quick quiz about a legendary bird that is said to have ruled the skies with his divine powers:

1. Who is Jatayu’s brother?
2. How is Garuda, Vishnu’s chosen mount, related to Jatayu?
3. Where did Jatayu live, according to lore?

Is that a sheepish smile we spy?! Did you just realise that you didn’t pay enough attention to Gran’s stories, preferring Ben 10’s battles on telly, instead? Don’t  worry.

Hachette India’s ‘MythQuest’ series brings you many fascinating stories from ancient Indian mythology. And, guess what? Some of these characters in our myths are bigger and better than any modern superheroes, including brilliant Ben! Like Jatayu, the magnificent king of birds, whose story Anu Kumar, the writer, weaves with magical ease.

I’m sure you remember Jatayu as an old, old bird whose wings and talons were chopped off by an angry Ravana as he tore across the skies, with a captive Sita. But MythQuest’s ‘Saviour of the Skies’, begins with Jatayu as a young, adventurous, swift, splendid and strong bird, always ready for a race!

It was Jatayu’s daredevilry that made his brother Sampati pay a steep price as the two mighty birds swooped and veered into the path of the scorching Sun God, Surya, on a cloudless morning. The slim book’s very first chapter is guaranteed to get you to enjoy the drama and the spectacle of that eventful race.

Again, a great many of us know that Jatayu did his best to save Sita from Ravana’s clutches, but few of us know of the abiding friendship between Dasharatha, Rama’s father, and Jatayu.

The majestic bird, we’re told, saved the king from getting lost in a dense forest. He also saved Dasharatha from being burnt by Shani’s deadly glance as he rode into the skies in his chariot.

And when the king’s chariot was reduced to cinders, it was on Jatayu’s magnificent back that Dasharatha rode back safely to Ayodhya. It is in deference to this special bond between his father and the king of birds that Rama performs Jatayu’s last rites as a son would. While you master the myth, don’t forget to feast on the line drawings that accompany the story. They are simple yet stunning!

Jatayu: Saviour from the Skies
Pages: 50
Author: Anu Kumar
Publisher: Hachette India
Introductory Price: Rs 75

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