Ganga: The Constant Goddess by Anuja Chandramouli (Book Review)

Ganga: The Constant Goddess by [Chandramouli, Anuja]

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  • Genre: Mythology, Fantasy
  • Source: Review Copy
  • Format: paperback
  • Pages: 271
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications
  • Publication Date:  November 10th 2018
  • My Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads Blurb

Believed to be the liquid manifestation of Shakti and the nurturer of the three worlds with her life-sustaining waters, Goddess Ganga is the epitome of beauty and purity, famous for her indomitable spirit and boundless charm. Renowned as a devoted daughter, a caring mother, a passionate lover, and a merciful saviour, she is here to absorb and absolve us of our sins. A constant goddess, she is part of the Indian ethos, revered, and loved across the ages.

The exquisite epic that is Ganga’s story, from her miraculous origins, her sojourn in the heavens, her poignant relationships with the divine trinity, the birth of her sons—Bhishma and Kartikeya, and her descent into a wicked world that is not worthy of her, is dazzlingly told by Anuja Chandramouli. Without this Goddess, life as we know it will be over, for her righteous retribution will be terrifying.

This book is a vibrant retelling of the story of Ganga, who has the power to save us all and bestow the precious gift of moksha, embracing saints and sinners alike with her all-encompassing compassion.

My Thoughts

The first thing I noticed was the beautiful, lyrical writing style of the author. The way pralay was described in the prelude was amazing.

Ganga’s portrayal was multi-faceted. She was a rebel. She didn’t like it when people deified her and her sister. She had very realistic options. I loved reading about her friendship with Saraswati. Her love for her sister Parvati was shown in a typical sibling way. The author has portrayed her as a feminist.

I saw a lot of parallels in Ganga’s story and our world today. Whenever Ganga expressed her opinions, questioned things done by the Gods or criticized the way women are viewed, she was shut down by her family.

I feel that it is not often easy for a writer to make the reader connect to mythological characters in a retelling as we already know their stories. However, authors like Anuja Chandramouli do a great job of both story-telling and compelling writing. I loved the amalgamation of the mortal and immortal worlds in this book.

Through this book, the author also touches on how people worship beauty and goddesses in our cultures for their own sense of satisfaction. The themes of love and desire are included as well. The plot consists of many characters and incidents from the Mahabharata along with Ganga’s story.

I felt both satisfied and exhausted after finishing this book. However, I highly enjoyed reading it and definitely recommend it.

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