Here you will find gods who make the three worlds tremble and lightning swing wildly across the firmament, shape-shifting asuras living in enchanted forests, wandering rishis with formidable magical powers, bewitching apsaras gliding through heavenly palaces and heroes so tall they touch the skies.
Myths and folktales have nourished the cultural and spiritual heritage of India since the dawn of creation. They not only accentuate the splendour of the country’s diverse cultures—Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Islamic, Christian, Sikh, Parsi and tribal—but, collectively, they also blend to shape our nation’s psyche. Many of them are familiar to us from our own childhoods. Those that are new serve to remind us of the extraordinary complexity of India’s storytelling tradition. Sometimes these tales are archetypal and sometimes they defy categorization. Sometimes they affirm our core values and, at other times, they make us question the motives that drive us. But what is always true about them, no matter how fantastical or creative the forms they take, is the rare insight they give us into the lives we live. They teach us about kinship, desire, greed, conflict, friendship, treachery, compassion, arrogance, persecution, empowerment, secrecy, romance, suffering, courage, challenges, wisdom, sexuality and spirituality—and innumerable other things we might expect to experience in the course of our journey through life.
Through her masterful retelling, Meena Arora Nayak brings to vivid life familiar and beloved stories from the Vedas, Puranas, the great epics, Kathasaritsagara and the Panchatantra, as well as lesser-known offerings from the Jatakas, Bible, Holy Quran, Sikh Janamsakhis and the folk traditions of the Santhals, Khasis, Oriyas, Bengalis and Punjabis, among others. Perhaps the most comprehensive collection of Indian myths and folktales to have been published in our time, the tales in The Blue Lotus will leave readers of all ages spellbound.