Once Upon a Time Thousands of Years Ago: Treasures of Dharma Series

Once Upon a Time Thousands of Years Ago: Treasures of Dharma Series

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Book Specification

Item Code: AZH620
Author: Yamuna Harshavardhana
Language: English
Edition: 2021
ISBN: 9781638507192
Pages: 189 (With B/W Illustrations)
Other Details 8.00x5.00 inch
Weight 180 gm

Book Description

About The Author

Yamuna is a Chennaiite whose childhood was without television and whose entertainment meant plenty of play, books and lots of stories. From a young age, she was innately attracted to the hoary Bharatiya itihāsas and purāņas. She cultivated fearlessness by reading. the works of Swami Vivekananda during her teen years.

She graduated in Chemical Engineering and worked as one for a while but realised that her strength lay in teaching and eventually moved to the field of education. Alongside, she used her flair for words to retell stories from our itihasas and purānas, on temples and saints, on education and on Indian nationalism.

Yamuna's intention is to bring the treasures of dharma in the language of the present urban elite that is getting enculturated as a consequence of its exclusive consumption of Western literature. Being a schoolteacher has helped her to understand the language of the young while keeping it interesting for the older reader too. Yamuna's future books in this series will also be based on Bharatiya itihasas and purāņas.

I am honored and delighted to write a foreword for Smt. Yamuna Harshavardhana's enchanting book of stories from the Mahabharata.

For many idyllic thousands of years, storytellers entertained people with stories from the Puranas and Itihasas. With the extreme restrictions imposed on the public practices of Hindus during the tumultuous Muslim period, the uprooted role of storytelling was sustained by the elders in joint-families - typically the grandparents, and the prevailing Harikatha exponents. And so continued the tradition of storytelling for the past few centuries.

Storytelling got a boost a few decades following independence, assisted by publications of children's magazines such as Chandamama, Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle, encouraging several generations of readers. The onset of TV in 1980s cut into the reading habit, further greatly reducing it during the era of innumerable satellite TV stations. Today with the widespread usage of social media and streaming services and with the concordant practice of nuclear families, the reading traditions as well as story-telling tradition is fast disappearing.


Hari Om! As with everyone who has come across these wonderful epics, I too have always been fascinated by our wonderful itihasas, the Rāmāyaṇa and the Mahabharata. Clear in narration and rich in visual detail, they capture the events as they happened; the layers of events and episodes make these immensely absorbing while bringing out the sheer complexity of creation, of life and of the human mind.

The trail of history of ancient Bharata as narrated in these stories places emphasis on the power of dharma as the guiding gauge for mankind. Through the millennia, these stories have been told and re-told in innumerable different ways, in innumerable different languages and through innumerable different media; yet they remain fresh and relevant each time to the very same person as much as it does to the new generation. One may grow old listening to them and yet fail to grow tired of them!

This set of stories from the Mahabharata were written in the early years of the twenty-first century while I was an over anxious young parent looking for ways to relate our epics to my little son. Eventually, these became a series that were published as a weekly column by MSN-India.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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