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Publisher's Summary

High above the sky stands Swarga, paradise, abode of the gods. Still above is Vaikuntha, heaven, abode of God.

The doorkeepers of Vaikuntha are the twins, Jaya and Vijaya, both whose names mean "victory". One keeps you in Swarga; the other raises you into Vaikuntha. In Vaikuntha there is bliss forever, in Swarga there is pleasure for only as long as you deserve.

What is the difference between Jaya and Vijaya? Solve this puzzle and you will solve the mystery of the Mahabharata. In this enthralling retelling of India’s greatest epic - the Mahabharata, originally known as Jaya - Devdutt Pattanaik seamlessly weaves into a single narrative plots from the Sanskrit classic as well as its many folk and regional variants, including the Pandavani of Chattisgarh, Gondhal of Maharashtra, Terukkuttu of Tamil Nadu, and Yakshagana of Karnataka.

The 108 chapters abound with little-known details, such as the names of the hundred Kauravas; the worship of Draupadi as a goddess in Tamil Nadu; the stories of Astika, Madhavi, Jaimini, Aravan, and Barbareek; the Mahabharata version of the Shakuntalam and the Ramayana; and the dating of the war based on astronomical data. With clarity and simplicity, the tales in this audiobook reveal the eternal relevance of the Mahabharata, the complex and disturbing meditation on the human condition that has shaped Indian thought for over 3,000 years.

Please Note: The audio references accompanying material that is not included with this audiobook.

©2010 Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik (P)2011 Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik / booksTALK audiobooks

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  • Gene
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 05-08-12

A Must Read For Everyone

If you're read the Epic of Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, Journey to the West, then you'll have to read this too. It's a great story with great lessons, very enlightening indeed. Great performance and very clear explanations. This is a must have in your collection of epics.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Shanti, SHanti, Shanti

Would you consider the audio edition of Jaya to be better than the print version?

The narration is not just by a single person, it has a drama company involved adding some sound effects and adding a story telling effect like the one you hear from your parents or grandparents as a kid. <br/><br/>There is a fine line between being dramatic and being annoying, and they have balanced it well.

What did you like best about this story?

As the cover suggest its the same old story, but its the meaning behind the story that is explained really well by Devdutt. The Bhagavad Gita and MahaBharat is a story with hidden messages and lessons for life, and sometimes it makes more sense for someone to tell you clearly with the help of story as it moves along.<br/><br/>He has followed the similar approach what Saints and Maharshi's across India use in their pravachan, read the story and explain the meaning. <br/><br/>

Which scene was your favorite?

The Questions to Yudhister<br/>The explaination of the Bhagavad <br/>and the End on about the final fate of Pandav's

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful.

I'm in the midst of an intensive Bhagavad Gita study, and although I've read Mahabharata before, I thought it would be nice to listen to this in the car (it was!). A good friend recommended it and I absolutely loved it. The end was especially beautiful, made me cry. The whole world should hear this message.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Mahabharata nicely retold

Would you consider the audio edition of Jaya to be better than the print version?

Wish I had both, sadly not yet.

What did you like best about this story?

The mix of story narration and summary analysis was excellent. Excellent directing of the varied voices telling the stories. <br/>

Which scene was your favorite?

Most of them. Best summary of the Bhagavad Gita I have experienced. (I have read a few translations as well.)

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The deeper story.

Any additional comments?

I liked especially the references to different tellings and translations of the stories and their meanings from varying points of view and Indian cultures. The story maintained its entertaining and deeper spiritual aspects. The readings were excellent and the whole program was very compelling. Thank you. I hope to see more by the author and the team. Would love to hear their version of the Ramayana. Devdutt Pattanaik also gives an excellent telling of Shiva. Also would like to hear him give a more detailed telling/analysis of the Bhagavad Gita. I will continue to look for this author as well as Dramanon Theater.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Enjoyably In Depth

What did you love best about Jaya?

I purchased the audible version of this book because it was inexpensive. I have been thoroughly entertained and enlightened by this version of the Mahabharata. Is is the full Mahabharata? No, but Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik has selected certain stories from the whole that highlight the family relationships and the historical decisions that led to the war. The book reading was a bit fast for my western ears so I turned it to 1/2 speed and it was very enjoyable.<br/>I was also impressed by the many references to individual folk stories and plays from the different regions where the Mahabharata has traveled.<br/><br/>If you are new to the Mahabharata, I would recommend this version to get started to learn the overall main theme of the epic.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Mahabharata aptly reinvented for 21st century

Would you listen to Jaya again? Why?

This is worth listening many times on par with Vanraj Bhatia's rendition of bhagavat gita

What did you like best about this story?

The compendium of trivia collected from all parts of India and Indonesia about various subplots, their ethics and perspective are very entertaining as well as instructive. Coming from the same province as the author, Orissa, where many people are named after both the villains and heroes of yore; I can also readily relate readily to many caves and stones named after the pandavas, their benefactors or tormentors.

Which character – as performed by Devdutt Pattanaik and Dramanon Theater – was your favorite?

Draupadi, there is also a good version of her perspective in the current context developed by Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Ekalavya chopping off his finger: it reminds us that crony capitalism and nepotism are not new and meritocracy does not always triumph.

Any additional comments?

I was chagrined by the put on accents of some of the actors (showing off their English medium educational background and upbringing mostly limited to the major Indian cities) who were narrating the tale; get over it, speak naturally as any global indian speaks english today. For example, most of the Rushdie books are read by professional actors that reproduce Indian characters with appropriate diction, Peter Brook's play is also a good example of a globalized rendition of mahabharata minus any pseudo-accents !

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Good book with excellent commentary.

Good introduction into the important book of such a large part of the world's population

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Wonderful

Wow! Very well told & insightful interpretation to a very complex story.
I will definitely listen again!

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Awesome Narration!

Loved the way every word is enacted ....it makes the narration extremely interesting to listen.

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loved it

loved the story and hard work put by the author. the narration was good too except for some moments when words were pronounced with force, which seemed unnecessary.

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  • Fintain
  • 05-11-14

Simple yet informative retelling

This book does assume you have some knowledge of the basic outline of the Mahabharata. If you do then this is a brilliant retelling of the story which include some lesser known folk tales. At the end of each chapter the author himself explains the relevance of what happened in regards to Hindu thought and philosophy.

If you don't have a familiarity with the story I would probably still recommend it, then once finished you can listen to it again and pick up on the commentary that you might have missed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew P. Thacker
  • 07-01-17

Great

This is a really nice retelling of the Mahabharata. The basic story is there, told beautifully. Additionally a different narrator offers information about alternative versions, historical and cultural context and philosophical significance.

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  • Dini Pantheacraft
  • 12-26-16

wonderful!

what an epic and wholly successful effort to bring in depth understanding of the story.

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  • Harish
  • 10-03-14

A fantastic retelling

Being an Indian, I have been cultured with this epic, Mahabharatha. From school curriculum to parental advices, the tit-bits of Mahabharath have been embedded in our lives. The story has a variety of versions and it depends on the part of India where it is interpreted. What I love about this book is that at the end of each chapter the author has narrated regional variations, which make it much more interesting to listen.

A lot of good effort has been invested in coming up with the audio book. Three different narrators make it soothing for the ears and allows to listen continuously for a long period of time.