Book Review- Hounds Of Shiva

Author: Preetha Rajah Kannan
Publisher: Jaico Publications
No Of Pages:304
Genre: Mythological Fiction

As its mahout goaded the mammoth royal elephant to the open space where Navukkarasu was held, the beast trumpeted in fury, knocking down walls and ornamental arches in wanton aggression. The earth shook under its tread and the crowd surged back in fear.

Navukkarasu fearlessly stood his ground asserting, “The Cosmic Dancer who wears a garment of elephant hide will protect me.”

The animal charged forward – only to stop short before the saint. In an instant, all aggression leached out of the beast. As docile as a lamb, the elephant circumambulated Navukkarasu, clumsily fell to its knees and raised its trunk in homage to him. Lumbering to its feet, it then carefully backed away from its intended victim.

Hounds of Shiva is a treasure house of tales with impassioned, heroic acts of sacrifice, devotion and service in the lives and times of the Nayanmars – the sixty-three Shaivite saints who were exemplars of bhakti. Kannappa gouges out his eye to heal Shiva’s wound; Punitavati renounces her youth and beauty to follow the Lord as an emaciated ghoul; Siruthondar sacrifices his own son at Shiva’s command; Iyarpahai gifts his beloved wife to another man; Samandhar raises a boy from the dead; Poosal builds an intricate Shiva temple in his heart.

But the book’s hero is Lord Shiva, who assumes myriad disguises to sport with his devotees, blessing and testing them. Filled with astounding miracles, Hounds of Shiva is an untold tale of the Blue-throated Lord and a feast for the mind and soul.

Book Review

I would like to thank Jaico Publications for the review copy. My review here is totally honest and unbiased.

Being a Tamilian I was aware of Nayanmars and few famous nayanmars stories. Even We had Tamil movies on selective Nayanmars. But that didn’t stop me to get involved with this book. There are 37 Saiva Devotees stories out of 63 in this book.

These are the collection of re-telling of Hounds Of Shiva. Gods, they love to test their devotees. This book tells us how these 37 nayanmars became special to Shiva and how Shiva embraced them all to his eternal life.

The story line may be same for all the stories but the way author recited was unique and reassuring. Your mind will be blown by the devotion of these hounds as Shiva himself takes the path of adharma to test them. Nayanmars are the perfect example to show Shiva is indeed an Omniscient One. Because Nayanmars are the people who is a King, a Raskshas, a poor,a rich,a women, a child,everyone. Shiva bows to their devotion alone.

Author succeeded well in this book because I am speaking all about shiva and his devotees and not about author writing. So now, I am going with author work.

Author narration was simple, way more easy and captivating. The glossary will help to understand the native words. And the bulletin remarks about the temples of Tamilnadu and few specific information made the writing to be informative to know about the places and culture over here. It takes immense research and knowledge to re tell about nayanmars. Hence I loved the deliverance and writing style of author.

Overall “Hounds Of Shiva” is an exquisite book to know about the devotees of Shiva and their devotion which implies the level of dedication of hounds as well as author.

Book Links

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About The Author

(courtesy: GoodReads)

As I walked onto my terrace as a newly-arrived bride in Madurai, the first sight that met my eyes was a panoramic view of the western tower of the Meenakshi Temple, with its tiers of exquisite sculpture. My husband and I habitually ended our day with a late evening visit to the temple – fairly deserted in those laid-back, early eighties! In time, my two sons joined us. Aadhi Veedhi, the outermost corridor, with its omnipresent breeze (even on a sweltering summer day!), was our Marina Beach: the boys played tag, ‘rode’ a broken-tusked stone elephant and angelically chanted “Om Namah Shivayah,” as taught to them by their devout grandfather.

Always an enthusiastic reader and teller of stories, the temple was a treasure trove of tales to me. I plunged into the delights of the Thiruvilayaadal Puranam, which were everywhere. The walls of the Pottramarai Kulam recounted the tales in colourful murals and the stories were chiseled in stone in numerous halls. Shiva’s divine play is never far away for us Maduraiites, as it constantly comes alive in our city: we enact and celebrate everything, from Meenakshi’s Coronation to the Celestial Wedding. We even have a special day on which we gorge ourselves on the steamed rice cakes that Shiva bartered for his labor on the Vaigai embankment!

Needless to say, writing has been a joy. I have drawn my material from a variety of sources – elderly friends and family, murals and sculptures. For the most part, I have taken treasured tales, passed on orally through the generations, and fleshed them out with the lavish play of an affectionate imagination.

Dear Readers, my books aim to bring these ancient tales to a larger, non-Tamil audience. I hope these narrations will thrill your senses and bring you to a time where the Gods once walked in our midst.



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