Seema Seth is a well-known name among readers of contemporary fiction. She has written many novels. However, this time, she has tried her hands on a genre that’s popular among modern readers – mythology. Her novel, Yashoda and Krishna, explores the aspects of Krishna’s early and adolescent life. And the author does not claim that her novel is entirely fiction because the world knows the story of Krishna, the famous Hindu God who resides in many temples in India in various forms. In the book, Seema Seth has explored the Baal Leela and Radha-Krishna episodes in detail while having her focus on the Yashoda-Krishna relationship as well.
What comes to mind when you hear of Krishna first? For most of us, the name Krishna naturally accompanies the name Radha as well. On this note, Seema Seth adds her opinion on the popular form of Krishna as a transcendent lover of Gopis, Radha and Rukmini:
“Krishna is indisputably a leader first. Dharma falls inline automatically. But he is flagged as a lover boy above all and known for the uninformed, as the ladies’ man first and foremost because of his depiction on book covers and calendars where he is accompanied by a lady, mostly Rukmini his wife, or Radha his best lover.”
When you read the book by Seema Seth, Yashoda and Krishna, you will certainly observe that the novelist does not take liberty in the proportion many other authors enjoy. She is writing fiction, but with caution so that she doesn’t alter the original story of Krishna too much. Moreover, you will find that Seema has tried to bring Krishna closer to the readers, across the age, with her linguistic skills. She has let the characters freely explore their domains of conversation. Baal Leelas are depicted in simplified but dignified versions so that even kids can enjoy the feats Krishna achieved in his childhood.
The author also explores Krishna’s love for Radha and Radha’s love for Krishna in return. The episodes are prepared in such a way that readers might connect the dots themselves. Beyond entertaining the readers, the author also wants her writings to enlighten the audience with episodes from the past that may be exemplary enough to be followed in the present scenario as well.
“My mother’s beautiful and not ugly like your mother. How dare you
taunt her like this? She is pretty young”.
“But what use is she to me?” the python wants to know.
“You seem to be an orphan; how will you know what a mother is?”
“So, you are going to teach me now?”
“Please, Aghasura, leave my son. I will give you anything”.
“Your son killed my brother Bakasura and finished my sister Putana,
I won’t leave him for anything in this world”.
Such exchanges are everywhere in the book. It simplifies the understanding of various aspects of the personality of Krishna. In addition, the humane treatment of a Godly personality like Krishna also gives the novel a reach among the younger audience who can enjoy the book and observe Krishna’s deeds minus the need to reading voluminous scriptures and a difficult language.
Seema’s writing will certainly strike a chord with the readers who are not only looking to read something interesting and exciting but also soothing and comforting. Yashoda and Krishna is for kids, adults and aged readers… and virtually anyone who can read English.
Adarsh for Indian Book Critics