Title: The Splendour of the Supreme Mother - Devi Bhagavatham
Sub-title: A Compact condensed prose narrative
Author: Dr. V.V.B.Rama Rao
Publisher: Richa Prakashan (www.richaprakashan.com)
Genre: Devotional/Hindu Mythology
Sai Ram. Sri Matre Namah. This book came to Shri K V R Rao of www.telugubhakti.com for review and at his request, I accepted this and took it as a command of Devi, The Supreme Mother. I also took it as a blessing from Sri Mata since earlier too I got a chance to read Her Glory in Telugu, and that too at the behest of His Holiness Sri Sri Sri Sankaracharya of Sri Hampi Virupaksha Vidyaranya Peetham, Sri Sri Sri Abhinavoddnanda Nrisimha Bharathi Swamiji around 1999 or 2000. At Swamiji's command, I read a fairly elaborate form of Sri Devi Bhagavatham written by Vidwan Saripella Viswanatha Sastry, published by Sri Rama Publishers. I also used to regularly recite Sri Lalitha Sahasra Nama Stotram, Sri Suktam, Sri Maha Lakshmi Ashtakam etc. for many years and thus took this as an opportunity to again read about Sri Devi, Sri Mata the Originator of us all. Sai Ram.
One thing which struck me is that the book is as described compact, rather too compact. Much of the detailed glory of The Mother had to be left behind in this attempt to condense and make the book compact. But many of the important features of Sri Devi Bhagavatam originally written in Sanskrit by Sage Veda Vyasa and which came through in the detailed Telugu transation that I had the good fortune of reading, did come through. So, if you, the reader are new to Devi and Her Divine Glory, this book under review is a good primer. And being in english, this book is more accessible to Indians and others who cannot read Sanskrit or for that matter the vernacular languages too. Thus it fulfills a good need.
In short, this book is a good introduction to Sri Devi Bhagavatam and it is Her grace that this review is being written on Sri Rama Navami, the end of Vasanta Nava Ratras, which are also dear to Devi (in addition to Sarannavaratras ending with Vijaya Dasami, which are traditionally considered very important for Devi Puja). As a Sai devotee, I again consider it auspicious that this review is being written on a day very dear to Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi (this day is celebrated as Baba's birthday by Sai Devotees), and as mentioned in this book, Sri Rama also worshipped Devi during this Vasantha Navaratras. Sai Ram.
Sai Ram. Now I come to some shortcomings with a view to offer a constructive criticism for improvement in future editions. The 6th skanda (Chapter) on The Order of Creation could have been prefaced by a suitable explanation from the author that what was described thousands of years earlier is a little different from the world as it is observed by scientific means now. A few statements that it takes thousands of years for light to reach from Sun to Earth could have been avoided (it takes 9 minutes for light to reach our earth from Sun).
The book also suffers from many simple editorial slips that could have been easily avoided with a little more care. If the author or the publisher is interested, I can share the editorial corrections that I made as I was reading the book. Sai Ram.
In the end, I once again offer my pranams to Sri Devi for this opportunity and thank the author, the publisher and Sri KVR Rao of www.telugubhakti.com for being instrumental in my humble effort. Sai Ram. Sri Matre Namah.