Devdutt Pattanaik

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Devdutt Pattanaik
DevduttPattanaik self2018 1.jpg
Devdutt Pattanaik
Born11 December 1970 (1970-12-11) (age 53)
Mumbai, India
EducationMBBS (Mumbai University)
Postgraduate Diploma Comparative Mythology (Mumbai University)
OccupationMythologist, writer, columnist, illustrator
Known forWorks on Indian mythology
Parent(s)Prafulla Kumar Pattanaik (father)
Sabitri Pattanaik (Das) (mother)
Devdutt Pattanaik Autograph.png

Devdutt Pattanaik is an Indian mythologist, speaker, illustrator and author, known for his writing on Hindu sacred lore, legends, folklore, fables and parables. His work focuses largely on the areas of religion, mythology, and management. He has written books on the relevance of sacred stories, symbols and rituals in modern times; his more popular books include Myth = Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology[1]; Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata[2]; and Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana[3] and My Gita. Pattanaik has incorporated the Mahabharata and the Ramayana into human resource management.[4]

Pattanaik is a columnist for Mid-Day,[5] Times of India,[6] CN Traveller,[7] Daily O[8] and[9] He hosts a radio show/podcast for Radio Mirchi,[10] called The Devdutt Pattanaik Show.

Early life and education[edit]

Pattanaik is an Odia, born and brought up in Mumbai. He spent his childhood and student life in Chembur, Mumbai.[11] He studied in Our Lady of Perpetual Succour High School in Chembur.[12] Pattanaik graduated in medicine (M.B.B.S.) from Grant Medical College, Mumbai, and subsequently did a course in Comparative Mythology from Mumbai University.[13]


Pattanaik worked in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry (Sanofi Aventis and Apollo Group of Hospitals,[14] respectively) for 14 years and spent his spare time writing articles[15][16] and books on mythology,[17][18] which eventually became his full-time profession. His first book Shiva: An Introduction was published in 1997.[19] Pattanaik illustrates most of his own books.[20]

He has worked as a consultant at Ernst and Young. He also served as the Chief Belief Officer at Future Group, one of India's largest retailers.

He was a speaker at the first TED conference in India held in November 2009.[21][22]

Pattanaik has consulted Star TV network on mythological television series like Mahabharata and Siya Ke Ram; these serials have challenged conventional views of the narratives and opened up new avenues of interpretation.[23][24][25]

He has also been the story consultant at Indian television network Star TV, where Devon Ke Dev...Mahadev is based on his work[26][27][28] and Epic channel, where he presents Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik.[29]

In 2015, Pattanaik presented the Hindi television series Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik on the "EPIC ON" channel. In the show, he attempts to demystify and decode the folklore and traditions that accompanies Indian mythology. In December 2016, he made "his debut on the Forbes India Celeb 100 list, on the 93rd spot."[30]

Pattanaik worked on Audible Originals (India)'s audiobook titled Suno Mahabharat Devdutt Pattanaik ke Saath and Revisiting Mahabharata with Devdutt Pattanaik.[31][32] In his show he talks about the details of the war in the Mahabharata, how it affected the world, and what happened to India after the death of the Pandavas and the Kauravas. He also communicates the Vedic tenets which describes karma and dharma.[33]


Hanuman with Ram's banner

All of the illustrations present in Devdutt Pattanaik's written works are sketched out by the author himself, except in the Devlok series.[citation needed] Columnist Koral Dasgupta mentions, "Pattanaik’s art follows a particular style and is dependent on expertly sketched lines but the focus is never the perfection of hands and limbs and props. The pursuit is clearly that of beauty and depiction; not the grammatical detailing of a photograph!"[34]


Myth and Mythology[edit]

Pattanaik opines that "no society can exist without myth as it creates notions of right and wrong, good and bad, heaven and hell, rights and duties".[35] To him, mythology "tells people how they should see the world... Different people will have their own mythology, reframing old ones or creating new ones."[36] His desire is "to get Saraswati out of the closet. Saraswati belongs everywhere, she has to flow everywhere" and his body of work is aimed "to make knowledge accessible."[37]

In Shiva to Shankara: Giving Form to the Formless,[38] Pattanaik explores the layers of meanings embedded in Shiva's linga and the transformation of Shiva, the hermit, into Shankara, the householder by the Goddess. Culture: 50 Insights from Mythology contextualises mythology and proposes that myths are alive, dynamic, shaped by perception and the times one lives in.[39]


In his book, Business Sutra: An Indian Approach to Management, "the central theme … is that when individual beliefs come into conflict with corporate beliefs, problems surface in organisations. Conversely, when institutional beliefs and individual beliefs are congruent, harmony is the resultant corporate climate. It is when people are seen as mere resources meant to be managed [read: manipulated] through compensation and so-called motivation; it is when they are treated like switches in a circuit board; it is then that disharmony descends causing disruption".[40]


Pattanaik is wary of the influence of "white saviours" on liberals as well as religious radicals. He has been rather contemptuous of the hyper-nationalism of a section of American Hindus who are clueless about Indian realities.[41][42] He also frowns on secularists and atheists who deny their own missionary zeal and mythic structure, and see themselves as "rational".[43]


Pattanaik has been frank about the LGBTQ revolution in India.[44] Pattnaik realised that he was gay in 10th standard and came out to his parents when he was 30.[45] After the 2018 decriminalization of homosexuality in India, Pattanaik came out as gay in a televised interview.[44][45][46] He has written about the presence, and at several instances, the celebration, of the queer within the Indian mythos. Elucidating that karmic faiths can be used to affirm the dignity of queer people, he speaks of how when one discovers love and appreciation for the world as it is, not the way one wants it to be, one develops wisdom.[47]


Devdutt Pattanaik, mythologist and author, with books written by him

In 2014, Pattanaik was listed in the top category of bestselling Indian authors.[48] His book Devlok, based on the television programme of the same name, was one of the year's bestsellers in 2016.[49] Forbes India had ranked Pattanaik among the 100 celebrities of India in 2016.[50]

Fiction author Ashwin Sanghi has said that Pattanaik attempts to "explain mythology in simple words".[51] Psychologist Urmi Chanda-Vaz, who calls Pattanaik "India's most beloved mythology explicator", praised his book My Gita.[52][53] Intellectual Shiv Visvanathan has praised Pattanaik by saying that he has made myth-reading "an open, playful, almost domestic game, like Chinese Checkers or Scrabble".[54]

Neil Gaiman praised Devdutt Pattanaik for his 2016 book Olympus: An Indian Retelling of the Greek Myth. "I read a fantastic Indian writer recently where he told Greek myth but from an Indian perspective... He makes it so easy to understand but what is lovely is that he does from a very proud Indian connect."[55]

Pattanaik coined the phrase "Bharat Tyagi" to depict "a small group of PIOs, Queen Victoria’s frozen-in-time children, (who) imagine they must save India from Indians".[56]



  1. Shiva: An Introduction. Vakils, Feffer and Simons Ltd., 1997. ISBN 978-81-8462-013-9. (Based on Shiva).
  2. Vishnu: An Introduction. Vakils, Feffer and Simons Ltd., 1999. ISBN 81-87111-12-7. (Based on Vishnu).
  3. Devi, The Mother-Goddess: An Introduction. Vakils, Feffer, and Simons Ltd., 2000. ISBN 978-81-87111-91-7. (Based on the concept of Devi).
  4. The Goddess in India: The Five Faces of the Eternal Feminine. Inner Traditions/ Bear & Company, 2000. ISBN 978-0-89281-807-5. Translations: Hindi.
  5. Hanuman: An Introduction. Vakils, Feffer and Simons Ltd., 2001. ISBN 978-81-87111-94-8. (Based on Hanuman).
  6. The Man Who Was A Woman and Other Queer Tales from Hindu Lore. Harrington Park Press, 2002. ISBN 1560231815.
  7. Hindu India. Brijbasi Art Press, 2003. ISBN 8187902078.
  8. Indian Mythology: Tales, Symbols, and Rituals from the Heart of the Subcontinent. Inner Traditions/ Bear & Company, 2003. ISBN 978-0-89281-870-9.
  9. Lakshmi, The Goddess of Wealth and Fortune: An Introduction. Vakils, Feffer, and Simons Ltd., 2003. ISBN 978-81-8462-019-1. (Based on Lakshmi).
  10. Myth=Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology. Penguin Books India, 2006. ISBN 9780143099703. Translations: Hindi, Marathi, Turkish.
  11. Shiva to Shankara: Decoding the Phallic Symbol. Indus Source, India. 2006. ISBN 81-88569-04-6. Translations: Czech, Hindi (Based on Shiva).
  12. The Book of Ram. Penguin Books India, 2009. ISBN 9780143065289. (Based on Ram) - Part of a book series on mythological figures published by Penguin.
  13. 7 Secrets from Hindu Calendar Art. Westland Ltd., 2009. ISBN 9788189975678. Translations: Gujarati, Hindi (Based on Hindu Calendar art).
  14. Hanuman's Ramayan. Tulika Publishers, 2010. ISBN 9788181467515. (Based on Hanuman).
  15. Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata. Penguin Books India, 2010. ISBN 9780143104254. Translations: Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil (Based on the Mahabharata).
  16. 7 Secrets of Shiva. Westland Ltd., 2011. ISBN 9789380658636. Translations: Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Russian, Telugu (Based on Shiva).
  17. 7 Secrets of Vishnu. Westland Ltd., 2011. ISBN 9789380658681. Translations: Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Russian (Based on Vishnu).
  18. 99 Thoughts on Ganesha: Stories, Symbols and Rituals of India's Beloved Elephant-headed Deity. Jaico Publishing House, 2011. ISBN 978-81-8495-152-3. Translations: Gujarati, Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Telugu (Based on Ganesha).
  19. Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana. Penguin Books India, 2013 ISBN 9780143064329. Translations: Hindi, Marathi, Tamil (Based on the Ramayana).
  20. Shikhandi: And Other Tales They Don't Tell You. Zubaan Books & Penguin Books India, 2014. ISBN 978-9383074846. Translations: Hindi, Marathi.
  21. 7 Secrets of the Goddess. Westland Ltd., 2014. ISBN 9789384030582. Translations: Hindi, Italian, Marathi, Russian (Based on the Goddess).
  22. My Gita. Rupa Publications India, 2015. ISBN 9788129137708. Translations: Hindi, Marathi (Based on The Gita).
  23. Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik. Penguin Random House India, 2016. ISBN 9780143427421.
  24. Olympus – An Indian Retelling of Greek Mythology. Penguin Random House India, 2016. ISBN 9780143428299 (Based on Greek mythology).
  25. Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik (Book 2) – Publisher: Penguin Random House, 2017 ISBN 978-0143428435 Translations: Hindi ISBN 978-0143440468
  26. Shiva to Shankara: Giving Form to the Formless. HarperCollins India, Indus Source 2017. ISBN 978-9352641956. – Based on Older Book / Reprint
  27. My Hanuman Chalisa. Rupa Publications, 2017. ISBN 9788129147950 (Based in the Hanuman Chalisa).
  28. Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik (Book 3) – Publisher: Penguin Random House, 2017 ISBN 978-0143442790.
  29. Shyam: An Illustrated Retelling of the Bhagavata. Penguin, 2018 ISBN 9780670084463 (Based on the Bhagavata).
  30. Ramayana Versus Mahabharata: My Playful Comparison. Rupa Publications India, 2018 ISBN 9789353332303 (Based on the Ramayana & Mahabharata).
  31. Faith: 40 Insights into Hinduism – Publisher: Harper Collins, 2019 ISBN 978-9353025960.
  32. Pilgrim Nation: The Making of Bharatvarsh - Aleph Book Company, 2020 ISBN 978-9389836004.
  33. Dharma Artha Kama Moksha: 40 Insights into Happiness - Harper Collins, India, 2021 ISBN 978-9354224447.
  34. Marriage: 100 Stories Around India's Favourite Ritual - Rupa Publications India, 2021 ISBN 9353338441.


  1. Business Sutra: A Very Indian Approach to Management. Aleph Book Company, 2013. ISBN 9788192328072. Translations: French, German, Hindi, Italian, Marathi, Tamil.
  2. The Success Sutra: An Indian Approach to Wealth. Aleph Book Company, 2015. ISBN 9789384067410. – Based on Older Book
  3. The Leadership Sutra: An Indian Approach to Power. Aleph Book Company, 2016. ISBN 9789384067465. – Based on Older Book
  4. The Talent Sutra: An Indian Approach to Learning. Aleph Book Company, 2016, ISBN 9789383064274 – Based on Older Book
  5. Culture: 50 Insights from Mythology. HarperCollins India, Indus Source 2017. ISBN 978-9352644971.
  6. Leader: 50 Insights from Mythology. HarperCollins India, Indus Source 2017. ISBN 978-9352644957.
  7. How to Become Rich: 12 Lessons I Learnt from Vedic and Puranic Stories – Publisher: Rupa Publications India, 2019 ISBN 978-9353336899.


  1. The Pregnant King. Penguin Books India, 2008. ISBN 9780143063476. Translations: Hindi, Marathi
  2. Is He Fresh?: Aka Kaula Hai? (Penguin Petit). Penguin UK, 2015. ISBN 9789351187585

Children's Books[edit]

  1. Fun in Devlok: An Identity Card for Krishna. Puffin India, 2011. ISBN 978-0143331674.
  2. Fun in Devlok: Gauri and the Talking Cow. Puffin India, 2011. ISBN 978-0143331704.
  3. Fun in Devlok: Indra Finds Happiness. Puffin India, 2011. ISBN 978-0143331681.
  4. Fun in Devlok: Kama vs Yama. Puffin India, 2011. ISBN 9780143331957.
  5. Fun in Devlok: Saraswati's Secret River. Puffin India, 2011. ISBN 9780143331964.
  6. Fun in Devlok: Shiva Plays Dumb Charades. Puffin India, 2011. ISBN 9780143331698.
  7. Fun in Devlok Omnibus. Puffin India, 2014. ISBN 9780143333449. – Reprint (Compilation)
  8. Pashu: Animal Tales from Hindu Mythology. Penguin Books India, 2014. ISBN 9780143332473. Translations: Hindi.
  9. The Girl Who Chose: A New Way of Narrating the Ramayana. Puffin Books, 2016. ISBN 9780143334637 (Based on the Ramayana).
  10. The Jaya Colouring Book. Penguin Random House India, 2016. ISBN 9780143426479. – Based on Older Book
  11. The Sita Colouring Book. Penguin Random House India, 2016. ISBN 9780143426462. – Based on Older Book
  12. The Boys Who Fought: The Mahabharata for Children. Puffin, 2017 ISBN 9789386815873 (Based on the Mahabharata).
  13. Vahana: Gods and Their Favourite Animals - Rupa Publications India, 2020 ISBN 978-9390356065.


  1. Celebrating Public Spaces of India. Mapin Publishing, 2016. ISBN 978-9385360084.
  2. I Am Divine. So Are You: How Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Hinduism Affirm the Dignity of Queer Identities and Sexualities. Harper Collins, 2017 ISBN 9789352774869.
  3. Padmavat: An Epic Love Story. Rupa Publications, 2018. ISBN 978-9353040239. -Illustrator
  4. Behold, I Make All Things New: How Judaism, Christianity and Islam affirm the dignity of queer identities and sexualities. Harper Collins, 2019 ISBN 9789353574550.


  1. Yoga Mythology: 64 Asanas and Their Stories – Publisher: Harper Collins, 2019 ISBN 978-9353570842.
  2. Aranyaka: Book of the Forest – Publisher: Westland, 2019 ISBN 978-9388754576.


  1. Devdutt., Pattanaik (2006). Myth = Mithya : a handbook of Hindu mythology. New Delhi, India: Penguin Books India. ISBN 9780143099703. OCLC 154688788.
  2. Devdutt, Pattanaik (2010). Jaya : an illustrated retelling of the Mahabharata. Gurgaon, Haryana, India. ISBN 9780143104254. OCLC 692288394.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  3. Devdutt, Pattanaik (2013). Sita : an illustrated retelling of the Ramayana. Gurgaon, Haryana. ISBN 9780143064329. OCLC 863077858.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  4. "Mythic Past, Resonating in the Present". New York Times. 4 July 2010.
  5. "Devdutt Pattanaik | Editorial, Columnists – Midday". mid-day. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  6. "Devdutt Pattanaik Blog – Times of India Blog". Times of India Blog. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  7. "Where does history begin?". Condé Nast Traveller India. 19 October 2017.
  8. "Devdutt Pattanaik". Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  9. "Devdutt Pattanaik |". Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  10. "The Devdutt Pattanaik Show". Radiomirchi.
  11. "The mythologist". Mint. 16 September 2010.
  12. "Devdutt Pattanaik: Ramayana in OLPS". mid-day. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  13. "Teaching Old Heads New Tricks". Financial Express. 25 May 2003.
  14. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 February 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. "Devdutt Pattanaik on 14 things historians taught him".
  16. "#MeToo in Mahabharata: Political needs were placed over Draupadi's security". Economic Times Blog. 17 November 2018.
  17. "5151 years of Gita". mid-day. 19 January 2014.
  18. "The complete man".
  19. Pattanaik, Devdutt (20 August 1997). Shiva: an introduction. Vakils, Feffer and Simons Ltd. ISBN 9780863110085 – via Google Books.
  20. "Demystifying mythology: A conversation with Devdutt Pattanaik". The Hindu. 24 April 2009. Archived from the original on 29 April 2009.
  21. "Great response to first TED meet in India". The Hindu. 1 November 2009. Archived from the original on 5 November 2009.
  22. speaker at TEDIndia 2009.
  23. "Devdutt Patnaik roped for Mahabharat – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  24. "Best of Radio Mirchi : Devdutt Pattanaik speaks about Siya Ke Ram saath Jeeturaaj". Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  25. "Exclusive | Mahabharat will stir lot of curiosity: Devdutt Pattanaik". Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  27. "MindRush".
  29. "An eclectic set of speakers announced for Goafest 2014". Indian Television Dot Com. 2 April 2014.
  30. "Seeing Chetan Bhagat and Devdutt Pattanaik in the Forbes India Celeb 100 list is confusing us no end".
  31. Majumdar, Meghna (25 May 2020). "Devdutt Pattanaik narrates The Mahabharata as a six-hour audio tale". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  32. "Audible Suno launches Suno Mahabharata Devdutt Pattanaik Ke Saath". Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  33. "Audible Suno launches Suno Mahabharata Devdutt Pattanaik Ke Saath".
  34. "Beyond the writer: Devdutt Pattanaik - Koral Dasgupta' Blog". 7 October 2015.
  35. "No society can exist without myth, says Devdutt Pattanaik". Hindustan Times. 4 July 2016.
  36. "Devdutt Pattanaik explains how understanding the symbolism behind Indian mythology can entirely change the way we view life". India Today. Ist.
  37. "Modern people want to feel liberal, so they construct a past that's conservative". 27 October 2018.
  38. Devdutt, Pattanaik (30 January 2018). Shiva to Shankara : giving form to the formless. Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India. ISBN 9789352641956. OCLC 985916928.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  39. DEVDUTT., PATTANAIK (2018). CULTURE : 50 insights from mythology. [S.l.]: HARPER360. ISBN 9789352644971. OCLC 990971229.
  40. Devarajan, R. (6 May 2013). "An Indian view of management". The Hindu – via
  41. Pattanaik, Devdutt. "From Macaulay to Frawley, from Doniger to Elst: Why do many Indians need White saviours?".
  42. "Devdutt Pattanaik: Brahmins who rejected Ram". mid-day. 17 September 2017.
  43. "Devdutt Pattanaik: Atheist and secular mythologies". mid-day. 6 August 2017.
  44. 44.0 44.1 "Devdutt Pattanaik comes out of the closet – Times of India". The Times of India.
  45. 45.0 45.1 "Mythologist and Author Devdutt Pattanaik Comes Out as 'Gay' in Interview for the First Time After Section 377 Abolition - ED Times".
  46. "Proud to be gay – Times of India". The Times of India.
  47. Pattanaik, Devdutt. "India's ancient religions are actually very accepting of gay people". Quartz India.
  48. "Bang for the book – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  49. "Bestseller books of 2016: Indian authors beat international writers". The Economic Times. 11 December 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  50. 23 December, Somya Abrol; December 23, 2016UPDATED; Ist, 2016 19:31. "Seeing Chetan Bhagat and Devdutt Pattanaik in the Forbes India Celeb 100 list is confusing us no end". India Today. Retrieved 16 February 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  51. Rao, Namrata (5 February 2017). "'Writing is an art, crime writing is a craft': Ashwin Sanghi". Financial Express. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  52. Chanda-Vaz, Urmi (5 February 2017). "Indian mythology is a new medium of choice for feminist narratives (and it's working)". Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  53. Chanda-Vaz, Urmi (22 November 2015). "Why reading Devdutt Pattanaik's My Gita makes sense but does not mean you're reading the Gita". Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  54. Visvanathan, Shiv (16 December 2016). "Shiv Visvanathan on the importance of being (and thinking like) Devdutt Pattanaik".
  55. "Good Omens gives people different way to imagine what heaven and hell may look like: Neil Gaiman". 31 May 2019.
  56. "Hiss of the PIO Bharat Tyagi". 3 November 2016.

External links[edit]

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