[Advaita-l] Are the Amara Chitra Katha versions distorted?

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 7 01:48:29 CDT 2006

  This is at a tangent to the main thread of discussion on Isvara, Saguna Brahma, and Istha Devata (My own position is that I have no such doubts; but I am not knowledgeable enough to carefully dissect through the different assumptions underlying the questions and present an elegant and compact explanation)
  Are the Amara Chitra Katha (ACK) versions distorted? This is a worth-while question because some believe they are amongst the best introductions to our culture for children. I read quite a few of them in my childhood (from lending libraries, City Central Library, Hyderabad, and serialised versions in Telugu and English newspapers) but unfortunately do not own any copies. Recently I started buying these as birthday gifts for the neighbourhood children, and plan to introduce them to my children once they start independent reading.
  I have seen a few of these (mAlavikAgnimitram, nAganandam, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, SrimanmadhvAchArya - to name a few) and found that they are free of any glaring errors, or careless representations. That said, they certainly are not critical evaluations. For instance, elders in my family hold that the popular Sri Sankara Vijayam attributed to Sri MAdhava / Vidyaranya is not a standard work - prAmANikam; a different biography - without parakAyapraveSam, fights and occult involving kApAlikas etc. is held to be sAdhu, good. Now, ACK uncritically reproduces the instances from mAdhavIya Sankara Vijayam - I am aware of that, but those cannot be held to be 'comic distortions' introduced by ACK; the 'comic distortions' - for those who believe them to be such - are attributable to the original.
  I wonder if the other members also find ACK versions distorted, or merely uncritical.

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