11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Invaluable Resource on Hindu Literature,
This review is from: Puranic Encyclopaedia (Hardcover)
Indian Puranic literature is a like a vast ocean, with a web of references and cross-references. Over the millennia, a lot of stories and sub-stories have been added. There are also some stories which are more popular in a sub-region or are told with different emphasis. Different puranas also carry additional information about the same person, apart from what you get in the main purana itself. Sh. Vettam Mani's encyclopaedia is therefore like a life-boat to a person struggling in this ocean of information.
The entries are arranged alphabetically. There is a genealogy table at the end. Each entry has multiple paragraphs, where required, which summarise different legends. In almost all the cases, proper references to the original purana or itihas have been given.
I bought this encyclopaedia 4-5 years ago and have used it many times. I have found it to be immensely useful and accurate. Sh. Mani has an instinctive idea of just how much information should be picked up and retained in summarising a topic, so that you get a sufficient idea, but are not inundated with detail.
The book has a cloth backed spine, with signature binding. I am using a 1998 reprint, the pages have turned a little yellow, but are otherwise in excellent condition. The margins are very narrow, but I suppose the publishers couldn't have made them wider for fear of increasing the size of an already large book. The 1998 print does not appear to be a laser-type set, so the printing is not as good as some of the newer books. Nevertheless, it is fairly clear, and I have not found any proof-reading errors so far.
If you are a writer or just a modern person, interested in Indian religious traditions, you will find this book invaluable.