As an Interpreter of Ancient Lore

As an Interpreter of Ancient Lore

A distinctive contribution of Manoj Das to contemporary literature is his retelling of ancient tales. This genre of his writing falls into two categories. First, he has retold one hundred ancient stories in Tales Told by Mystics (Sahitya Akademi). He recreated many of them from the oral tradition of the country and many more from mystics such as Sri Ramakrishna and others. Each story reflects a profound truth—some pragmatic and some spiritual.

But the second category of his genre is highly creative. He retells in a precise style some well-known stories from classics like the Panchatantra and the Kathasaritsagara and carries the stories farther - telling us what happened after the point where the original author stopped. The old stories already imbued with an element of timelessness is enriched with a new significance of contemporary relevance, a ray of light thrown into the labyrinths of consciousness.

One realises that his study and understanding of the scriptural themes are wide and deep when one reads his unique work, Myths,

Legends, Concepts and the Literary Antiquities of India (Sahitya Akademi). The precision, with which the wide range of subjects, as the title suggests, has been presented and interpreted is an achievement indeed.

Commissioned by the Centre for Studies in Civilizations, he has also edited a magnificent volume entitled Streams ofYogic and Mystic Experiences comprised of essays by over forty authors. What is most important in the compilation is his own elaborate Introduction putting this great theme in its proper perspective.

About Manoj Das

For thousands of men, women and children of the past two or three generations, Manoj Das has been the very synonym of light and delight, whose writings in Odia and English inspire in his countless readers faith in the purpose of life and also open up concealed horizons of confidence and compassion in humanity a dire need today.