Week 6 Story: Vyasa’s Birth

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Indra, the king of first heaven, was silently lurking through the village contemplating which fellow villager would become the next king. He had been king for his whole life, and he had decided that it was finally time to at least think about passing down the crown to a new leader. No man knew his plan so the faces that gazed upon his were confused and worrisome. As he stared at longing faces throughout, he thought to himself.

“If only a man could step up and proclaim strength and dignity.”

Just as those thoughts crossed through his mind, commotion erupted around the large body of water near town center. Indra rushed to the scene. Two children were flung from a sharks mouth abruptly, and the cries could be heard miles wide.

“What is going on here!” Indra shouted.

“King, this shark has given birth to children. This can’t be so,” a random villager urged.

Grasping for air, Indra coddled the two babies.

“Is this the answer to my prayers?” he thought to himself.

He handed the baby girl to one of the villagers whom he didn’t know or care to know, but held the baby boy with pride.

“You will be the next king. I will name you Vyasa, and you will change the world son.”
With that he lifted the boy up into the air, sprinkled sand on his head, and just like that the baby boy morphed into a grown man.

Indra stood in awe at the grown man that had just appeared before him and reached out his hand for a firm shake. It was as if Vyasa was prepared for life in his prior form, because he stood at attention, shook hands, and immediately began talking as if he’d lived in the village his whole life.

The conversation between Indra and Vyasa was straight to the point, and Indra declared that Vyasa was indeed an answer to his prayers and he wanted to immediately proclaim him as king. The surrounding areas were then to undergo a change in power…

Authors Note:

In the Mahabharata portion discussing Vyasa and Ganesha, Vyasa’s birth story is told. Gods sent Indra to go bribe the king of Chedi with a crystal car that has the capability to carry him throughout the sky. His semen ended up falling in the water on one of his journeys, and 10 months later fisherman caught a fish and discovered the had two children. The king took possession of the boy, but sent the girl off to help on the river. In my version, I wanted to make Indra the main character and the one searching for a replacement. I did want to keep the same cultural relevance to the story, and chose to make the boy take over as king. I also added in new details such as Indra easily morphing Vyasa into a man with sand alone. I didn’t want to begin discussing the changes and outlooks that Vyasa made, so I ended with the power being overturned.

Bibliography:

Vyasa and Ganesha accessed online here. The Mahabharata, A Summary by John Mandeville Macfie was also utilized as a source.

Indra: Wikipedia

Vyasa: Wikipedia

Image One: Vyasa  accessed from Wikimedia Commons.

Reading Notes: Mahabharata Part B

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The reading guides really help me out, as the first paragraph of reading B I’d already mistaken that Vidura is Pandu and Dhritarashtra’s wiser brother. Unfortunately since his mom was a servant or “slave girl” he was not allowed to be king. He would be a good character to create himself his own story. What if he could be king? Why does it matter that his mother was a servant? I know that it’s cultural, but I could change it to where he’s king.

Although the reading guides do help tremendously, I’m still confused and lost in all of the different characters. I’m generally able to separate the characters out, but they all seem to jumble together when recalling events and the outcome of those events. I really enjoyed all of the wilderness scenes in the Mahabharata. These scenes would be so much fun to rewrite as well. So many different things can happen in the wilderness, and obviously dangerous things as seen in the story. They could also encounter characters from the Ramayana! That’d be a fun plot.

Nalayani’s life with her 5 husbands is another idea that could be written as a story this week. I thought it was an interesting story to read, as she’s now Draupadi. The Pandava brothers are for sure something very strange and different to write about.

Keeping up with 5 husbands obviously would be a never ending task. I’m curious if I could rewrite something of this approach in the modern world. It could be 5 friends married to one woman? I could give modern problems they’d face. I’m still not sure what I want to do or write about. I have so many different ideas, but so many that I can’t fully develop.

For next weeks reading, I plan to set aside time to listen to your audio version. I really think that will allow me to slow down, think, and really understand and distinguish the characters. As for now, I’m still a bit confused at all of the events that have taken place in this weeks reading. I’m really enjoying the reading, it’s just hard for me to remember each characters part in each situation.

Bibliography:

Image One: Draupadi at pachisi game accessed on Wikimedia Commons

Sources were taken from several different places: Arnold, Besant, Devee, Dutt, Ganguli, Kincaid, Macfie, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Seeger, and Tagore. All were accessed online for free here.

Reading Notes: Mahabharata Part A

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The amount of characters presented in this first section of reading is numerous. I have sort of lost the importance of each character, but I know one things for sure, Vyasa is very interesting. I love where they stated at the very beginning that not only is he the composer, but he’s also a character in the story. I hope that these characters are introduced good int he next few sections if they return so I’m able to recall.

In this story as well, there are staple objects that represent tokens in their culture. At the very beginning, I thought it was interesting that Indra was sent to bribe the king with a crystal car that could carry him through the sky. I chuckled a bit at his semen falling from the vehicle as a fish ingests the semen, later resulting in a boy and girl. What a very different way to bring forth new characters into the story. This is how Vyasa arose, and I have so many different ideas for different ways that he could’ve came to life with a twist on the culture. His birth could take place similarly to Uchchaihshravas rising from the churning of the milk ocean, since I’ve been reading so much about it. Maybe Vyasa could arise astride Uchchaihshravas?

King Shantanu and Ganga had such a weird relationship. I was very confused through the child birthing of Ganga’s children, and why it happened the way it did. For that reason, that will be something I could recreate to something more understandable. I could give another reason and action for why she departed and never returned. The next love interest for the king, Satyavati, was the mother of Vyasa. This was a repeat of the first story in a way, but I enjoyed the ties between the families. I was surprised when Shantanu didn’t consent to the promise of the father of Satyavati prior to giving his daughter to the king, leaving the king’s heart heavy.

The story of how Devavrata got his name, Bhishma, could be retold in so many different ways! That’d definitely be a cool remake.

Amba is definitely a character that could be focused on, for she is the only princess that didn’t wed the king. I love and admire her strength here, and she could also have a different story be told for herself. The Pandu family is also very interesting, and many different events could be changed and retold there. I’m excited to read tomorrow’s section for this class, because I’ll probably be able to write out more of the ideas for a potential story later this week!

Bibliography:

Image One: Mahabharata accessed on Wikimedia Commons

Sources were taken from several different places: Arnold, Besant, Devee, Dutt, Ganguli, Kincaid, Macfie, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Seeger, and Tagore. All were accessed online for free here.

 

Famous Last Words: I’ll make it

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It’s images and quotes like these that give me so much more motivation. This one in particular has so much truth behind it. Overall, I’ve had an incredibly hectic and crazy week. Between working full time hours and having assignments due in capstone, I had a really hard time finding time to complete all of my assignments this week. I didn’t do very well on my first capstone quiz, but I did really great on our first lab report, making the late nights worth it.

In this class specifically, I’ve kept up with most of the work, but I want and strive to be ahead instead of barely reaching deadlines. This isn’t like me, and I’m still determined to get ahead next week and the weeks after to where I don’t have to worry about the deadlines.  Sadly, as much as I’ve tried this week, I wasn’t able to complete the storytelling assignment yet again. My time management skills haven’t been the best. I did complete an extra credit reading assignment to take the place of the storytelling points this week, but I’m still not done with this weeks assignments. All I have left to do is the project, which I’ve put off until tonight so I really have some time to sit back, relax, and enjoy writing my introduction.

This is a memo to myself for the next week.

I don’t care if I work full time hours, when I get off work at 9 o’clock and arrive home, I need to devote time to my Indian Epics class. I will devote time each nite to my online class no matter how late I get off work or how exhausted I might be.

I have a capstone lab report due this Thursday, and I’m determined to get started on that today and work on it for a while each night until Thursday as well. It takes a lot of time and effort to write a report, and research simply cannot be put off.

Image One: Go for it found on Flickr.

Reading Notes: Ramayana: India’s Immortal Tale of Adventure, Love and Wisdom, E & F

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Since the storytelling for this week is over, I’m going to try to focus on content alone in these sections. I didn’t read the previous sections of this book, but I really wanted to get to the reading that involved Rama and Sita. These are two characters that I really enjoy learning about, and I love all the differences in versions I’ve read thus far.

When Rama discovered what had happened to Sita, the text gives such good descriptions. I could see him pacing back and forth, crying, and desperately hanging on to thoughts she was alive.  This book in particular is so good at vivid imagery through their text. From start to finish, I could picture the events so much better than the other versions we read (though there was nothing wrong with them, they were great as well).

Poor Rama has already been through so much, the loss of his kingdom, separation for everyone he loved, the king dying, and for Sita to be lost was just the icing on the cake. The ongoing search for Sita had me sitting on the edge of my seat, even though I already knew what the outcome would quite possibly be.  I feel like they set this up so much more like a cliffhanger looking for Sita compared to the other versions. The monkeys are also a huge part in this story. When Hanuman came into the story I was really excited. He is definitely a character that has such strong personality, and I like him a lot. He’s basically a life saver to Rama and Sita. And wahoo, Sita was found thanks to Hanuman. He wanted nothing else to do but get Sita safely to Rama, but of course (just like in the originals) it wasn’t that easy. Probably my favorite part of all this reading was the description of Hanuman basically receiving his “job well done.” They describe him leaping into the air, pressing down the mountains with his pressure, and the trees shaking and shedding blossoms. I thought that was great use of imagery, and brought this story to life, just like so many other parts of this story!

Bibliography:

Image One: Rama and Sita Wikimedia Commons

Ramayana: India’s Immortal Tale of Adventure, Love and Wisdom by Krishna Dharma accessed online here.

 

Reading Notes: The Divine Archer, Part B

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This book is so enjoyable. I love the descriptions that it gives about the events that take place, and I love how there are both changes and similarities.

I enjoyed the descriptions of the scene where Hanuman has to defeat the monster (Surasa). Although it wasn’t a very long scene, it set Hanuman up to pass through and sneakily fly around the city. This short section could be retold in so many different ways. Instead of it being so easy for Hanuman to pass through, what if there was a task he had to complete before passing by the monster? The task could tie back to the cultural staple of the sandles, etc.  I just think that Hanuman is such a cool character, and it would be fun to rewrite his journey beginning from the meeting of Surasa. I was sad when he accomplished so much, even accomplished giving Sita the ring from Rama and told her he was coming only to be arrested. What if Hanuman could’ve immediately escaped and not been arrested? What if Rama was able to be there with Hanuman, and none of the events would’ve taken the same turn. BUT… I also think it’s quite interesting that instead of killing Hanuman, Ravana has them set his tail on fire as if that will do the trick (which actually turns out great for Hanuman!). Rama is a real hero after everything else he endured along his journey, and writing a story about him would have so many different options and involve so much fun. I thought the part where Sita emerges from Earth at the end would also be a good section to create a story about. What happens next?

I like how close the cultures seem to be, and how the people in the towns seem to have such a strong impact on one another. I want to rewrite a story about Hanuman, because he doesn’t receive near as much attention as Rama does. Hanuman can be the real hero, and he can have a magic power that automatically places Rama into the arms of Sita upon meeting. I want to switch it up a bit, and I have so many options in which direction I could go.

Ashvamedha – horse sacrifice ritual (I also thought this was an interesting part of culture, and it would be cool to include this ritual in either my storytelling, or my project).

Bibliography:

Image One: Hanuman found on Wikimedia Commons

The Divine Archer by F. J. Gould, accessed online here.

Reading Notes: The Divine Archer, Part A

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This reading contained many sacred and cultural traditions. The beginning where gold, plate, and sacred cows were presented to the holy priests reminded me of the sacred gold sandals. In this traditional writing approach, sacred objects and traditions are a big deal, and the entire writing revolves around such. This book just seems to fit together so well, and I love how quick the story has unraveled, but how stable it’s been held together.

I was confused with some of the vocabulary, but enlightened when following the link to learn about each thing found in the reading notes. Much of the beginning was familiar territory character wise, introducing the characters affiliations. Rama is a real superstar in this day and time, and he makes that very obvious. The descriptions in the book really crack me up. I really enjoyed him stealing cream and curds from the table and running away like he’d accomplished so much. I could rewrite a completely different story about Rama and really bring his personality to life. He’s such a character, so it would be fun to create his own story based during his childhood and interactions with different characters, his mom/dad, etc.

Overall, my favorite sections included the details of Sita and Rama. I love Rama as a character, so of course his cute little love at first sight experience. I could take a modern approach and discuss this love life in today’s society. It could be centered around the central thought of love at first sight, whether on social media or in person. I think it might make it quite comical to turn this modern, and there are so many different ideas that I can think of to top off the story. I could set up text message segments with dialogue between two characters taking the place of Sita and Rama. It could be the traditional approach now rather than the garden scenario and cultural approach in the text.

Bibliography:

Image One: Rama and Sita accessed from Flickr.

The Divine Archer by F. J. Gould, accessed online here.

Famous Last Words: Work, Work, Work

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This image makes me really happy, and I also got a little kick out of it. I knew the past week would be a struggle to get completed with all of my work for a while now. Once again, the only assignment I wasn’t able to complete was the storytelling (which I always enjoy). Not only that, but I was also behind on my project, feedback, and comments in comparison to my prepared schedule for this class. Everything has been so hectic, and I’m excited for things to start slowing down a bit.

On the bright side, I was able to finish my lab report in sections each night after work for capstone. I was also able to complete the other assignments on time. I was worried about finding time to put the report together in a good manner, but I was able to accomplish that. There’s always a bright side in every situation if you ask me, and mine is that although I’ve been overwhelmed between school and work, I’m fairing just fine!

For next week, I hope to get ahead on things. I plan to do some extra reading for week 5 today. I may go ahead and read the sections whether or not I have the time to write up the notes over it or not. I have a very busy day today, but I want to still try my best to accomplish some reading at least! This is the last week for a few weeks that I’ll be working full time hours, though I’ll still be working a lot. I do have time to complete my assignments, I just need to adjust my schedule accordingly. Where there is a will, there is always a way! So after this next week, I should be having plenty more time to get ahead!

Image One: Look on the bright side found on Flickr.

Reading Notes: Ramayana Part D

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Kumbhakarna has to be my favorite section in this reading. This is probably the part that I will write my story over. Kumbhakarna is Ravana’s brother, and also known as one of the greatest soldiers. It reminds me of the hulk, or a really powerful comic character. He used to devour humans and destroy everything in the entire universe, he was that strong and powerful. The problem was after his attacks he would sleep for 6 months to only wake for 1 day, eat a tremendous meal, then sleep again. Ravana’s group decided it was mandatory to have Kumbhakarna in battle against Rama and his, so they blew trumpets and raided him with elephants, anything to awake him. I thought it was funny that the simple caress of a woman awoke him immediately, though unhappy and questionably. They fed him everything they could (human beings included), and he wasn’t satisfied. He wanted apes as well. Sugriva and Hanuman didn’t fare well against the giant, as the trees and boulders didn’t phase him. The giant won, seized Sugriva, carrying him on his chariot.

The giant went against Rama, and Rama sank the giant into the ocean by use of flaming arrows to the head and body. I could create a story where it also relates to biblical versions of Goliath! I’m not really sure that the underdog scenario in David and Goliath is too similar to Rama vs. Kumbhakarna, because I don’t think Rama is ever considered an underdog! But, this was really my favorite scene in the bible when I was a kid, because man if David can defeat a giant, then what’s to fear? But anyways, I think it would be cool to have Goliath as Kumbhakarna, and David as Rama. The story would be set back in biblical times, or I could make it modern with a twist.

Basically, most of the reading is about battles this week. I could really make my own story out of any of the battles, change the characters or the outcome, and go from there. Another cool approach would be to use dialogue and tell a story from Rama’s point of view. Also, I could bring in an outside hero into any story similar to Agastya (who provides Rama advice to defeat Ravana)!

To Rama’s great success, he wins yet another battle, this time leaving Ravana dead. I was really surprised during Sita and Rama. After everything she’s been through, she only wanted what she felt was best for Rama. I loved when Sita was tested then given back to Rama in such joyous emotions.

Rama and Bharata was also a huge favorite of mine! I was overjoyed to see that those sandals came back into the picture and just in time. This would be a great one to write a story over as well!
Bibliography:

Ramayana Online: Public Domain Edition with sources used from M. Dutt, R. Dutt, Gould, Griffith, Hodgson, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Oman, Richardson, and Ryder.

Image One: Hanuman and Kumbhakarna battle accessed from Wikimedia Commons.