Category Archives: Reading

Reading Notes: Mahabharata Part C

File:Camping by Barriere Lake, British Columbia - 20040801.jpg

The first reading section, Life in the Forest, sounded so familiar to context from the Rayamana. The Pandavas brothers enter an exile in the forest for 12 YEARS similar to that of Rama. What can happen in 12 years of living in the forest is unimaginable. A story could be recreated to modern time once again, because I’ve still been trying to get a story and turn it modern. A few brothers could be out camping when the world turns crazy, and they aren’t allowed to enter back from the woods. I could have the brothers represent the Pandavas brothers, and Krishna’s visit could bring forth another character during their time trapped in the forest.  They would have to face “Duryodhana and his brothers” before being able to answer back into the city. It would be awesome to make this weeks story about the exile in the forest (or camping trip), and then leave off at a cliffhanger of when they approach the brothers. That story could then be picked back up and finished the next storytelling week. Of course, I’d change the characters, but stay with the same overall characterization. The biggest difference would be the relations to culture from India to here, currently. Also, the vocabulary would be a huge difference.

I was so excited when Hanuman came back in the Mahabharata! He’s definitely a character that would be great to incorporate into any story! Him and his brother, Bhima, could have an entire story dedicated to them alone. I could discuss their father, Vaya (the god of wind), and how they came about on this earth. Maybe they could go on some crazy adventures with their dad controlling the wind? They could also be incorporated into my first modern story idea. Hanuman could come and bring the trapped brothers hope.

When Karna enters the story, I was amazed at the natural armor and earrings. Karna also seems like such a comical person at the same time. What a character!

Image One: Camping Barriere Lake 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 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.

 

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.

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.

Reading Notes: Ramayana Part C

File:Rama and Lakshmana at Conference with Sugriva, the Simian King, and Companions, Scene from the Story of the Burning of Lanka, Folio from a Ramayana (Adventures of Rama) LACMA M.86.345.14.jpg

After completing Part C reading, there are so many different stories I could create. I haven’t decided exactly what to write yet, but I feel like I want to make a modern day short story from a small section of the reading. There are so many options including the character conflicts between brothers, the death of Vali, etc. I could include just Sita’s side of view. I could even write this from Sita’s point of view if I wanted to stray from a modern approach.

Sugriva is Vali (ruler of monkey kingdom’s) little brother. The set began with Sugriva persuading Hanuman to disguise himself and determine who strangers were and what they were doing. Rama was overjoyed hearing of Sugriva, and Hanuman was overjoyed that he’d found allies. Lakshmana described Rama’s situation, and Hanuman insisted that Sugriva was in the same situation. I could change just the beginning portion of this story in so many ways. I could turn this into a modern short story. I would change the characters from indian epics characters, to maybe some movie stars.

Sugriva’s Story would also be cool to rewrite, except modern. I want to take a modern approach this week to whatever I write. I could have Sugriva as a different character who’s older brother (Vali) stole his wife from him. The story could then follow the same line, but with modern characters and modern time. Leave it to Rama to persuade Sugriva to go into battle with his brother, Vali! Sugriva and Vali was such a good read. Tara didn’t want Vali to accept battle with Sugriva since he was with Rama. This just shows how strong of a character Rama is. I loved the poetic dialogue in it, and I’d love to try something like that some time! I do want to reread this short portion (or Vali’s death) again if I decide to create anything poetic. I was so surprised at how the killing of Vali turned out. Is that a fair battle between the brothers when Rama is hiding out to take a shot with his arrow?

The mourning phase then begun for Tara, the monkey’s, and even Sugriva. But, Rama was praised and lifted up throughout the sadness. Now Sugriva is king, and Rama has to wait until the season of rain ends before he can find Sita. Lakshmana has to hurry Sugriva along in the quest when the season ends, and Sugriva sent out 4 armies of monkeys. Sampati (Jatayu’s brother) provides that Ravana took Sita to Lanka and the army was headed in the right direction, The story of Hanuman finding Ravana asleep in his bedroom with no Sita gives me so many ideas. Where else could she be? What have they done with Sita?

I thought it was interesting that he finally found Sita in Ashoka Grove. The description of her surroundings was great, including all of the different shaped/animalic demons. I felt bad when Hanuman was captured. It was agreed that Ravana would set his tail on fire. This then brings up war for Sugriva and Lanka! What a turn when Vibhishana (Ravana’s brother) opts out of war and takes Rama’s side.

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: Rama and Lakshmana with Sugriva accessed on Wikimedia Commons.

Reading Notes: Ramayana, Part B

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While reading part B, I finally started to understand the language used in these versions a little bit more. I think what confuses me more than anything is the amount of characters and how all of the different characters relate. When I write my own story I want to focus on a small portion of a story so that the reader is not confused with so many different tales and characters.

In the opening Bharata returns, I had no idea that things were going to turn the way they did. Prior, I was curious how Bharata would react to his brother being exhiled and his father’s death. Kaikeya is such a big character that it’d be really cool to tell the series of stories from her point of view. Why she was so persistent that Bharata rule? Why she reacted the way she did when Dasharatha died? So on and so forth. The culture here is really cool with all of the different rituals that they do at a funeral. The ritwigs reciting Japa and the sama’s chanting samas would be a cool ritual to include in my own story. I think the sandals that Bharata gives to Rama show strong symbolism. This is definitely something that I want in my story. I could write about anything, but I want the sandals to represent sort of a token of the torch, or royal authority as it says in the text. I also appreciated that Bharata wouldn’t return to the land until Rama did. Lakshmana and Rama go into battle with the demon, Viradha. How crazy is it that he had powers to where he coudln’t be wounded by sharp weapons? The battle was confusing, but further confusing when Viradha was actually Tumburu. One character I really connected with and wanted to research further was Agastya. What if Rama would’ve went with Agastya instead of continuing on his journey in the forest? That could be a whole new story in itself! He could end up finding Viradha/Tumburu there. He could somehow defeat the evil curse. I also think the story could’ve been understood a bit better if it weren’t for the intense and continual dialogue. When Rama rejects Shurpanakha, the whole story begins to whirlwind. It seems so modern, but at the same time ancient. Rama prevailed and got the rakshasas with his arrows. This then brought forth greater hate, and the demand to kill Rama. Khara attacks again and loses, leading up to confrontation between several different characters. Although the attacks, chase, and introductions are interesting, I want to focus my story on how events would’ve been different if either Rama would’ve returned with Bharata or Agastya.

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: Agastya giving Rama a sword for battle found on Wikimedia Commons.

Reading Notes: Ramayana, Part A

First off, the vocabulary used in these sections can be very confusing (since I know nothing about Indian Epics). I really wanted to focus mainly on King Dasharatha in these notes, because he has such an interesting/confusing life. I found it very interesting to learn new vocabulary, and I’d like to use some of the vocabulary if possible when writing my own story. Although it will be confusing until I learn more, I’m trying to fully understand the story. The amount of characters and twists make it hard to follow.  Below are some vocabulary words that I’d like to use:

Maharajah- “great king”

Rajah- Ruler in the south

Homa- sacrifice ritual

Rakshasas- demons

King Dasharatha contained amazing imagery. I felt as if I was Ayodhya, the capital of Koshala, an Indian kingdom. It seemed like such a wonderful place to be. I want to re-create this kingdom in my own story. Dasharatha was a sad man because he hadn’t had any sons from one of his 3 queens (Kaushalya, Kaikeyi, Sumitra). After undergoing ritual, he was promised 4 sons (though he only needed 1 to carry on royalty, which later causes problems). It would be interesting to write a story from Kaushalya’s point of view, or even the animals that they used for sacrifice (horse, reptiles). Ravana seems to be the king of Lanka. Yama was the god of death, so that could also be an interesting story to retell. King Dasharatha’s four sons were as followed: Kaushalya (Rama), Kaikeyi (Bharata), Sumitra (Lakshmana and Shatrughna). He wanted both Lakshmana and Rama to help battle the demons, or rakshasas. In battle (with a woman-Thataka), Rama cut off both her arms with arrows, and Lakshmana her nose and ears. After the death and win, he receives some crazy weapons that speak to him. Ahalya is such an interesting character, I would love to incorporate her into a story of her own. In Sita, I feel like the love between Rama and Sita could go into so much more detail. They could potentially have a storybook created just about them, or a story written about them at least. But the love isn’t won so easily, Rama has to fight for Sita. The families are so intertwined, as Rama’s brothers end up finding love within Janaka’s family as well. Kaikeyi has a very interesting plot here, and later decides that Dasharatha must make Bharata his heir and exile Rama. The story goes on, and I find the karma version of Dashartha’s death very interesting.

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: Ravena being attacked by the three sons by Wikimedia Commons accessed online here.