Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Reading Notes: Mahabharata

Bhishma at the Swayamvara by Sister Nivedita

  • Bhishma is looking for a queen for his half brother,  Vichitravirya
  • King Benares, who has 3 daughters (Amba, Ambika, Ambalika), invites all the kings and knights from the land to come to his kingdom so that he may find a king for each of his daughters to marry
  • place was elegantly decorated 
  • His voice boomed loudly
  • he declared that he wouldn't participate in the Swayamvara, but that he would take the princesses by force, and fight off any other king that would try to seize them back
  • he scoops all three up on his chariot
  • with his bow, he manages to fight off all kings until they surrender 
  • He takes the three princesses back with him
Amba by Sister Nivedita 
  • Amba tells Bhishma just before the wedding that her true love is devoted to the King of the Shalwas, so she asks if she can leave Hastinapura and go to Shalwas to be reunited with her love
  • Bhishma agrees and sends her on her way
  • turns out the King of Shalwas is a real ass, and he doesn't want Amba anymore either, so he casts her out of the kingdom
  • Now Amba has nowhere to go
  • She goes into the forest to stay at a hermitage, where she fasts and prays for months until Shiva answers her and asks what she wants
  • She declares that this is all Bhishma's fault, so she asks if Shiva may grant her the wish of slaying Bhishma
  • Shiva tells Amba that in her next life she will become a man, a strong warrior, and will slay Bhishma
  • Amba decides to light herself on fire and becomes reincarnated
Image result for bonfire

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Week 5 Storybook: Backyard Beast

            In the backyard of a suburban home lived an army of ants. The ants had a giant mound in the corner of the yard, with millions of them living there. There was the King Ant, and the king had a son named Rambo, who was a fierce fighter ant and had tremendous strength. One day, Rambo, his cousin, Lance, and his girlfriend, Simone, all set out to the tall grass beyond the territory of their ant hill. The ants said that what lay beyond the tall grass was mystery and danger.
            While making their way through the tall grass, exploring, the trio of ants came to a clearing. Rambo and Lance offered to go find some water to bring back, while Simone waited for them. The two ants made their way to a nearby sprinkler, where they fetched the water. Suddenly, they heard a scream, and when they raced back to the clearing, Simone was gone.
            Rambo frantically cried for Simone, but she had vanished. As Lance was comforting him, however, a large bumble bee flew down to them, looking tattered and hurt. The bee had heard Rambo’s cries, and spoke softly.
            “The girl ant, who you are looking for, was kidnapped. I saw the beast who took her away. I managed to fight the giant demon off, and I even managed to sting it, but it got away with the her. I’m sorry, but they went that way,” as he pointed further into the thicket of grass. The bee, missing his stinger, began to fall weak, and quickly died.
            Rambo and Lance, thankful for the bee’s heroic efforts, managed to bury him in the dirt and placed some pebbles over his grave as a memorial. They continued into the grass, in the direction the bee had pointed. They passed over vast puddles and giant woodchips until they reached what looked like a clearing ahead, with a tall wooden porch. As the two ants got closer, they could see Simone at the top of the porch, crying out for help. Suddenly, the ground began to shake, and from the porch emerged the giant beast who had taken Simone.
            The beast had long black hair covering the whole body. It stood on four legs, with thunderous paws and a strong waving tail. It’s jaws were immense, and a slobbering-pink tongue lay out of its mouth. Rambo had never seen such a creature, it was nearly ten times the size of their ant hill at home! Never less, Rambo sprang into action, jumping at the creature. He landed with a fluff, as he burrowed his way into the creature’s fur. As the beast roared and bit ferociously at its own fur, Rambo began unleashing his ant stinger, attacking the beast all over. Finally, after minutes of howling, the beast retreated to the porch and vanished beyond sight. Rambo managed to leap off and grab Simone on his way down. Simone and Rambo returned to Lance, where they all cheered a sigh of relief.
            Rambo had his first encounter with the beasts of the backyard, and was thankful to have survived and rescue his girlfriend. They made their way back to their ant hill, and the three ants vowed to forever be more careful when exploring the thick grass beyond their ant hill home.

Author's Note
This story is modeled after a story in the Ramayana, called Rama's Wrath, by Sister Nivedita. In this story, Rama and Lakshman leave Sita, Rama's wife, alone in the forest. When they return, Sita had vanished, and Rama had been left in anguish looking for her, thinking she had been eaten by a human eater called a rakshasa. Upon hearing his calls, a bird named Jatatyu discovers the two, and tells them that a rakshasa had kidnapped Sita. However, this was not before Jatatyu could fight it off. Soon Jatayu dies and Rama and Lakshman memorialize him for his efforts. Soon they set off to find Sita, where they discover a rakshasa and battle it. After defeating it, the rakshasa tells Rama that he was cursed, and now that he has been slain by Rama, he soul is free. He tells Rama where Sita has gone, and they go off to find a monkey army to ally with them. My story uses Rambo and Lance as Rama and Lakshman, and Simone is Sita. The bee that helps them is Jatayu. I liked to put a playful spin to the story, so I changed the setting and characters to a more fun and fictional theme. Instead of fighting a demon and freeing it, I chose for Rambo and Lance to ultimately finding Simone, and going to battle with a "beast" of the backyard. I think it's a fun twist that takes a serious story and tones down the severity some.
lawn flower pond cottage backyard botany garden woodland yard ecosystem beautification planting of greenery landscape design outdoor structure

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Reading Notes: Myths of the Hindus and Buddhists

Ravana's Son is Killed, by Sister Nivedita

  • Vibhishana and Lakshman tell Rama that Sita has been killed by Indrajit
  • Vibhishana thinks it's a ploy to delay the monkey army so they won't attack
  • all three pursue Ravan's son to take back Sita
  • They arrive and do battle with Indrajit and his army
  • Lakshman takes most of the damage, but he is blessed with protection from the gods
  • Lakshman sends a powerful arrow through Indrajit's neck, severing it and killing him
  • Ravana grieves hard for his son and vows to kill Sita in revenge, but his counselor convinces him not to, and once he kills Rama, Sita will be his wife
Ravana's Fury, by Sister Nivedita.
  • Ravana is sitting and devising a plan to kill Rama
  • setting is dark, grim, deathly, evil
  • gnashed his teeth, bit his lips and laughed evily
  • goes off to battle with Big-belly, Squint-Eye, and Big-Flank
Image result for demon battle

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Reading Notes: Myths of the Hindus and Buddhists \

Rama's Wrath by Sister Nivedita
  • Rama and Lakshman leave Sita alone in the forest
  • when they come back, she is gone and they assume a rakshasa ate her
  • they come across a bird called Jatayu, and he tells them that Jatayu fought of a rakshasa, named Ravana, and they battle for Sita before Ravana eventually won and took Sita away to the island of Lanka
  • Rama and Lakshman are thankful for Jatayu and his sacrifice and they build a memorial for him and mourn for him
  • the heroes trek on in search for Sita
  • they come across another terrible rakshasa, and do battle with him, and once they defeat him the rakshasa thanks Rama, claiming he was cursed as a demon until Rama defeated him, and now his soul is free
  • the freed soul tells Rama about a group of monkeys, one called Sugriva, who he should seek for help in order to find Sita

Ravana Slain by Sister Nivedita
  • Rama hymned the sun, and drank healing water
  • Ravana and Rama come to battle, trading blows back and forth
  • describes as two great flaming lions doing battle
  • nothing seems to be able to kill Ravana, even using the arrows that were used to kill Khara
  • eventually Rama uses the Brahma given to him by Agastya
  • "wind in it's wings" "Sun and Fire in it's head"
  • Rama uses mantras on it
  • he unleashes it on Ravana, and the heavens become at peace and all is well
Image result for hero

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Microfiction: six-word and two-sentence stories of Ramayana

Ramayana: Rama Attacks, by Sister Nivedita

"Don't attack Rama, Ravana."

"I'll attack."

This six word story is in reference to the advise Ravana receives from his spies and soldiers in regards to Rama coming to Lanka to retrieve Sita. All the spies tell Ravana he is way in over his head, and that Rama has limitless power. Never the less, thanks to Ravana's incompetence and ignorance, he doesn't surrender Sita, and Ravana goes to battle with Rama, where he is defeated.

Ramayana: Kumbhakarna, by Donald Mackenzie

Kumbhakarna is the greatest demon warrior of all time, and has been in a deep slumber for months. When he is woken up, he fights Rama's army and eats lots of apes, but eventually is slain by Rama.

This two sentence story basically sums up how Kumbhakarna affects the battle between Rama and Ravana. Although the demon warrior is supposed to sleep for 6 months before waking up for one day to eat, he is woken up a little early and is enraged about it. When Ravana tells him about the battle, Kumbhakarna marches to the battle field, where he attacks the monkeys and apes, eating a lot of them. However, Rama is the avatar of Vishnu, so he defeats the demon warrior by shooting him with flaming arrows and severing his head. This story demonstrates the great manpower that Ravana has, but also exemplifies the power the Rama wields.
Short Story
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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Reading Notes, Ramayana Part D

Ramayana: Rama Attacks, by Sister Nivedita

  • setting: dark, cloudy, stormy, earth is shaking
  • Ravana sends monkey spies to see what Rama is up to
  • monkey spies come back and tell Ravana that Rama's power is limitless and they should surrender Sita
  • Ravana gets mad at the spies and banishes them, he sends more monkey spies but they return giving him the same advice, which only angers Ravana even more
  • Ravana comes up with a plan to fool Sita. He makes the illusion of Rama's head and his bow severed and presents it to Sita
  • Sita cannot believe her eyes and tells Ravana to kill her so she may join Rama
  • suddenly, Ravana gets called to battle, and as he leaves, the illusions decimate. Sita knows it is an illusion
Ramayana: Kumbhakarna, by Donald Mackenzie
  • Kumbhakarna is a great a ferocious sleeping demon warrior. He is a giant. He used to roam the earth, killing humans and destroying anything in his past. He even defeated the god Indra. However, Brahma cast a spell on him, causing him to sleep for 6 months, then awaken for one day to eat
  • Ravana must awaken Kumbhakarna so that he may defeat Rama's army
  • instruments are played and elephants walk over his body, but the sleeping giant doesn't wake up
  • finally he wakes up when caressed by women
  • he eats men, deer, wine, and asks where the apes are so he may eat them 
  • Kumbhakarna goes to battle, and feasts on thousands of apes. They throw boulders and trees at him but it does nothing
  • Kumbhakarna defeats Hanuman
  • finally Rama death him by shooting flaming arrows at him and severs his head
Image result for a giant
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