Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Dharma

This is a Krishna graphic from Devdutt Pattanaik's version of the Mahabharata for children: The Boys who Fought.

When you can fight for the meek without hurting the mighty, you follow dharma.

The story of the grown-up Krishna is told in the Mahabharata. The story of the young Krishna is told in the Harivamsa which is 1500 years old. Even later, the Bhagavatam or Bhagavata Purana was composed, in which Krishna is described as a form of Vishnu, the caretaker of the world.

Here is a promo video from Penguin India:

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Jatayu Sculpture

There is a gigantic ... GIGANTIC ... statue of Jatayu on the spot where he supposedly fell to earth and took his last breath. You can read more at Wikipedia: Chadayamangalam.

Here is a promotional video about the project: A Nature Park in Kerala Houses a Giant Statue of Jatayu.

And in this photo from 2013 you can see the sculpture under construction:

Vighnaharta Ganesh

There is a new series on Indian TV right now, Vighnaharta Ganesh, and here is a fascinating interview with the producer, : Abhimanyu Singh: Not just creatively, our story is also technologically advanced.

You can watch Episode 1 here; turn on CC to see English language subtitles; embedding is disabled, but just click the link to go to YouTube (all the other episodes are also at YouTube. Here is Ganesha:

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Stories about Shiva's Third Eye

This fabulous article from Devdutt Pattanaik tells the stories of Shiva and his two wives, Sati and Parvati, and also the grim story of his son, Andhaka, whose birth and whose death are both deeply weird because of the power of the third eye. You can read more about Shiva, Sati, Parvati, and Andhaka at Wikipedia.

Shiva and Parvati Sculptures from Cambodia

Here is a beautiful example of Shiva and Parvati statues from Cambodia from around the year 1000 C.E. You can learn more about Shiva art at the Angkor Wat complex at Wikipedia, along with the articles about Shiva and about Parvati.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Author of the Day: Arthur Ryder

Arthur Ryder was one of the great English translators of Sanskrit, and many of his works are in the public domain now. For this class, there are two different Arthur Ryder reading options: his translation of Kalidasa's play Shakuntala and also his translation of the Sanskrit classic Vetālapañcaviṃśati, which he entitles Twenty-Two Goblins.

Arthur William Ryder was born in Ohio in 1877 and, after receiving his undergraduate degree from Harvard in 1897, he went to Berlin to study Sanskrit. He then returned to the United States and became an instructor of both Sanskrit and German at the University of California at Berkeley. A new "Department of Sanskrit" was created at Berkeley, a department in which Ryder was the only professor. One of his most famous students at Berkeley was J. Robert Oppenheimer who famously quoted from the Bhagavad-Gita during the Trinity Test of the world's first atomic bomb.

Ryder died in 1938 of a heart attack while he was teaching a Sanskrit class. That was a fitting end to the life of someone who had dedicated himself so completely to the study and teaching of Sanskrit language and literature.

You can read more about Ryder in this Wikipedia article, which is also the source for the portrait shown below:

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Kavita Kane: Lanka's Princess

Here is a video talk by the Indian novelist Kavita Kane, speaking at the Bangalore Literary Festival last month: Lanka's Princess, Vamp or Winner? Kane writes novels from the point of view of the women characters in the Indian epics; you can learn more at this article: Why Feminism in Indian mythology matters today.