Sunday, February 26, 2017

Wikipedia: Hindu Festivals to the Batu Caves

I'm having so much fun reading the Wikipedia Trails that people do for class that I've decided to start doing Wikipedia Trails of my own!

Today, I'm starting with the List of Hindu festivals. This is nowhere near a complete list, but it contains a good list to start from with a summary of each festival and an image, like this image of a Murugan from the festival of Thaipusam.

So from there of course I went to the article about Thaipusam, a Tamil festival that celebrates the weapon that Parvati gave to her son Murugan so that he could defeat Soorapadman, a wicked asura. This image shows a Thaipusam festival in Singapore:

That made me curious about the weapon, Vel, which is a spear-like weapon, and it is especially associated with the worship of Murugan (Kartikeya). This is a statue of Murugan in Malaysia holding a vel:

That statue is at the Batu Caves in Malaysia, so that is where I went next. A nineteenth-century Indian trader thought the cave entrance looked like a vel (!), so he decided to create a shrine dedicated to Murugan. Here is the cave interior; it looks amazing!

Diigo: Mahabharata Graphic Novels on Reserve in Bizzell

These are the graphic novels about the Mahabharata on Reserve in Bizzell:

Click refresh to see another comic book at random;
click on the title to learn more.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wendy Doniger interview

One of the most famous American scholars of the religions and literature of ancient India is Wendy Doniger. Here is a link to excerpts from a lecture she gave a year ago, in May 2015, in which she discusses her life and work as a scholar: A Life of Learning.

We have several Wendy Doniger books in Bizzell Library, and my favorite is this one: Dreams, Illusion, and Other Realities (click on the link to check availability in Bizzell).

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Games in India

You know how important the game of dice is in the Mahabharata, and I've written in another blog post about the Indian origins of the game called Parcheesi. In this article, you can learn lots more about the history of game design in India. Fascinating!

by Cassidee Moser

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Today's Featured Author: Sister Nivedita

Today's featured author is SISTER NIVEDITA. Sister Nivedita is a fascinating person, and you can read an account of her life in this Wikipedia article. Here is a picture of her around the year 1910:

Sister Nivedita was born Margaret Elizabeth Noble in Ireland in 1867, and she grew up there, becoming a schoolteacher. Then, in London in 1895, she met Swami Vivekananda, a remarkable disciple of the saint Ramakrishna; Vivekananda is famous for being among the first to introduce Indian traditions like Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world. You can find out more in the Amar Chitra Katha comic book about him: Vivekananda: He Kindled The Spirit Of Modern India. Vivekananda gave Margaret Noble the name Nivedita, and she moved to Kolkata (Calcutta) in India, where she opened a school for girls. She died in India in 1911, and her epitaph reads: "Here reposes Sister Nivedita who gave her all to India."

Here are the books by Sister Nivedita that I've listed at the Freebookapalooza:

And here is a commemorative postage stamp from India, honoring Sister Nivedita:

Monday, February 6, 2017

Epified; Greatest Twins

Here's another nice video from Epified, and you can learn more about these famous twins at Wikipedia:

Yami and Yama
Kripa and Kripi
Lakshmana and Shatrughna, Rama's brothers
Ashwini Kumaras
Lava and Kusha, the sons of Rama

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Item. Featured Story: Rama and the Squirrel

I really enjoyed reading the stories in Sacred Stories: Indian Moral Stories for Children by Morris Fenris.

One of my favorites is the story of Rama and the squirrels. Fenris includes that story ("How the Squirrel Got its Stripes"), and I thought I would write up a blog post about it. The story also figures in Buck's Ramayana,  Narayan's RamayanaPattanaik's Pashu, and Pattanaik's Book of Ram, where Pattanaik explains that the legend of the squirrel comes from the 16th-century Dandi Ramayana (Jagamohan Ramayana) of Balaram Das; you can find out more about the literature of Odisha at Wikipedia.

Here is a quick summary of the story: When Rama and his army of monkeys and bears were building a stone bridge to Lanka, there was a squirrel who wanted to help, and so he brought tiny pebbles and grains of sand to add to the bridge. The monkeys and bears made fun of the squirrel, but Rama praised the squirrel and explained that the pebbles and sand was actually useful in filling the gaps between the bigger rocks. Rama then stroked the squirrel's back, and lines appeared where Rama had touched him. You can see those lines on the squirrels of today: