Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Guide: Tales of Durga

This is a guide to Tales of Durga: Tales of the Mother Goddess (Volume 514). You can find it at Amazon.

Bizzell Reserves call number: PN 6790 .I443 A437 v.514

Summary: The first story is Durga, The Slayer of Mahisha. Mahisha the asura, hoping to live forever, obtained the boon that he could only be killed by a woman. He confidently attacks Indra and occupies his throne. The angry gods conjure up Devi Durga, and they give her weapons. In his buffalo form, Mahisha (the name means "buffalo") attacks her, and then attacks her in many other forms, but Durga finally kills him. The next story is Chamundi. Shumbha, the Lord of the Asuras, with his generals Chanda and Munda, chases the gods from their heaven. The gods pray to Durga, and the goddess Ambika, a manifestation of Durga, springs forth from Parvati, and Shumbha desires to possess her, and she says she will only marry someone who can defeat her in battle. She is able to turn asuras to ashes with a single word. Ambika then generates Kali from her forehead, who crushes asuras by hurling an elephant at them. Because Kali slays both Chanda and Munda, she acquires the name Chamundi. The final story is How Durga Slew Shumbha. The gods manifest Brahmani, Vaishnavi and Maheshwari to do battle with Shumbha, and Ambika generates Chandika. Hundreds of Shakti manifestations do battle with Shumbha. The asura Raktabeeja scoffs at the women and attacks Indra's Shakti; she wounds him, and each drop of blood generates another Raktabeeja. Thousands of Raktabeejas face the Shaktis. They prevent the blood of the Raktabeejas from reaching the ground and finally they slay them all. They then kill Nishumbha, who is Shumbha's brother. All the Shaktis merge into Durga, and she slays Shumbha at last.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Guide: Tales of Balarama

This is a guide to Tales of Balarama: Valiant Brother Of Krishna (Volume 654). You can find it at Amazon.

Bizzell Reserves call number: PN 6790 .I443 A437 v.654

Summary: The first story is about how the young Krishna and Balarama (Rama) defeated the donkey-demon Dhenukasura, and they also fight the demon Pralamba, who kidnaps Balarama. In the next story, you will read how Balarama (whose name means "Rama-with-a-Plough") uses a plough to change the geography of India! Finally, you will read how Balarama marries Revati, daughter of a gigantic, and mysterious, king. You can read more about Balarama at Wikipedia.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Guide: Rabindranath Tagore

This is a guide to Rabindranath Tagore: India's Gentle Torch-Bearer (Volume 548). You can find it at Amazon.

All the ACK comic books are on Reserve in Bizzell, and the call number for this issue is: PN 6790.I443 A437 v. 548

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Guide: Vasantasena, A Dancer

This is a guide to Vasantasena, A Dancer and Her Most Precious Jewel (Volume 657). You can find it at Amazon.

All the ACK comic books are on Reserve in Bizzell, and the call number for this issue is: PN 6790.I443 A437 v. 657

You can find out more about Vasantasena at Wikipedia, and about Shudraka's play, The Little Clay Cart, in which she appears.

The evil king Palaka, aided by his wicked brother-in-law, Samasthanaka, who pursues the beautiful Vasantasena. She wants nothing to do with him, and is instead in love with a poor but good-hearted man named Charudatta (who has a wife and a son, but don't worry: he can take a second wife too). Through the twists and turns of the plot, Charaudatta comes into possession of Vasantasena's jewels, and then loses them, but through another series of twists and turns, Vasantasena gets her jewels back while her slave Madanika wins her freedom. Things all seem to be going well, but then Vasantasena unexpectedly falls into the clutches of the evil Samasthanaka again, while the king's rival, Aryaka, has escaped from prison and ends up taking Vasantasena's place in a carriage, much to Charudatta's surprise. Charudatta is then made to stand trial for a crime committed by Samasthanaka (or, rather, a crime Samasthanaka thinks he has committed). It all works out in the end, though, with yet more twists and turns in the plot that will probably remind you of a Shakespearean comedy, although this play was written a thousand years before Shakespeare!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Guide: Parashurama

This is a guide to Parashurama: Sixth Incarnation of Vishnu (Volume 764). You can find it at Amazon.

Bizzell Reserves call number: PN 6790 .I443 A437 v.764

Summary: The story begins with Bhrigu and his son Richika who married Satyavati. Bhrigu gives his daughter-in-law and her mother sacred rice to produce sons, but they mix up the pots, and this leads to a mix-up in the lineage: Satyavati's son Jamadagni will have a son, Parashurama, who, although born a kshatriya, will live a brahmin's life. He is also an incarnation of Vishnu, born to put a stop to the warriors like Kartavirya Arjuna who are wreaking havoc on earth and in heaven.

So obedient is he to his father, Jamadagni, that he is willing to kill his own mother at his father's command. Kartavirya Arjuna steals the calf of Jamadagni's homa cow, but Parashurama slays Kartavirya and rescues the calf. Kartavirya's sons then kill Jamadagni in revenge, whereupon Parashurama slays the sons of Kartavirya and then all the kshatriya on the earth, generation after generation.

Mother Earth begs Kashyapa to make Parashurama stop the slaughter, and Parashurama then gives away all his wealth to the brahmins, and he gives his weapons to Drona. Parahsurama then departs for the Mahendra mountains to live the life of a hermit ascetic.

You can find out more about Parashurama at Wikipedia.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Guide: Garuda

This is a guide to Garuda: Vishnu's Divine Mount (Volume 547). You can find it at Amazon.

Bizzell Reserves call number: PN 6790 .I443 A437 v.547

Summary: The sage Kashyapa's wives ask for sons: Kadru wants a thousand snakes (nagas), and Vinata asks for two sons as powerful as those snakes. Indra and the tiny Valakhilyas prepared the sacrificial fire, and to humble Indra the Valakhilyas pray that another Indra be born: he will be the lord of winged creatures, Garuda. Kadru's children hatch first, and the impatient Vinata cracks open one of her two eggs too early; her son Aruna, the sun's charioteer, is not fully formed. She waits until Garuda hatches and he then frees her from enslavement to her sister as a result of their bet about the color of the tail of Uchchaihshravas, the cosmic horse (Kadru cheated). To free his mother, Garuda must steal the heavenly amrita; he does so, but he also enables Indra to steal it back!