Sunday, April 26, 2015

Guide: Kumbhakarna

This is a guide to Kumbhakarna: The Sleeping Giant (Volume 528). You can find it at Amazon.

Bizzell Reserves call number: PN 6790 .I443 A437 v.528

In the commentary below, I have provided links so that you can compare the comic book version with other accounts of the story and/or important background information. Make sure you read the comic-book version AND explore some of the additional reading listed based on what interests you most, and then you will be ready to write your Diary post. Doing the reading and writing the blog post will take 1-2 hours.

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Kumbhakarna and Indra (pp. 1-3). Meet Kumbhakarna, a giant rakshasa who is able to defeat even the god Indra in battle.
Additional reading: You can learn more at Wikipedia about Indra and also about Airavata, the celestial elephant that is his vahana (vehicle). 
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The Brothers' Wishes (pp. 4-7). Brahma awards boons to the three rakshasa brothers: Ravana, Kumbhakarna, and Vibhishana. Indra is worried about Kumbhakarna becoming any stronger, so he arranges for Kumbhakarna to make a foolish wish.
Additional reading: You can find out more about the god Brahma and the goddess Saraswati at Wikipedia. You can also find out about Vibhishana and the wish he was granted at Wikipedia.
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Rama's Army (pp. 8-12). When Rama comes to rescue Sita, Ravana first sends the warrior Bhasmalochana to fight him, and Ravana himself then confronts Rama.
Additional reading: The story of Bhasmalochana comes from the Bengali folk tradition. Bashmalochana's "deadly gaze" may remind you of the Greek myths of Medusa and of the basilisk.
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Kumbhakarna Awakes (pp. 13-20). Unable to defeat Rama himself, Ravana turns to Kumbhakarna. Waking the giant is both difficult and dangerous, and when he wakes up, he is very hungry!
Additional reading: Arthur William Ryder has translated this famous part of the Ramayana into English verse which you can read here: Pot-Ear's Awakening. (The name "Kumbha-karna" means "Pot-Ear" in English.)
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Kumbhakarna in Battle (pp. 21-27). Kumbhakarna terrifies Rama's army, but the monkey warriors Neela and Sugreeva mount an attack.
Additional reading: You can read more about Sugreeva, the monkey king of Kishkindha, at Wikipedia.
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Rama and Kumbhakarna (pp. 28-30). Kumbhakarna returns to the battlefield and demands that Rama face him in combat.
Additional reading: Now that you are done with the comic book version, take a look at the Wikipedia article about Kumbhakarna and see how it matches up with what you read here.

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