Sunday, January 25, 2015

Storybook Topics

1. Karma

I talk about karma on a daily basis. Usually half-joking, but never the less the word “karma” comes out of my mouth several times a day. I absolutely love the idea of actions having an impact on the future. Karma to me has always been an easy way to summarize the “Golden Rule”. If you do something bad, something bad will happen to you. If you do something good, something good will happen to you. I am very interested to learn more about the history, as well as the religious associations with karma.
According to Wikipedia the literally meaning of karma is action. It is also associated with re-birth and the ideas of after-life. I think this will be very easy to find information on, and the research so far has been very interesting, especially the incorporation of Hinduism. The association of the Lotus flower to karma is also a nice little plus, since it is so beautiful

2. Gurus, Yogis, Rishis

I really liked the idea of exploring gurus, yogis, and rishis because of the idea of constantly having a teacher. I have noticed, so far that Rama constantly has an adviser, or teacher with him, and I can’t help but think that that helps him have a more overall successful life having that extra guidance. I was also drawn to this idea because of the category of yogis. Meditation is fascinating to me. Sitting down and taking time out of your day, to reflect and clear your mind can only be a good thing so why not learn more about it!
I have never heard of the word “sadhu” and from what I have been noticing through Wikipedia, yogis and sadhus are very similar in the way that they dedicate their life to meditation, and in a sense retirement. These images are incredible! The bright red these dedicated individuals wear is truly beautiful. I really hope to learn more about individual “mentors” in the Indian epics.  

(Here is an image from Wikipedia of what "typical" Sadus would look like)

3. Women Characters

Even within the first half of Ramayana, there have been many woman characters that have a huge role in how the story proceeds. Not only are there female human characters, but also goddesses and rakshasas. I like this option because it is so open and there is just so much more to learn. Particularly I am very interested in Sita and Ahalya. I feel as if their story has been muted through Ramayana, and would love to have more information on other aspects of their life.
So far it has been slightly overwhelming. There are so many woman characters! Looking further into Sita and Ahalaya has really been rewarding. There is so much information on each woman that I am very excited to explore

4. Birth Stories, Death Stories

Everyone has an interesting birth story, even if they don’t know it. In order for everything to line up just perfectly for a person to enter the world, some would argue is a miracle each time- similarly with death. We often do not like to talk about death but within epics, death is usually a very dramatic, story.

I hoped to narrow it down to either birth or death stories in my research but both topic are so interesting, and quite frankly in some ways crazy. (Like the fact that Rama and his brothers wouldn't have been conceived without magic rice?!) I also found Yama very interesting being the god of death. He gets to decide what you are reincarnated as upon your death. I feel like this is going to be a very interesting topic to explore. Does anyone ever think Yama is unjust?

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