Thursday, December 16, 2010

Indian Epic Storybooks: Battles and Weapons

Both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are military epics, filled with heroes and battles, along with special weapons, some of them divine! You can look at some of the past Storybooks about battles and weapons to start exploring this topic.

To get a sense of the battles you might choose from, take a look at the page about heroes and also the page about demons - plus the page about death. That will give you a lot of characters to research!

If you are interested in the famous weapons of the epics, you can take a look at the Wikipedia articles about astras, which contains a helpful table that lists many of the most famous weapons, and you might also find this list of weapons helpful.

The Vajra, for example, is the thunderbolt weapon of the god Indra, while the Trishula is the trident wielded by Shiva. Vishnu used the Sudarshana Chakra as his preferred weapon, and Krishna also wielded the discus, as when he beheaded Sishupala. Hanuman used the gada, or mace, as did the hero Bhima.

Because Rama was famous for his use of the bow and arrow, he is sometimes called Kodanda-Rama, "Rama with Bow and Arrow," which distinguishes him from Parashu-Rama, "Rama of the Axe" (another incarnation of Vishnu who was named Rama).

The image below shows Parashurama challenging Varuna, god of the sea, with his axe!






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