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Tales from Indian Epics

Bhagawatha

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Table of Contents
Figures and Plates 7
Foreword 9
Valmiki 15
The Descent of Ganga from the Heavens to Earth 29
Rama and Sita 39 
Satya Harischandra 65
Shakuntala 70
Urvashi 83
Devayani 88
King Shibi and the Triumph of Dharma 98
Savithri and Satyavan 105
Sati Sukanya 112
Bheeshma and Vyasa 117
Abhimanyu 140
The Curse of King Parikshit 150
Plates 157
Many Incarnations 163
Narasimha, the Man-Lion 168
The Churning of the Ocean of Milk 174
Vamana, the Dwarf 186
Bhasmasura, the Ash Demon 191
Deliverance of the Elephant King 197
Dhruva 204
Krishna and Kuchela 209
Durvasa’s Anger 214
Madalasa 220
Jadabharata 232
Markandeya 235
Shiva and Parvati 238
Nala and Damayanti 243
Astika 258
Endnotes 270
Bibliography 284
Glossary 286
Index 301

Figures and Plates

Descent of Ganga from the heavens as the creatures from heaven and earth watch; the mammoth stone relief from Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India, 7th Century CE page 33.

Rama pursuing the spotted deer; this miniature is from the Persian translation of the Ramayana during the period of Mogul emperor Akbar (1598- 1599 CE) A copy of the lost original can be found in the Freer Gallery of Art, The Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC page 40.

A translation of the inset in Persian of the previous figure (courtesy: Dr Nader Haghighipour) page 41.

A silver statue of Hanuman; Chamundi Hills, Karnataka (courtesy: The Director of Information and Publicity, Government of Karnataka) page 53. The Coronation of Vibhishana by Rama; Ramaswami Temple in Kumbhakonam, Tamil Nadu, 17th Century page 63. An eighteenth century Kangra painting; the British Museum, London page 76.

A battle scene from the Mahabharata; Channakeshava Temple, Belur, Karnataka, 1117 CE page 139. An encounter between the Pandavas and the Kauravas; a miniature from the Persian translation of the Mahabharata commissioned by emperor Akbar (1560 CE), The British Museum, London page 145.

Krishna holding up the Govardhana mountain as the cows and cowherds watch; Channakeshava Temple, Belur, Karnataka, 1117 CE page 166. Ugra Narasimha, a colossal statue from the ruins of Hampi. Vijaya Nagar Empire, 14th century CE (courtesy: The Director of Information and Publicity, Government of Karnataka) page 172.

An eighteenth century painting from central India depicting the Churning of the Ocean of Milk, The British Museum, London page 181. King Bali offers Vamana, the dwarf, a gift by pouring sacred water on his palm; Hoysaleshvara Temple, Halebid, Karnataka, 1141 CE page 188.

A depiction of the deliverance of Gajendra; 18th century palm leaf manuscript from the Orissa State Museum, page 203. A part of palm leaf from an 18th century manuscript of Bhagawata by Ramannaiah, a forefather of the author, page 208. The wedding of Shiva and Parvati; Elephanta Caves in an island across Bombay, India, 8th Century CE page 241. Garuda, son of Vinata, with folded hands; Channakeshava Temple, Belur, Karnataka, 1117 CE page 262.

Plates:

  1. Dashavataram; a Bharata Natyam performance depicting the many incarnations of Vishnu (courtesy: Reena Jashnani, Tara Chandrasekhar, Vineesha Arelli and Sunita Batchu) page 159.
  2. Examples of Odissi and Kuchipudi forms of dance (courtesy: Atasi Satpathy, Sheena Sahota and Vineesha Arelli) page 160.
  3. Vishnu and his consort (courtesy: Tara Chandrasekhar) page 161.
  4. Shiva and Parvati (courtesy: Tara Chandrasekhar and Vineesha Arelli) page 162.