Shikhandi - Devdutt Pattanaik - Ebook download as ePub .epub), Text File .txt) or read book online. HH. Shikhandi- And Other Tales They Don t Tell You - Download as PDF File .pdf), Text BOOKS SHIKHANDI Photo credit: Puneet Reddy Devdutt Pattanaik is the . Author: Devdutt Pattanaik Title: Shikhandi and other tales they don't tell you. Publisher: Zubaan Books Publication Date: 8/15/ ISBN:
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BY DEVDUTT PATTANAIK PDF. It will certainly have no question when you are visiting choose this book. This inspiring Shikhandi: And. Other Tales They Don't. Shikhandi: And Other Tales They Don't Tell You By Devdutt Pattanaik Online. Book Details: Language: English Published, Release Date. Shikhandi and Other Tales They Don't Tell You by Devdutt. Pattanaik (review). Jane Orton. Marvels & Tales, Volume 30, Number 2, , pp. (Review).
Instead, he decided to write this, a catalogue of cross-dressing Gods. He tried to hold her but she moved away. Life is not a problem to be solved. But she had no horse. The assertive masculine?
Queerness is understood by the author to question notions of maleness and femaleness, in terms of both gender and sexuality. The book begins with a series of statements reflecting a variety of sexual and gender identities and some short introductory paragraphs that attempt to highlight the cultural filters of which scholars must be aware before understanding queerness in Hinduism.
Pattanaik touches on the importance of yuga eras in Hindu mythology, suggesting that the literal approach taken by many Western scholars leads to the conclusion that Brahmanic hegemony is endorsed by Hindu mythology. The author gives us only a brief survey in these pages of Hinduism, its roots in the Vedic tradition, and its transformation as Puranic traditions later gained prominence. There is brief reference to the origins of the term Hinduism by British colonizers as a matter of administrative convenience, but in these few pages Pattanaik does not give us a sense of the academic debate surrounding this term when it comes to categorizing Hinduism as a unified religion.
For this reason, readers new to the study of Hinduism may miss out on some of the cultural implications of this collection, especially with regard to the diversity of Hindu traditions. Pattanaik says that Hindu mythology reveals that patriarchy was invented, whereas feminism was discovered through the difference between the genderless soul and the flesh in Hindu thought. Pattanaik further claims that it was the invention of monastic orders that deemed women to be distractions from the divine.
Hindu mythology, we are told, repeatedly refers to queerness. Pattanaik goes on to give a brief survey of stories with elements of queerness found in other regions of the world. Once again, this section is perhaps too brief to support the kind of general claims that the author seems to want to make, but readers will find this stimulating as an introduction to queerness in mythology.
Part II of the book is a collection of thirty stories that deal with aspects of queerness in Hindu written and oral tradition. Among others, we learn of Shikhandi, raised as a man and married to a woman, who became a man to satisfy her wife; Kali, who became a man to dance with milkmaids; Bhangashvana, who was a mother and a man; Ratnavali, who became the companion of her female friend; and Bahuchara, whose husband was an incomplete man. The final story is that of Ram, who included all genders in his kingdom.
At the end of every story, Pattanaik provides context regarding the literary background of these tales and their reinterpretations and retellings, in addition to reflections on the queer themes in these stories. Some readers might question the generalizations made in some of these reflections; we are told, for example, that a queer person might see Bhangashvana as Aztec mythology speaks of the effeminate flower prince Xochipilli.
Women were told to be chaste: Of course. Gentle attempts. Queer stories are not restricted to Hindu mythology. It is common to either deny the existence of such fluidity in our stories. She is so ashamed that she hides the two sons born of this union under the sea after making one deaf and the other mute.
In the Cuban Santeria mythology is the story of a sea-goddess who accidentally has sex with her son. Ancient Egyptian mythology tells the story of Set who. There is even the story of a man who was executed for desiring a man but was transformed by the gods of the underworld into the rabbit deity. This hierarchy is established through rituals. In the Confucian worldview.
Egyptian mythology speaks of the combat between Set and the falcon-headed Horus over the throne of Osiris. This is further reinforced by talk of lands inhabited only by women. There is even a tender story of the Emperor Ai who cut the sleeve of his garment rather than. It recommends a hierarchy where subjects bow to the king. Here homosexuality is seen in terms of power with the more aggressive partner being given more respect than the passive one.
But these eunuchs were not transgenders: Chinese Taoist mythology has amongst its eight immortals Lan Caihe of ambiguous sexuality. Bureaucrats and aristocrats. Their severed parts. In China. In the Taoist view of the world. There are references to male dragons. Japanese Shinto mythology speaks of the androgynous Inari.
Confucian thought has always been at odds with the Taoist scheme of things. To do his job. One school of thought qualifies such man-man or man-boy relationships as transcendental platonic friendships. Thus everyone is given a place. The bromance between Gilgamesh and Enkidu has been described in Mesopotamian clay tablets.
Ganymede was abducted by Zeus. It reveals an indifference to things queer so long as the stability of society is not threatened by them. Hence the proverb. The Greeks had a goddess called Artemis.
To appease an angry Artemis and calm the seas. Another school dismisses these liaisons as indulgences of bored aristocratic men. When a man tried to seduce her. That these queer tales are restricted to men can be attributed to the overarching framework of patriarchy. In both cases queerness is invented to distance oneself from the limitations of both nature sex and culture marriage either for a higher emotion or for base pleasures.
He gives the blind man the role of a musician. In the ancient Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh. But there are exceptions. Similar sentiments are seen in the words uttered by David at the death of Jonathan in the Bible and in the reaction of Achilles to the death of Patroclus. To be fair.
Sebastian was declared a martyr by the early Christian Church. Biblical mythology forms the foundation of Judaism. They also point to the curious case of an aging martyr. God is presented as a punitive patriarch. Persian mythology introduces us to the Devil.
It speaks of the Chosen People. This was not the case always. Executed for choosing God over the Roman Emperor. Artemis inspired the legend of the Amazons.
Diana of the Romans.
Biblical mythology makes room for only one God and one way of life. Roman soldiers who were martyred in the third century on account of their faith. In the New Testament of Christians. He destroys the city of Sodom and Gomorrah whose sexual behaviour he does not approve of after the prophet named Lut Islamic name for the biblical Lot fails in his mission to reform them. Christianity and Islam. This idea had a major influence on biblical mythology that emerged in the Near East and was also influenced by neighbouring mythologies of Mesopotamia the idea of the flood and edicts.
Greek mythology made a comeback during the Renaissance. In Europe. In the Vinaya Pataka. We see this trend in neo-Buddhism. From the Jain traditions. But years ago. Like all believers who do not doubt the myth they inhabit.
Nation states. It inspired Marx to write about class hierarchy. Most faiths of the East.
She becomes the daughter of Mara. That force continues to impact our lives today. He spoke of a world of equality without class. God here is replaced by the people who make their wishes known through the democratic process. Biblical mythology overwhelmed Greek mythology in Europe roughly years ago. The many powerful Greek gods were rejected in favour of one biblical God spelt with capitalisation to emphasise its singularity.
The judiciary serves as the biblical prophet keeping a watchful eye on political leaders who often err like biblical kings. The more austere Digambar school rejects this story of the Shvetambar school and prefers visualising Malli-nath as male.
All Jain Tirthankaras are male except perhaps Malli-nath. But activism refuses to take things lying down. But human imagination often amplifies fear.
Acts of adharma must not incur outrage. Fear crumples our mind and narrows our view of the world as we invent predators. Anger only amplifies this fear. Still others blame the Buddhist vihara and the Hindu matha traditions. We cannot expect better from civic institutions and political ideologies based on biblical mythology. Women questioned the privileged position of men. The celebration of queer ideas in Hindu stories. Fear makes us want to dominate and discriminate.
Fear makes us shun potential predators. But this courtesy was not extended to queer people. To enable this is dharma. When political freedom was finally achieved in the twentieth century. This is adharma. The world changed forever. Queer people. Life is not a problem to be solved. Darshan reveals that fear of death pervades nature.
Many Hindus shrug their shoulders and blame it on Kali yuga. Others blame Muslims for it. Minorities everywhere challenged the privileges of the majority. Humans alone have the power to outgrow this fear. This is the world we now live in. This sparked off other ideas. But not to queer people. The courts of India have always upheld secularism and human rights.
It is a sight to be seen. Ignored by the mainstream. Rather than focussing on oppressor and oppressed. Why is Shiva half a woman but Shakti not half a man? Thus is queerness rendered invisible. Nobody is forced to widen their gaze using laws or propaganda for that simply sparks resentment that festers underground.
When the queer is pointed out in Hindu stories. Most mythologies. No attempt is made to enquire. But the hijra. But Hindu mythology is based on rebirth. For every choice. In Hindu temples. The purpose of rules and rituals then is to not to regulate humanity. Why does the Goddess take on the masculine role of warrior. Hindu mythology focuses on how we see the world: The hijras challenge not just the boundaries of gender.
The West ridicules this approach as passive for it has always valued changes in the external world society. I have no control over political propaganda. We can turn anything into symbols. The narrator also influences the stories we hear. It is meant to communicate complex feelings. The Gita is very different when seen through the eyes of Kosambi of Marxist leanings.
Tilak of radical leanings and Gandhi of pacifist leanings. There is no such thing as an objective interpretation. This is a celebration of stories narrated by our ancestors that are rarely retold publicly as they seem to challenge popular notions of normality. That is not my intention. Subjective truth is indifferent to rationality. Madhava who wrote in Sanskrit are very different from works of Dnyaneshwara and Tukaram.
We have to allow for transmission loss. Dirt is ultimately an invention of culture. Those who read this book can accuse me of deliberating queering. For example. Stories in India are never original: Within infinite myths lies an eternal truth Who knows it all?
Varuna has but a thousand eyes Indra. This does not make rational sense. This is not an academic book seeking to prove. And the Gita seen through queer eyes? Dare we even consider? The reader further influences what is finally heard. Symbols are the private language of a community. She has the power to conclude that the Gita is secular wisdom for all of humanity. Commentaries on the Gita. This results in diversity even in matters related to truth and law. Judges are called in. This Western discourse also shapes modern Indian interpretations of Hindu mythology.
In nature. Traditional Indian academic discourse. More often than not. Thus equipped. There was once a princess called Amba. Anyone who accepted this garland would kill Bhisma. Unfortunately for Amba. Shiva appeared. Determined to avenge this insult. Shikhandi could prove his masculinity to anyone who cared to test it. Confronted with her femininity for the first time in her life.
Amba begged that she be allowed to marry the man of her choice and Vichitravirya let her go. Amba leapt into the fire and died. Sthuna lent her his manhood for one night. Hiranyavarna sent his courtesans who sent back a satisfactory report. To hasten her next life. Hiranyavarna apologised to Drupada and sent his daughter back. But Drupada wanted a son and had been promised one by Shiva. Shalva refused to accept her as his wife as she had been tainted. So Amba returned to Vichitravirya.
She grew up believing she was a warrior. Shikhandi then performed his husbandly duties to the satisfaction of his newly wedded wife. The girl. Parashuram tried. Drupada claimed his daughter was actually his son and ordered her to be raised as one. Shikhandi felt responsible for this calamity.
But when Shikhandi. Concluding that his daughter had made a mistake. Shikhandini not Shikhandi. But a yaksha called Sthuna saved her.
Convinced that Shiva would not lie to him. I cannot defeat him. Resolving to kill herself. When even Drupada.
A desperate Amba invoked Shiva. He too refused to accept her. He also knew that this was impossible. She requested him to be her champion and punish Bhisma. Amba then went to Bhisma and begged him to marry her. He said he could not as he had taken the vow of celibacy. But on the day she was to select him as her husband. King Hiranyavarna of Dasarna. She was even given a wife. Amba then approached Parashuram. Was it a woman he saved or a man? For the girl thought like a man and felt like a man and had always been treated as a man.
But on the wedding night. So Drupada conducted a yagna that would give him the children he wanted. Following this incident. Drona had asked the Kuru princes to give him one half of Panchala. But how do we get a woman into the battlefield? That is not permitted by law. For that we have to get him to lower his bow. He will lower his bow not before a man but certainly before a woman. Shikhandi could be neither one nor the other. Drona was made commander of the Kaurava armies.
Sure enough Bhisma refused to raise his bow against him declaring. Control over it could only be regained after thirteen years of forest exile.
The only way to get back what was theirs was by declaring war. Foolishly they gambled and lost their kingdom. The fire yielded Draupadi. But we will contest his view. The jealous Kauravas invited the Pandavas to a game of dice during which the Pandavas were lured into wagering their kingdom. He was useless. Draupadi became the common wife of the five Pandava brothers who demanded a kingdom of their own as the hundred Kauravas refused to share Hastinapur with them.
He managed to kill Drupada. Drupada offered his army. This was the clue Krishna was looking for. Drupada was happy to finally get a son. Though old. Bhisma had asked Drona to tutor the Kuru princes. Behind him was Arjuna. When the Pandavas returned from exile. Besides no one can kill me as I can choose the time of my death. They included the five Pandavas.
It would return to Sthuna only after Shikhandi died. Drupada wanted a son who would kill Drona and a daughter who would divide the Kuru household that had supported Drona. Bhisma led the Kaurava forces. Bhisma gave them the forest of Khandavprastha on which they built the very impressive city of Indraprastha.
This meant he could never father a son putra or daughter putri and so faced eternal entrapment in a hell-like realm Put unable to be reborn for having failed to repay his debt to his ancestors pitr. But it was no happy ending. This reinforces the traditional association of sex with mortality. Vijaydan Detha. This was the post-Buddhist phase of Hinduism.
This is like an organ transplant from an organ donor. It reveals a patriarchal bias even in the queer space. Bhisma castrates himself. On the night of victory. It sometimes also refers to a peacock or specifically its crest. The elder Shikhandi or the younger Dhristadhyumna? How does it feel to know that your husband was a woman on the wedding night and then is a man in the following nights.
Eventually all the Kauravas were killed and the kingdoms of Hastinapur and Indraprastha came under Pandava control. Bhisma dies right in the midpoint of the day war on the tenth day making the queerness here not accidental but quite deliberate. In the Mahabharata tale. When Teeja turns into a man. And Shikhandi. It is one of the names of God and so part of the list of a thousand names of Shiva and Vishnu. I make wars for you. Dark clouds covered the sky.
The emotion is one of submission. When the mother finally arrived. Sometimes man. The rains were incessant. The prayers reached Mount Kailasa and so moved was Shiva by the plight of his devotees that he decided to deliver the child himself. God tends to be predominantly masculine and distant. He comforted her with songs and held her hands and wiped her sweat until the baby slipped out.
O lord of the meeting rivers. Even though his wives are women. Only he can help. The deity is called Thayumanaswamy. The river Kaveri was in spate. You are smeared with ash. Queer vocabulary helps break the fixed structures of humanity and flow into divinity.
In other devotional traditions. These queer stories are not sexual but they do challenge notions of gender. The sound of thunder was deafening. The imposter smiled and disappeared and the daughter realised she was none other than Shiva. No boatman was willing to risk his life or his boat. While Vedic ideas spread in India from north to south. You will still be a hermit for you have conquered your desires and will dispassionately help me satisfy mine. Kumbhaka turned into a woman called Madanika.
That night. The sage did not take this comment kindly and cursed me that I would turn into a woman every night. Chudala did not stop her husband as he had clearly made up his mind. The king saw them and turned away unmoved.
Madanika transformed into Chudala and revealed her identity and purpose. King Shikhidhvaja sought wisdom. Madanika said. Determined to find wisdom. He realised the limitation of his knowledge. After that. Thus the king was hermit by day and hermit by night.
One day. This made the queen very happy. Kumbhaka said. Then one day. Help me. It is not about being a hermit in the forest. I long to know the pleasure known to a woman. She followed her husband in the form of a man and introduced herself to him as a fellow hermit called Kumbhaka.
Thus enlightened. Every day. But the king did not care too much for what she had to say. Please carry on. But she was determined to get him back. For him. Thus the king was hermit by day but householder by night.
The work contains the essence of Vedantic teachings. His wife. He also realized how he had refused to see wisdom in his wife simply because she was a woman. It is about overpowering lust and attachment wherever you are. Shikhidhvaja was very receptive to these words as they came from a man. The same knowledge was acceptable when she took the form of a man. As Kumbhaka. The king let Madanika sleep in his hermitage.
Such a question may not cross the mind of the non-queer person. That is when his teacher. These stories make up the Yoga Vasishtha.
In the Buddhist Manikantha Jataka. Only when she becomes a man can he accept that knowledge. Queerness here is a tool used to demonstrate. Is that the reason for the sexual demands of Chudala and Madanika? Is that why the king does not mind sexually satisfying his male friend who turns into a woman at night? He sees the man in intellectual terms and the woman in sexual terms only. Does he also see the man in sexual terms?
A queer person may ask this question. But with Manikantha gone. That the woman he is making love to has the mind of a man does not matter to the king. Thus sex is seen only in physical terms. Sex is seen as something that takes one away from dharma. In wisdom. The story draws attention to the idea that it is not the sexual act. To get rid of Manikantha. He therefore came to be known as Bhasma-asura. The pot has always been associated with the Goddess and feminine power.
The tensions are implicit in the narrative: Vishnu is the woman. But are alternate views allowed? Or is that simply postmodern and disrespectful of tradition? What about queer views that have traditionally been silenced? Just as Buddhists say. Written in Sanskrit. Bhasma agreed. Overcome by lust. Shiva was so overwhelmed with desire that he abandoned his consort Parvati and ran after Mohini. The deluded Bhasma. He is an ascetic and can only be visited by men who live like ascetics for over a month.
An asura once pleased Shiva with his devotion and obtained the power to burn to ashes anyone on whose head he placed his hand. This shows Buddhist influence too. It was the form he had taken to trick the asuras before. Thus Hanuman. Shiva fled in terror and sought the help of Vishnu who transformed into Mohini and distracted Bhasma. These books either favour Shiva. Hanuman is not related to Shiva.
Amongst them were Ayyappa. Shiva then noticed how beautiful Vishnu was as Mohini. The asura decided to try out his powers on Shiva himself. Bhasma begged Mohini to marry him. Mohini touched her head. Together he and Mohini created many great warriors. Then defence and apology follow.
Or he does it himself. Stories such as these sought to bring them together. By making him the son of Shiva and Vishnu. Ayyappa transcends sectarian rivalries.
Vishnu does this through Parvati. During the course of her dance. There are 18 major Puranas and several minor Puranas. His shrine seeks to bring together members of rival sects and rival religions. He resides atop a mountain. In Agni Purana. The stories and list of kings found in them are not consistent indicating several generations of reworking. In Shaiva traditions. When the world became corrupt. The wild goddess Kali is dark. She took the form of the dark-complexioned Krishna.
The householder Vishnu is dark. A point came when Kali had to stop. The devas begged Kali to appear once more and do what she had done before.
Shakti and Vishnu in medieval Bengal. The lovemaking of God and Goddess renewed the world. She drank their blood and garlanded herself with a string of severed heads.
Radha included. It is not restricted either by custom or by law. She is still a woman. But love had transformed Kali. A time came when the world became corrupt again.
Radha danced around him. She decided to take another form and descend on earth. The dutiful Krishna is dark. So the devas begged the fair-complexioned Shiva to help. Kali stepped on him. Violence was replaced with love as she lowered herself and made love to her beloved. Hence the women. But sectarian rivalry demanded Vishnu not be seen as effeminate.
In the old matriarchal order. Shiva is the bull and Vishnu is the caretaker of the cow. Shiva and Shakti want to join the raas-leela but while Shakti is allowed. The only way they could enter was by taking a dip in the river Yamuna and allowing themselves to be transformed into women. Shiva is always seen as the supreme male in the forest of women along with his consort Shakti.
Shiva begs Radha to let him enter. Many men wanted to join this dance but were not allowed. The only way he could survive was by castrating himself. Radha was the favourite. As Nataraja. There is even the tradition of abandoning masculinity completely as one loses oneself in love for Krishna. It always took place at night. Krishna said. This practice was also seen in the cult of Cybele in the Near East.
This could be a metaphor for shedding the need to dominate ego? Of all the women who danced with Krishna. They formed a circle around the divine couple.
Shiva is not as he is a man. This narrative transformed in patriarchal times. Eager to join the rasa-mandala. So she stood alongside Gauri and watched Natwara dance with Nataraja who became Gopeshwara.
Vishnu is more feminine. He is Shiva. He made me Natawara. This sakhi-bhava-parampara probably emerged between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries with the mingling of bhakti and Tantrik cults.
So he was visualised as purna-purusha. Many women joined Krishna and Radha as they danced in the meadows of Madhuvan. This was the rasa-mandala. By contrast. Radha found Krishna dancing with another gopi or milkmaid. The dance was called the raas-leela. So they decided to obtain the gifts by deceit. There are many regional variations of these words. Sumedhas was at first surprised but later agreed to marry his former friend. The two youths were in a fix.
Simantini guessed these were two men pretending to be a couple. With the gifts they received. Will the equation between them post transformation and post marriage be one of equals considering it is a queer one. They learned of one queen. Sumedhas and Samavan were two poor brahmins. One can speculate that they may have common roots because of sea-links between India and the South East in medieval times. Shiva and Shakti. The word for the active masculine homosexual is panthi.
This is the queer question that begs to be asked. When this news reached King Brihadbala of Dasharna. To wash away the resulting pollution. Relatively fewer images exist of two men having sex.
They could not bear the thought of being separated after marriage. His priest went back with him. Ratnavali could not marry and Brahmani refused to marry. This could be representations of women in love. A proposal was sent to King Brihadbala of Dasharna who accepted it and set out for Anarta with his resident priest.
Are the gods indifferent to. Ratnavali was told to look upon the youth as her son. The place where Shiva blessed the two girls became a holy place known as Shudri-Brahmani-tirtha.
Shiva appeared before Brahmani to bless her. Could shrines of twin goddesses in India be dedicated to lesbian women forced to commit suicide.
Who knows! Everything depends on the eye of the beholder. Maybe there are also on the walls images of persons of the third gender who can easily be mistaken as male or female. Konark and Khajuraho. We will never know as oral traditions suppress such queer themes. On learning of the intensity of their emotion.
The lad was their only son. Brahmani refused to take the blessing until Shiva appeared before Ratnavali and blessed her too. This bond may be emotional but can it also be sexual? Or is that unacceptable? They preferred death. Such is the power of the magic potion produced by a yagna.
In response. Indra let the newborn suckle his thumb. If mother. When the king visited the sages. The child whose mother was a man.
This makes him special. Mandhata is an ancestor of Ram and belongs to the Surya-vamsa. He bypasses the passage of death and rebirth. Feeling sorry for him. As mother. First by Lomasha during the exile of the Pandavas and the next time by Vyasa during the war with the Kauravas. Nine months later. King Yuvanashva of the Ikshavaku clan had several wives but no children. Here the potion is said to make the womb capable of germinating even the weak seed of men. Thus the womb is not necessary for the production of a child according to the Mahabharata.
There was no orifice through which the child could emerge. Yuvanashva invoked Ashwini. It is then repeated in the Puranas. That is why children suck on their thumb when seeking comfort. He is a-yoni-ja. Out flowed milk for milk runs in the veins of the gods as blood runs in the veins of humans.
Bhangashvana ended up with two sets of children: When asked why. Bhangashvana replied. He accidentally kills the female of a pair of copulating serpents and so turns into a woman. Indra revived both sets of children. He hissed out a curse that the two sets of children would fight and kill each other. It is here that the story of Bhangashvana is located. He is asked to answer a question that led to a furious debate between Zeus and Hera.
This speaks of a very different Indian value system from what we have today. Yudhishtira asked the dying Bhisma who gets greater pleasure in the world: Bhangashvana made offerings of appeasement and begged that the children be revived. They would see the tale as a metaphor. Almost a third of the epic is composed of the conversation between the Pandavas and Bhisma.
On learning of his lapse and the wrath of Indra. Those uncomfortable with queer sexuality would prefer seeing the tale literally. When this came to pass. Indra cursed Bhangashvana and turned him into a woman. They make up the chapters called the Shanti Parva book of peace and Anushasana Parva book of discipline.
The sacrifice pleased the devas and in due course. Pleased with his honesty. Bhangashvana was inconsolable in grief.
They ask him who gets greater pleasure in the sexual act: