Friday, February 10, 2012

Monkeying about with... Varanas!


[image courtesy : http://paizo.com]

Vānara (Sanskrit: वानर) popularly refers to a group of ape-like humanoids in the Hindu epic Ramayana who were brave and inquisitive by nature. They possessed supernatural powers and could shape shift.
 The term Vanara can be described as forest-dweller (vane carati iti vanara). [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanara]

Vanaras were created by Brahma and the other Gods to help in battle. They are powerful and have many godly traits. Taking Brahma's orders, the Gods began to parent sons in the semblance of monkeys (Ramayana 1.17.8). The Vanaras took birth in bears and monkeys attaining the shape and valor of the gods and goddesses who created them (Ramayana 1.17.17-18). After Vanaras were created they began to organize into armies and spread across the forests.

Personality wise, the Varanas are considered to be amusing, childish, mildly irritating, badgering, hyperactive, adventurous, bluntly honest, loyal, courageous, and kind.

[picture courtesy: exoticindiaart]
One of the most famous Varanas is Hanuman (check out the link for a super interesting myth). Hanuman is considered a deity and a central character in Ramayana. There are a lot of clips on youtube that depict Hanuman and some of the stories around him (spoken in Hindi). Here's one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzOBZMV7aw8&feature=related)

One of the other interesting features of Hanuman in particular, was his ability to shape shift. He could shrink himself to the size of a cat, and also magically grow to the size of a mountain (hello King Kong!)

Vanaras were also described in the epic Mahabharata, as one of theVanaras were described as one of the Exotic Tribes of Ancient India.

All up, a very cool and interesting mythological creature, and one that is still worshipped today.

10 comments:

  1. Thanks heaps, Nicola. Loved learning more about Varanas.

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  2. While reading this I couldn't help but think of the 1995 Disney movie A Little Princess (based on the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett). The main character told a bunch of stories from the Ramayana, and there was a cute little monkey named Hanuman as well. I now have the urge to find the movie and watch it again.

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  3. I bought some tiny mythological plastic models of mythological creatures years ago and one of them is actually Hanuman. I might check out that Disney movie too!
    Have a great week you two. :)

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  4. I am now extremely excited. I just checked on my NOOK and they have finally made both Creations and Mimosa available as NOOK books. I guess I'm going to read Mimosa before bed tonight. :D

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  5. Let me know what you think!!! :)) Enjoy

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  6. Read it, loved it, and now I want more.

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  7. LOL. So so glad you liked it. Haven't had any reviews for it so I've been wondering what readers think! Hopefully this afternoon after I'll get some good writing time in... :)

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  8. So I posted a review for Mimosa on Goodreads. Also, the friend I let borrow my copy of Magical Gains really liked it so I'm going to let her borrow Magical Creations next.

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