Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God: Retracing the Ramayana Through India

Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God: Retracing the Ramayana Through India

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by Jonah Blank
     
 

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For 3,000 years, India has told the epic tale of the blue-skinned man-god Rama's journey across its timeless land; this unique travel book retraces his steps and retells his story in a vivid portrait of India today. See more details below

Overview

For 3,000 years, India has told the epic tale of the blue-skinned man-god Rama's journey across its timeless land; this unique travel book retraces his steps and retells his story in a vivid portrait of India today.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Blank, who has reported on Asia for the Dallas Morning News, traveled the length and breadth of India, retracing the footsteps of the god Rama, hero of the ancient Sanskrit epic (portions of which introduce each chapter). Coupling journalistic detachment with piercing lyricism, he samples the subcontinent in all its horrific, multitudinous, overwhelming diversity, from Bombay's Hollywood-style dream factories to Calcutta's leper-filled streets. He ponders the nation's lingering caste divisions, with their ``BMW Brahmins'' and destitute untouchables. He meets Sikh separatists in the Punjab and, in Sri Lanka, tracks down Tamil Tiger guerrillas, young boys carrying AK-47s. He converses with holy men in ashrams and probes the erotic intensity of the Krishna cult. He scuffles with Indian's venal, infuriating bureaucracy. Blank writes beautifully and taps into India's elusive, indestructible soul with a clarity few writers attain, as he ponders the paradoxes of a country where deep-rooted fatalism clashes with Westernization and a new social mobility. (Sept.)
Donna Seaman
Blank, a young American journalist, traversed India to follow the path of Rama and Sita as described in the "Ramayana", one of the world's greatest epics. He vividly retells this ancient, endlessly intriguing Hindu tale of marital and spiritual duty in between accounts of his journey and reflections on India's intrinsic focus on spirituality, its turbulent history, and current dilemmas. Blank begins in Ayodhya, believed to be Rama's birthplace and now the scene of violent confrontations between Hindus and Muslims. Drawing upon anecdotes, conversations, theological insights, and an unwavering talent for expressing complex abstractions in clear and lucid language, Blank explains the core of Hindu thought, deftly contrasting it with the Judeo-Christian outlook, and tracks its evolution over the centuries. As he illuminates the origin of the caste system, the beliefs of the Sikhs, India's racial diversity, and attitudes toward love and marriage, Blank conveys a sense of India's unique character. He speaks with a cave-dwelling sadhu, Mother Teresa, a maharajah, a Brahman intellectual, a librarian, the actor who played Lord Rama in the wildly popular TV serialization of the epic, a Sikh, and even a leper, paralleling his observations with the values dramatized in the "Ramayana". Marvelously informative, involving, and memorable.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395562673
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
09/01/1992
Pages:
351

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