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

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

4.0 1
by Jonah Blank
 

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The three-thousand-year-old epic Ramayana chronicles Lord Rama's physical voyage from one end of the Indian subcontinent to the other and his spiritual voyage from Man to God. In Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God, anthropologist and journalist Jonah Blank gives a new perspective to this Hindu classic — retelling the ancient tale while following the course of

Overview

The three-thousand-year-old epic Ramayana chronicles Lord Rama's physical voyage from one end of the Indian subcontinent to the other and his spiritual voyage from Man to God. In Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God, anthropologist and journalist Jonah Blank gives a new perspective to this Hindu classic — retelling the ancient tale while following the course of Rama's journey through present-day India and Sri Lanka. Ultimately, Blank's journey — like that of Lord Rama — evolves into a quest: to understand the chimerical essence of India itself, in all its overwhelming beauty and paradox. "Quite possibly the most perceptive book that I have come across on India since the British Raj ended." — Pranay Gupte, The Washington Post; "What Hollywood attempted on the big screen with casts of thousands in Gandhi and A Passage to India, Jonah Blank has achieved in 350 stylistically rich pages." — Los Angeles Times; "This informative and entertaining book is something to be thankful for." — The New York Times Book Review

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.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802137333
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
10/28/2000
Edition description:
REVISED
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
4.55(w) x 8.92(h) x 1.09(d)

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Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God: Retracing the Ramayana Through India 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As one whose study of Hindu traditions is a bit weak, I hesitate to praise too highly a book which, in the end, I cannot be sure I am judging by correct standards. But I want to praise it very highly anyway. I teach a college course that touches upon world religions. The religion of India best known to most college students is a rather sophisticated version, influenced strongly by the non-dualistic religious philosophy of Shankara. This philosophy builds upon certain of the Upanishads ¿ early philosophical meditations on ultimate questions inspired by a relatively few and later lines in the Rig Veda. This philosophy says that ultimately there is but one single reality. When we are conscious that this reality is beyond all specific attributes, we can best call it Brahmin. When we think of it as the ultimate Self, we can recognize our own selfhood as but a minute instance of that single Self. Jonah Blank revels in other aspects of the traditions of India. He helps the reader perceive the stern and noble moral standards that inspire people when they read of Rama, of his moral rectitude, his deep and devoted love, of his submission to demands of duty. Blank also exposes the terrible beauty of the fatalism that runs through Indian life. In this life we receive only what we have earned in previous lives. Where we are in life is where we are supposed to be. I looked in Blank's pages for more of the tension that I suspect must exist in India between fatalism and the imported Western ambitious individualism. I found little of it. Yet I have seen it claimed that India has 300 million middle class city people. Perhaps Blank has it exactly right, however, in portraying even the ambitious entrepreneur as a person who believes firmly in karma, consults the astrological charts before any important action, and hopes to succeed in life through personal effort. Blank tells his stories, ancient and modern, with flair. My students are fascinated by it. It is wonderful that Grove/Atlantic is bringing it back into print. I have placed my own order. A colleague has borrowed mine and failed to return it, perhaps lending it in turn to still another to read. It is a book one wants to share.