Author: Anant Pai
Illustrator/Animator: C M Vitankar
Publisher: India Book House
ISBN/UPC (if available): N/A
This set of comic books in Hindi includes 5 titles: Shiva Parvati, Karttikeya, Krishna aur Jarasandha, Rukmani Parinaya, and Syamantaka Mani. Profusely illustrated in multicolors , these comics render absorbing and delightful reading for both children and adults alike.
1. SHIVA PARVATI
The Puranas are full of legends about the victories of Shiva over the forces of evil. As Rudra or Bhairava, he is the destroyer of evil. As Shankara or Shiva the auspicious- he restores that which is destroyed. He is also the ideal Mahayogi, a great ascetic, engaged in meditation.
According to Puranic legends, Sati, the daughter of Daksha, is his consort. Daksha however, does not hold his ascetic son-in-law in high esteem. Daksha performs a Mahayajna, to which he invites all except Shiva. Sati finds it difficult to bear the insult meted out to her lord. And when Daksha deliberately slights Shiva, unable to bear the humiliation, Sati enters the sacred fire. She is reborn as Parvati, daughter of Himavat.
Kumara Sambhava of Kalidasa, on which this illustrated classic is based, narrates the enduring love of Parvati for Shiva and her efforts at winning over her beloved by penances and austerities. To this day, the abiding love of Parvati for Shiva is the theme of many a folk song in Indian languages.
Karttikeya, the commander in chief of the celestial army, is also known as Subrahmanya, Skanda, Guha and Kumara. In the southern states of India, Subrahmanya is a popular deity even today. Among the Tamil-speaking people he is better known as Murukan or Murugan. In the North, he is largely unknown; but he is worshipped in the East, especially in Bengal, where women pray to him for worthy sons. Like Ganesha, he too is a son of Shiva and Parvati, miraculously born. If Ganesha was created by Parvati, Karttikeya was the creation of Shiva, nurtured by Agni, Ganga and Krittikas in turn.
The story of karttikeya is found in the Mahabharata, in the Shiva, Skanda and Brahmanda puranas, and in the Ramayana. Our story is based on the Tamil version of the Skanda-Purana-Samhita.
3. KRISHNA AND JARASANDHA
Jarasandha was the emperor of Aryavarta (north India) at the time when the Pandavas were ruling at Indraprastha. Most of the kings of North India acknowledged his suzerainty out of fear. Many of those who did not, has been imprisoned by him. To establish the supremacy of the Pandavas it was necessary to subdue Jarasandha.
Mighty men of mythology, be they of the East or of the West, were always characterised by a vital flaw which, in reverse, would turn out to be a vital asset, Karna’s Kavacha (armour) and Achilles heels are classic examples. The secret of the heroes strength often remained locked in this dual nature of their gifts. Only one who knew the secret could vanquish them. Jarasandha’s weak point was known only to Krishna. How he brings about the fall of the mighty and evil emperor is narrated in this Amar Chitra Katha, based on the Bhagawat Purana and the Mahabharata.
4. RUKMANI PARINAYA (Krishna and Rukmani)
Krishna is the great lover of Indian mythology. Yet the details of the women he had wooed, won and wed are surprisingly limited and perhaps should be confined ton his conquest of Rukmini. Here is the unalloyed romantic tale of none but the brave deserving the fair. Krishna here is the romantic hero par excellence who recklessly carries away his lady-love under the very nose of his rivals. Rukmini is a perfect foil to Krishna in this idyllic tale.
5. SYAMANTAKA MANI (The Syamantaka Gem)
The Syamantaka Gem was an ornament of the Sun God. It was a magical charm which had strange effects on its possessor. It did good to a virtuous person and bad to an evil one. When Surya, pleased with his devotee, Prince Satrajit, bestowed the gem on him, no one foresaw the violent upheavals it would cause, least of all the prince himself.
It is said that Krishna had looked at the moon on Chaturthi (the fourth day after the full moon) and soon after was accused of having stolen the gem. To this day, the superstitious will not look at the moon on Chaturthi lest they be accused of theft.