Reading Notes: PDE Mahabharata A

Mahabharata A

When a fisherman caught a fish, he released from it two children, the boy, and the girl, living inside. These children were made by the fish swallowing Indra's sperm. 

The girl, Satyavati grows up giving people rides across the Ganges. She grows up a little before brahmin Parashara comes along. He falls in love with her beauty at first sight and asks her to mother his child. In return, he will remove her fish smell, she will smell like perfume for the rest of her life.

Bhishma forfeited his claim to the throne so that his father could marry again. Bhishma is the son of the king Shantanu and the goddess Ganga. However, in this portion of the Mahabharata, Bhishma goes to kidnap the daughters of the king of Benares, Amba, Ambika, and Ambalika. 

Image depicting Bhishma

A contest is occurring to determine who is fit to marry these women. However, when he decides to steal the daughters he must fend off multiple armies with his skill with the bow. Bhishma takes the daughters back to Hastinapura for his step-brother Vichitravirya, who is currently acting as the city's king.

Amba is the oldest of the princesses that Bhishma kidnapped. She had secretly sworn to marry the King of the Shalwas. She tells Bhishma about her previous arrangement. He sets her free to go marry the King of the Shalwas. 

She goes to the King of the Shalwas. He treats her terribly as he was embarrassed by the kidnapping event when he lost to Bhishma in battle. 

She leaves him to become exceptionally pious. She is so Pious that she attracts the attention of Shiva, who decides to offer her a boon. Amba wants Bhishma dead she is angry and believes that Bhishma had ruined her chance for a happy life. Shiva says that she will reincarnate Amba as a man so that she can kill Bhishma in future life. Amba burns herself alive to be reborn.

Pandu was named as king when he came of age. The two wives each had numerous sons, the two sets of sons came to be known as the Pandavas and the Kauravas. Duryodhana leads the Kauravas and he decides to trick the King Dhritarashtra. 

He asks the king to send the Pandavas away to a wooden palace he's had built, everything in the palace is soaked in oil. He plans to get rid of the Pandavas. The Pandavas are seen as better than the Kauravas in most ways.


Storybook Plan

Storybook Plan

Sources I plan to use:

Stories I plan to tell:

  • Rama's first interaction with Rakshasas.
  • Kumbhakarna's Awakening
  • Mahiravana and Hanuman, the sacrifice to Durga. I also want to talk about the underworld, Patala.
  • I will also try to sprinkle in some smaller side stories of other Rakshasas.

I am planning on making my storybook from the first-person perspective of a Cryptid/Rakshasa hunter. 

I want to focus on telling the stories of the Rakshasas we see through the Ramayana, but I also want to bring in fun stories of other supernatural beings to make the stories interesting. I want to do these stories from a first-person point of view mainly to try and create a better image of these supernatural creatures. 

Comment Wall

Comments for my Storybook Project

Please feel free to leave comments for my storybook project here on this blog post.

My storybook can be found here: https://sites.google.com/view/hachimurastories/home

Rakshasa art by Peter Mohrbache


Microfiction: Two Stories on Space

Two Stories on Space

Author's Note: I wanted to try to write the same story in two different microfiction formats. To make them noticeably different I went with the six-word story and then did a drabble. My process was to write a six-word story over the first topic I could come up with, and then try to build a drabble from my six-word story.

Morning Routine

Wake up, red dirt, rosy sky.

Morning Routine

In the morning I wake up a little after sunrise. The work I do is usually not time sensitive, but I try to get an early start. For breakfast I fry potatoes and scramble eggs. No matter how much my doctor warns me it is still hard to not oversalt my potatoes. I set my dishes in the basin and stretch just a bit, looking out the window the skyline is dominated by short buildings. The ground is full of red rocks, the sky is a beautiful rosy color, and within view are small patches of man-made blue.

The martian twilight sky at Gusev crater, as imaged by the panoramic camera on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit around 6:20 in the evening of the rover's 464th martian day (April 23, 2005).
Picture of Mars sunset taken by NASA rover, spirit, showing the rosy sky obtained at npr.org


Topic Research: Supernatural Beings

Supernatural Beings

For my research project I wanted to do a journal of a cryptid hunter that is taking notes on supernatural beings from our stories. This journal I had decided to focus on two supernatural beings from stories I have read. I would want to make a journal entry based on awakening Kumbhakarna, the giant, I can get a lot of info for a journal entry. One of the stories, Pot-Ear's Awakening, is all about waking up the sleeping giant. 

I also want to write about the rakshasas, what is cryptid hunting without a man-eating creature. In this part of the journal I would want to talk about what separates this creature from other man-eating creatures from other mythologies. I would want to write about what makes this creature different and key traits of the  rakshasas. I would use the chapters from the ramayana, the public domain edition, as the main information to base my storybook on. 

Demon Yakshagana.jpg
Rakshasa as depicted in Yakshagana, an art form of coastal Karnataka

Image result for rakshasa
Rakshasa as portrayed in modern media within D&D on DNDBeyond.com


Week 3 Story: Lessons to Learn

Lessons to Learn

Author's Note: I decided to use two plot points from the Ramayana and turn them into lessons that a father wants his son to understand.


I remember when I found my father's journal. My mother passed when I was young, so he was the only family I had. The journal was full of memories and stories from my childhood that he decided to write down. It was touching to see how much he carried about the time we spent together, although he was always worried about if he was doing good enough as a single parent. The journal entries changed when around the time he got sick. The entries were now addressed to me. He left me the lessons he wanted to teach me, but didn't have time to. He hid these lessons hidden for me in a story, the same one I will tell you.

Now son, I want to leave these lessons behind for you to find in my journal. I hope I get to see you grow old before I pass, but no matter how old you are when you find this the lessons will hold true. 

Worn journal
Journal passed on to son by by HenrikandLewis


When looking at battlefields you can always find those who hang onto their life even when wounded, and this man was no different. The only difference in this man is his birth. This man was a king, he had decided to help the king of the gods in their battle against the devil. He was brave, because as a mortal man he could be killed much easier by these devils. His mortality did make a difference as he was mortally wounded. In his breaths he thought of his lack of heir, that is when a witch came to him in his visions. The witch spoke to him in a raspy voice, "A king is still but a man, even he is not above death."

"Please, help me and I will use my resources to compensate you handsomely," whispered out the king.

"I will heal you and abate your troubles, but in return I will ask for two favors"

"Done," the King said with what should have been his final breath. This breath was caught by the witch, and with her magic the king would find life once again. When his eyes opened he had no wounds, and felt well again. "Oh Witch, how can I repay you, I have a Kingdoms' resources at my disposal," said the king.

"I have saved your life, and also given you that for which you wished. I can assure you that you will have heirs to maintain your kingdom even after you final breath. For these two tasks I expect you repay in full. In the future I will come to you and ask for two favors. Be ready for when I call," the witch said. The last of her words sounded as if the came from the wind itself as her form seemed to disappear. 

The witch held true to her promise, as the king aged he had four sons. His oldest being the most special. His oldest was blessed by the gods. His kingdom was stable and he loved his sons. As they grew so did his love for them, and so did his fear for what the witch would ask for in return. Considering how amazing the sons she had gifted him, her favor would have to be crazy to repay his debt to her. Over time though though all was peaceful, his kids were able to mature happily and grow into fine adults. The king feeling himself age decided that he would name his oldest as his successor, and that is when the witch decided to visit. 

"I want your favorite son, send him to my forest for fourteen years. If he survives you can have him back, if you live that long as well you aging king."

The king was hit with sorrow and could not sleep that night thinking of sending his oldest son away for fourteen years, the kings anxiety would be quelled partially when he gave his son the news. One of his other sons quickly decided to accompany his brother into the forest for the fourteen years. His other sons only saw their own opportunities to take the seat from their older brother as the heir of the kingdom. Sadly the king's anxiety returned as his sons refused any help he offered to keep themselves safe for the journey. The sons took only rags for clothes, a spade, and a basket. That day they headed out.

A father watching his sons spend fourteen years in danger will cause a lot of sorrow. Sorrow may be only an emotion, but it still carries a very real weight. If it grows heavy enough it can crush a soul, the only happiness the king had was how he had at least seen his sons grow into respectable young men. Two days after his sons left the sorrow reached a weight too heavy for his aged shoulders to carry and in his sleep he breathed that last breath that witch returned to him. He was thankful for his sons, but regretted his promise to that witch.


Bibliography: Ramayana Public Domain Edition

Authors: M. DuttR. DuttGouldGriffithHodgsonMackenzieNiveditaOmanRichardsonand Ryder.


Reading Notes: PDE Ramayana A

Reading Notes: Ramayana A

Authors: M. DuttR. DuttGouldGriffithHodgsonMackenzieNiveditaOmanRichardsonand Ryder.

Two Kingdoms existed. The kingdom of Koshala, the capital being Ayodhya, was ruled by Dasharatha, father of Rama. The other kingdom was Mithila, ruled by Janaka. The capital city Ayodhya flourished and the king, Dasharatha, was able to relax in his palace. The palace was guarded by a thousand powerful warriors, and he was served by eight sages along with two priests, Vashishtha and Vamadeva. Even with all of this prosperity the king was saddened because he had no son.

Dasharatha decided to proceed with a horse sacrifice to get him a son. Kaushalya, the king's main wife, slayed the horse after it was prepared for sacrifice. Offerings were also presented to the gods. The gods promised that the king would have four sons.

Ravana, the king of Lanka had exhibited piety that led to Brahma, the creator god, to bless him with protection from gods and devils. Ravana the oppressed all the gods, and they sought help from Vishnu. Vishnu said that Ravana could be hurt by monkeys and humans. The gods should go to earth and take on the form of apes. Vishnu would be born in four parts as the fours sons promised to the king. The fours sons being Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana, and Shatrughna. The child Rama was the most beautiful. 

Ravana was still inhibiting sacrifices to other gods. Rama and Lakshmana were the only ones who could overcome the devils inhibiting the sacrifices. The brothers followed one of the kings priests to assist in a ritual.

Rama and Lakshmana did battle with a rakshasi. Rama took off her arms with arrows, and Lakshmana took out her nose and eyes. The devil went invisible and using sound alone Rama shot a final arrow to kill the devil. Rama was then given celestial weapons. Later on he used these weapons to slay a group of devils that attempted to attack some sages.

Rama and his brother explored the city and their looks were commented upon by the masses. The next day they decided to collect flowers and ended up finding the Garden of King Janaka. They admired the fruit trees, flowers, and peacocks. With the sound of bells Rama knew that the woman he would love approached. It was true with one look him and Sita, King Janaka's daughter fell in love. They parted and Sita prayed for their love to flourish.

To win the hand of Sita, Rama had to draw the bow of Shiva. Many had attempted, but none had succeeded. He unsurprisingly was able to draw the bow. He used so much force that the bow broke. He had won Sita's hand in marriage. Rama married Sita, but his brothers also married Sita's sisters. All the brothers would be married to Janaka's daughters.

The king Dasharatha decide he had to decide on an heir among his sons. He sought to make Rama his heir, but he asked his advisors and lords underneath him for their opinion. They all were of the same mind, the wanted Rama, the eldest, to be the heir. They said he exhibited great values and would be a great king.

The Kings youngest wife, mother of Bharata, had in the past saved the King's life and had been promised two favors in the future. Convinced by her slave, the hunch-backed Maharajah, who hated Rama; the queen sought out the king and asked for her favors. She wanted her son to be the heir and for Rama to be sent to exile. 

This news when given to Rama was told to him by the young wife for the king was so grief stricken that he could not speak. Rama was more than willing to accept the new orders to maintain his father's honor. 

Rama told the news to others, his wife Sita and his brother Lakshman. They both decided to follow him, and many of the villagers had similar thoughts. They could follow Rama to the jungle. In the castle the king sought to give him many things to make his exile easier. Rama refused and asked only for a rainment of bark, a spade, and a basket. Rama and Lakshmana quickly put on the bark, but Sita who had lived only in comfort would not wear the bark. 

With the beginning of the exile Rama and Lakshman dress their hair in the fashion of hermits. They then crossed the Ganga river. Sita promised to worship the River-Queen if she could allow them to pass the river safely again after fourteen years. The brother agreed to protect Sita and each other. 

Shortly after Rama departed, the king died. The king died as a result of karma. The king when he was young killed a young hermit. The father of the hermit in grief cursed the king to lose his son and die of grief, just like the old hermit had experienced.

Dasharatha and the curse from the Freer Ramayana


Feedback Thoughts

Thoughts on the Feedback Articles

The first article I looked at was looking at the fixed mindset can hold us back when it comes to feedback. We already talked about the fixed mindset, it is the mindset where we believe our intelligence and abilities are fixed. You believe you can not get smarter so when you are getting feedback it can feel like they are directly attacking your intelligence/abilities. Since with a fixed mindset this feedback could feel like your intelligence or abilities are not enough. The other article I touched on was the seven ways to crush self-doubt. I only found two tips that I thought were not common tips as well as helpful. The first tip that I think is incredibly important is the idea of being vulnerable to a trusted community. It is hard to find people that you can truly trust, and it is even harder for us to be vulnerable. If you can get past these troubles and find people you truly trust then opening up can be incredibly beneficial. I feel like the idea of opening up is talked about when it comes to mental health, but opening up can be beneficial on many issues that you face. The other tip I also really liked was to treat your work like an experiment. In that frame of mind there is no failure, you can only learn what works and what does not. This takes failure completely out of the picture.




A young woman suffering from stress holds her head while using a computer at her work desk.
PHOTO: If you've got a fixed mindset you could struggle more than others to adapt to change. (Getty: Peopleimages)

Topic Brainstorm


Kumbhakarna the giant by Amar Chitra Katha

Creation Stories

I chose this topic because I am always interested in how other cultures and religions try to explain how this world was created. This is also the topic I am probably most knowledgeable going into. I read the creation storybook that was posted on the class website, so I already know about some of the creation stories. I would be interested if there are any other hindu creation stories not mentioned in the storybook.

Supernatural Characters

I am a fan of supernatural characters in other cultures and the similarities in characters between cultures. In multiple cultures you see shape-shifting, man-eating characters. You see this in the skinwalker in Navajo culture and the goblins that we read about in the Jataka. I also had read the plot synopsis for two of the supernatural characters. The giant, Kumbhakarna, and the magician, Mahiravana. I would want to take some of these supernatural characters and write them as cryptids and write about their stories as a cryptid hunters' notes.

Gurus and Sages

Gurus and sages are the wisemen you see in many cultures. I want to see how the Indian epics take on the role of sages. I have no prior knowledge on the sages in Hindu culture, I chose this topic because it interests me. I have no prior knowledge so I am unsure how to tackle how I would retell this story topic. I would probably attempt to retell the story in modern day.


Reincarnation is a very interesting topic, multiple religions have had the belief in reincarnation. I have already learned a bit about reincarnation in hindu mythology. I am not well versed in reincarnation within Indian epics. My current idea for retelling is to discuss reincarnation from a first-person perspective. 



Week 2 Story: Captain's Warning

Captain's Warning

I have long since retired, but I was once an accomplished captain. The seas are a treacherous place, so those who survive long enough to retire are looked at for advice. The younger sailors are always looking for tips to survive, they want to know what to look for, how to read the waters, and areas to avoid. I have always done my best to make sure young sailors learn as much possible, but I have gained the reputation as a crazy old man. They think I am crazy after the story of my shipwreck; what they don't understand is that it is all true, even though it sounds crazy. I know I am not crazy as many of my shipmates all remember these same events. You can think me crazy too, but you should be warned. Heed my warning, it could be the difference between life and death. 

A nasty storm hit us after we the harbour, we had not gotten far and the storm came out of nowhere. Our ship was thrown against the rock off the coast of Ceylon. We were a larger cargo ship and we had a large crew, but only 500 of survived. The next morning as we were trying to recover what we could and patch up ourselves a large group of women came with food and clothes. We had crashed not far from their city luckily. They had a bustling city full of people. The women in the city were numerous, but there were few men. We saw only a handful in the pastures and working the fields when we entered the city. We were being nursed back to health and many of the women were seeking husbands. We sailors all settled down and married one of the women eventually. We were living great lives for a while. This next part is where I lose many people, as much as it sounds crazy I want you to know.

Waking in the night my wife was no longer sleeping beside me, shortly after waking I could hear the door. What walked into my room was not my wife, it was a beast, a creature, a GOBLIN. A GOBLIN I TELL YOU. I froze and watched her as I pretended to sleep. That is when I heard her, she sung while eating something. All I could hear was, "Man's meat, man's meat, that's what Goblins like to eat!" They ate humans, the sweat that crept down my back as I had to lay down next to this vile thing for the rest of the night felt like ice. The next morning I got all of my crew together. Some of those damned fools refused to understand the danger we were in and called me crazy. The men who believed me understood that we had to get out of there. For days we planned and looked for ways to escape this damned island. 

We just so happened to be lucky though, a fairy watched over that city and it hated those goblins. The fairy had tried to save others, but none chose to believe her. We had already had our eyes opened, and needed no convincing. We happily accepted her help, she had a flying horse to carry us out of here. The horse was the size of a normal horse, although it had wings on it. There was no way it could carry all of us off this island, but as we crawled one after the other onto the horse there always seemed to be more room. My belief is that the fairy had magic to shrink us so the horse could carry us all. I chose to retire after this adventure, but some of my crew continued to sail. They continued because they did not see what I saw. 

Heed my tale, avoid this city. DO NOT LET THE GOBLINS GET YOU. Even if you crash on their island quickly escape their reach by escaping down the island. AVOID THE CITY AT ALL COSTS.

Goblin with it's favorite treat. Image obtained at http://jathakakatha.lk/jk191/pc191.gif

Author's Note

I chose to make this story from the perspective of the captain. I felt like it could add more personality to the story. This personality was given by the captain's thoughts. To accomplish this I felt like I had to add to the setting, this is down by making the captain tell this story as a tale of his past.


Goblin City. The Giant Crab, and Other Tales from Old India. W. H. D. Rouse.

Reading Notes: PDE Mahabharata A

Mahabharata A Read at:  http://ouocblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/mahabharata-online-public-domain-edition.html When a fisherman caught a ...