Thursday, December 17, 2015

Kurukshetra war day 1 part 1 the morning before battle


The warriors woke before sunrise and prepared for battle in various ways. I feel at this point it may be necessary to speak a little about the living situation and conditions for the warriors. From what can be ascertained from the Mahabharata (which I shall use as the sole source of information) the armies lived in a large encampment. I believe it was divided by rank and importance of the Kings princes and other nobility who were fighting in the battle. I come to this conclusion based on the fact that the warrior caste in general places a great deal of pains to order and absolutely everything being divided in its proper place. They hold very rigidly to a chain of command and it is a form of respect that when a group of people join forces the higher ranking warriors are given there due respect as respect is the bread and butter of the warrior caste. There was a place where specifically the royal and high ranking Ksatrias lived and then there was areas for camp followers servants and priests. We find in the Drona-Parva that the royal personalities had various morning rituals which followed almost mystic significance in there order. After Bath they were shown various auspicious symbols to meditate and then given things to smell and then things to touch. I find this significant. The meaning is that they were attempting to purify there senses so that there mind could be free to act in the proper way. In the early morning before sunrise all the warriors of the Kuru and Pandava army began to gather on the field of battle.

The commanders all began to shout “assemble together” and the great Kuru division began to form. The sound of all the soldiers horses and elephants getting into position was so loud and made such a great shaking that people thought the earth would split open. The Kuru’s were the first to gather there formation and were complete by the time the first rays of the sun began to come over the horizon.

As the sun began to rise over the field the size and scope of the kuru army could be seen. All the golden weapons and armor could begin to be seen shining amidst the ranks of the Kuru’s. As the light began to increase it illuminated the standards and
flags of the Kuru’s which were all the colors of Indra’s rainbow and which were made of gold and covered in gems and shone like fire.
Sakuni, Salya, Jayadratha, the two princes of Avanti named
Vinda and Anuvinda, the Kekaya brothers, Sudakshina ,Srutayudha, Jayatsena,Vrihadballa and Kritavarman, were all the commanders of 10 divisions. Bhisma was the commander of the Kuru division as well as the army.
Bhisma was standing on a silver chariot wearing silver armor and had a silver helmet. His umbrella was white as well as his horses. On his flag was a large gold palm tree with five stars. The entire kuru division stood before all the others and at the
head of that was Bhisma who looked like a full moon surrounded by clouds.
Turning to face the Kuru army Bhisma began a pre battle speech by which he intended to enliven the army

Bhisma said. “ All you warriors listen to me. A wide door now stands before you which is open to you for entering heaven. If you go through it you will enter the region of Sakra (Indra) or Brahman.(liberation) The sages of olden times have showed us this eternal path. Honor yourselves by engaging in this battle with an attentive mind. Great kings such as Nabhaga, Yayati, Mandhatri, Nahusa, and Nriga, were crowned with success and obtained the highest region of bliss by actions such as these. To die of disease at home is a low thing for a Kshatriya. The death he meets with in battle is his eternal duty.”
This speech by Bhisma is significant, he is explaining how rare it is in this world that people can actually get a chance to face the time of death prepared. Death is such a random thing and it also is so scary to most people that they avoid thinking about it completely. However the warriors on that field not only could see the door to the next world wide open to them, they also had been given the great benediction that they could face it and die in a way which would be fulfilling to them. Fear is a great impediment for anything in life and death may be considered among the greatest of fears. However the warriors assembled there were trained from birth to be prepared for death and it was also there desire and fulfillment of purpose to fight in battle. Therefore they were extremely fortunate to be on the field. There whole life was free from the fear and they therefore enjoyed it completely and now they would either conquer and win a great kingdom or die and go to heaven and enjoy an honorable afterlife.
After Bhisma was done talking all the generals situated themselves at the heads of there respective armies, except for Karna and his relations out of spite for Bhisma. All the kings on the Kuru side proceeded, making the ten points of the horizon resound with their leonine roars. And their divisions shone brightly, with white umbrellas, banners, standards, elephants, steeds, cars, and foot-soldiers. The Earth was agitated with the sounds of drums and tabors and cymbals, and the clatter of car-wheels. The mighty car-warriors, decked with their bracelets and armlets of gold and with their bows (variegated with gold), looked resplendent like hills of fire. And with his large palmyra-standard decked with five stars, Bhishma, the Senapati of the Kuru army, looked like the resplendent Sun himself.

The great bowmen amongst the Srinjayas headed by Dhrishtadyumna, (beholding Bhishma) looked like little animals when they would behold a mighty yawning lion. Indeed, all the combatants headed by Dhrishtadyumna repeatedly trembled in fear. Indeed, the two armies facing each other looked like two oceans at the end of the Yuga agitated by fierce Makaras, and abounding with huge crocodiles. Never before, did was seen or heard of two such armies encountering each other like these of the Kauravas and Pandavas.

Seeing the Dhritarashtra divisions arrayed in order of battle, Pandu's son of virtuous soul, king Yudhishthira the just, addressed Dhananjaya, saying,--'Men are informed from the words of that great Rishi Brihaspati that the few must be made to fight by condensing them, while the many may be extended according to pleasure. In encounters of the few with the many, the array to be formed should be the needle-mouthed one. Our troops compared with the enemy's are few. Keeping in view this precept of the great Rishi, array our troops, O son of Pandu.'

Hearing this, Arjuna answered king Dharmaraj, saying,” --That immovable array known by the name of Vajra, which was designed by Indra,--that invincible array is the one that I will make for you, O best of kings.

He who is like the bursting tempest, he who is incapable of being borne in battle by the foe, that Bhima the foremost of smiters, will fight at our head. That foremost of men, conversant with all the appliances of battle, becoming our leader, will fight in the van, crushing the energy of the foe. That foremost of smiters, viz., Bhima, beholding whom all the hostile warriors headed by Duryodhana will retreat in panic like smaller animals beholding the lion, all of us, our fears dispelled, will seek his shelter as if he were a wall, like the celestial seeking the shelter of Indra. The man breathes not in the world who would bear to cast his eyes upon that bull among men, Vrikodara of fierce deeds, when he is angry.'

Even this, was what Vibhatsu said, pointing out the mighty Bhimasena (to Yudhishthira). While Partha was saying so, all the troops, worshipped him on the field of battle with congratulatory words. King Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, took up his position in the center of his army, surrounded by huge and furious elephants resembling moving hills. The high-souled Yajnasena, the king of the Panchalas, endued with great prowess, stationed himself behind Virata with an Akshauhini of troops for the sake of the Pandavas. And on the cars of those kings, were tall standards bearing diverse devices, decked with excellent ornaments of gold, and endued with the effulgence of the Sun and the Moon. 

Transcending the huge standards on all the cars on the Kuru side and that of the Pandavas, was the one gigantic ape on Arjuna's car. Foot-soldiers, by many hundreds of thousands, and armed with swords, spears, and scimitars, proceeded ahead for protecting Bhimasena. And ten thousand elephants with (temporal) juice trickling down their cheek and mouth, and resembling (on that account) showering clouds,endued with great courage, blazing with golden armour, huge hills, costly, and emitting the fragrance of lotuses, followed the king behind like moving mountains. The high-souled and invincible Bhimasena, whirling his fierce mace that resembled the rod of death seemed to crush the large army of the Kurus. Incapable of being looked at like the Sun himself, and scorching as it were, the hostile army (like fire), none of the combatants on the Kuru side could bear to even look at him from any point. And this array, fearless and having its face turned towards all sides called Vajra, having bows for its lightning,and extremely fierce, was protected by the wielder of Gandiva. Who was none other than the Amsha of Indra. Disposing their troops in this counter-array against the Kuru army, the Pandavas waited for battle. And protected by the Pandavas, that array became invincible in the world of men.

As (both) the armies stood at dawn of day waiting for sunrise, a wind began to blow with drops of water (falling), and although there were no clouds, the roll of thunder was heard. And dry winds began to blow all around, bearing a shower of pointed pebbles along the ground. And as thick dust arose, covering the world with darkness. And large meteors began to fall east-wards, and striking against the rising Sun, broke in fragments with loud noise. When the troops stood arrayed, the Sun rose divested of splendour, and the Earth trembled with a loud sound, and cracked in many places, with loud noise. The roll of thunder was heard frequently on all sides. So thick was the dust that arose that nothing could be seen. The tall standards (of the combatants), furnished with strings of bells, decked with golden ornaments, garlands of flowers, and rich drapery, graced with banners and resembling the Sun in splendor, being suddenly shaken by the wind, gave a loud jingling noise like that of a forest of palm trees (when moved by the wind)It was thus that those tigers among men, the sons of Pandu, ever taking delight in battle, stood having disposed their troops in counter-array against the army of the Kurus, and sucking as it were, the marrow, of the Kuru warriors who casting their eyes on Bhimasena stationed at the head, mace in hand.

Both armies, when arrayed, were equally joyful. Both armies looked equally beautiful, assuming the aspect of blossoming woods, and both armies were full of elephants, cars and horses. Both armies were vast and terrible in aspect; and so also, none of them could tolerate the other. Both of them were arrayed for conquering the very heavens and both of them consisted of excellent persons.

The Kauravas belonging to the Dhritarashtra party stood facing the west, while the Parthas stood facing the east, armed for battle. The troops of the Kauravas looked like the army of the chief of the Danavas, while that of the Pandavas looked like the army of the celestials.

The wind began to blow from behind the Pandavas (against the face of the Dhartarashtras), and the beasts of prey began to yell against the Dhartarashtras. The elephants belonging to thy sons could not bear the strong odour of the temporal juice emitted by the huge elephants (of the Pandavas).

Duryodhana rode on an elephant of the complexion of the lotus, with rent temples, graced with a golden Kaksha (on its back), and cased in an armour of steel net-work. He was in the very centre of the Kurus and was adored by eulogists and bards. And a white umbrella of lunar effulgence was held over his head graced with a golden chain. Him Sakuni, the ruler of the Gandharas, followed with the vicious mountain dwelling tribes of Gandhara (Afghanistan) placed all around. The venerable Bhishma was at the head of all the troops, with a white umbrella held over his head, armed with bow and sword, with a white headgear, with a white banner (on his car), and with white steeds (yoked thereto), and altogether looking like a white mountain. In Bhishma's division were all the sons of Dhritarashtra, and also Sala who was a countryman of the Valhikas, and also all those Kshatriyas called Amvastas, and those called Sindhus, (Pakistan) and those also that are called Sauviras, and the heroic dwellers of the country of the five rivers. And on a golden car unto which were yoked red steeds, the high-souled Drona, bow in hand and with never-failing heart, the preceptor of almost all the kings, remained behind all the troops, protecting them like Indra. And Saradwat's son, Kripacarya that fighter in the van, that high-souled and mighty bowman, called also Gautama, conversant with all modes of warfare, accompanied by the Sakas, the Kiratas, the Yavanas, (Greece and Turkey) and the Pahlavas, took up his position at the northern point of the army. That large force which was well protected by mighty car-warriors of the Vrishni and the Bhoja races, (Narayani Sena: Krsnas personal army)as also by the warriors of Surashtra well-armed and well-acquainted with the uses of weapons, and which was led by Kritavarman, proceeded towards the south of the army. Ten thousand cars of theSamasaptakas who were created for either the death or the fame of Arjuna, and who, accomplished in arms, intended to follow Arjuna at his heels all went out as also the brave Trigartas.
In the army, were thousands of elephants of the foremost fighting powers. Unto each elephant was assigned 100 chariots; unto each chariot, a hundred horsemen; unto each horseman, ten bowmen; and unto each bowman ten combatants armed with sword and shield. Thus, O Bharata, were the divisions arrayed by Bhishma. The Senapati Bhishma, the son of Santanu, as each day dawned, sometimes disposed thy troops in the human army, sometimes in the celestial, sometimes in the Gandharva, and sometimes in the Asura.
Thronged with a large number of Maharathas, and roaring like the very ocean, the Dhartarashtra army, arrayed by Bhishma, stood facing the west for battle. Illimitable as the army was, it looked terrible; but the army of the Pandavas, although it was not such (in number), yet seemed to me to be very large and invincible since Kesava and Arjuna were its leader.
Beholding the vast Dhartarashtra army ready for battle, king Yudhisthira, the son of Kunti, gave way to grief. Seeing that impenetrable array formed by Bhishma and regarding it as really impenetrable, the king became pale and addressed Arjuna, saying,--O, mighty-armed Dhananjaya, how shall we be able to fight in battle with the Dhartarashtras who have the Grandsire for their (chief) combatant? Immovable and impenetrable is this array that hath been designed, according to the rules laid down in the scriptures, by that grinder of foes, Bhishma, of transcendent glory. With our troops we have become doubtful (of success), O grinder of foes. How, indeed, will victory be ours in the face of this mighty array?'--
Thus addressed, that slayer of foes Arjuna answered Yudhisthira, the son of Pritha, who had been plunged into grief at sight, O king, of the Kuru army, in these words,--Hear, O king, how soldiers that are few in number may vanquish the many that are possessed of every quality. Thou art without malice; I shall, therefore, tell thee means, O king. The Rishi Narada knows it, as also both Bhishma and Drona. Referring to this means, the Lord Bramha himself in days of old on the occasion of the battle between the Gods and the Asuras said unto Indra and the other celestials.--They that are desirous of victory do not conquer by might and energy so much as by truth, compassion, righteousness and energy. Discriminating then between righteousness, and unrighteousness, and understanding what is meant by covetousness and having recourse to exertion fight without arrogance, for victory is there where righteousness is.--For this know, O king, that to us victory is certain in (this) battle. Indeed, as Narada said,--There is victory where Krishna is.--Victory is inherent to Krishna. Indeed, it followeth Madhava. And as victory is one of its attributes, so humility is his another attribute. Govinda is possessed of energy that is infinite. Even in the midst of immeasurable foes he is without pain. He is the most eternal of male beings. And there victory is where Krishna is. Even he, indestructible and of weapons incapable of being baffled, appearing as Hari in olden days, said in a loud voice unto the Gods and the Asuras,--Who amongst you would be victorious?--Even the conquered who said.--With Krishna in the front we will conquer. --And it was through Hari's grace that the three worlds were obtained by the mighty Indra. I do not, therefore, behold the slightest cause of sorrow for you, that has the Sovereign of the Universe and the Lord himself of the celestials for wishing victory to yourself."
king Yudhishthira, disposing his own troops in counter array against the divisions of Bhishma, urged them on, saying,--'The Pandavas have now disposed their forces in counter array agreeably to what is laid down (in the scriptures). O sinless ones, fight fairly, desirous of (entering) the highest heaven'.--In the centre (of the Pandava army) was Sikhandin and his troops, protected by Arjuna. And Dhristadyumna moved in the van, protected by Bhima. The southern division (of the Pandava army) was protected. O king, by that mighty bowman, the handsome Yuyudhana, that foremost combatant of the Satwata race, resembling Indra himself. Yudhisthira was stationed on a car that was worthy of bearing the king of heaven himself, adorned with an excellent standard, variegated with gold and gems, and furnished with golden traces (for the steeds), in the midst of his elephant divisions.  His pure white umbrella with ivory handle, raised over his head, looked exceedingly beautiful; and many great Rishis walked around the king  uttering words in his praise. And many priests, and regenerate Rishis and Siddhas, uttering hymns in his praise wished him, as they walked around, the destructions of his enemies, by the aid of Japas, and Mantras, efficacious drugs, and diverse propitiatory ceremonies. That high-souled chief of the Pandavas, then giving away unto the Brahmanas kine and fruits and flowers and golden coins along with cloths proceeded like the mighty Indra, the chief of the celestials.
The car of Arjuna, furnished with a hundred bells, decked with Jamvunada gold of the best kind, endued with excellent wheels, possessed of the effulgence of fire, and unto which were yoked white ghandarva steeds, looked exceedingly brilliant like a thousand suns.  And on that ape-bannered car the reins of which were held by Kesava, stood Arjuna with Gandiva and arrows in hand--a bowman whose peer exists not on earth, nor ever will.

For crushing the Kuru troops he who assumes the most awful form,--who, divested of weapons, with only his bare hands, pounds to dust men, horses, and elephants,--that strong-armed Bhimasena, otherwise called Vrikodara, accompanied by the twins, became the protector of the heroic car-warriors (of the Pandava) army. Like unto a furious prince of lions of sportive gait, or like the great Indra himself with (earthly) body on the Earth, beholding that invincible Vrikodara, like unto a proud leader of an elephantine herd, stationed in the van (of the army), the warriors on thy side, their strength weakened by fear, began to tremble like elephants sunk in mire. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Day 1
The first day of battle ended with a slight victory for the kuru army. Bhisma showed his prowess on the battlefield by killing the great hero Sweta before sunset.
At the start of the day the armies got the first chance to see each other. The warriors of the pandavas were afraid at first of the kuru army due to its large size. Even some of the hero’s upon seeing Bhisma and Drona together on the field of battle started to shake. This fear however was soon dispelled when Arjuna went before all the troops and gave a speech to Yudhisthera about how Bhima would lead them to battle. He stated all the qualifications of Bhima and how he would be there shelter in the battle like how Indra is the shelter of the gods. The whole army started to celebrate and chant the name of Bhima in his glorification. Bhima along with other key hero’s went to the front and the army gathered behind him. At this point the fear now belonged to the kuru’s who seeing Bhima at the head of the army armed with his massive mace began to shake and could not even look at him.
While the army of Pandavas was forming Dhristadyumna met Duryodhana on the field and they discussed the various rules of
engagement. After this was over Dhristadyumna bluntly informed Duryodhana that he did not expect the kuru’s would hold to them
and that if the Kauravas cheated the Pandavas would respond in turn
Duryodhana was furious upon hearing this and went to Drona and spoke about the array of the Pandavas and how the Kuru’s should relay on Bhisma like how the Pandavas relay on Bhima.
Bhisma blew on his conch shell and the Pandavas returned with there own. It was at this point that the battle had officialy started.
Arjuna left his place in the formation and seeing his grandfather and other relatives was overcome with emotion. He began to cry and dropped his bow. Krsna and him spoke the Bagavad Gita for about an hour and Arjuna took up his bow and returned to the army
At this point Yudhistera took off his armor and went to his
seniors on the field of battle and asked there permission to
fight, which they granted. They all lamented that they had to
fight against Yudhistera and blamed the fact that they had to fight for Duryodhana on greed.
When Yudhistera returned into position the kuru army blew the conch shells and beat on drums once again. All the Pandavas responded by blowing on there own, except Bhima who’s roars rose above the sound of the instruments. Bhima roared like a angry bull and caused all the animals of the kuru army to cry in fear simply by the almost supernatural volume of his voice.
The two armies who had been waiting for the war a long time charged at each other with much anticipation and excitement. At the start there was a great chaos and the warriors hacked and shot each other with various weapons. Each of the main fighters for the Pandavas had a particular person which they were supposed to fight in the war. This was told to them at the start every day by Dhristadyumna who was general of the army. Many single combats ensued between particular great warriors. Protected by a group of key fighters Bhisma broke free from fighting Arjuna and started destroying the united forces from Kashi, Karusha, Chedi and Panchala. While Bhisma massacred the Pandava army one brave hero stepped forward to challenge him. Abhimanyu and Bhisma fought a great battle and many people feared for the life of Bhisma due to the fighting ability of Abhimanyu.
Soon Abhimanyu was fighting not only Bhisma but also all his protectors and suporting forces single handedly. Abhimanyu began to waver due to the large number of warriors he was fighting ,so
Bhima and some other pandava warriors joined to support Abhimanyu and the confrontation became general.
Bhumanjaya charged at Shalya from the back of his elephant and killed the horses of Shalya. Shalya responded by throwing a
iron dart at Bhumanjaya and killing him. Shalya then leapt from his chariot and cut the head off the elephant with a large sword.
Sweta was the brother of Bhumanjaya and was a great warrior. When he observed that his brother was slain he charged at Shalya
to kill him. Imediatly 7 kuru Maharaths intercepted him and began to fight him. Sweta single handedly out matched all them
destroying there various weapons and humiliating the lot of them. Bhisma then came forward to fight against sweta and a magnificent battle ensued. Bhisma and Sweta fired volleys of arrows wounding
not only there foe but also the troops supporting them. Bhisma caused huge piles of corpses to form on the feild. In a short span of time over 10,000 chariots, elephants and other warriors
were smashed to pieces. Not a single person in the surrounding area was left un-struck by Bhisma. Sweta also killed thousands of Kuru’s while firing at Bhisma. Duryodhana became worried about
Duryodhana due to the prowess that Sweta was showing and ordered a large number of Maharaths to support Bhisma. They all fired at Sweta a huge shower of arrows however he destroyed all there arrows and broke the bow of Bhisma and his standard. Bishma became enraged and killed the horses and chariot driver of sweta and broke his chariot. Sweta leapt from his chariot and tossed a flaming dart which Bhisma split in half with an arrow. Then Sweta took up a mace and threw it a Bhisma with great force. Bhisma could see that it was incapable of being countered so he jumped off his chariot just in time. His chariot and horses were completely destroyed and reduced to ashes. Bhisma got on a new chariot and shot a Bhramastra at Sweta which shot through his heart and killed him.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Friday, June 1, 2012

List of Characters,etc. for The Illustrated guide to the vedic universe

ADHIRATHA. Foster father of Karna.
AGASTYA KUTTA. This is the sacred mount where the sage, Agastya, sat and did penance during his sojourn in the
southern parts of India. In the Kiskindha Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana we find King Sugriva commanding that all .his
soldiers going in search of Sita should pay homage to the sage Agastya.
AHICCHATRA (M). A state under the sovereignty of  King Pancala. On the completion of his studies under  Drona
Arjuna brought before his preceptor King Dru  pada as a captive in discharge of the duty he owed to  him  as his
master. Drupada then gave the state- of  Ahicchatra to Drona
AHIMSA. Non-injury.
AJAGAVA. Ajagava is a bow made of the horns of a goat and a cow. Brahmins tormented the right hand of the King
Vena. From it the brilliant Prthu who shone brightly like the God Agni, appeared as the son of Vena. At that time the
very first Ajagava bow, divine arrows and armours dropped from the sky. (Visnu Purana, Part I, Chapter 13 ) .
AKSAHRDAYA. A sacred chant or mantra.
One who knows this sacred chant can find out all secrets of a game of dice and can count within rap time the
number of leaves, fruits and flowers on a tree.
AKSAUHINI. A big division of an army
AKSAYAPATRA. This is a copper vessel given to Dharmaputra by Surya (Sun
ALAKANANDA. River Gariga of devaloka.
ALAMBUSA 1. Son of the Rackshasha
ALAMBUSA 2. A Rackshasha, the son of Jatasura. Ghatotkaca killed this giant in the battle.
ALAYUDHA. A Rackshasha. He was the brother of Bakasura.
AMARAVATI. It is the city of Indra, the King of the Devas.
AMBA. Dauter of a King of Kasi.
AMBALIKA. (1) The youngest of the three daughters of the King of Kasi
AMBARISA I. A King of the Iksvaku dynasty.
AMRTAM  a delicious and precious food obtained from the ocean of Milk when the Devas and Asuras churned it
ANASIYA. Wife of Sage Atri, son of Brahma.
ANDHAKA . An Asura.
ANGA. A King belonging to the Candra varhsa. (Lunar dynasty).
ANGADA . A son of Bali.
ANGA (M) . The kingdom ruled by King Anga. Other details
ANGARAKA . An Asura who took the form of a pig.
ANIRUDDHA. Grandson of Sri Krsna.
ANJANA.  Mother of Hanuman-Wife of Kesari,
ANJANA. This is an elephant belonging to the Asuras. ANJANA PARVAN. He was the son of Ghatotkaca
ANUHLADA. Brother of Prahlada.
ANUVINDA  The puranas refer to one Anuvinda, a prince of Avanti.
APSARAS. * An Apsaras is a nymph (devastri). These apsara women were born at the churning of the ocean of Milk.
(Valmiki Ramayana, Balakanda, Chapter 45, Verse 32 and Visnu Purana, Part I, Chapter 9 and Agni Purana, Chapter
3) . There are thousands of Apsaras. (Details given against the names of Apsaras).
ARAKKILLAM. (Palace of wax).
ARAYANNAM. The swan (Harirsa).
ARISTA (ARISTAKA). An asura, a servant of Kamsa.
ARISTANEMI  One of the six sons of Vinata.
ARJUNA. The third of the Pandavas.
ASIKNI  A wife of Daksa
AS0KA I. The charioteer of Bhimasena
ASTADOTAGUNA(S). The eight qualities of a good messenger. (1) He should not stand perplexed when he is being
given the message to carry. (2) He must be smart and enthusiastic. (3) He must have compassion for those in
distress. (4) He must run his errand quickly. (5) He must be mild. (6) He should not be duped by the cunning words
of others. (7) He must be healthy. (8) He must be able to talk convincingly.
ASTAKA . A Rajarsi born to Visvamitra of Madhavi, wife of Yayati.
ASTAKASTA(S). Kama (lust), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Moha (delusion), Mada (arrogance), Matsarya (rivalry),
Dambha (pride) and Asuya (jealousy).
ASTALOHA(S). Eight metals.
ASTAMANGALA. Brahmins, bow, Fire, gold, ghee, Sun, water and King.
ASTA-VASU(S). 8 Vasus
ASTAVIDHANAYIKA(S). Eight kinds of heroines of the stage
ASTAVIDHAPRAKIZTYAVASTHA (S) . Earth, Water, Agni, Air, Ether, Mind, Intelligence and Egotism.
ASTAVIVAHA (S) Eight kinds of marriage. (1) Brahma (2) Daiva (3) Arsa (4) Prajapatya (5) Gandharva (6) Asura (7)
Raksasa (8) Paisaca.
ASTRA. Asura
ASVINIKUMARA(S) (ASVINIDEVAS). Satya and Dasra, the two sons of Surya (The Sun) are called Asivianikumaras.
ATALA. This is one of the seven sections of Patfila. The seven sections are : Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Talatala, Mahatala,
Rasatala, Patala.
ATHARVA(M). Among the Vedas, this has the fourth place.
ATIKAYA. One of the sons of Ravana.
ATITHI (guest). In ancient Bharata Atithi-satkara (hospitality to a guest) was considered as a yajfia.
AVANTI  VAIVISA. (The Dynasty of Avanti) .
AVATARA. (Incarnation). The incarnations of Mahavisnu
ACAMANA. First drink water three times accompanied by incantations
ADITYA. The twelve sons born to the sage Kasyapa
AJAGARAVRATA. The vrata practised by the sage, Ajagara
AJAGAVA. The bow of Mandhata and PTthu and the Gandiva of Arjuna bear the name Ajagava.
ANA (Elephant).
ASTIKA. The son of the Maharsi Jaratkaru and his wife
ATREYA. A sage
AYURVEDA. It is the •science which Dhanvantari taught

BABHRUVAHANA. A son of Arjuna.
BADARIKASRAMA. (BADARYASRAMA). A very holy place in the Himalayas. It was here that Nara and Narayana did
penance for thousands of years and the Puranas, therefore, give it a very prominent place in them.
BAHU . A king of the Surya-varhsa (solar dynasty). He was the father of Sagara.
BAKA I. A demon.
BAKA II. A demon. As young boys Sri Krsna and Balaramabhadra
BALA . A son of Mayasura.
BALABHADRA. (Balabhadrarama, Balarama, Baladeva). The elder brother of Sri Krsna
BALHIKA  A son of Pratipa; a King of the Kuru dynasty. He had two brothers, Devapi and Santanu.
BALI (MAHABALI) I. An emperor of the Asuras. He was the son of Virocana and the grandson of Prahlada.
BALI. A mighty monkey-king.
BANA . A mighty and powerful Asura.
BANDHUDAYADA. A son who can claim to be a heir.
BARBARIKA. Son of Maurvi born of Ghatotkaca,
BHADRAKALI. Another form of Parvati.
BHAGADATTA. Bhagadatta was King of Pragjyotisapura
BHAIRAVA  A Parsada of Siva.
BHAKTI. A  devi
BHARADVAJA . The sage Bharadvaja of Puranic fame.
BHARANI. One of the twentyseven constellations.
BHARATA . Son of Dusyanta born of Sakuntala.BHARATA II. Son of Dasaratha.
BHARATA III. A son of Rsabha.
BHARATA (MAHABHARATA). An epic written by Vyasa.
BHARATA . (Bbaratavarsa. India).
BHIMA. Bhimasena, one of the five Pandavas.

CAKRA(M) I. Sudarsana Cakra (disc) of Mahavisnu.
CAKSUS. An art, the study of which will enable one to see anything in the three worlds
CAMARA (M) . A rod (handle) with large tuft of hair,.
CANDIKA. A terrific form of Parvati, who is worshipped in temples under the name Candikadevi
CANDRAHASA (M). Ravana's sword.
CANDRAVAMSA. A royal dynasty the kings of which ruled India for a long time.
CATURMASYA. A penance (Vrata) which continues for four months.
CATURUPAYAM. The four means used by Kings in olden times to achieve their objects are called Caturupayam.
Sama, dana, bheda and danda
CATURVARNYAM. (The four Castes, Classes).
CEDI. A king of the Yaduvarnsa.
CERIPPU. (FOOTWEAR). There is a story in Mahabharata of how (footwear and umbrella) were born.
CHAYA. A substitute of Sariljna, daughter of Visvakarma.
CINTAMANI. A diamond.
CITRAGUPTA. A minister of Kala. (God of death). His duty is to examine, after the death of men, a list of the good
and evil actions they had done while living. (M.B. Anusasana Parva, Chapter 130).
CITRAKETU . An emperor,
CITRANGADA  A son of the Maharaja Santanu.
CITRANGADA  A gandharva.
CITRANGADA . A wife of Arjuna.CITRARATHA. A devagandharva.
CITRASENA . A gandharva.
COLA. A very righteous emperor of Kancipura.
COLA (M). The three celebrated kingdoms of SouthIndia of old were Cola, Pindya and Cera.
CYAVANA. A celebrated sage of the Bhirgava dynasty.

DAMAYANTI Daughter of Bhima the King of Vidarbha. One of the most noble of all the Vedic heroines,
DANDANITI. (The laws of chastisement).
DANTAVAKTRA . He was the rebirth of Vijaya,
DARUKA Sri Krsna's charioteer.
DASARATHA. (Nemi). A famous king of the Iksvaku dynasty. He was the father of Sri Rama.
DATTATREYA. (DATTA). A hermit famous in the puranas.
DEVA (S). Gods or deities.
DEVAHUTI. A daughter of Svayambhuva Manu
DEVAKI. Mother of gri Krsna.
DEVAYANI. Sukracarya's daughter.
DEVI. (Prakriti).
DEVIPITHA. The dead body of Sati-devi crumbled into 41. Vipula Vipula  small pieces and fell in different places
DHANVANTARI   a preceptor in Ayurveda.DHARMA. A deva
DHARMAPUTRA. The eldest of the Pandavas,
DHAUMYA  A hermit.
DHENUKA.. A fierce Raksasa  with the figure of a donkey.
DHRSTADYUMNA. The son of King Drupada. He was brother of Paficali.
DHRTARASTRA. I. Father of the Kauravas.
DHYANA. ( Meditation)
DIRGHATAMAS. A great Muni.
DRAVYASUDDHI. Purifying impure things,
DRONA . The teacher in archery of the Pdndavas and the Kauravas.
DRUPADA. ( Saumaki,' Yajnasena). Father of Pancali.
DUNDUBHI A terrible asura, son of Maya and brother of Mayavi.
DURGA. The goddess of the universe
DURGAMA. An asura chief born in the dynasty of Hiranyaksa and son of Tarn,
DURMUKHA  One of the hundred sons of Dhrtarastra.


EKACAKRA. A village where the Pandavas lived for some time .
EKADASI. The eleventh day after a new moon or full moon day.
EKALAVYA . Son of Hiranyadhanus, a King of the foresters. He went to Dronacarya to learn archery.
EKAVIRA' (HEHAYA). A founder of the Hehaya line of kings.

GADA. A weapon.
GADA . A brother (Yadava) of Balabhadrarama.
GADHI  Father of Visvamitra.
GALAVA. A celebrated sage.
GANAPATI. A son of Siva with face like that of an elephant.
GANDHAMADANA(M). A mountain famed in the Puranas
GANDHARA. A stretch of land of ancient Bharata.
GANDHARI. Wife of Dhrtarastra.
GANDHARVA . Gandharvas are sons born to the famous Kasyapaprajapati of his wife, Aristha
GANDHARVA-VIVAHA. A marriage settled by the boy and the girl of their own accord. A love marriage.
GANDIVA. The famous bow of Arjuna.
GANGA. The famous and holy river of India.
GARUDA. King of birds.
GAYA. A particular locality in North India
GHRTACI. She was an exceptionally beautiful apsara woman, and she revelled in disturbing the peace of the sages
GIRIVRAJA. A city which has gained great importance in all the Puranas of India.
GODAVARI. A river of South India. This river has been glorified much in the Puranas.GOKARNA. A sacred place of Puranic importance situated on the extreme north of Kerala*
GOMATI. (KAUSIKI). A celebrated river of Puranic fame. This is worshipped as a goddess.
GOVARDHANA. A mountain of Ambadi (Gokula). This is believed to be a form of Krsna.
GRHASTHA. In ancient India the life of a male person was divided into four stages, namely, Brahmacarya
Garhasthya, Vanaprastha and Sannyasa. He who is in the second stage of life is called a Grhastha.
GUHA. King of the country of Nisadas
GUHYAKA. (A division of Yaksas who were prominent members of the court of Kubera).
GURUPARAMPARA. The origin of the Vedas and the lineage of Gurus is given below:                            

HAHA. A Gandharva,
HAMSA A minister of jarasandha.
HANUMAN. A great servant of Rama
HARISCANDRA . A King of the solar dynasty very much reputed for his unique truthfulness and integrity.
HASTINAPURA. Capital city of the Pandavas.
HAYAGRIVA . An incarnation of Visnu.
HIRANYA. (Hiranyakasipu, Hiranyaksa)
HOMA KUNDA (M). The pit for making offerings during yajfias
HUHU. A Gandharva, son of Kasyapaprajapati by Pradha.

IKSVAKU.1 A son of Vaivasvata Manu.
ILA . Daughter of Vaivasvata Maim.
INDRADYUMNA  A King born in the dynasty of Svayambhuva Manu, and a king of the Pandya country.
INDRADYUMNA . A king who lived in the Krta yuga, and a devotee of Visnu. He established the jagannatha temple
INDRAJIT. Ravana's son, Meghanada.
INDRANI. Wife of Indra (Saci)
INDRAPRASTHA. Capital city of the Pandavas.
INDRAPUJA: This puja (Indra-worship)
IRAVAN. A son born to Arjuna of the serpent damsel (Nagakanya) named Ulupi.

JAHNU.  Gangas name Jhanavi comes from this sageF
JAMADAGNI. A hermit of majestic power. He was the father of Parasurama.
JAMBAVAN. A hero of extraordinary might. He was the minister of Sugriva.
JANAKA.Father of Sita
JANALOKA. One of the fourteen worlds.
JANAMEJAYA I. A famous King of the Solar dynasty
JARA. (Raksasi).
JARASANDHA I. A terrible King of Magadha.
JATAYU. A bird famous in the Puranas.
JAYADRATHA 1. A mighty warrior King who ruled over the kingdom of Sindhu.
JAYANTA . Son of Indra.
JYOTISA(M). (Astronomy and astrology).

KACA. The first son of Brhaspati. That extremely beautiful boy was a great favourite of the devas.
KADRU. Wife of Kasyapa and daughter of Daksaprajapati.
KALA. Art. The sixtyfour arts
KALA  (YAMA). The god of Death.
KALAMANA. (Calculating time
KALI I. Incarnation of sin, the Sin-god.
KALINDIDVIPA. It was on this island that Vyasa was born
KALINGA An ancient place in the south of Bharata.
KALKI. The tenth avatara (incarnation) of Mahavisnu.
K AMA  Cupid
KAMSA . Son of Ugrasena, King of Mathura, and an incarnation of an Asura called Kalanemi.
KANVA  . (KASYAPA). Foster Father of shakuntalaKAPILA . A fierce sage.
KARNA  The eldest son of Kunti.
KARTAV IRYARJUNA (KARTAV IRYA) . A renowned King of the Hehaya dynasty.
KASYAPA . Chief among the Prajapatis.
KISKINDHA. An ancient kingdom of the monkeys in South India
SRI KRSNA. Born in the Yadava dynasty as the son of Vasudeva and Devaki,
KRTAVARMA. A King of the Vrsni dynasty.
KSETRA (S). Sacred spots.
KUNTI (PRTHA). Wife of King Pandu and the mother of the Pandavas,
KUSA Il. One of the two sons of Sri Rama, the other, being Lava.

Lakshman Son born to Dagaratha of Sumitra
LAKSMI I. Consort of Mahavisnu.
LANKA. The kingdom of Ravana.
LOMAPADA (ROMAPADA). A King of the country of Anga.
LOMASA I (ROMASA) I. A sage, who was a great story-.teller.

MAGHA . One of the twentyseven constellations.
MAHAMERU. The golden coloured peak of Himavan. The seat of Lord diva, according to the Puranas.
MAHISA. An Asura.
MAITREYA. A sage of great brilliance of ancient India.
MANDODARI Wife of Ravana.
MANGALA. A deity in the form of Kuja or Planet Mars.
Maya Danava

NAGARA. In ancient days there were rules and principles regulating the construction of a city.
NAGASTRA. A destructive weapon (arrow
NAHUSA I. A famous King of the Lunar dynasty.
NAKSATRAYOGA. It is ordained in the Puranas that alms-giving on each star or day will be rewarded by particular
attainments. This is called Naksatrayoga.
NALA  Nala the King of Nisadha
NALAKUBARA. A son of Vaisravana. He had a brother called Manigriva.
NANDAGOPA. Foster-father of Sri Krsna.
NARA  A hermit of divine power.
NARADA. A very famous sage of the Puranas.
NARAKA  (NARAKASURA). A valiant Asura.
NARAYANA. One of the two Rsis famous as Naranarayanas.
NIMI  A famous emperor who was the son of Ik svaku,

PANCABHUTA. Prthvi (earth), Ap (water), Tejas (fire), Vayu (air) and Akasa (ether)
PANCALI. Draupadi, wife of the Pandavas.
PANDU . Father of the Pandavas.
PARVATI. Wife of Siva.
PASUPATA. . The missile of Siva.
PATALA. The last of the seven regions or worlds under the earth
PRITHU . A King of great virtue part of Vishnu born in the line of Dhruva.
PULASTYA. One of the Prajapatis.
PURU  A celebrated king of Candravamsa.
PURURAVAS.  A prominent king of the (lunar race).
PUSPAKA . A divine Aerial Chariot.

RADHA Sri. Krsna's dearest consort.
RAHU. An Asura.
RAJA (N) . All the important Puranas have laid special emphasis on the importance of rules for Kings.
RAJANITI. (Politics and administration).
RAKSASA  Bhutalords
RAKTABIJA. Blood demon
RAMA (SRI RAMA). The seventh incarnation of Mahavisnu, a very powerful king of the solar dynasty.
RANTIDEVA. The Kindest and the most liberal of the Kings in ancient India.
RATI  Wife of Kamadeva
RAVANA. The Raksasa King of Lanka who had ten heads.
RBHUS.Rbhus are a group of divine beings who attained divinity by performing tapas
RSABHA  A muni (sage) who was the grandson of King Agnidhra.
RUKMINI. The chief queen of Sri Krsna.

SABARI. A woman of the tribe of forest-dwellers. Sri Rama, during his life in the forest, gave her salvation.
SACI. Daughter of Puloma and wife of Indr a.
SAGARA. A king of the solar dynasty, Sagara ruled Ayodhya.
SAIVACAPA. Siva's bow. It was made by Visvakarma.
SAKUNTALA. Foster-daughter of sage Kanva.
SALAGRAMA. A stone emblem of Visnu.
SAMBA . The son born to Sri Krsna by his wife jambavati.

TAKSAKA I. A fierce serpent.
TAPATI. A daughter of Surya.
TATAKA. A fierce demoness.
TEJOVATI. The capital city of Agni.).
TILOTTAMA. A prominent celestial maiden.
TRIGARTA. A powerful kingdom of ancient Bharata.
TRIPURA. A phantom city built by Maya.
TULASI. (Holy Basil plant.
TUMBITRU 1. A Deva Gandharva. He was the best musician among the Gandharvas.

UGRASENA . King Ugrasena, father of Kamsa:
ULUKA. The son of sakuni.
ULUTPI. Wife of Arjuna.
URAGA. A class of serpents.
URVASI I. A famous celestial damsel.
USA . The daughter of Banasura and the wife of Aniruddha.
UTTARA . The son of King Virata of Matsya
UTTARA Daughter of Virata, the King of Matsya.

VAIKUNTHA . The trancendental dwelling place of Mahavisnu.
VAJRAYUDHA (Thunderbolt). The famous weapon of Indra.
VALMIKI . A hermit who was the first among poets and the author of Ramayana.
VAMANA I. An incarnation of Mahavisru.
VARAHA. (Boar). One of the ten incarnations of Mahavisnuu
VARUNA . One of the eight guardians of the quarters. God of the ocean
VASISTHA. A hermit who was the son of Brahma
VASUDEVA. Father of Sri Krsna.
VASUKI. One of the famous Nagas (serpents).
VASUKITIRTHA. A holy place situated on the banks of the Ganga in Prayaga.
VAYU - One of the eight guardians of the world. (God of Prana).
VENA . An ancient King who was notorious for his bad rule.
VIBHISANA . Brother of Ravana.
VIKARNA I. One of the hundred sons of Dhrtarastra.
VIKRAMADITYA. Vikramaditya, who is believed to be one of the mighty emperors of Bharata,
VINDA. A prince of Avanti. It is stated that this Vinda had a brother called Anuvinda. The information obtained about
Vinda from Mahabharata is given below
YADU . The founder of Yadava
YAYATI. An eminent king of the Lunar dynasty.
YUDDHA (WAR). In ancient times in India war was considered a "Rajadharma". A war declared under this law was
known as "Dharmayuddha"

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I have spent the past 2 months acquiring and  reading the Puranas.

I have obtained

Ramayana (sankrit with english translation)
Garuda Purana 3 vol
Varaha Purana 2 vol
Bhrama vivarvata purana 2 vol
Vishnu Purana 1 vol
Narasimha purana 1 vol (Sanksrit with english translation)
Markendaya Purana
Garga samhita
Shalpa Shastra
Vayu Purana
Linga Purana
Bramha Purana
Brahmanda Purana
Kurma Purana
Matsya Purana
Padma Purana
Hari Vamsa Purana
Narada Purana
and Puranic Encyclopedia

and of course Mahabharata which I already have

I still am looking forward to the Skanda and Agni Purana

I have been making a character list and getting info on the characters I am using for The Illustrated guide to the vedic universe 270 characters and 30 locations (more to come) and at least 80 animals plants and miscellaneous things like swords and bows and customs like the different marriages and swayambaras. Just working off of Mahabharata, and Ramayana have gotten over 800 pages down. watch out purranic encyclopedia.

I will post a list of the characters soon

We will be relaunching our Fundraiser for The Illustrated Guide to the Vedic Universe this summer Hopefully this year we can be successful.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Next step to success

Dear friends,

Thank you so much for your support, encouragement and inspiration!

As our time for this Kickstarter campaign is nearly complete, we've decided to continue our efforts along with you from our own site

We've devised a way to produce The Illustrated Guide to the Vedic Universe in phases, which combined will form the complete work as originally intended!
These smaller phase books will be more affordable and expedient to produce and will be fun and intriguing all on their own!
We'll be beginning with The Illustrated Guide to the Bhagavad-Gita, detailing the many characters throughout that great classic, many famous heros and saintly kings, and some most readers have known no more than by a passing name.

The pledges you've made on Kickstarter will not be charged, but if you would like to see this project happen, you can quickly and easily continue your support and receive your gifts by clicking here.

Thank you again for all the love and blessings you've given. We are deeply moved by this great opportunity to serve.

your servants
Rasikananda Das
Jagannatha Das

Article about our book on ISKCON NEWS website

New Illustrated Guide Promises Detailed Look at The Vedic Universe

By Madhava Smullen for ISKCON News on 6 Aug 2011
The book`s cover
Two second generation ISKCON devotees—Rasikananda Fitch and Jagannath Cassidy—are following in the footsteps of their parents and engaging their friends to create brand new devotional art for a modern age.
They’ve begun work on a fascinating series of books entitled The Illustrated Guide to the Vedic Universe, which will be presented in a similar format to existing popular guides on the Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter universes, with a twist—the world portrayed in their books will be real.
And that’s not the only unique angle. The series is intended as the framework for all the pop media dream projects that gurukulis and devotees all over the world hope to either see or create themselves.
“To make a major production, you need to have source material to work from,” explains Rasikananda. “You need to know the scripturally accurate physical descriptions of your characters, information about what they wear and where they live, etc. So we decided to do the research which will enable ourselves and others to realize our dream projects, and put it in a series of books. They will be the spin-off point for anyone who wants to see a Mahabharata movie, or a Ramayan video game, or a Broadway Bhagavad-Gita, or cool children’s toys of famous figures like Krishna, Arjuna, and Bhima.”
In fact, it was Rasikananda and Jagannath’s own work on such an exciting project, that led them to the decision to create The Illustrated Guide to the Vedic Universe.
Inspired by his parents’ sculpture work at the ISKCON Los Angeles FATE museum, and a self-taught 3D animator at sixteen, Rasikananda received a call in 2005 inviting him to Ujjain, India, to work on a Mahabharata video-game concept funded by ISKCON guru Bhakti Charu Swami.
There, Rasikananda met Jagannatha, who was working as a research consultant on the project.
“We worked for one year developing the spiritual epic for the X-Box, PlayStation 2, and PC, and received interest from companies like Microsoft Games, Atari, and Capcom,” says Rasikananda. “But eventually the project was put on hold when our main investor decided to go with a company that had an existing track record instead. So I decided that the best way to go was to start with something small, such as this series of books, and build up. Then, by the time I was ready to start a major project again, I’d have excellent source material for it as well as a strong portfolio.”
In 2007, Rasikananda began collaborating on the Illustrated Guide to the Vedic Universe book series with Jagannath, who had garnered somewhat of a reputation for himself as a scholar of the Mahabharata. Jagannath had also already done around a thousand hours worth of research on the epic while working on his video game project.
Concept art by Dridha Vrata Dasa of the Pandava warrior Arjuna, according to the traditional Shilpa Sastra proportions
“I studied several versions of the Mahabharata in depth, beginning with Krishna Dharma’s edition, and going on to Kisari Mohan Ganguli’s, and then M.N. Dutt’s, which includes the authoritative Sanskrit verses as well as the English,” he says. “Finally, I studied the Vaishnava saint Madhavacharya’s 2,000 verse commentary the Mahabharata-Tatparya-Nirnaya, which the Mahabharata’s author Veda-Vyasa personally asked him to write.”
The result—The Illustrated Guide to the Vedic Universe will be packed with plenty of fascinating information many haven’t heard before.
The work will be divided into four sections, beginning with Places. “All the key locations in the Vedic Universe, such as Indra’s capital Amaravati, Brahma’s planet Brahmaloka, and the heavenly Nanda-nandana Gardens in the planet Svarga will be included in alphabetical order, so they’re easy to find,” Jagannath says. “There’ll be three to five pages giving you every detail you need to know about the place in question—such as what it looks like, what kind of architecture it has, who lives there, what the inhabitants look like, and how long they live.”
Concept art by Dridha Vrata Dasa of the Pandava warrior Arjuna, according to the traditional Shilpa Sastra proportions
The second section of the work will discuss the different species of the Vedic Universe, such as Kinaras, Kimpurushas, Rakshasas, Yakshas, Gandharvas, and Manushas.
The third section will feature hundreds of prime characters from the Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Puranas, with juicy yet scripturally accurate details about each one.
Bhima, the might Pandava hero from the Mahabharata, for instance, is described as wearing black and gold armor, a red and yellow sash, and a half black and half white dhoti.
“He had a huge sword that was fifteen finger-widths wide, which looked like a spinning wheel when he swung it around,” says Jagannath. “And on the end of his signature weapon, the mace, he had a silk rope. This enabled him to swing the mace around like a whirlwind, throw it, destroy a chariot or elephant, and then pull it back by yanking on the rope!”
The fourth and last section of the work will cover the many named items, plants, or otherworldly animals mentioned in the Vedic scriptures. There’s the Shyamantaka jewel, which protected the land it rested in from natural disasters, and gave its owner 1.5 tons of gold every day. There’s Arjuna’s bow, the mighty Gandiva, which had a string that would regrow whenever it was cut. And there’s the sacred Tulasi plant, a form of one of Krishna’s greatest devotees.
“There’s also the sacred cow Kamadhenu, who appeared from the ocean of milk when the demigods and demons churned it millennia ago,” says Rasikananda. “In the Shanti-Parva of the Mahabharata, she’s described as sometimes taking on an anthropomorphic form, with a human head, a cow’s body, a peacock’s tail, and the wings of a parrot.”
The Kamadhenu, it is said, was stolen from her owner Vasistha Muni by the Mahabharata warrior Bhishma, in a previous life as one of the heavenly Vasus. As punishment for this, Vasistha cursed the Vasu to take birth on earth and be killed by his wife, on whose request he had stolen Kamadhenu. Thus the Vasu’s wife became Amba, who was slighted by Bhisma and brought about his death.
Art by Dridha Vrata Dasa depicting the sacred Kamadhenu, an anthropomorphic creature described in the Mahabharata.
Rasikananda and Jagannath expect The Illustrated Guide of the Vedic Universe to appear as a series of separate volumes, the first dealing with the places, species, items and especially characters described in the Bhagavad-gita.
“We hope it will give people who read the Bhagavad-gita a better understanding of the context,” Jagannath says. “They’ll know who everybody is, what their history is, what their relationships are, what they looked like, where they served, and where they fought. For instance, the beginning of the Bhagavad-gita mentions Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas. Most people don’t know who they are, and probably don’t give them a second thought.”
But they were important characters, Jagannath explains. “They were cousins of Drupada, the Panchala king whose daughter Draupadi married Arjuna,” he says.
“They liked Arjuna a lot, and would visit him and his brothers regularly in their kingdom of Indraprastha. They were tough, powerful warriors, and served in the battle of Kurukshetra as Arjuna’s wheel-guards. Every Maharathi general had warriors like this protecting the wheels of his chariot.”
Every one of the characters featured in the Illustrated Guide to the Vedic Universe will be accompanied by side, front and perspective drawings showing their likeness according to traditional Shilpa-Sastra proportions. Still-existing locations, such as Kurukshetra and the castle at the Kingdom of Virat, where the Pandavas stayed in hiding, will be illustrated with photos.
Meanwhile some characters and species will be further illustrated with historical paintings or photos of sculptures located in ancient Indian temples, to add authenticity. Finally, in-house artists will render full-color paintings showing the events of the stories.
Rasikananda and Jagannath are already working on concept artwork with second generation artist Dridha Vrata, who studied traditional iconography, iconometry and painting according to the Shilpa Shastras in Mahabalipuram, South India. They also hope to work with BBT artists trained by Srila Prabhupada in the future.
“As well as being an attractive, informative resource, it’s also very important to us that The Illustrated Guide to the Vedic Universe is extremely accurate and authoritative, and can be used in schools, universities, libraries and museums as a reference book,” says Rasikananda. “So all the information in it will be annotated and referenced, so that you can see where we got it from, and check the original work yourself.”
Rasikananda and Jagannath hope to release the first volume of The Illustrated Guide to the Vedic Universe, focused on the Bhagavad-gita, by fall 2012. The book, which they are funding by themselves and with donations, is expected to come in at around 200 pages, and will be coffe-table sized at around 16” x 10”.
“There’s been a bit of a devotional art drought since the 1980s, and this project is about us gurukulis stepping up and continuing the tradition that our parents started,” Rasikananda says. “Our spiritual guides and the rest of the devotee community have encouraged us to do so, and in turn, we encourage others to use our books as a framework, and launch their own dream projects.”
To find out more about The Illustrated Guide to the Vedic Universe, or to donate, please visit