Thursday, July 18, 2013
Let Us Concentrate on the Monkeys
Ha ha, I just finished chapter nine of this big book about Hinduism. You didn't think I could make it, did you? You don't believe in me! You've never believed in me! This chapter was about THE RAMAYANA, a work that Lee Durkee happened to recommend just the other night. And I have coincidentally noticed that there is a big stack of THE RAMAYANA at Square Books, so many copies! Like, maybe a book club was going to read it, then forgot? I have no idea. But my purchase of it seems fated. I read about a "marvelous golden deer, thickly encrusted with precious jewels," which was really "the ogre Maricha in disguise," and that was pretty good, but imagine my excitement when I came to the segment subtitled "MONKEYS," which contained this sentence: "Let us concentrate on the monkeys, as the bears play only a minor role." When someone suggests "Let us concentrate on the monkeys," I always answer, "Okay!" Doniger goes on to rank monkeys in Hindu symbolism as "Neither so glamorous as horses nor so despised as dogs," and I dared to hope for a moment that a monkey might ride a dog like a horse, but no, not in this chapter. I did read this: "Hanuman, the great general of the monkey army, forgets that he has magic powers (to fly, to be become very big and very small, etc.)" and that made me think a little bit of Jake from ADVENTURE TIME.