Light

Rama and Sita

This week’s creative theme is “Light”, in celebration of Diwali, the festival of lights of Hindu, Sikh and Jain religious traditions.

The lights are lit to guide Rama and his wife Sita safely home after their exile.

The story is recounted in the Ramayana, an epic poem that dates from between the fourth and first century BCE. That is to say that the written version dates from then, there is little doubt that it was transcribed from oral traditions that are much older. The Ramayana has inspired, and continues to inspire, countless retellings and variations including plays and shadow puppet shows as well as film and TV versions.

It is a huge poem but a very simple summation is that it concerns the travails of Rama (who in some versions is the god Vishnu in corporeal form) who, with his beautiful wife Sita and his brother Laksmana, is forced into exile by his wicked stepmother.  In the forest, Sita is abducted by the demonic , multi-headed  king  Ravana. Rama forms an alliance with the monkey god Hanuman and with an army of monkeys and bears defeats and kills Ravana.  When they return to Rama’s rightful kingdom the way is lit for them and so lights commemorate the defeat of evil and the triumph of good.

Ravana

https://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/whatson/exhibitions/ramayana/guide.html

Hanuman

There is a little more detail here https://www.shakespeare.org.uk/explore-shakespeare/blogs/happy-diwali/  including that Sita is tested for her chasity (as she has spent a year as Ravana’s captive) she passes Rama’s test but is not believed by the people of the kingdom and is forced into exile again.

So not such a happy ending.  The Shakespeare Trust naturally enough draws parallels with Shakespeare’s plays but it reminds me much more of Homer’s Odyssey with Penelope fending off the suitors in her husband Odysseus’s absence (not to mention the mixed cast of heroes, gods and monsters (and various hybrids).  As, at least as oral traditions, these epics would have been told at the same time, it is hard not to wonder if they influenced each other.

Prompts: Light can be literal, lights at night perhaps leading you home like Rama and Sita, or metaphorical: seeing the light at the end of the tunnel or a moment of “enlightenment.” Light comes from the sun, moon, stars, streetlights ( originating in Battery Point power station at the moment ) or headlights – and here, of course, we also sometimes have the northern lights.

7 thoughts on “Light

  1. Light

    When I had cataracts in my eyes
    Less and less light was passing through
    I was seeing just a blurr
    I had my eye lenses replaced one by one
    The next day I took off the eye pad and
    Suddenly I saw the brightest clearest light
    Colours appeared bright: blue and green
    That day I was just in awe of the brightness

    Sometimes white sunlight shines between the clouds
    And it is not possible to look at it
    Until clouds come and shield our eyes from the glare
    Or rays of light shine through a hole in the clouds
    Or we get a vivid pink colouring the clouds

    Other times we get a rainbow or two
    This happens when we have the sun behind us
    Shining through showers of rain
    The white sunlight is split into colours
    Split by the millions of tiny droplets of rain
    A rainbow always makes me feel good
    I feel that all will be well

    Urszula

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  2. My grandparent’s standard lamp sits in the corner. Shining gently down and around me, casting a warm glow around my living room.

    Ever since I was little I have liked it. My grandmother used to sit under it in her chair, doing her daily crossword and writing in her diary. Just being her. Warm, glowing, lovely with that surprisingly rascally laugh she had!
    Both granddad and grandma would have a mug of tea and a biscuit right on 10 p.m.when the ITV news used to come on. They were creatures of endearing habit.

    I loved them dearly.

    I also now have the little 4 legged wooden stool my granddad made.
    These are the 2 items I took when grandma passed away. Granddad had died some 11 years before she did. Grandma was 98 when she died. Granddad 90.

    Grandma was born at the start of the First World War and went out , all lights blazing, on Bonfire night. Or do we call it Guy Fawkes Night? Anyway that’s when she died. November 5th 2012.

    Now I sit, under the light writing. Or staring far into space, remembering. I don’t tend to have a routine tea drinking time like they did but I do sit here to drink my mugs of tea. Sometimes glancing over at the little wooden stool placed lovingly in the corner and wonder where it will go next.

    Cathy Macleod.

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