Why is Hanuman white

69 On Prince Rama, the beautiful Sita and the great ape Hanuman As soon as we returned from Madras, Manuel began to organize his symposium and worked on several sculptures at the same time. An intensive period of study began for the children. Her new teacher Anja, whom we met at the opening in Madras, gave effective and creative lessons at her home in her apartment by the sea on Avenue Goubert. I was the only one to step on the spot, despite my daily studies in the library and my Tamil classes with Konrad. When will there finally be a postcard with the notification of a drama! We'd been in India since mid-September, after all, and now it was November. I was getting edgy, even though I knew the season wouldn't start until March at the earliest. Hoping for someone's death is, of course, a reprehensible thing to do, but Dakshinamurti had said that only when someone dies will a play be put on out of season. Strictly speaking, I wasn't waiting for someone to die, but for a drama. You have to see it that way. Everything else is the last thing. Just when I thought again that the German Research Foundation has now put its money in the sand with me, the first longed-for postcard arrived with the news that a drama would take place in Arukavur on November 26th. A certain Mr. Kumar from Hasanamapet had written that a very old, respected citizen had died in a nearby town and that the Lakshmanan group wanted to put on a drama for him. All the gloomy thoughts flew away, happiness seized my despondent heart, cheerful rumble of Bob Dylan songs came from my lips. What a small piece of paper can do. Don't think twice, it's all right! The monsoons were still raging with heavy rains that the children enjoyed. As soon as it began to pour, they stripped down to their underpants and stood in the garden. The monsoon season is completely unpredictable, and day in and day out you are concerned with the jacket problem: it is fresh immediately after a downpour. So you put on a jacket. After a few minutes the sun is shining and the wet earth in the garden begins to steam. You sweat and think you can't breathe anymore. Jacket off. It's raining cats and dogs and the wind is blowing. Jacket on. It is pouring rain and the wind is not blowing. Jacket off. The rain is over, jacket on. The sun comes through, jacket comes out. The whole thing times three, because small children first have to develop a feeling for the special climatic conditions in the tropics. Until they have managed that, there are actually only two sentences throughout the day: "Put your jacket on" or "Take your jacket off." I was glad that the prospect of thinking about other things than just always was there to deal with a single object, namely the jacket. Mr. Kumar had noted on the card that an episode from the Ramayana was to be performed: "Rama's Journey to the Upper World". Rama's trip to the overworld? Never heard. Of course, no mythical hero, in any narrative tradition in this world, stays on earth forever or just dies. But the question for me was whether Valmiki in the Sanskrit version or Kamban in the Tamil version, the Kambaramayanam, sang about how Rama goes to the upper world. I carefully reread the relevant passages from the story of Prince Rama, the beautiful Sita and the great ape Hanuman. Nothing. Did I miss something? In the library I asked my colleagues and the Pandits, the Sanskrit scholars, if there were any corresponding chants or verses. Nah, not that anyone knew anything. Anyway, that's what I was there for, documenting oral traditions in the villages. If Rama's trip to the overworld is not mentioned in any text, so much the better for me. Even now, my new discoveries struck me as extremely important, if not groundbreaking, even though I didn't even have them. I had promised the children that they would be there for my first drama. That seemed to me to be educationally valuable, so that they knew where their mother would be at night in the future. There were still a few days until the big event. I used this time to familiarize Johanna and Lena with the story with the help of their Indian picture books. The children were given a few days "off school" so that we had enough time to read the Indian children's edition of the greatest Indian epic. The deeds and sufferings of Prince Rama are described in simple English, especially the fight over his wife Sita, who is kidnapped by a demon named Ravana and freed by the monkey king Hanuman. At first glance, everything is perfectly suitable for children. Because of Johanna and Lena, I sincerely hoped that the drama would not only be about Rama's death, but that there would be a retrospective in the sense of: "What happened so far". The drama was supposed to go on all night, and that someone dies and why is actually communicated within a few minutes. - Although ... When I think of the Passion Play in Oberammergau, the last five days in the life of Jesus are performed over a period of seven hours. Rarely in my life have I seen anything so great. The artistic director, Christian Stückl, bought all the fabrics for the costumes himself in India and composed a color score that is unique in the world. More than four hundred Oberammergau citizens and their children are sometimes on stage at the same time and sing about the suffering of Jesus in choirs between olive and palm trees. Animals are also part of the set. Donkeys, camels, horses, goats and whole flocks of sheep appear. Everything is real. Even the men's long hair and beards, nothing is stuck on, nobody is wearing a wig. The Bundeswehr has issued a special permit that soldiers from Oberammergau can have long hair and beards before and during the festival season. That is the Free State of Bavaria. The Passion Play is only held every ten years, so you can turn a blind eye. In the performance I saw, there was a thunderstorm just as Jesus was dead. From my place I had seen the dark, lightning-flashed clouds for quite a while in the twilight behind the blue-seeming Oberammergau mountains. The audience sits in the dry, but the stage is not covered, and when the sky opened its floodgates and released the storm, the water splashed onto the stone floor and splashed the performers up to their knees, not to mention the fact that all of the costumes were in Seconds soaked with water and a whole new play of colors was created. Just as Jesus said, “It is done,” lightning tore the sky apart and the thunder cracked. That was moving. After this tragedy, the audience was not only crying, but also frozen through. In the foyer there was an opportunity to regain balance, both mentally and physically: Homemade fruit schnapps was offered. On the way home two nuns tried to come down the Ettaler Steige in their VW Golf. First they drove in serpentine lines, then they decided on the opposite lane, probably because they could orientate themselves there on the rock face on their left. It took a while until the police we had called could get the two brides of God to stop. They were allowed to take a seat in the back seat of their own car, one policeman drove the VW Golf, the other 72 followed in the police car, and off we went back to the monastery in Munich. The Garmisch police officers showed understanding for the grief of women who were obviously drowned in schnapps after such a traumatic experience as the crucifixion of their bridegroom. The story of Rama turns out differently. Its crown is made of gold and precious stones, not thorns. So I read aloud. Of course, Manuel had to complain again that I put the story of the death of the demon Tataka on the tender child souls. She wants evil to Prince Rama and his brother Lakshmana. Rama is of a noble spirit and of course does not kill women. He promised that. He only cuts off the nose and ears of the gigantic, misshapen female monster in order to make it incapable of fighting. Tataka throws boulders after this loss. Of course, Rama chops off her hands right away. Unfortunately, Tataka still doesn't give up, you can imagine how angry she must have been, and so Rama is forced to throw his ethical principles, namely not killing women, overboard. Although, I think, it would be worth discussing whether Tataka can really be called a woman. But this question of definition is not raised in the Ramayana. Just as the demon throws herself at Rama with a roar, the latter shoots the deadly arrow right into the heart of the monster, which then falls to the ground and breathes out its life. The gods exclaim enthusiastically: “Well done, well done, O holy Rama!” (R I / 26). Soon after this demonstration of Rama's strength and fearlessness - we are still in the First Book of Ramayana - the story of Sita, Rama's later wife, is described, who was found in a furrow as a child. Johanna looked for a long time at the corresponding illustration: A beautiful princess rose from the earth. Botticelli had probably not known the Ramayana, because otherwise there might be The Birth of Venus as well as The Birth of Sita, and humanity would be richer by a grandiose work of art. When Sita was to be married, her father made it a condition that he would not let her “... no prince who had not shown enough strength” (R I / 66). Only Rama comes into question. I left out the story of Shurpanakha in Book Three. It's for adults. It's about a love-inflamed demon who throws passionate glances at Rama, even though he is already married to Sita. However, because it is quite instructive, also for people in our cultural area, here the short version: 73 First, the angry beautiful-looking woman pokes at Rama's wife Sita: She is ugly and misshapen, as well as a grumpy old woman. Tactically, perhaps, not overly smart in trying to get a married man to leave his wife. No wonder Rama wants to get rid of Shurpanakha. But how? He suggests that she should turn to his brother, who is also very nice and not married. Lakshmana doesn't want them either. And the conflict is preprogrammed. The whole thing ends in a disaster, because the beautiful rival, like her tataka, has her nose and ears cut off, and she runs, covered in blood, into the forest, where she seeks vengeance and wants to destroy Rama. Yet she had dreamed of roaming the mountains with him, united in love. The rejected Shurpanakha seeks revenge and comes up with the idea that one could simply take his wife away from Rama. What could be more obvious than asking a friend to kidnap Sita. Ravana from Lanka agrees to do so. But first we have to prepare for the kidnapping: Sita has to be alone, alone in her hermitage in the forest, where she lives with Rama and his brother Lakshmana. One day Sita falls in love with a gazelle that she desperately wants, but which is actually a demon. Rama, who wants to catch the animal for his wife, is lured deeper and deeper into the forest by him. Suddenly he hears the desperate call “O Sita, O Lakshmana!” The voice sounds like his own. In truth, however, it is that of the gazelle demon. Lakshmana also hears the call and thinks that Rama is in trouble. Although Rama has given him the task of taking good care of his wife in his absence, Lakshmana leaves Sita alone at home and, full of worry, rushes to the forest to help his brother. Instigated by Shurpanakha, Ravana takes advantage of the situation to kidnap Sita. He approaches the unsuspecting princess in the disguise of a mendicant monk. The young woman is completely without suspicion and entertains the villain. What is not planned: The kidnapper falls in love with his victim. Ravana can no longer contain himself and confesses: “O Sita, I am that Ravana, king of demons, before whom the world, gods, demons and people tremble. O you source of delight, since I saw you, like shimmering gold, clad in silk, I no longer like my companions. Be the queen of these countless women whom I stole from many regions. ”(R III / 47) 74 Unfortunately, even this most beautiful declaration of love of all time is of no use, although Ravana even holds out the prospect of his source of delight, the queen of all that of to be allowed to be women stolen from him. Sita just loves Rama. Ravana is upset and kidnaps his beloved by force to Lanka. Upon their return to the hermitage, Lakshmana and Rama wonder where Sita might have gone. They realize that she must have been kidnapped. They look for her everywhere but cannot find her. On the Pampa River, Rama is overwhelmed by the longing for his wife. He suffers unspeakably from the separation, especially since it is spring. He confides his erotic fantasies to his brother Lakshmana. “O this fire of spring consumes me. [...] Just look, Lakshmana, how the peacock is dancing on the mountain there, and how the hen pursues him excitedly. He spreads his radiant wings, and his screaming seems to mock my pain, because no demon has kidnapped his loved one, he can dance tenderly with her here in this enchanting grove. [...] See Lakshmana, the lesser animals are also able to love. Just now the hen is running after the peacock's steps, full of heat; so Sita, Janaka's big-eyed daughter, would follow my walk if she had not been kidnapped. ”(R III / 47) I did not read this passage to the children. What do I say when you ask what it means that the hot hen runs after the peacock's steps, and that the big-eyed one would do the same with Rama. After Rama almost dies from the pain of separation, he asks the mighty monkey god Hanuman for help. He should free Sita. Rama says to him: "In you, O Hanuman, strength and wit and courage and cleverness live in harmony with the knowledge of space and time." (R III / 47) Hanuman also loved Johanna and Lena. They were impressed by the self-confidence with which he speaks about himself. One could almost think that he would show off when he said, with his fur ruffled happily: “I can stir up the sea with my strong arms, and flood the world with its mountains, rivers and lakes; the sea bursts beneath my feet. And what's more: I can reach the rising, radiant sun before it sinks to the west [...]. I can jump over the stars and the celestial bodies, I can drink up the ocean and split the earth; under my step the 75 mountains burst and under the tremendous power of my leap the sea overflows. ”(R IV / 67) But it gets really exciting in the fifth book. Hanuman searches for and finds the place where Ravana is holding Princess Sita prisoner. The great ape has faint doubts before he embarks on his mission, but he is determined to find Ravana's realm, and if not, then he'll tear all of Lanka out of the ground and carry it back to Rama. Hanuman is about to take a giant leap. “In his lightning-fast flight, Hanuman tore the trees with their flowering branches and love-intoxicated lapwing with him and hurled them up into the sky. Torn away by the thrust of his monstrous leap, the trees followed him like relatives accompany their darling a little on a journey to distant lands. ”(R V / 1) This is something for children to read! Something like that stimulates the imagination and inspires the mind. I left out all the stories about the numerous monsters that Hanuman encounters on his search and which he can defeat with powerful fist blows (R V / 3). Johanna and Lena didn't need to know every detail of the adventurous journey. Hanuman finally sees Sita. Its beauty was “woven into a dense web of worries, veiled like a smoke-shrouded flame, or like an old text that dubious interpretations have obscured. Or like dwindling prosperity, or like longing faith or like almost extinct hope, or like perfection that obstacles prevent us from attaining ”(R V / 15). Oh, the parables don't want to end, Hanuman is so appalled by the sight of Sita. “Under the burden of grief, she resembled a heavily laden ship tumbling in the waves.” (R V / 17) The ship tumbling in the waves must now be freed.However, this is not that easy, because the love-drunk kidnapper Ravana pulls out all the stops to get Sita to marry him. He even rubs the worst imagination of every woman in the world under her nose: "Your adorable youth passes like the water of a river that does not reverse its path." (RV / 20) Ravana strongly recommends Sita to marry him before the river has become too broad. But Sita is not deterred and rejects him, the "unsteady 76 of the night" (RV / 21), arguing that she and her husband are as one, "as the light of the sun cannot be separated from the planet" (RV / 21) Although the chances for Ravana of winning Sita's heart after all are extremely poor, he does not give up and uses harder guns. He gives Sita two months to think about it. “Then you have to share the bed with me. If you refuse, my cooks will peck your limbs for breakfast. ”(RV / 22) Another scene that I have not read, of course, but which seems important to me at this point, so that you can get an impression of what it is Ravana is for one. When trying to free Sita, Hanuman is captured, which is actually hard to imagine, as strong as he is. Hanuman is handcuffed and his tail, the pride of a monkey, is wrapped in cotton cloth and set on fire. So humiliated you want to lead him through the city. But Hanuman is not well known. He breaks his bonds and sets fire to all of Lanka. Then he extinguishes his burning tail in the sea, returns and reports where he had seen Sita. Johanna's question as to why the strong monkey didn't bring the princess with him straight away, but rather left her behind with this monster in the devastated land, could only be answered by saying that otherwise it wouldn't be so exciting. Of course, in the further course of the story, the noble Rama succeeds in killing his adversary Ravana and bringing his wife back. A German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm would end with the sentence: "... and if they haven't died, then they are still alive today." Not so the Ramayana. Johanna and Lena thought the story would end when Sita and Rama find each other again. However, there is a very dramatic turnaround: Rama casts Sita away. It is bad for the prince that Ravana cast lustful looks at his wife. That hurts his honor. And besides, you never know what else has happened. Sita can swear as much as she wants, it won't help. Rama's doubts cannot be resolved. Sita has a pyre built, and when it is lit, she enters it fearlessly. Then the god of fire comes, extinguishes the flames, takes the blameless woman in his arms and gives her back to Rama with the words: “Here, O Rama, is Sita, there is no sin in her! She is pure and spotless, receive her now, I command you not to blame her with another word. These words filled Rama with delight. [...] And after these 77 words, the victorious and extraordinarily powerful Rama, full of glory and admired for his heroic deeds, received his beloved back and he felt the happiness he deserved. ”(R VI / 120) In the land in which Rama and Sita can live from now on, there are no diseases, no death, no evildoers, no suffering, happiness reigns everywhere. And at the very end of the Ramayana, it says that whoever listens to the Ramayana receives a long life and delights the hearts of his followers. In view of the upcoming drama, I felt like a savior for the souls of my loved ones.