The Hindu tradition has a vast collection of legends derived from the folklore of the various regions of India. While many .of these stories are incorporated into the classical literature of Hinduism, a rich oral tradition persists so that we find many versions of these tales highlighted according to sectarian emphasis.
Hanuman-son of Vayu, the wind-is a favourite amongst Hindus, young and old, and like Ganesha, his popularity transcends sectarian bounds. In Hindu imagery, the monkey signifies the restless human mind, which when disciplined is capable of moving mountains. Hanuman symbolizes this strength of mind and is the epitome of humility, courage, and unwavering faith and devotion to Lord Rama-an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Hanuman is also the patron deity of yoga. This is only appropriate for he is the son of Vayu, who in another form is prana=uie life-sustaining force of living beings-a central concept in yoga. Prana not only sustains the body but also sways the mind. Through breath control, yogis can discipline a restless mind and train it to focus.
The adventures of Hanuman form a prominent part of the epic Ramayana, where he aided Lord Rama in rescuing Princess Sita from the rakshasa Ravana. Also popular in Indonesia, he is believed by some scholars to be a source for the Chinese character Sun Wukong.
According to some legends, Hanuman is an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The goddess Parvati cursed Hanuman's mother, the apsara Anjana, to live amongst the vanaras. Lord Shiva granted that the curse would be nullified if she gave birth to his incarnation. He then gave Vayu a fruit containinghis essence. Vayu gave the fruit to Anjana, who ate it and became with child. Thus Hanuman was born.
The mythologies of all cultures contain a fair share of bloodshed and sexual innuendo. This is because they were basically intended for grown-ups, and children were told watered down versions. Following this tradition, I have also included the yogic teachings of non-violence, honour, and truth. I hope these ideas will leave a lasting impression on children who read this book.
Born in India, Radhika Sekar has lived in Canada since 1974. She holds a PhD in Religious Studies and taught Hinduism at Carleton and Ottawa universities. Now a full-time writer, her short stories have appeared in several anthologies, and she won the City of Ottawa Short Story Contest in 2004 and the Canadian Authors Association contest in 2005. She is also a regular contributor to the Ask the Religion Experts column in the Ottawa Citizen. Hanuman is her third children's book based on Hindu mythology. The first two are Lord of Beginnings-Stories of the Elephant-Headed Deity: Ganesha (2004) and Festival of Light-Deepava/i Legends from around India (2005).
Radhika now lives in Ottawa with her husband, Ami, and is the proud ajee of Maverick and Parker, for whom these books are intended.
A graduate of Sheridan College, David Badour has been working as an illustrator and graphic designer for ten years. During this time he has completed artwork used in books, animated series, magazines, and children's interactive CD-ROMs. David enjoys interpreting the written word and the relationship it creates between artist and author. As an enthusiast of comparative religion, and the illustrator for Lord of Beginnings, David is honoured to help perpetuate and transmit the rich cultural and religious traditions found in the Kaleidoscope Books series. He resides in Ottawa with his wife and two daughters.
Sylvia Pollard settled in Ottawa to study music at Carleton University, finishing with a degree in English and Geography. A member of the Editors' Association of Canada, Sylvia has published many articles and reviews on art, literature, and music, and edited countless novels, short stories, and academic manuscripts. Passionate about the arts and aware of the lifelong impact of our most-beloved childhoodbooks, she is pleased to be involved in the Kaleidscope Books series. Sylvia also publishes her own short stories, poems, and songs in her serial chapbook, Willow, and teaches guitar.
Birth of Hanuman
Schooling with Surya
Sugriva & Wicked King Vaali
The Two Fine Princes of Ayodhya
The Monsoon Season
The Search for Si ta
The Burning of Lanka
Bringing the Magic Herb to Lakshman
Ravana & the Secret Garden
Val mi ki N: the Wisdom of Rama
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