Friday, September 6, 2019

Ocean to the Rivers of Story by Somadeva Essay Example for Free

Ocean to the Rivers of Story by Somadeva Essay Ocean to the Rivers of Story by Somadeva The Kathasaritsagara (Ocean to the Rivers of Story) is a famous compendium of Indian legends fairy tales and folk stories compiled by Somadeva. Somadeva lived in the 11th century. He was a court poet to King Ananta of Kashmir. Most likely he was asked to compose a cycle of stories for the Queen Suryamati to keep her mind away from the political crisis in the country. The poet knew a lot of ancient tales that contained many ancient Indian beliefs. As a basis for his book he took a much older Indian tale collection Brhat-katha (The Great Romance) by Gunadhya, the  original version of which had been lost. The structure of Kathasaritsagara is a collection of tales inside one main framing tale about the life and adventures of the son of the legendary King Udayana. It also includes the story about how The Great Romance was written and what happened to this book afterwards. As the title implies -Ocean to the Rivers of Story, Somadevas work united all the stories that were known at that time, just like an ocean unites all the rivers. Every story, big or small, written or told found its reflection in Somadevas collection. Thus, no wonder that the characters of this collection both, humans and all different creatures that humans believed in. Some stories reflected the life of Indian society, and their characters are desperate lovers, powerful kings, greedy bankers, smart merchants, shrewd and clever women, brave warriors and many others. Other stories reflect strange fantastic myths and the characters of them are goblins, vampires, witches, devils and all other imaginary creatures that were created by Indian folklore during the past centuries. This book is  sometimes called the mirror of Indian imagination. The story The Red Lotus of Chastity tell us about a live of a merchants family. The only son of a merchant got married to a smart and beautiful girl named Devasmita. The young man inherited his fathers business and had to take care of his familys prosperity. One day he decided to go to the island of Cathay to sell his goods. His wife was afraid that he would fall in love with another woman while being away. She went to the temple and asked God Siva for a piece of advise. God Siva gave a red lotuse to her  and her husband, saying that it any of them would be unfaithful, the lotus of the spouse would fade. On the trip the fellow merchants of the young man found out about this and decided to seduce the young merchants wife and humiliate Guhasena. However, all their attempts were in vain, as Devasmita understood their plan and could play a trick on all of them. At the end Devasmita travels to the island of Cathay to tell the story to her husband and to not be separated from him anymore. The three men who tried to seduce Devasmita admitted their plans and were turned into her slaves. This storys characters are regular people: a young merchant, who loves his wife and wants to give the best he can get to her; a young wife, who loves her husband and remains faithful to him all the time, three men- seducers, who represent the evil side; a witch- an old woman who help to make the plan of seduction. But at the end we see that the good characters celebrate the victory as it should always be. This story reminds me of the stories and tales of European troubadours who lived during the Medieval Ages. In contrast to the official sacred art, their tales and songs were  about real human lives, about human good and bad traits of character. The character of this story can be easily compared to the characters of Molieres plays and Shakespeares comedies. There have been many discussions about how Indian stories traveled around the world. According to some scientists Indian story-telling made the Persians learn the art of storytelling and pass it on to the Arabians. Then ancient Indian tales traveled from the Middle East to Constantinople and Venice. Later they were reflected in the works of the early representatives of the Renaissance Era. Some scientists believe that Western tales borrowed a lot from Indian ones. The discussion is still open nowadays. The researches could not prove anything yet. However, even on the example of this story we could see the similarity of character types and story development. But it would be not surprising that this type of a connection would be established as it is very likely that educated European people knew Indian tales and were fascinated by them. Obviously, they could have borrowed some motives and characters for their later works.

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