Long timers here may recall that I mentioned this cool video by Nina Paley called Sita Sings the Blues several years ago. At that time, all that was available were some short but very pretty clips.
Good news! Sita Sings the Blues is done, and available on the web. It’s Saturday evening — go ahead, set aside an hour and a half to watch it. How often do you run across Hindu myths animated and set to the 1920’s jazz?
Speaking of Hindu myths, have you ever read any of their creation stories? Here’s one version:
Before time began there was no heaven, no earth and no space between. A vast dark ocean washed upon the shores of nothingness and licked the edges of night. A giant cobra floated on the waters. Asleep within its endless coils lay the Lord Vishnu. He was watched over by the mighty serpent. Everything was so peaceful and silent that Vishnu slept undisturbed by dreams or motion.
From the depths a humming sound began to tremble, Om. It grew and spread, filling the emptiness and throbbing with energy. The night had ended. Vishnu awoke. As the dawn began to break, from Vishnu’s navel grew a magnificent lotus flower. In the middle of the blossom sat Vishnu’s servant, Brahma. He awaited the Lord’s command.
Vishnu spoke to his servant: ‘It is time to begin.’ Brahma bowed. Vishnu commanded: ‘Create the world.’
It’s silly and magical, but it’s also beautiful. We hear that awful tinny poetry of Genesis so often that I think it’s worth looking around at other cultures just to see how petty and third-rate the Western bible is. Not that I want anyone believing in Vishnu and the lotus growing out of his navel, but at least it’s much more lovely and imaginative than the repetitive nonsense we’re used to.