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This book has been optimized for viewing at a monitor setting of x pixels. T h e Pa l a c e of Illusions. The Palace of Illusions. Identifierthe-palace-of-illusions-com-v Identifier-ark ark://t5r84qh OcrABBYY FineReader (Extended. Taking us back to a time that is half history, half myth and wholly magical, bestselling author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni gives voice to Panchaali, the fire-born heroine of the Mahabharata, as she weaves a vibrant retelling of an ancient epic saga. Which is the best book to read.

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Palace of - Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online . paper critically analyses Palace of Illusions by Chitra. Banerjee Divakaruni from feminist perspective. Keywords— Mahabharata, suppression, feminist, equality. Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Recasting the Indian epic Mahabharata from the The Palace of Illusions: A Novel - Kindle edition by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon. com.

The Palace of Illusions was my introduction to Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's work, and it was a pleasure to read. Her book definitely qualifies for what I call the "under the covers with a flashlight" award. Let me stress that I value my sleep, but so as not to disturb my hubby, I found myself clutching the flashlight for just a few more pages of magical, mystical, delightful story-telling before I drifted off to sleep. I'm eager to read everything else she has written.

I have read nearly all of Divakaruni's books, and this is just another in a long line of colorful, magical, and insightful offerings from this author. The book is filled with touches of magical realism and character portrayals that will keep the reader engaged and craving more of the story.

The story has much to say about the awful destruction that war wreaks upon its participants, and also contains many illuminating passages speculating the divine in everyday life. The last passages are hauntingly beautiful, and remarkably moving. If you are looking for a flavorful yet unconventional re-telling of some of India's most marvelous stories, you can't go wrong with this gem of a book.

Highly recommended. Her style of magical realism rivals those of the Latin American writers, establishing a new genre of Indian mysticism. The novel is a retelling of an ancient Indian text, but has all of the elements of a modern tale, sure to become a classic in its own right.

Marie-Jeanne Palace of Illusions Although I am a great fan of mythology, folk tales, and fairy tales, I am not very familiar with the stories of Hinduism. Le marmellate fatte in casa scarica. Lehman Brothers und die Folgen: Conceptos de una medicina diferente Annette Kerckhoff pdf.

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Wuppertaler Studienbibel: Out of breath and wheezing, her face an alarming red, she shooed my companions away. Then she whispered the news in my ear but in her excitement she was so loud that everyone heard: But Dhai Ma informed me I was to have a swayamvar. Eligible rulers from every kingdom in Bharat would be invited to Panchaal. From among them, my father had announced, I would choose the man I was to marry.

He was too cautious. He should have been the girl, and I the boy! As a matter of fact, Dhri was quite taken with the neighboring princess to whom our father had betrothed him.

But a question gnawed at me: Why would our father, who delighted in control, allow me so much freedom? Truth, like a diamond, has many facets. Tell her, Dhristadyumna. Tell her about the test. Nor can they use their own weapons.

Is he mad? Arjun, the third Pandava prince, my dearest friend. I think our Krishnaa will like him! A warrior has the greatest respect for the man who defeats him in battle. They lived by strange rules. I wanted to ask Dhri why our father hated Drona so much, then, since Drona had been the mastermind behind that defeat.

But I allowed myself to drift to more pleasant thoughts. To be the beloved of the greatest archer of our time. To be the woman whose smile made his heart beat faster, whose frown wounded him almost to death, whose advice guided his most important decisions. Could this be the way I was meant to change history? Krishna smiled slyly, as though he knew what I thought. Still, I was surprised at how much it rankled to articulate it.

Krishna touched my shoulder. I was ashamed of my petty worries. I wondered if it would break him or harden him, and which would be worse. He was trying to teach me something.

Was it to be aware of the dark motivations that lay behind seemingly benign actions? Was it to not 59 let myself be carried away by emotion, to see myself instead as part of a larger political design that would affect the fate of Bharat?

Was it to teach me how to wear the armor of caution so that no one could reach past it to break my heart? Important lessons, no doubt. But I was a woman, and I had to practice them—as Sikhandi had suggested—in my own way.

I would approach the problem aslant. Perhaps Time was the master player. But within the limits allowed to humans in this world the sages called unreal, I would be a player, too.

But why do I call her that? She looked no different from the women who sold their wares in the marketplace, with the pleats of her blue sari tucked, peasant fashion, between her legs. I expected her to shout for the sentry or berate the woman with her usual belligerence, but she did neither.

Secretly, I agreed with her estimation of my lessons. I was interested in seeing what she had to offer. I had a suspicion it was Vyasa the sage.

She grinned. Her teeth were very white in her dark face, their edges sharp and serrated. You do it by ignoring them. She taught me how to wash it, oil it, comb the tangles out of it, and braid it into a hundred different designs.

She had me practice on her and rebuked me sharply if I pulled too hard, or snagged a tress. I took them with unaccustomed meekness. Dhai Ma puffed out her cheeks in disapproval.

The sorceress taught me other unqueenly skills. She made me lie on the floor at night, with only my arm for a pillow, until I could sleep under those conditions. She made me wear the cheapest, most abrasive cotton saris that chafed my skin until I grew used to them. She made me eat what the lowest of my servants ate; she taught me to live on fruits, then water, and then to fast for days at a time.

The breath made my mind one-pointed, and I began to glimpse subtleties that had been invisible to me before. I noticed that her lessons went in opposites. She taught me adornments to enhance my beauty.

She taught me how to make myself so ordinary that no one would spare me a sec- 62 ond glance. She taught me to cook with the best of ingredients and the most meager. She taught me potions to cure illness and potions to cause them.

She taught me to be unafraid of speaking out, and to be brave enough for silence. She taught me when to lie and when to speak the truth. She taught me to close myself off from the sorrow of others so that I might survive. I understood that she was preparing me for the different situations that would appear in my life.

I tried to guess what shape they might take, but here I failed. I failed also in this: She demonstrated how to send out a lightning-glance from the corner of the eye. How to bite, slightly, the swollen lower lip. How to make bangles ring as I raised my arm to pull a transparent veil into place. How to walk, the back swaying just enough to hint at hidden pleasures.

Teach me how to love my husband, and how to make him love me. I advise you to forget about love, princess. Pleasure is simpler, and duty more important. Deep in my stubborn heart I was convinced I deserved more. The story was the tale of Kunti, mother of Arjun. Whenever she wanted, she could call upon a god, and he would gift her with a son. Thus her eldest, Yudhisthir, was the son of the god of righteousness, her second, Bheem, the son of the god of wind, and Arjun, the son of Indra the king-god.

Thus, Nakul and Sahadev, sons of the twin healer-gods, were born. She gave me a look. But my believing is not important, nor yours. Almost immediately he took the beautiful Madri as his second wife and lavished his affection on her. Soon afterward, Pandu was cursed by a brahmin. He left his kingdom in the hands of his blind brother, Dhritarashtra, and went into the forest to do penance.

Years passed. The children appeared. But one day Pandu, no longer able to resist, embraced Madri. He died. The guilt-ridden Madri chose not to live on. She was determined that no one would cheat them out of their inheritance. Understand what drove a woman like her.

What allowed her to survive when she was surrounded by enemies. Understand what makes a queen—and beware! With the arrogance of youth I thought that the motives that drove Kunti were too simple to require careful study. And how much more dangerous. The map was a thick crinkled sheet the color of skin. The rivers and mountains were easier: I looked wonderingly at the kingdom of Panchaal and the dot that was Kampilya. A few disappeared altogether while others changed names. In this Third Age of Man, the good are mostly weak.

That is why the earth needs the Great War, so she can start over. I thought I saw pity in her eyes. When did the innocent not suffer? It seemed to me that I was looking into a hundred homes, humble and kingly both. I heard the voices and thoughts of women, bitter and bickering. Some wished death and disease on their rivals, others wanted control of their household. Some berated children with words that left scars on their hearts.

Some beat servant girls or forced them out, penniless, into the jaws of a ravenous world. I knew enough to control passion. I visualized myself as a great queen, dispensing wisdom and love. Panchaali the Peacemaker, people would call me.

The sorceress laughed. Palpable as heat, his anxiety made me anxious, too. The artist had visited Kampilya before. This way, when I faced my suitors in the wedding hall, I would know who each one was. I was depending on him to tell me the secrets a potential wife needs to know, information the artist was sure to skip over, either from ignorance or fear. Which king had a hidden disease, who was haunted by a family curse, who was a miser, who had retreated from battle, and who was too stubborn to do so.

It was mystifying how Krishna knew such things. But he was nowhere around. Probably, I thought with some annoyance, he was in his palace by the sea, enjoying the company of his wives.

His face was good-humored, but his girth betrayed his fondness for the easy life. Under his eyes, the skin sagged. Why would he want to come to the swayamvar? The artist uncovered other portraits.

Jarasandha, king of Magadha, with his live-coal eyes. Sisupal, his friend—his hooked chin topped by a sneering mouth— who ruled over Chedi and had a long history of disputes with Krishna. Jayadrath, lord of the Sindhus, with his sinister, sensuous lips. I saw king after king until their faces blurred. Many, I knew, were decent men. But I hated them all for coveting me, and I prayed that each would fail. The long afternoon teetered between boredom and dread.

I was waiting for one face alone. Probably not. Encrusted with jewels, he occupied a throne decorated with gold lotuses. To his left sat a man who was a pale, petulant copy of him. Though in the midst of a court, he seemed utterly alone. They pulled me into them. My impatience evaporated. Instead, I wanted to know how those eyes would look if the man smiled. Absurdly, I wanted to be the reason for his smile. Krishna was standing in the shadow of the doorway. I was bewildered.

Why was Krishna so vehement? What was it about this man that made him react in this uncharacteristic manner? Something in me was drawn to defend the sad-eyed Karna. I turned to Dhri to check. A million pardons! I will bring them at once! Did Krishna want to be one of my suitors? This new Krishna, his eyes stern with 71 anger, his voice like an arrow—I was certain he could pass the swayamvar test if he wished it. How would it be to have him as my husband? An uneasiness rose in me as I turned the thought around in my mind.

I loved him— but not in that way.


Krishna smiled his old, mocking smile. Nor will Balaram. We know your destiny leads you elsewhere. What did he mean? Bound as I was by the contest, what was left for me to choose? His eyes were cool and inscrutable. Or had he spoken them inside my head, only for me to hear? The artist reentered, bent under the weight of two silver-framed portraits that Krishna waved impatiently away. What was he saying? Could it be true? Was this why Dhri had looked so anxious?

The guesthouse they were staying in burnt to the ground. People found nothing but ashes—and six skeletons! Folks are thinking it was murder. Some say the house was built of lac, designed for easy burning. But of course no one dares to accuse Duryodhan! Part of me was aghast at the terrible thing that had happened to the Pandavas and their mother, but a larger part could think only of myself.

If Arjun was dead, what would happen to me? If no king was able to pass the test, the swayamvar would be a failure. My father would be denounced for setting his guests an impossible task. But worse things could happen. The insulted kings could decide to band together in a war against my father and divide the spoils of the fallen kingdom—including me—among them.

Is it too late to call off the swayamvar? Then his eyes widened. Can hearts know these things? I was sure that mine was incapable of such subtle perceptions. Did you see how he sat in the painting, plump and regal, smiling with those even white teeth?

That proves how brave he is. They were like earthworms all over his shoulders. If tall is what you want, I say you go for the second brother, that Bheem. Those muscles were quite a sight! Gave him poisoned rice pudding and then, when he became unconscious, threw him into the river? Arjun would have been too intelligent for that. I can tell by the sharpness of his nose, his chiseled chin.

Eyes like lotus petals, skin like gold, bodies like young shal trees. I prefer the mature, masterful kind. At least try not to be fool enough to give him mastery over you. But the laughter faded quickly. Dhai Ma put an arm around me. How I longed to speak to her of that other, forbidden name: Outside, night birds called to each other as they looped through the inky night, their pensive cries close, then far, then unexpectedly close again.

I thought it would be wise preparation, in case she turned out to be my mother-inlaw. Perhaps her face would give me a clue as to what lay inside. He sent me, with apologies, a different portrait: The portrait was small, about a handspan square, and illexecuted, as though painted by an apprentice. Dhai Ma and I pored over it, trying to make out her features, but they were mostly obscured by a thick white blindfold. From time to time, my father sent bards to my apartments, hoping that their songs would instill appropriate attitudes in me and warn me off dangerous ones.

In it, Gandhari looked pretty in a lost, girlish way. Tendrils of hair fell over her forehead, and she had a listening air, as though she was trying to compensate for her lost sight. Her mouth was strong, though, and her pale, beautiful lips balanced disappointment with resolution. Later I would wonder if that was what gave them strength, both these queens. Perhaps strong women tended to have unhappy marriages?

The idea troubled me. Dhritarashtra was a bitter man. Though he claimed to love his younger brother—and possibly did, for he was a strange 77 and contradictory man—he must have been delighted when the curse-blighted Pandu withdrew into the forest.

Kunti was already pregnant with Yudhisthir. A year came. A year went. Yudhisthir was born. Kunti was pregnant again. Now there were two obstacles between Dhritarashtra and his desire. But luckily a holy man showed up. He cut the ball into a hundred and one pieces, and called for vats of butter, one for each piece.

But one of our stable boys that used to work in Hastinapur a while back told us a different story.

He was just a week old then. Once in a while, a noblewoman will get in trouble and dispose of the evidence this way. But there was something special about this child. It was part of his body. I wished there had been a way for me to buy that portrait, to secret it away, to look at it whenever I wanted.

But of course such an action was impossible. A princess has no privacy. This time the warning in her voice was a serious one. But my disobedient heart kept going back to Karna, to that most unfortunate moment in his life. She had no tears left. Only fear for her reputation, which made her draw her shawl more closely over her head as she watched the casket. She choked down a cry as the bobbing casket disappeared around a bend in the river.

My heart ached for both mother and child, because even I who knew so little of life could guess that such things were never done.

For the rest of her life, she would wonder where her son was. Now listen. The story begins with the great tournament in Hastinapur, where Drona has decided that the princes, who have come of age, are ready to demonstrate their battle skills. The arena thrums with anticipation; the citizens, noble-born and commoner, are anxious to see what the princes are capable of. After all, one of them will be their future king. Already there are factions.

Even today, riding to the tournament, he threw handfuls of gold coins into the crowd until his purse was empty. And it seems that the gods are not as deaf as we customarily accuse them of being. His sleep arrows have enveloped them in dreams; his rope arrows have bound their hands and feet; his arrows of enchantment have made them cower in front of monsters more terrifying than any they could have imagined.

Shining with pride, his teacher claims that these are only the minor weapons he has learned to use! The others are too powerful, too sacred, to be called on except in serious battle. But just as his uncle, the blind king, gets to his feet very slowly, some note with the prize garland, an unknown youth in golden armor appears in the arena.

The crowd is silenced by amazement. Then it breaks out in cheers, and Duryodhan cheers the loudest. The stranger brings his palms together and turns his face to the sky, offering prayers to the sun.

He thanks the crowd with a modest bow. Then, in courtly speech, he invites Arjun to single combat. The winner, he suggests, will be the champion.

The crowd applauds at the prospect of this grand spectacle. The three old men sitting by the king in the royal pavilion—Bheeshma, the grandfather; Drona, the teacher; and Kripa, the royal tutor— glance at each other in dismay. This is an unforeseen danger, a risk they do not wish Arjun to undertake, for to their experienced eyes it is clear that the stranger is as good as—and perhaps better than—the Pandava prince whose reputation they hope to establish today.

Do you know this youth? Bheeshma asks. Kripa shakes his head, but Drona pauses, a considering look on his face. He whispers something. The lineage of the contestants must be established, for a prince may be challenged to single combat only by another prince. But, valiant stranger, kindly tell us your name, and from which princely house you are descended. My name is Karna, he says. Then, so softly that all in the assembly must strain to hear, But I do not come from a princely house.

Then, according to the rules of a royal tournament, you cannot battle Prince Arjun, says Kripa, his voice kind. If he feels triumphant, no one notices; he has long learned to hide such emotions.

Clearly this man is a great warrior. I will not let you insult him like this, using an outdated law as your excuse! A hero is a hero, no matter what his caste. Ability is more important than the accident of birth. The citizens approve of these sentiments.

They cheer lustily. To the cheers of the crowd, he says, King Karna, I now pronounce you ruler of Anga, and my friend. Karna embraces him fervently. You have salvaged my honor. Earth may break asunder, but I will not forsake you. From this moment, your friends are my friends, and your enemies my bitterest foes. The crowd roars its admiration.

The Palace of Illusions

This, they tell each other, is how heroes should behave! The three old men exchange looks of concern. Things have not worked out the way they planned. The upstart Karna has found 83 popularity even without vanquishing Arjun. And Duryodhan has found a powerful ally. Who knows what the outcome of this contest will be? One of the queens has fainted—perhaps from heat, perhaps from the prolonged tension.

Is it Kunti, distressed at this challenge to her son? Is he a blacksmith? No, say those who know such things. Is it really you, back after so many years? But what are you doing here, among these noble princes? Why is there a crown on your head? The crowd is stunned, silent.

Then whispers and jeers begin to be heard, especially among the Pandava faction. Voices hiss. Go get yourself a whip from the royal stables instead! But Arjun has already turned his back on him and is walking away. Karna stares after him. From this moment on, they will be arch-enemies. Who knows what might have happened then, but the sun chooses this moment to dip beneath the horizon. A relieved Drona gives the signal, and trumpeters sound the call for the end of the 84 tournament.

The crowd disperses reluctantly, buzzing with dissatisfaction and gossip. Duryodhan takes Karna with him for a night of carousing at his palace. Ah, these Pandava vermin who are always plotting to steal my kingdom! Would that I had a friend who might rid me of them! And Karna will hold himself very straight and reply, When the time comes, I will do so for you, my liege and my friend—or I will die trying. And that would be dangerous.

Guiltily, I turned away, facing the dark garden. He plans to come to the swayamvar, along with Duryodhan. He plans to win you. We must not allow it. If he were, indeed, as wondrous a hero as Arjun, why should it matter if I married him instead of the Pandava prince? Why was Krishna so against him? Was it just that he favored his friend Arjun?

There were other secrets here. But I sensed that my uncomplicated 85 brother did not know them. He waited a moment, as though daring me to disagree. Krishna will help me. You, too, must do your part. Early in life Karna demonstrates a passion for archery. He confesses that he is lowborn and begs to be accepted as his student. But Drona is busy with princes. Disappointed, insulted, Karna vows he will learn from one who is greater than Drona.

The Palace of Illusions

He tells Parasuram that he is a brahmin. Seeing his potential, the sage agrees to teach him. In time Karna becomes the best of his stu- 86 dents, the most beloved, the only one to whom Parasuram imparts the invocation for the Brahmastra, the weapon that no one can withstand.

When a tired Parasuram wants to rest under a tree, Karna offers his lap as a pillow. As the old man sleeps, a mountain scorpion creeps from its hole and stings Karna repeatedly on the thigh, drawing blood.

The pain is intense, but Karna does not want to disturb his teacher. In rage Parasuram curses his favorite student. Shock forced me to interrupt.

Only a kshatriya was capable of that.

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He accused Karna of having deceived him. It is night. Resting in the woods outside a village, he hears a beast lumbering toward him. His mind in turmoil, he shoots an arrow at the sound.

I shut my eyes. I willed Karna to walk away from the fallen animal before he was discovered as its killer. But the enraged brahmin says, You killed my cow when she was defenseless.But the next time, I promised myself as I wiped my angry tears, I would be prepared. Still, I was surprised at how much it rankled to articulate it.

Give him to me. Stowell Remembering Reet and Shine: My companions, daughters of courtiers, clustered themselves under canopies hoisted to protect our complexions. Brother of Panchaali often referred to as Dhri Drona: Du - das Kulturmagazin. Bueschel Download.