Hindu Mythology, Yoga, and Action Figures
March 30, 2011

Its fun when worlds collide. For instance, I love action figures. And I love yoga. You would be correct in assuming that those are two hobbies that don’t have much crossover. But thanks to a company called Kridana a bridge was built between my obsessions. Unfortunately, Kridana has come and gone. But let me at least pay a little tribute to an outstanding effort, albeit a few years late.

Last fall I was going through yoga teacher training with teachers Dave & Cheryl Oliver. Dave is a master storyteller. Often as we lay in savasana (that pose that comes at the end of a practice where you’re just laying on your mat resting) he would regale us with tales from the Hindu epic The Ramayana. One evening as we were listening to a story about the monkey-god, Hanuman, and the hero, Rama, it dawned on me that I had seen action figures of these characters a couple years previous at San Diego Comic-Con. As soon as I got home I did some webbernet searching and found the Kridana web site. They were still selling the series 1 Hanuman and Rama figures. So I made a purchase and sent a little note explaining the yoga/action figure connection.

I received an amazing reply from Elizabeth Haynes saying they were clearing out their inventory and would I be interested in a few extra figures and some additional plush toys. Would I? This was awesome as I was able to give a set of figures to Dave & Cheryl who still have them displayed in their yoga studio.

 

Kridana really hit it out the park with their first figures. Super impressive for a toy company’s initial offering. The Hanuman and Rama figures are high quality. Great sculpts, attractive paint apps, limited but smooth and functional articulation, smart accessories.

HANUMAN

RAMA

 

Hanuman was an instrumental ally to Rama in his quest to rescue his wife, Sita, from the hands of the evil Ravana.

 

The figures came packed with a mini-comic with cover art by Michael Turner.
 

Unfortunately, Kridana closed shop before producing subsequent waves. A Ravana prototype was displayed at Con and my stomach hurts knowing this awesome figure will never make it to my collection. Hindu mythology is vast and exciting and colorful. I can only imagine what terrific characters we could have gotten if the line had continued. (I am somewhat excited for DC Direct’s Warth figure, as he is essentially DC’s version of the god Ganesha.)

RAVANA 

 

A few of Kridana’s Plush toys:

So if your interest in the epic Ramayana story and Hindu mythology in general has been piqued, allow me to recommend a couple books that may appeal to those of you who’d prefer something with geek culture connections!

Ramayana: Divine Loophole is beautifully illustrated by veteran Pixar animator, Sanjay Patel. The art is jaw-droppingly gorgeous cover to cover. I can totally see something like this turning into a feature length film. Do it.

 

 

For a more basic primer on all of these intriguing characters, Sanjay also published The Little Book of Hindu Deities. Vinyl toys? Anyone?

 

 

So there you have it, my less-than-epic tale of a yoga/geek culture crossover. Stay tuned for future installments including a featurette analyzing the dhyana-mudra (hand seal) Jedi Luke was rocking as he confronted Jabba the Hutt.

 

TAGS:
Danny "CantinaDan" Neumann
Action figure anthropologist, Professor Cantina Dan Neumann has been a scholastic contributor to the online community studying the complex world of parumplasticus populus {little plastic people} since the turn of this millenium. His primary focus is the visual cataloging of species exhibits through photo-journalism.
Read other articles by Danny "CantinaDan" Neumann.

 

 

 

8 Comments »

  • JuliusMarx says:

    I know we talked about these last time you were over at the house. I remember seeing these one year at the Long Beach Comic Con. They were one of only 2 action figure companies at that show so I talked to them for a bit. The late Eddie Wires did the paint masters for those figures. I feel like they had one more character at their booth at that show. I’ll have to dig through my old pictures to see if I’m right or if I’m miss-remembering.

  • Sector1014 says:

    Vinyl toys based on The Little Book of Hindu Deities would be so awesome. I would buy all of them. Get to work on it!

  • LordKhan says:

    I’m not sure “Mythology” is the appropriate word to use since there are still hundreds of millions of people that practice Hinduism. But I’m an atheist so I don’t really care, we should call every religion mythology.

    • Danny Cantina-Dan says:

      Thanks for the comment. I don’t use the term “Mythology” to denigrate. As I understand it, many of the traditional Hindu stories are, in fact, not to be taken literally, but are paths that lead to some deeper wisdom. But I’m happy to be corrected.

  • Chip Cataldo says:

    Another very unique blog, Dan. Thanks for posting…it was a great read.

  • bnjmnrlyr says:

    Wow. Those figures are amazing. I’m going to have to start a hunt for these on the ‘bay now.

    And on the topic of religion/mythology … I have always been more a fan of the Chinese mythologies (especially in relation to Buddha, Monkey, and the ilk) and have longed for a toy line based in those realms (there have been some done in China but finding them and importing them in is just too far our of my price range.

    If they would end up anything like what Kridana did I would be a very happy camper indeed.

    Thanks for sharing. You teasing little bastich you ….

  • Lt. Clutch says:

    I have always wanted to start doing yoga. (Lord knows I could use its benefits.) As I learn more about it, I understand that it is an art form in itself. And toys are art from both designer and aesthetic points of view, so they blend very well together. As always, a great and enlightening read, Dan.

  • So that’s where Dave and Cheryl’s action figures came from… I LOVE those things! Thanks for sharing! Way cool!

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