The Ramayana : A Modern Translation
The Ramayana is certainly one of the world's oldest legends.Modern scholars claim that it was first composed around 300 BC.The devout hindu believes that Rama lived many hundred millenia ago,in the treta yuga, and that was also when the Valmiki first told his immortal story.The epic is called the Adi Kavya,the world's first poem.The God Brahma himself is meant to have inspired Valmiki to creat his classics,in twenty-four thousand slokas. The sages of India have always said that thye true purpose of the Ramayana is to awaken its reader spiritually, and to send him forth on the great journey that leads to moksha,to God. These masters of old held that listening to the Ramayana washes one's sins and purifies the body and the mind. They also believed that hearing or reading the epic with faith will give a man anything at all that his heart desires. Besides,the legend is a literary masterpiece in every sense,full of enchantment,mystery and wisdom. Hardly a handful of books in any language, from any age or part of the world, can be compared to it. The epic came through the mists of time in the ancient oral tradition of guru and shishya, before it was first written down. Alonng the way, surely, numberless variations and embellishments were introduces into it by a host of now forgotten rishis, pauranikas, and even grandmothers telling Rama's story to their grandchindren- in so many different languages and folk traditions. There is also a comparatively recent traditions of retelling the Ramayana in English, to which this volume belongs. Though he takes no liberties with the story, Ramesh menon's Ramayana is a novelist's lush, imaginative rendering of the epic, rather than a scholar's translation. Yet, even if the language he uses is modern and exciting, his book remains, first and last, a work of worship, of bhakti. As he wrote and rewrote it for ten years, this was his offering to Rama.
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