The Ramayana

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Vision Books, 1987 - Rāma (Hindu deity) - 175 pages
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For centuries, Indians have held Rama to be the perfect man: unfailingly noble, utterly poised, fearless and strong, wise, compassionate and free from anger, a just ruler and an implacable foe of all wrongdoers. Countless others worship Rama as an avatar, a human incarnation of Lord Vishnu born to vanquish the forces of evil and establish a kingdom of perfect justice and harmony upon the earth. The Ramayana, one of lndia's greatest epics, lovingly unfolds the story of Rama's life. Ever since its original composition in Sanskrit by Vaimiki, possibly over 3,000 years ago, it has grown to be an all-pervasive and hugely-loved part of Indian life and ethos. Millions read it, re-read it, and revere it as a scripture. It is the perennially favourite bedtime story for children. And each autumn, Rama's victory over the mighty demon-king Ravana is celebrated through plays and dance-dramas in cities, towns and villages across the land. There is much festivity: crackers are exploded, sweets distributed and all houses are lit up in tribute to Rama. R.K. Narayan's Ramayana is inspired by a Tamil-version of the epic written by an eleventh century poet, Kamban. It offers the reader a compact yet unhurried retelling of this great epic, and succeeds marvellously in evoking its literary lustre which has shone undimmed through the centuries.

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About the author (1987)

R. K. Narayan was born Rasipuram Krishnaswami Narayanaswami in Madras, India on October 10, 1906. He graduated from Maharaja College of Mysore with a B.A. degree in 1930. He attempted to teach for a bit but then switched to writing full time. His first book, Swami and Friends, was published in Britain in 1935. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 30 novels and hundreds of short stories. His other novels included The Bachelor of Arts, The Dark Room, The English Teacher, The Guide, The Financial Expert, The Man Eater of Malgudi, The Vendor of Sweets, and The World of Nagaraj. He was one of the first Indians to write in English and gain international recognition. He received numerous awards including the Padma Bhushan, India's highest prize. He died on May 13, 2001 at the age of 94.

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