Amar Chitra Katha

Vaalmeeki Raamaayana - A Revelation

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Forword

Whether the story of- the Raamaayana had really happened or it is a creation of the human imagination is difficult to argue. But the story is unusually (and at the same time, beautifully) structured—original in content, and with remarkable characters and stunning events—that it is more likely that it is all happened fact and not fabricated fiction. Mixed with divine and human elements, the story has had an irresistible appeal from time immemorial.

The oldest and the most complete version of The Raamaayana is by Sage Vaalmeeki. Legend has it God Brahma Himself had ordained that Vaalmeeki should write the Raamaayana and the gist of the story was narrated to Vaalmeeki by sage Naarada. It is amazing how from a brief narration, Vaalmeeki could fill in all the details to compose a monumental epic of about 22,000 verses. It shows the power of Vaalmeeki's vision.

Over the years, there had been other versions of the story in other Indian languages, two of the more famous ones being Ramacharita Manas by Saint Tulsi Das in Hindi and Kamba Raamaayana by Poet Kamban in Tamil. If has been a popular theme for musical compositions (by St. Thyagaraja in Telugu and Arunachala Kavi in Tamil) and also for Dance-Drama presentations in the medium of Yakshagaana and Kathakali. The story has also migrated to countries in South East Asia, where it appeared with the local colour. In the modern period, scholars like Sri C.Rajagopalachari (Rajqji) and Rt. Hon'ble V.S Srinivasa Sastry, have responded to the literary, intellectual and spiritual appeal of the story to present their own studies of the epic. Most recently the serialised television production of the Raamaayana by Ramananda Sagar, had demonstrated the strong hold that the story had on the Indian psyche irrespective of religion, caste or creed.

Amidst all these, the Raamaayana of Vaalmeeki stands out as the fountain head of original inspiration. As the saying "Age has not withered, Nor custom staled its infinite variety" (As long as mountains stand and rivers flow on earth, the story of Raarnaayana will ever remain current in the world) The present work by Sri. L. Swaminathan, is an analytical study to bring out the beauty and the power of the Vaalmeeki epic. Swaminathan belongs to a family of scholars and teachers. Son of renowned economist, Professor Dr. P. S. Lokanathan (who was Professor of Economics, Madras University) and nephew of Professor P.S. Subrahmania lyer (who was head of Dept. of Physics, Presidency college) he took Industrial Chemistry as his profession and served in various factories in India and abroad as a production chemist. The Factory schedule and the pre- occupation with production allowed him little time for any other activity. When he retired in around 1986/88, he turned to the study of Vaalmeeki Raamaayana. At school he had the good fortune to be taught Sanskrit and English by dedicated and excellent teachers. With the large Sanskrit-English Dictionary by Sir Monier Williams (Oxford University publication) as his sole guide and companion, Swaminathan carried out an exploratory study of the classic for sometime and then took on the ambitious task of translating the entire Raamaayana -all the 22,000 slokas , stanza by stanza - almost word for word. With systematic discipline and determination he could render the English version of Vaalmeeki Raamaayana in 8 or 9 years. If was a work of quality and fidelity, regarding which the late Sri. S. Ramakrisnnan, General Editor, Bhavan's Book University had this to say. "It is an inspired devoted and incredible labour of love. It is a Bagiratha Prayatnna, a monumental effort, reflecting an enormous, dedicated and unremitting labour by Sri. L. Swaminathan over a long period". That Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan came forward to publish the book in an attractive set of 8 volumes was thus no surprise.

Swaminathan does not want to stop. The propagation of the message of Vaalmeeki has become a passion with him. He felt that the 22,000 stanza epic will be too much for a general reader to start with. That is why he has worked on a condensed version which is the present work Vaalmeeki Raamaayana - A Revelation.

Introduction

The object of presenting this is to stimulate interest in study of Vaalmeeki Raamaayana. There can never be substitute for a study of this Epic than by reading through the Sanskrit Text. If we have no knowledge of Sanskrit, even reading a translation in a language we are conversant with, will do us good. After all, this Epic by Vaalmeeki is a Vedha. At the hands of Sage Vaalmeeki it became a Vedha. (Knowledge- ‘Vid’ to know)

Vaalmeeki Raamaayana consists of about 21,700 slokas (Stanzas) in 6 Kaandams (Books) covering 537 Sargams (chapters). In the world we are living now, most of us are not blessed with leisure and time away from our mundane activities. And as no Indian can afford to ignore this Vedha, a Guide to this great Epic is offered bringing out some of the "Wisdom, Truths, and Dharma’ contained in this Vedha of Vaalmeeki, in the hope, that later in one’s life, Raamaayana Text by Vaalmeeki or in stanza by stanza translation of Sanskrit Text will be read. Time and again noble sons of India have maintained that Vaalmeeki Raamaayana is not just mythology or a history of Raama. Dheergadharshi, (The ‘Seer’) C.Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) after completing his condensed version of Raamaayana in English, for Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, said that nothing in his life gave him such satisfaction and solace as this ‘effort’. We may read also what that great teacher, scholar, orator and statesman, who was a mentor to Mahatma Gandhi, Rt.Hon’ble VS Srinivasa Sastry said "One immortal product of human mind I have kept to the end, The Raamaayana I hold to be almost without rival in the world’s literature....whether we judge by the grandeur of the theme, by the variety of characters portrayed, the tone of idealism, or the appeal that it makes to the devoted heart, it ranks among the noblest of poetic genius..all parts of the book reward the reverential reader....I open the "Book" at all times....It never fails me" And this great, noble man, by way of sympathising with those who have no knowledge of Sanskrit, exhorts them to read Vaalmeeki through stanza by stanza rendering in translation. He says "To those who cannot read it in the original, I would unhesitatingly recommend resort to translation. Because, the wise say, that if you cannot scale The Himalayas, you would do well to get to the base of The Mountain and take in the infinite variety that meets the Eye" Yes Vaalmeeki Raamaayana Is Himalaya.

Now what is so great about this Epic. A book that we read today is soon out of date. When a "Book’ survives century after century, there must be something in it. Well. For a child this is a mighty story book. So many stories are contained in it. For the youth and young ones, this is poetry, romance. For the Grihastha, the average citizen, it is practical wisdom. For the old and the aged, it is religion and philosophy. It deals with character, nature, human relationships, war and peace.............No wonder the Epic has survived post atomic era and will survive post Computer - IT era as well. Infact, as The Creator God Brahma, says "Till mountains stand and till rivers flow, this ‘tale’ of Raama will live in all the three worlds". (Bala — Chapter 2 - Slokas 37 &38)

Dharma is the basis of religion in India. Infact, there is no such thing as Hinduism. Even word India is a misnomer. What constitutes religion in India that is Bhaaratha Varsh, it is Sanaathana Dharma. (Eternal Dharma). And Dharma is found in our scriptures, Vedha-s and Upanishads. And Raamaayana is a Vedha as well.

Scholars and Indologists have taken some exception to calling Vaalmeeki Raamaayana, a Vedha. Their main argument is that unlike Rig, Yajur, Saama and Atharvana Vedha and the Shruthis and Smrithis, which were never written by mortals but came into being by the ex[/product_description][product_video]
Item Code: NAT301
Cover: PAPERBACK
Edition: 2018
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Publisher: 9788120842168
Language: ENGLISH
Size: 8.50 X 5.50 inch
Pages: 560
Other Details: Weight of the Book: 0.64 Kg[/product_video]

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