The Ramayana: A Modern Retelling of the Great Indian Epic
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The great Indian epic rendered in modern prose
India's most beloved and enduring legend, the Ramayana is widely acknowledged to be one of the world's great literary masterpieces. Still an integral part of India's cultural and religious expression, the Ramayana was originally composed by the Sanskrit poet Valmiki around 300 b.c. The epic of Prince Rama's betrayal, exile, and struggle to rescue his faithful wife, Sita, from the clutches of a demon and to reclaim his throne has profoundly affected the literature, art, and culture of South and Southeast Asia-an influence most likely unparalleled in the history of world literature, except, possibly, for the Bible. Throughout the centuries, countless versions of the epic have been produced in numerous formats and languages. But previous English versions have been either too short to capture the magnitude of the original; too secular in presenting what is, in effect, scripture; or dry, line-by-line translations. Now novelist Ramesh Menon has rendered the tale in lyrical prose that conveys all the beauty and excitement of the original, while making this spiritual and literary classic accessible to a new generation of readers.
chased him until he reached the boundary of Matanga’s curse. He roared after his brother, “Don’t come back or I will kill you!” Not pausing even to look over his shoulder, Sugriva flew screaming back to Rishyamooka. He did not see Rama anywhere. Only when he had scampered up the loftiest peak did he sit sobbing his sense of betrayal on a wind-worn crag. Shortly Rama, Lakshmana, and Hanuman arrived on the mountain. Sugriva was just a terrified monkey now. He shivered and bared his fangs. He
burned the vanaras with his trisula, its flames leaping before him in a livid tide. That trident spewed three fires, emerald, scarlet, and blue. Each was a yojana long and half as wide, and the vanaras were ashed where they stood. Those whom he caught in his hands, Kumbhakarna ate, they screaming and he laughing uproariously at the feast of monkeys before him. He smacked his lips: he liked the taste of their flesh as well as any leopard of the jungle. The vanaras ran screaming from Kumbhakarna.
a glittering sword called the Chandrahasa. Then Siva and his ganas vanished from before the Rakshasa’s eyes. Named anew by Siva himself, and with the Lord’s inexorable blade in his hands, Ravana climbed back into the pushpaka vimana and now it flew wherever he wanted it to. “No one could resist the Rakshasa any more and he soon conquered most of creation. Those that dared oppose him, he dealt with mercilessly, and the others yielded, saying, ‘We are vanquished,’ and he lost further interest in
crowning of a yuvaraja. The women began to wail when Sita, Rama, and Lakshmana climbed into Sumantra’s chariot. In a tide, the crowd swept toward the chariot that bore their prince away from them. They reached out hands of grief to him; they stood in the horses’ path. They cried to Sumantra, “Drive so slowly that fourteen years pass on your journey through these streets.” Some lay in front of the chariot wheels and had to be lifted out of the way by the king’s soldiers. But others cried, “Death
“How soft and lovely your voice is. I wanted to hear about your wedding, and now I have heard about it from you.” Night was falling over the forest and Atri’s rishis were returning from the river with their kamandalus in their hands. The fires which lit that hermitage were like the flames on a dove’s breast; but all around them, the brooding jungle was absolutely dark. The tame deer had fallen asleep beside the munis’ huts, and some even within them. The stars in the sky shone like God’s