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Published by anands32
The Greatest Epic of all Times
The Greatest Epic of all Times

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Published by: anands32 on Sep 15, 2009
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RAMAYANA retold by C. Rajagopalachari
(Edited by Jay Mazo, American Gita Society)
1. The Conception2. Sage Viswamitra3. Trisanku4. Rama Leaves Home5. Rama Slays The Monsters6. Sita7. Bhagiratha And The Story Of Ganga8. Ahalya9. Rama Wins Sita's Hand10. Parasurama's Discomfiture11. Festive Preparations12. Manthara's Evil Counsel13. Kaikeyi Succumbs14. Wife Or Demon?15. Behold A Wonder!16. Storm And Calm17. Sita's Resolve18. To The Forest19. Alone By Themselves20. Chitrakuta21. A Mother's Grief 22. Idle Sport And Terrible Result23. Last Moments24. Bharata Arrives25. Intrigue wasted26. Bharata Suspected27. The Brothers Meet28. Bharata Becomes Rama's Deputy29. Viradha's End30. Ten Years Pass31. The Surpanakha Episode32. Kamban's Surpanakha33. Khara And His Army Liquidated34. The Path Of Ruin35. The Golden Stag36. The Good Bird Jatayu37. Closely Guarded38. Rama Disconsolate39. A Second Father Dies40. Left Eyelids Throb41. He Sees Her Jewels42. Sugriva's Doubts Cleared43. The Slaying Of Vali44. Tara's Grief 45. Anger And Reconciliation46. The Search Begins47. Son Of Vayu48. The Search In Lanka49. Sita In The Asoka Park 50. Ravana's Solicitation51. First Among The Astute52. Sita Comforted53. Sita And Hanuman54. Inviting Battle55. The Terrible Envoy56. Hanuman Bound57. Lanka In Flames58. A Carnival59. The Tidings Conveyed60. The Army Moves Forward61. Anxiety In Lanka62. Ravana Calls A Council Again63. Vibhishana64. The Vanara's Doubt65. Doctrine Of Surrender And Grace66. The Great Causeway67. The Battle Begins68. Sita's Joy69. Serpent Darts70. Ravana's Defeat71. The Giant Is Roused72. Is This Narayana Himself?73. The Death Of Indrajit74. End Of Ravana75. The End76. Epilogue
The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan hasadded to the debt of gratitude owed it byundertaking the publication of the Englishversion of my Tamil Ramayana. Theyachieved great success in the distributionof my Mahabharata book and I trust thisbook of the story of Rama and Sita willreceive similar welcome.Once again, I repeat my confession thatin the evening of my busy life during agreat and eventful period of Indianhistory, the writing of these two bookswherein I have retold the Mahabharataand Ramayana, is, in my opinion, the bestservice I have rendered to my people.At any rate, they embody the best joy Ihave experienced; for in these two books Ihelped our great sages to speak to our dearmen and women again in their ownlanguage, elevating their minds throughthe sorrows borne by Kunti, Kausalya,Draupadi and Sita. The real need of thehour is a recommunion between us andthe sages of our land, so that the futuremay be built on rock and not on sand.In presenting this English version to awider circle of readers spread all over theworld, I think I am presenting to them thepeople of Bharat just as they are, with alltheir virtues and their faults. Our classicsreally embody our national character in allits aspects and it is well the world sees usas we really are, apart from what we wishto become.The Ramayana is not history orbiography. It is a part of Hindumythology. One cannot understand Hindudharma unless one knows Rama and Sita,Bharata, Lakshmana, Ravana,Kumbhakarna and Hanuman. Mythologycannot be dispensed with. Philosophyalone or rituals alone or mythology alonecannot be sufficient. These are the threestands of all ancient religions. The attitudetowards things spiritual which belongs toa particular people cannot be grasped orpreserved or conveyed unless we have allthese three.The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan hasachieved great work by the very widedistribution organised by it of myRamayana and Mahabharata books, whichseek to bring Valmiki and Vyasa near tothose who have no access to the unrivalledoriginal classics. The characters andincidents of these two itihasas have cometo be the raw material for the works of numerous poets and saints that came laterto write dramas and sing poems andhymns to keep this nation in the straightpath.Oral discourses have further playedwith them in order to entertain andinstruct pious audiences and not a fewvariations and additions have beenmade to the original. All the languagesof India have the Ramayana andMahabharata retold by their poets, withadditions and variations of their own.They are the records of the mind andspirit of our forefathers who cared forthe good, ever so much more than forthe pleasant and who saw more of themystery of life than we can do in ourinterminable pursuit for petty andillusory achievements ill the materialplane.We should be thankful to those whopreserved for us these many centuries-oldepics in spite of all the vicissitudesthrough which our nation passed sinceVyasa and Valmiki's time. Even the poetswho wrote these epics in the original didnot create but built out of the inheritedbricks of national memory prior to theirown time. Reading the Ramayana andMahabharata even in the form I havegiven them, we go back to live with ourancient forbears and listen to their grandvoice.
Mythology is an integral part of religion. It is as necessary for religion andnational culture as the skin and theskeleton that preserve a fruit with its juiceand its taste. Form is no less essential thansubstance. Mythology and holy figures arenecessary for any great culture to rest onits stable spiritual foundation and functionas a life-giving inspiration and guide.Let us keep ever in our minds the factthat it is the Ramayana and theMahabharata that bind our vast numberstogether as one people, despite caste,space and language that seemingly dividethem.
To the north of the Ganga was the greatkingdom Kosala, made fertile by the riverSarayu. Its capital was Ayodhya, built byManu, the famous ruler of the Solardynasty. From Valmiki's description of the capital Kosala, it is clear that ancientAyodhya was not inferior to our moderncities. Even in ancient India citycivilisation had reached a high level.King Dasaratha ruled the kingdomfrom the capital city of Ayodhya. He hadfought on the side of the Devas, and hisfame spread in the three worlds. He wasthe equal of Indra and Kubera. The peopleof Kosala were happy, contented andvirtuous. The land was protected by amighty army, and no enemy could comeanywhere nearIt contained forts with moats aroundthem as well as many defensiveintallations, and true to its name, Ayodhyadefied all enemies. (Ayodhya means thatwhich cannot be subdued by war).Dasaratha had eight wise ministers, everready to advise him and execute hisorders. Great sages like Vasishtha andVamadeva and other Brahmanas taughtthe dharma and performed rituals andsacrifices.Taxes were light and punishment of crime was just and inflicted according tothe capacity of the wrong-doer.Surrounded by the best counsellors andstatesmen, the king's splendor shone as therising sun. Many years rolled smoothlyby. In the midst of all this prosperityDasaratha had one regret; he had no son.One day in early summer he thought of performing a horse sacrifice for progeny.He consulted his religious masters and ontheir advice, got sage Rishyasringa toperform the Yaga. The Yaga was a grandaffair and the invitees included many of the kings of the day. It was no easy thingto perform yagas. The location anderection of the sacrificial platform had tobe attended to in detail strictly accordingto prescribed rules. There were expertswhose guidance was sought in arrangingthings.It meant the building of a new camp-city, capable of accommodating tens of thousands and providing hospitality andentertainment for the invitees whoincluded the princes and sages of the land.In short, yagas in those days weresomething like our present-day State-sponsored big scale conferences andexhibitions.When all arrangements were completethe ceremonies were set in motion strictlyas enjoined by the Shastras.Contemporaneously with the yaga inAyodhya, there was a conference of theDevas in heaven. The Devas complainedto Lord Brahma that Ravana, king of thedemons, drunk with the power acquiredby the boon granted to him by Brahma,was causing them untold misery andhardship. They represented to Brahma: "Itis beyond our capacity to subdue, conqueror kill Ravana. In the security of yourboon, he has grown wicked and insolentand ill-treats all, even women. His desireis to dethrone Indra. You are our only

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