The Ramayana: A Modern Retelling of the Great Indian Epic

The Ramayana A Modern Retelling of the Great Indian Epic The great Indian epic rendered in modern proseIndia 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

The great Indian epic rendered in modern proseIndia 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, andThe great Indian epic rendered in modern proseIndia 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.

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The Ramayana: A Modern Retelling of the Great Indian Epic

  1. Valmiki is celebrated as the poet harbinger in Sanskrit literature He is the author of the epic Ramayana, based on the attribution in the text of the epic itself.He is revered as the Adi Kavi, which means First Poet, for he discovered the first loka i.e first verse, which set the base and defined the form to Sanskrit poetry The Yoga Vasistha is attributed to him A religious movement called Valmikism is based on Valmiki s teachings as presented in the Ramayana and the Yoga Vasistha.At least by the 1st century AD, Valmiki s reputation as the father of Sanskrit classical poetry seems to have been legendary Ashvagosha writes in the Buddhacarita, The voice of Valmiki uttered poetry which the great seer Chyavana could not compose This particular verse has been speculated to indicate a familial relationship between Valmiki and Chyavana, as implied by the previous and subsequent verses.

267 Reply to “The Ramayana: A Modern Retelling of the Great Indian Epic”

  1. I grew up in India, and learned the story told in the Ramayana and Mahabharata, India s great epics, literally back in first and second grade The Ramayana, in particular, is the basis for Diwali, one of my favorite Hindu festivals.I already have an excellent copy of the Mahabharata although one that I m sure is utterly out of print but I never got a full length version of the entire Ramayana while we lived there So I recently treated myself to one.The one I selected and am reviewing here is near [...]

  2. Ramesh Menon truly deserves high praise for managing to write a retelling of this lengthy classic which is not only readable not always a given , but actually quite compelling Although it s quite verbose for my taste, and could tire the reader especially with these endless descriptions of the battle between Rama s and Ravana s armies , I thoroughly enjoyed the whole book Indian mythology never fails to mesmerize me, and same goes for Ramesh Menon whose rendering of The Mahabharata got me hooked [...]


  4. While R K Narayan s version was a good intro to the Ramayana, this version has much of an epic feel Though the 700 pages are dense, the prose was engrossing and enjoyable, and a great source for learning about Hinduism.The author obviously put a lot of passion and devotion into this work as this story is regarded as scripture to Hindus , and it shows in his descriptions of everything from the forest where Rama and Sita were banished to the gory details of the battle scenes.Interleaved with the [...]

  5. bbc iplayer episode Amber Lone s dramatisation of the ancient Indian love epic.SitaManjinder Virk RamaLloyd Thomas LakshmanAdeel Aktar RavanPaul Bhattacharjee SurparnakaSasha Behar DasarathJude Akuwudike SisterDeeivya Meir BharatSaikat AhamedMusic composed by Niraj Chag Directed by Claire Groveblurb The ancient Indian epic The Ramayana is one of the world s most popular love stories The separation and reunion of two lovers gives it perennial appeal but Rama s jealousy and Sita s metamorphosis in [...]

  6. Ramesh Menon has tried to write this interpretation of the Indian epic Ramayana in a style that is readable by a large section of the society This is one of the few easy to read and comprehensive books that I could find when I wanted to read about the story of Ramanayana in English The other alternative was C Rajagopalachari s Ramayana and I will have to go through that as well before I can say which is better For a casual reader however, who is looking to read the story, and but not necessarily [...]

  7. This is not an easy read It requires the looking up of a lot of new words and understanding their meanings The book has a great glossary and is very helpful in understanding the many new words you must learn to enjoy this book I gave it five stars because it truly is an epic of unparalleled excellence I think it far exceeds anything in Western literature.

  8. This translation is slightly poetic than the previous one I read, which gives it of the quality it needs It is still prose, however, so not very poetic Also, the cover is beautiful and yes, sometimes I can t help judging I love both of them, really You just can t get enough of the Ramayana.

  9. I d recommend this version for anyone interested in the mythological value of the Ramayana, in a way that won t put them to sleep like, say, how the strict retelling of Beowulf would.It s actually fun, but it makes you want to adapt it.

  10. Not what I expected at all I thought this would be a long and arduous effort for me, but it turned out to be entertaining with humor and poignancy I loved little stories in the big story, especially the locust one.

  11. Easy to read, but missed out some of the unsavoury bits of many of these stories, which I ve gleaned from reading other books.

  12. The Ramayana is an epic Hindu tale set in forested India of prehistorical times The original, in High Sanskrit, is a poem meant to be sung consisting of 24,000 couplets It is believed to have been first written down around 300 BC It is one of several Hindu sacred texts Much like the Iliad, it is based on a long tradition of older oral tales A line by line English translation authored by Ralph T H Griffith 1n 1870 74 can be found at sacred texts hin rama Menon s book, which I review here is not a [...]

  13. Ah, an excellent take on a classic story I m afraid I must demand that anyone reading this book have at least some cursory knowledge of The Ramayana first, both the basic plot and also its existence as scripture, because this is a retelling and not a direct translation However, Menon does an excellent job of capturing the story, both as narrative and as spiritual instruction.While the essential plot is or less ancient, sexist, and generally uninteresting, Menon does well to include many of the [...]

  14. This is by far my favorite version of the Ramayana I have read so far This author brings the Ramayana to life in a way that evokes tears and an array of emotions Ramesh Menon s Ramayana penetrated into my awareness on a deeper level a spiritual level because he is not just describing the plot, he is sharing the spirit of this story I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves the Ramayana.

  15. A truly epic masterpiece, ranking in terms of literature with western classics such as The Lord of the Rings, yet with a very strong moral centre and a host of admirable and godlike individuals Even the villain Ravana is described in noble and praiseworthy ways, and the reader has to be reminded how evil he is, when it is easy to sympathise with his Fate to love Sita, leading him and many of his subjects to their doom.Ramesh Menon s retelling was extremely approachable despite hundreds of unfami [...]

  16. An impeccable, intense,condense and true to the core, a modern reading of Ramayana for sure I cam across the book in landmark, but I was not sure to go for it beacuse the author was unknown to me I googled some information about Ramesh menon but got very little info Read reviews about the book on and decided to go for it.It was a absolute delight Not only he was successful to get my attention to the intensity of the story but also to explain important aspects of dharma e.g when Sri Rama, hiding [...]

  17. I can t count how many times I have read this book Yes I m a fan of the epic While I wish to find a true to life version and translation that I can actually read as far as I ve found this is the best and most detailed I ve come across.Ramayana and Mahabharata were always in the backround of my childhood Not a single day went by when I didn t hear or see a line from the serial , someone reading out loud, telling teaching us the morals of a story I do like this book, the ease of details, easy flow [...]

  18. The author set out to tell the complete story of the Ramayana with all its spiritual meanings intact, and he has succeeded very nicely Hanuman the monkey god, son of the wind, emerges as the beloved brave and funny character most Southeast Asians already know him to be Lakshmana is the most loyal brother and right hand man ever born on earth Sita Shinta in Indonesia is the purest and best woman who has ever lived, brave and strong and, of course, also loyal in every way Ravana towers over any vi [...]

  19. I dont know whether the flaw lies in the story or in the way Mr Ramesh Menon has written it.If the book is an authentic retelling of the Ramayana, then the story is super flimsy.The hero protagonist Rama is so confused He is partial and his ethics change according to his convenience The most irritating part of his character is the way he deals with Vali and Sugriva s internal rivalry Moreover, this book is full of portions dedicated to gyan which is totally irrelevant to the story or any charact [...]

  20. The Ramayana is the second of two great Hindu epics, the first being the Mahabharata If the Mahabharata can be loosely considered to be the Hindu version of the Iliad, then the Ramayana is the Odyssey But both are so very much They are also treatises on how to live a life of dharma, your spiritual and moral path in life And then there are the storiesThis version of the Ramayana excises the added on diversions and lectures of the original Sanskrit poem and simply keeps to the story of Rama and h [...]

  21. Great book And this translation is the one I recommend Hinduism has its own Iliad and The Odyssey The Iliad of India is the Mahabharata, a story of a war between two branches of one family The Odyssey of India is this, The Ramayana, about the good Prince Rama, his brother Lakshmana, and his wife Sita This book is quite dense, with tons of great scenes and adventures, climaxing with Rama bringing a vast animal army to Lanka Sri Lanka to rescue Sita from the evil, ten headed rakshasa demon Ravanna [...]

  22. The Ramayana is the most underrated epic in the Western world, which is a shame, because this tale is quite extraordinary and breathtakingly thrilling It s a story that seems all so familiar, even if you haven t read this before This modern retelling truly captures the essence of the characters, the mythology, the beauty, and the excitement of an epic that s chock full of magic, mystery, war, violence, but most of all, faith, loyalty, courage, and love It s a story that s both exciting and enter [...]

  23. Read this while in India and SriLanka I it is a wonderful tale with valiant heroes, complex tragic villains, magic and epic battles that also illustrates basic tenets of Hinduism that great men and women must be true to their Dharma true to Self and Destiny, that those who are not must suffer the consequences, that prayer and offerings to appropriate Gods can help one achieve their Dharma Tho the odds are clearly stacked for the Good guys the story is entertaining and perhaps spawned the Fantasy [...]

  24. As someone who actually grew up around these stories as they live and breathe in India where everyone knows them even if they ve never read them , I ve always been disappointed that so many classes use R.K Narayan s adaptation, which reads like a quaint folktale than a sweeping epic At roughly 600 pages about 1 3 the length of the original Sanskrit text if I remember correctly , this version does far justice to the epic and hints at its true grandeur even if it doesn t quite manage to capture [...]

  25. This version s strength taking the time to tell background stories for important figures in Hinduism was also it s weakness, because it made the book pretty long.I loved this book for many reasons the stories within stories, the rich imagery and symbolism, the helpful Sanskrit glossary at the back I also disliked this book for a few reasons but I feel a little ridiculous critiquing a classic like this the obsession with dharma, Sita s flat character, the violence The story is gripping and dramat [...]

  26. By far the most beautiful translation of any ancient epic I ve ever read Menon s language is lush, beautiful, evocative, and perfectly conjures up the magic of the original story I had been introduced to the work using the half baked R.K Narayan abridged version, and there s really no comparison While much of the appreciation of this work depends on having a basic knowledge of ancient Hindu customs and culture, this is no different from, say, the Bible, the Iliad, or any other ancient epic with [...]

  27. Hard to know where to start in rating a book like this This was an excellent read, though the foreignness of the names and places made it a little tough This version retains many of the Indian terms for religious practices, etc in the text, and maintains a numerous page glossary at the end of the book The glossary got extensive use in my reading.The mythology and stories of Rama were interesting, as were the parallels that cropped up in the Hindu traditions that also show up in ours The incarnat [...]

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