Introduction

Ramayana is one of the greatest epics of the world and has a special place in Indian culture as well as Sanskrit literature. It is written in different languages by many writers and poets and also translated. The idea of our attempt is to present translation of the text of Valmiki Ramayana with word order and meaning of each verse followed by explanatory translation of verse in English. It is our intention to introduce through electronic media Ramayana in English to the modern youth, not so well versed in any Indian language, but are more proficient in English. It is intended to let the modern generation know the noble ideals enshrined in the epic. It is hoped that the readers would appreciate the perfect felicity of expression of Valmiki in Sanskrit.

Although Valmiki Ramayana is in vogue all over the country three well-known versions namely the Northwest, East and Southern versions are more popular. The Southern recession has been selected for the present translation. The best of the commentaries of Valmiki Ramayana being written in Sanskrit is not to the understanding of many readers. Moreover the influence of English on the present generation handicaps one to understand the Sanskrit commentaries. Considering the importance of highlighting the philosophical thoughts and social ideals internalized in Sanskrit commentaries of Ramayana, it is also attempted to translate selected commentaries in English. Several scholars have written commentaries on Valmiki Ramayana .The writers represent different Schools of Philosophy and these commentaries enriched Indian philosophy. The commentaries selected for translation for the present are Amrithakataka Bhushana Tattva Deepika Tilaka Dharmakuta and Siromani. The Sanskrit text of the commentaries and the English translation has been given in summarised form by the translators according to the subjects on, which commentary is given.

Indian literary tradition holds Valmiki as the first poet (Adikavi) and Ramayana as the first poem, Adikavya. Valmiki is the first path maker for the sweet expressions of poetry. He provided inspiration for all classical poets and his influence is seen in Sanskrit literature in Poems Plays and Kavyas. Even though Valmiki Ramayana has been composed in classical Sanskrit and not intelligible to the unlettered yet due to the efforts made by oral expounders it was made understandable to the masses in rural India. Lava and Kusa are the first expounders of Ramayana and great Valmiki himself trained them. This practice of popular exposition of Ramayana continued through centuries making illiteracy no bar for reading Ramayana. Keeping in view the melody of Ramayana an attempt is made for audio recording of the verses to make the reader experience the melody of the poems. To enable the readers understand the terms used in Ramayana a glossary of the words and the English meaning has been given.

There is a practice of reading Ramayana or part of Ramayana daily, particularly Sundara Kanda so that not only professional exponents of the epic but also large number of individuals know Valmiki Ramayana by heart. A large number of people know to repeat off-hand Sundara Kanda, thus the text is retained in its original form in India.

If a poem has contributed substantially to keeping in Indian culture alive it is Ramayana. Rama the warrior prince is a hero a likeable pleasing god-man later came to be looked upon as god more particularly with the Vedic gods receding into the back ground. Rama became a by word. The social ideals, family relationships introduced by Valmiki made it popular over other stories of the past such as Savitri-Satyavan, Nala-Damyanti, Tapti-Samvarana and Vasavadatta-Udayana. The description of human relationship in royal households of Ayodhya, Kishkinda and Lanka is unique. Ramayana is a book of dharma and Rama is an embodiment of dharma and a paradigm of an ideal man. Ramayana clearly illustrates that artha and kama can be enjoyed with in the legitimate bounds of dharma.

The story of Rama and Sita, the dharma by which they lived and the adharma they shunned express a value system basic to much education in India. Hope this presentation produces firmer devotion to Rama and commitment to dharma which each of us is called on to practice.

Valmiki Ramayan - INTRODUCTION
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