The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic

The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic

Paperback(Revised)

$14.40 $16.00 Save 10% Current price is $14.4, Original price is $16. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Tuesday, March 26

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143039679
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/29/2006
Series: Penguin Classics Series
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 143,878
Product dimensions: 7.60(w) x 5.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

R. K. Narayan (1906–2001), born and educated in India, was the author of fourteen novels, numerous short stories and essays, a memoir, and three retold myths. His work, championed by Graham Greene, who became a close friend, was often compared to that of Dickens, Chekhov, Faulkner, and Flannery O'Connor, among others.

Read an Excerpt

Table of Contents

 
About the Author

Title Page

Copyright Page

Introduction

Dedication

 
Chapter 1 - RAMA’S INITIATION

Chapter 2 - THE WEDDING

Chapter 3 - TWO PROMISES REVIVED

Chapter 4 - ENCOUNTERS IN EXILE

Chapter 5 - THE GRAND TORMENTOR

Chapter 6 - VALI

Chapter 7 - WHEN THE RAINS CEASE

Chapter 8 - MEMENTO FROM RAMA

Chapter 9 - RAVANA IN COUNCIL

Chapter 10 - ACROSS THE OCEAN

Chapter 11 - THE SIEGE OF LANKA

Chapter 12 - RAMA AND RAVANA IN BATTLE

Chapter 13 - INTERLUDE

Chapter 14 - THE CORONATION

 
Epilogue

Glossary

THE RAMAYANA

R. K. NARAYAN was born on October 10, 1906, in Madras, South India, and educated there and at Maharaja’s College in Mysore. His first novel, Swami and Friends (1935), and its successor, The Bachelor of Arts (1937), are both set in the fictional territory of Malgudi, of which John Updike wrote, “Few writers since Dickens can match the effect of colorful teeming that Narayan’s fictional city of Malgudi conveys; its population is as sharply chiseled as a temple frieze, and as endless, with always, one feels, more characters round the corner.” Narayan wrote many more novels set in Malgudi, including The English Teacher (1945), The Financial Expert (1952), and The Guide (1958), which won him the Sahitya Akademi (India’s National Academy of Letters) Award, his country’s highest honor. His collections of short fiction include A Horse and Two Goats, Malgudi Days, and Under the Banyan Tree. Graham Greene, Narayan’s friend and literary champion, said, “He has offered me a second home. Without him I could never have known what it is like to be Indian.” Narayan’s fiction earned him comparisons to the work of writers including Anton Chekhov, William Faulkner, O. Henry, and Flannery O’Connor.

Narayan also published travel books, volumes of essays, the memoir My Days, and the retold legends Gods, Demons, and Others, The Ramayana, and The Mahabharata. In 1980 he was awarded the A. C. Benson Medal by the Royal Society of Literature, and in 1981 he was made an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1989 he was made a member of the Rajya Sabha, the nonelective House of Parliament in India.

R. K. Narayan died in Madras on May 13, 2001.

 
PENGUIN BOOKS Published by the Penguin Group Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
 
 
 
 
Introduction copyright © Pankaj Mishra, 2006
 
 
eISBN : 978-0-143-03967-9

1. Rama (Hindu deity)—Fiction. 2. Epic literature, Tamil—Adaptations. I. Kampar, 9th cent.
 
 
Introduction

In the summer of 1988 sanitation workers across North India went on strike. Their demand was simple: they wanted the federal government to sponsor more episodes of a television serial based on the Indian epic Ramayana (Romance of Rama). The serial, which had been running on India’s state-owned television channel for more than a year, had proved to be an extraordinarly popular phenomenon, with more than eighty million Indians tuning in to every weekly episode. Streets in all towns and cities emptied on Sunday mornings as the serial went on the air. In villages with no electricity people usually gathered around a rented television set powered by a car battery. Many bathed ritually and garlanded their television sets before settling down to watch Rama, the embodiment of righteousness, triumph over adversity.

When the government, faced with rising garbage mounds and a growing risk of epidemics, finally relented and commissioned more episodes of The Ramayana, not just the sanitation workers but millions of Indians celebrated. More than a decade and many reruns later, the serial continues to inspire reverence among Indians everywhere, and remains for many the primary mode of experiencing India’s most popular epic.

The reasons for this may not be immediately clear to an uninitiated outsider: the serial, cheaply made by a Bollywood filmmaker, abounds in ham acting and tinselly sets, and the long, white beards of its many wise, elderly men look perilously close to dropping off.

But it wasn’t so much its kitschy, Bollywood aspect that endeared the serialization to Indians as its invoking of what is easily the most influential narrative tradition in human history: the story of Rama, the unjustly exiled prince. It may be impossible to prove R. K. Narayan’s claim that every Indian “is aware of the story of The Ramayana in some measure or other.” But it will sound true to most Indians. Indeed, the popular appeal of the story of Rama among ordinary people distinguishes it from much of Indian literary tradition, which, supervised by upper-caste Hindus, has been forbiddingly elitist.

There is really no Western counterpart in either the Hellenic or Hebraic tradition to the influence that this originally secular story, transmitted orally through many centuries, has exerted over millions of people. The Iliad and The Odyssey are, primarily, literary texts, but not even Aesop’s fables or the often intensely moral Greek myths shape the daily lives of present-day inhabitants of Greece. In contrast, The Ramayana continues to have a profound emotional and psychological resonance for Indians.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The Ramayana"
by .
Copyright © 2006 R. K. Narayan.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Ramayana 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent shortened version of The Ramayana, good for students and those interested in non-western mythology!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mupples More than 1 year ago
This is an epic poem I had to read for a college class. While the story is decent, this is a shortened prose version. A lot of the story only skims the surface- sometimes the editor will cut into the flow and paraphrase the rest to keep it moving. A good read if you want a general story of Rama- but it's better to seek out a less abridged edition. It's worth it for the full effect.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago