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The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose…
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The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic (Penguin… (urspr publ 1972; utgåvan 2006)

av R. K. Narayan (Författare)

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A retelling of the Tamil epic poem which records Prince Rama's search for his abducted sweetheart, Sita.
Medlem:Ms.Heathers7-8
Titel:The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic (Penguin Classics)
Författare:R. K. Narayan (Författare)
Info:Penguin Classics (2006), Edition: 1, 157 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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Taggar:Ingen/inga

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The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic av R. K. Narayan (1972)

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I don't recommend Narayan's version of the Ramayana; but if you're going to get it, do not buy it in the Penguin ISBN-9780143039679 version. Instead, be aware that there's a three-in-one Penguin ISBN-9780140255645 titled Indian Epics Retold that contains all three of Narayan's Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Gods, Demons, and Others – a better buy than the single Penguin Ramayana title.

Narayan's Ramayana version is based on a Tamil version from the 10th or 11th century CE. This Tamil version treats Rama as a much more exalted, divine figure than does the original Sanskrit version by Valmiki from several centuries BCE. I'm not suggesting that one version – Sanskrit versus Tamil – is to be preferred over another, but do be aware of the difference. The Sanskrit version was prevalent in northern India (Hindi) while the Tamil version was prevalent in more southernly areas of the subcontinent.

In any case, though, Narayan's version of the Tamil epic is extremely abbreviated, so much so that it loses its "epic" feel and come across more with the flavor of a romance by Chrétien de Troyes. I have the three-volume boxed set of the Valmiki Ramayana translated by Bibek Debroy which I plan to get started on, and another reviewer has suggested the translation by Ramesh Menon (which also seems to be the Valmiki version).

In any event, this Narayan adaptation is just too cursory. Additionally, it has too much of a Westernized sound to it (using terms like "nectar" and "ambrosia" where, I suspect, the original language would have referred to the Aryan "soma," though some other intoxicant might have been used in southernly Tamil) and comes off like something from "Cliff Notes," "Spark Notes," or "Reader's Digest."

Not recommended. ( )
  CurrerBell | Sep 3, 2021 |
Retelling of the Ramayana that is entirely without embellishment. No idea how true it is to the original, but it was too dry for me. I'm dropping this one in favor of Ramesh Menon's retelling. We'll see how that one treats me.
  ImperfectCJ | Jan 5, 2019 |
Delightful version of the epic 2500 year old Indian classic, condensed and put into prose by R.K. Narayan. The legend has elements that will appeal to all ages, with horrific demons, sorcery, epic battles with magical weapons, and a race of monkey people. There are lessons in bravery, honor, and filial piety. It’s also a love story, one that is tested by jealousy and separation.

While it reads as mythological adventure, there is something profound in the heroes of these stories being the human incarnation of the Gods without being aware of it, such as Rama/Vishnu and Sita/Lakshmi. I’m sure there are tomes written about its meaning and I barely scratch the surface, but in moments such as Vali being struck down by Rama and wondering why he should have done this, it seems to be a parable of how people wonder why fate acts as it does in their lives, sometimes cruelly.

There are also elements which remind us of the stories from Greek mythology – Indra assuming a sage’s form to make love to Ahalya reminding one of the antics of Zeus, Sampathi and Jatayu’s hubris in flying too close to the sun like Icarus, and when each of Ravana’s heads are cut off another one growing anew like Hydra.

Just a couple of quotes:
On compassion:
“He explained how he should guard the interests of his subjects, how important gentleness in speech was: ‘Even when you realize that the one before you is an enemy and must be treated sternly, do not hurt with words. Even in jest, do not hurt anyone’s feelings, not even the lowliest.’”

On passion:
“There she was the victim of hallucinations. Rama in his full form seemed to stand before her again and again, and she fancied she embraced him and fondled his broad shoulders and chest. When the illusion passed, she cried, ‘Why do you torment me in this way? Why do you refuse to unite with me, and quench the fire that’s burning me?’” ( )
3 rösta gbill | Nov 20, 2018 |
I like this mythology better than our Greek and Roman stuff. Narayan is a great writer, too. ( )
  xine2009 | Sep 27, 2009 |
A much better translation than the one by Lakshmi Lal. It seems to humanize Rama much more than Lal's more literal rendering. Rama (and Lakshmana, and Ravana), seem to have actual motivations, rather than simply roles in a pre-scripted drama.

Narayan clearly has some of the same questions about Rama that I do. His interjections into the narrative don't resolve my confusion about Rama's character, but I think they help. For example, when Rama kills Vali from hiding without any direct provocation, Narayan expresses doubt about whether it's actually right, and why Rama tries so hard to justify it after the fact. ( )
  aneel | May 10, 2007 |
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Valmiki the poet explained to Rama himself: "Owing to the potency of your name, I became a sage, able to view the past, present, and future as one. I did not know your story yet. One day Sage Narada visited me. I asked him, 'Who is a perfect man -- possessing strength, aware of obligations, truthful in an absolute way, firm in the execution of vows, compassionate, learned, attractive, self-possessed, powerful, free from anger and envy but terror-striking when roused?' Narada answered, 'Such a combination of qualities in a single man is generally rare, but one such is the very person whose name you have mastered, that is, Rama. He was born in the rase of Ikshvahus, son of King Dasaratha ..." And Narada narrated the story of Rama.
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To the memory of my uncle T. N. Seshachalam who had steeped himself in Kamban's Ramayana, and who expressed a last wish that I should continue the study.
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(Introduction by the author): The Indian epic, the Ramayana, dates back to 1500 B.C. according to certain early scholars.
(Chap. 1. Rama's initiation): The new assembly hall, Dasaratha's latest pride, was crowded all day with visiting dignitaries, royal emissaries, and citizens coming in with representations or appeals for justice.
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A retelling of the Tamil epic poem which records Prince Rama's search for his abducted sweetheart, Sita.

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