Author: Ralph T H Griffith
Publisher: LP Publications
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8175362937
An outstanding work encompassing translation into English verse of one of the greatest scriptures of the Hindus. In his translation, Griffith's command of poetical diction enabled him to reproduce the form and spirit of the ancient hymns better than by means of prose or of rhyming verse.
The subject of the Ramayan, the great national epic of the Hindus, their one common and everlasting possession, is, as the name implies, the life and adventures of Rama. These adventures are briefly summarized in the introductory cantos of the poem.
The great exploit and main subject of the epic is the war which Rama waged with the giant Raven, the fierce and mighty King of Lanka or Ceylon and the dread oppressor of Gods and nymphs and saints and men. The army, to borrow the words of Gorresio, which Rama led on this expedition was, as appears from the poem, gathered in great part from the region of the Vindhyan hills, but the races which he assembled are represented in the poem as monkeys, either out of contempt for their barbarism or because at that time they were little known to the Sanskrit speaking Hindus.
The people against whom Rama waged war are, as the poem indicates in many places, different in origin, in civilization, and in worship, from the Sanskrit Indians; but the poet of the Ramayan, in this respect like Homer who assigns to Troy-customs, creeds, and worship similar to those of Greece, places in Ceylon, the seat of this alien and hostile people, names, habits, and worship similar to those of Sanskrit India.
The poet calls the people whom Rama attacked Rakshasas. Rakshasas, according to the popular Indian belief, are malignant beings, demons of many shapes, terrible and cruel, who disturb the sacrifices and the religious rites of the Brahmans. It appears indubitable that the poet of the Ramayana applied the hated name of Rakshasas to an abhorred and hostile people, and that this denomination is here rather an expression of hatred and horror than a real historical name.
Cantos I - Cantos LXXVII
Cantos I - Cantos XXXIX
Cantos I - Cantos XL
Cantos I - Cantos XLV
Cantos I - Cantos LXVI
Cantos I - Cantos CXXX
Index of Principal Names