Makhan Lal Sen's The Ramayana of Valmiki is a modernized version in English prose of the great Sanskrit epic Ramayana. The appeal and freshness of epic poems transcend all limitations imposed by time, space, age, caste, creed, society and language. All, irrespective of their age, succumb to the charms and fascinating personalities of its heroes, who have inspired countless men of different generations and spurred them on to perform almost superhuman task. Modern civilization owes most of dazzling achievement to such inspiration.
Valmiki's Ramayana is something more than an epic. No one has built shrines in honour of Homer's heroes, to worship them as God. In contrast, from the time of its composition to this day, Valmiki's hero never lacked devotees. The reason for this strange phenomenon lies in this: in the Greek epics the cause is ambition, and the effect is the valour of its heroes; in Ramayana the cause is the moral welfare of society and the effect is the ideal conduct of its heroes under the most trying circumstances that destiny can weave. Rama is a personification of all that is expected of an ideal son, ideal brother, ideal husband, ideal prince, ideal ally, ideal commander and an ideal king.
Translation of epics and rendering them in prose, is, at the best of times, an hazardous and ardous job. Here the translator has done his best to capture to a remarkable degree the grandeur of the epic, the loftiness of its thought, the simplicity and elegance of its diction and the freshness of its enduring beauty. This book, being one of those rare ones which elevates one's soul, should find a place under every roof.
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