Ramayana Tradition In Historical Perspective
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Ramayana Tradition In Historical Perspective

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Item Code: NAY714
Author: D.P. Saklani
Publisher: Pratibha Prakashan, Delhi
Language: English and Hindi
Edition: 2006
ISBN: 817702129x
Pages: 298 (16 Color Illustrations)
Cover: HARDCOVER
Other Details: 10.00 X 7.50 inch
Weight 730 gm
About the Book
The present volume is an edited volume of papers presented at the National Seminar on Ramayana Tradition in Historical Perspective organized by History & Archaeology Department of H.N.B. Garhwal University on November 4-5, 2003.

The volume comprises interesting and scholarly papers on different themes of the Ramayana tradition including history, literature and art. This is an attempt by scholars to explore further the possibility of studying a historically popular tradition in order to bring into light some new researches related to the Tradition.

About the Author
D.P. Saklani is a senior Reader in the Deptt. of History, Culture and Archaeology, H.N.B. Garhwal University, Srinagar, Garhwal. Uttaranchal, India. He is a student of Indian history and culture who earned his Ph.D., working on the ancient ethnic communities of Western & Central Himalaya in 1995. The work was published in the book form in 1998. Dr. Saklani has authored one more book and more than 20 research papers in different national and international publications. He has been a keen student of Ramayana studies and he has published many articles on the same. He has participated in more than 20 national and international seminars and conferences related to history, culture and religion of India. He delivered invited lectures on Ramayana tradition and Indian culture in different universities of Europe and America.

At present he is engaged in the study of traditional healthcare and faith healing system of Uttaranchal Himalaya.

Foreword
The Ramayana is a combination of two words Rama and ayana, path, the same ayana which is found in the words daksinayana an uttarayana, the southern path, the northern path. The Ramayana, therefore, has the literal meaning of the path of Rama, the path followed by him in his life and conduct. There is a well-known saying in Sanskrit Ramadivad vartitavyam na Ravanadivat, one should conduct oneself like Rama and the like and not Ravana and the like. Rama is a symbol of the good conduct while Ravana is of the bad one. A person may be very intelligent but may not use his intelligence in the right direction. This is what happened with Ravana. He was not all that bad as he is perceived to be. He was a Brahmin, the son of a sage Pulastya; he had a mastery over the Vedas being described as Vedarthavijnah; he was an able administrator as evidenced by the way he had fortified his city; he was a great warrior, the fight between him and Rama being likened by Valmiki to that fight only: there being no Upamana, standard of comparison available for it. But then he was too obstinate and headstrong to listen to the sane advice of his brother and other relatives to return SRA to Rama; was injudicious enough to demean himself to the point of cheating Rama to take him out of his but by the deceitful plot of luring his wife with the sight of a golden deer that he asked his uncle Marica to assume much against protestations and stealthily approaching the unsuspecting lady in the garb of an ascetic, an act rightly termed as naricaurya by no less a person than his own wife Mandodari, revealing a weak strek in his character of not facing the adversary straight. It was a barbaric act on his part to abduct ungaurded Sita, a married woman. His infatuation with her did not go well with his learning, nor his desire to have her as his wife knowing full well that she was legally wedded to someone else. No amount of persuation of his well-meaning relatives could deflect him from his evil course. Not that Sita's ravishing beauty did so overwhelm him as to make him lose all sense.

Preface
The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are two great epics of India and their influence on the life of Indians has been great and immeasurable. Regarding the greatness of these two epics, Tagore says, 'It is not enough merely to say that the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are two great epics. They are also a history, though not of a particular time or period. They are the eternal history of India. Other histories have changed on the march of time but this history has not. These two epics embody what India cherishes as its ideals. Of these two epics, again, the appeal of the Ramayana has been deeper and larger than that of the Mahabharata, the main reason being that the Ramayana is a homogeneous text, with a simple and straightforward story.'

The Ramayana is a living tradition not only in India but also in several countries and continents world over. Since ancient times it has been in limelight and the source of ethical and moral values to Indian society. But at the same time it has been questioned and is being questioned every time whenever there is any tension or crisis not only in India but also in the international arena. Whether it is a social, political, cultural or religious issue, debate starts among scholars on the Ramayana tradition. The conflict between good and bad even today is equated with Rama- Ravana conflict.

Ramayana tradition starts with the Valmiki Ramayana and more than three hundred other Ramayanas with different versions have been composed so far. Even the Valmiki Ramayana has some interpolated parts in the form of Uttarakanda and some parts of Balakanda. But all that is treated as the part of Ramayana not only by common readers but sometimes by historians also. There are some events in the spurious parts on the basis of which historians of social and gender issues try to either condemn or justify certain great characters of the Epic. But we cannot exactly do the same without understanding chronological sequence of the evolution of the Epic and the tradition in historical context. A parallel can be drawn to understand the Ramayana tradition with that of Ganga River, the holiest river of Hindus.

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