Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Books on the Ramayana

The Ramayana is one of India's most well loved epics, retaining the essence of the ancient Vedas and embodying lessons and truths of life that have moulded Indian sensibility. Here is a list of books on the Ramayana:
  • Ramayana in Focus: Visual and Performing Arts in Asia by Gauri Parimoo Krishnan. This, the first volume from the Asian Civilisations Museum new research and publications unit, is a substantial account of the Ramayana as presented in the visual and performing arts of Asia. Twenty-one specialists reflect on the purpose and presence of Ramayana in the literary, visual, and performing traditions. The final four essays look at its place and presentation in contemporary culture and media. With illustrations from many sources, bibliographies and index.
  • Ramayana: Divine Loophole by Sanjay Patel. Rama, a charismatic blue prince with a divine destiny, embarks on an epic quest to battle an indestructible ten-headed demon. So begins the Ramayana, one of the core legends of the Hindu mythology. Ramayana: Divine Loophole, illustrated and adapted by veteran Pixar animator Sanjay Patel, gives this 2,500-year-old story a 21st century Technicolor treatment.
  • Ramayana in the Arts of Asia by Garrett Kam. This is the most definitive work of the great Indian epic, the Ramayana, that has made made its way over the centuries to almost every corner of Southeast Asia. Art historian Garrett Kam has undertaken an extremely challenging task -- to track the various interpretations of the tale, from the Valmiki origin, about Sita's enduring love and devotion to Rama, her abduction by the ogre king Ravana, and the adventures encountered by the various heroes that led to her eventual rescue. This magnificently illustrated volume also has a useful glossary section of the variation of names of characters as well as an appendix of the different performing art and literary traditions throughout Asia.
  • The Penguin Companion to the Ramayana translated by Debjani Banerjee. This delightful companion takes the reader on a journey from Ayodhya to Lanka through forests, seas and skies. Along with an overview of the Ramayana and a synopsis, the epic is recounted, episode by episode, with analytical comments drawing parity between the present and a bygone time. An elaborate who's who points to characters embodying values such as commitment to dharma, filial duty and loyalty, and evils like greed, lust and pride. This companion also provides the reader with new insights into the spectrum of characters in the Ramayana and gives fresh perspectives on known and little-known aspects of the epic. All the events are carefully recounted in chronological order and cross-referencing helps make this masterpiece that much easier to understand. Readers will also appreciate this edition for its use of colloquial language.
  • The Ramayana by Bulbul Sharma. The Ramayana - the tale of Rama, the prince of Ayodhya, who exiles himself to the forest for fourteen years to honour his father's word - is one of the best-known epics in the world. In this version written specially for children, the ancient tale takes on new life. This contemporary retelling, which answers questions and provides explanations, is the perfect first Ramayana for every child.

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