The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki (Book published December 20, 2016

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Book Details

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Publisher  Princeton University Press
Publication Date   December 20, 2016
ISBN  0691168849
Pages  1544

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The concluding volume of a critical English edition of the monumental Indian epic

The seventh and final book of the monumental Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki, the Uttarakāṇḍa, brings the epic saga to a close with an account of the dramatic events of King Rāma's millennia-long reign. It opens with a colorful history of the demonic race of the rākṣasas and the violent career of Rāma’s villainous foe Rāvaṇa, and later recounts Rāma’s grateful discharge of his allies in the great war at Lankā as well as his romantic reunion with his wife Sītā. But dark clouds gather as Rāma, confronted by scandal over Sītā’s time in captivity under the lustful Rāvaṇa, makes the agonizing decision to banish his beloved wife, now pregnant. As Rāma continues as king, marvelous tales and events unfurl, illustrating the benefits of righteous rule and the perils that await monarchs who fail to address the needs of their subjects.

The Uttarakāṇḍa has long served as a point of social and religious controversy largely for its accounts of the banishment of Sītā, as well as of Rāma’s killing of a low-caste ascetic. The translators’ introduction provides a full discussion of these issues and the complex reception history of the Uttarakāṇḍa. This translation of the critical edition also includes exhaustive notes and a comprehensive bibliography.

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