Kamba Ramayana by P. S. Sundaram (transl.), N. S. Jagannathan (ed.)

By P. S. Sundaram (transl.), N. S. Jagannathan (ed.)

"A masterly translation of the Tamil model of Ramayana The epic tale of Rama, that is a part of the Indian collective attention, has been retold in lots of neighborhood languages. Pre-eminent one of several vernacular retellings of the Ramayana is the twelfth-century Tamil model through Kamban. The son of a temple drummer, Kamban is reputed to have had a magnificent mastery of Tamil and Sanskrit classics. fascinated about the lore of Ramayana, he immersed himself completely in it. although Kamban recognizes his indebtedness to the Sanskrit model of the Ramayana through Valmiki, his is an autonomous paintings, enriched by way of numerous non secular, philosophical and literary affects. The Kamba Ramayana differs from Valmiki’s in major methods. even though forged within the heroic mold of a Purushotama or ‘the top between men’, Valmiki’s Rama continues to be a guy. Kamban, however, by no means permits the reader to fail to remember the godhood of Rama. His Ravana too, notwithstanding mistaken, is a heroic determine. whereas Valmiki’s diction is sparse and direct, Kamban’s exuberant prose flickers with wit and inventiveness. Translated into English via the past due P.S. Sundaram, this version has been abridged and edited through his long-time good friend N.S. Jagannathan. notwithstanding pared down from the unique six volumes to a unmarried one, this translation keeps the magic and poetry of the unique.

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They saw numerous shops heaped with merchandise—gems and gold, pearls and yak tails, peacock plumes and ivory goods—brought by traders from far off lands. They looked like farmers who had shored up riverbanks with silt brought down by the Caveri. They saw elephants fighting in sport, eyes reddened with rage and tusks entwined. Clashing inseparably, their passion churned up, they looked like lovers engaged in fierce combat. They saw harnessed horses going round and round, like vessels on a potter’s wheel, unremitting like the friendship of good men, undistracted as a yogi’s mind.

It was like the moon greeting the sun. Decorated with tassels and peacock plumes, their white umbrellas shut the sky out, eclipsing light and spreading darkness. But this darkness was dispelled by the gold worn by the men of the two armies. When Dasaratha, the faultless king of kings, and Janaka, the sage among kings and king among sages, drew forward to greet each other, the scented powder sprinkled by onlookers and the pollen from the flowers flung upon them were the only dust on the road! Saffron mixed with akhil and paste of sandal and the musth dripping from elephants were the only mire on the road!

When that sweet-tongued maiden arrived, all except the sages and kings closed their palms above their heads, convinced that she was a goddess. Isn’t our body our mind’s slave? She, who had left her lotus-seat to enter a king’s palace, bowed to the emperor and sages and took her seat near her father, whose eyes were dewed with tears. ’ She’d heard the story of the bow, of how it had been bent and broken. And now, she saw the truth for herself and shed her fear. Even so, with a glance from the corner of her eyes, as if to adjust her bangle, she made sure that the youth in front was indeed the one in her heart.

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