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Ramayana, Epic of Rama, Prince of India

An Abbreviated Translation of the Indian Classic, the Ramayana by Romesh Chundar Dutt in 2,000 verses

Epilogue by the

Epilogue by the Translator - 170 in these modern translations; they have heard it recited in the houses of the rich; and they have seen it acted on the stage at religious festivals in every great town and every populous village through the length and breadth of India. More than this, the story of Rama has inspired our religious reformers, and purified the popular faith of our modern times, Rama, the true and dutiful, was accepted as the Spirit of God descended on earth, as an incarnation of VISHNU the Preserver of the World. The great teacher Ramanuja proclaimed the monotheism of VISHNU in Southern India in the twelfth century; the reformer Ramananda proclaimed the same faith in Northern India in the thirteenth or fourteenth century; and his follower the gifted Kabir conceived the bold idea of uniting Hindus and Mahomedans in the worship of One God, “The God of the Hindus,” he said, “is the God of the Mahomedans, be he invoked as Rama or Ali,” “The city of the Hindu God is Benares, and the city of the Mahomedan God is Mecca: but search your hearts, and there you will find the God both of Hindus and Mahomedans,” “If the Creator dwells in tabernacles, whose dwelling is the universe?” The reformer Chaitanya preached the same sublime monotheism in Bengal, and the reformer Nanak in the Punjab, in the sixteenth century. And down to the present day the popular mind in India, led away by the worship of many images in many temples, nevertheless holds fast to the cardinal idea of One God, and believes the heroes of the ancient Epics – Krishna and Rama – to be the incarnations of that God. The various sects of the Hindus, specially the sects of Vishnu and of Siva who form the great majority of the people, quarrel about a name as they often did in Europe in the Middle Ages, and each sect gives to the Deity the special name by which the sect is known. In the teeming villages of Bengal, in the ancient shrines of Northern India, and far away in the towns and hamlets of Southern India, the prevailing faith of the million is a popular monotheism underlying the various ceremonials in honour of various images and forms, – and that popular monotheism generally recognises the heroes of the two ancient Epics, – Krishna and Rama, [192] as the earthly Incarnations of the great God who pervades and rules, the universe. To know the Indian Epics is to understand the Indian people better. And to trace the influence of the Indian Epics on the life and civilisation of the nation, and on the development of their modern languages, literatures, and religious reforms, is to comprehend the real history of the people during three thousand years. Romesh Dutt University College, London 13 th August 1899.

171 Glossary ABHISHAVA, a religious rite. ABHISHEKA, sacred ablution. ACHARYA, preceptor. AGNIHOTRA, a sacrifice to the fire performed with a daily offering of milk morning and evening. AGRAYANA, an autumn harvest festival performed with offering of new grain. AJYA, a form of sacrificial offering. APRAMATTA, without pride or passion. APSARA, celestial nymph. ARGHYA, an offering due to an honoured guest. ARYA, an honourable person, an Aryan. ASOKA, name of a flower, orange and scarlet. ASRAMA, hermitage. ASURA, demon, enemies of gods. ASWAKARNA, a flower. ASWAMEDHA, a horse-sacrifice. BAIDURYA, lapiz-lazuli, BHINDIPALA, a weapon of war. BRAHMACHARIN, one who has taken vows and lives an austere life. CHAITYA, a shrine or temple. CHAKRAVAKA, a ruddy goose, the male and female being regarded as a pattern of conjugal love. CHAMPAKA, a tree with yellow blossom; also the flower of the tree.

Mahabharata, Epic of the Bharatas