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Ramayana-One of the greatest epics of all time.

  • Jul 14, 2010
Ramayana is one of India's great classics. I grew up reading all of the greek classics, and the Ramayana makes the greek gods look like Lindsey Lohan compared to Gandhi.
Rama is the main character in the story and Ramayana loosely translates as Rama's Journey. The whole book could be a reference and a guide to how to live an upstanding life. Rama follows Dharma, and I always remember one of the sages told Rama, "Take Truth as your sword, and Dharma as your shield." Dharma means doing the right thing and making the correct choice in every detail of your life. It is why the indians place so much importance on seemingly insignificant details, like walking in a circle clockwise, or saying the proper phrase to bring blessings to a journey they are about to undertake. 
It is filled to overflowing with action, demons warring with gods, and animals taking up the fight in Rama's name. Each character shows self sacrifice in their own way, and the interaction between all of the characters and the humor that is maintained throughout the book is amazing. Far from a dry religious text, this story is funny, and filled with sage advice that everyone needs to here. There is something for everyone in this book, and there could be infinite discussions around any part of this book. 
In a classic, good vs evil book, you always need a well developed villain to hate. In this story it is Ravana the Demon King who cuts off one of his 10 heads every thousand years as a sacrifice to Brahma. On the day he is going to cut off his final head Brahma appears and Ravana says you finally answer my sacrifice and Brahma says something about how terrible Ravana's will is so ask me for a wish and I will grant it.
My favorite Ravana quote is a conversation between Kala time and Ravana after it is assumed that Ravana is going to be defeated, "Do you know who I am?"cried Kala. Ravana answered, "A marketplace of sorrow, a well of lies." "Never!" "You're a fraud and you know it. Why... you're not looking so well." Ravana smiled, "may you feel worse tomorrow." "Oh, take care!" Said Time sharply, "Watch out, Injustice angers me..." "That's a laugh! I'll faint from fear just as soon as I find a place to fall down, alright?" Ravana twirled his moustaches. "Listen- When my dancing footfalls stopped, I broke time's small back with my last step.
This book is filled with twists and turns, you never know exactly how it is going to turn out. Even after reading it 3 times, I still find new things to enjoy every time, and I will definitely read it again.
Do yourself a favor and read this book and explore the magic of another land. All the characters are colorful, even Ravana the demon king finds redemption at the end. I don't know about the other translations, but William Buck's is excellent. 
Ramayana-One of the greatest epics of all time.

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