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Topic: Has anyone read the Ramayana?

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Subject: Has anyone read the Ramayana?
Date Posted: 6/4/2008 7:54 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
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We talked a lot about this in my world mythology class & even read some excerpts which I really enjoyed.  Has anyone read the whole thing?  Is it a tough read (I found the Odyssey & Iliad not that hard)?  What's a good translation?  Do I need to read something like 'Hinduism for dummies' to get basic information beforehand to really appreciate it?

Date Posted: 6/5/2008 5:49 AM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2006
Posts: 2,819
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No, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.  I'm slowly working on the the Bhagavad Gita myself.  I feel like I should be reading  a Hinduism for Dummies type book first too, but there are some lovely spiritual notions that stand alone as well.

Last Edited on: 6/5/08 5:51 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/5/2008 1:34 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,757
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Suzanne - Are you reading the Bhagavad Gita straight up or are you reading something with commentary?  I tried it straight, but realized much of it was going over my head.  I love Paramahansa Yogananda's book, The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita.  Of course its interminably long and it emphasizes meditation a lot. Who knows?  Maybe that's what the Gita is supposed to emphasize.  I've never read any other version with commentary.  I do know that Yogananda's take on the Gita is very nice, very beautiful.  He also has another set of books on the subject, The Bhagavad Gita: God Talks With Arjuna or something like that. I have the books, but I haven't gotten to them yet.  I'm a huge admirer of Yogananda, though, so I usually think anything written by him is great.

In response to the original question.  I've never read the Ramayana, though I would certainly like to.  I think some sort of background in Hinduism would be helpful - as would background of any religions before reading one of it's scriptures would be.  I think you're going to get more out of it that way.  I've read Hinduism for Dummies, and I thought it was a very helpful book.  It's a great overview of a very complex religion.  Personally, I like translations with commentary, but the problem, of course, being that you're getting the translator's personal slant on the text. 

Let us know if you take on the Ramayana!! 

Last Edited on: 6/6/08 12:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 4
Subject: Ramayana and Mahabharata
Date Posted: 2/13/2009 9:31 PM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2009
Posts: 2
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I have had the good fortune of having reading all the three - Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Shrimad Bhagwad Gita. I have read them  in Hindi as I am from India and I have also read the english translations. The Gita - I have read that in Sanskrit as well as in Hindi and English. There is no english translation of the Gita that comes anywhere close to the original. So I am currently translating a commentary on the Gita that I find very profound and of the highest quality but is in Hindi. I am translating it into English.

With regards to an english translation of the ramayana - check out this one. I found it quite good and contemparary, yet close to the original in meaning -

The Ramayana: A Modern Retelling of the Great Indian Epic by Ramesh Menon


Truly great epics that teach a lot about humanity and the nature of man. esp. the Mahabharata  is so timeless!

BTW, If you are interested in eastern spirituality - do check out the books by Swami Shivom Tirth on amazon.com. His Churning of the Heart trilogy is by far the best and most sincere account of spiritual experiences that I have read and been influenced by.

Good Day friends!



Date Posted: 2/21/2009 9:33 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,535
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I've never read the Ramayana but have read the Mahabharata (a modern retelling) which had the Bhagavad Gita in it. 

I'd like to recommend an excellent PBS miniseries called the Mahabharata which was done in 1989.  Netflix has it.  It really helped to understand the story since I was (am) completely unfamiliar.

Dinesh, thank you for the information and the recommendations.

Subject: Another profoundly spiritual text involving Rama
Date Posted: 2/21/2009 11:51 PM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2009
Posts: 2
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While the Ramayana is a phenomenal epic, there is one more book named after Lord Rama's spiritual master/Guru. It is called "Yoga Vashishtha".

This is the book about the enlightenment of Rama . Just as Lord Krishna cleared Arjuna's doubts in the Gita, Sage Vashistha not only cleared Lord Rama's doubts, but established in the Absolute Self. A very profound book and this one as an equally impactful English translation in English called "Vashsisthas Yoga" by Swami Venketesananda. I think it is available in a concise version and an exhaustive version.

Thanks Melody that I could be of any help. Are you referring to the Mahabharata by Peter Brooks? or the one made in India? The indian TV series was very popular in India in those days.




Date Posted: 3/26/2009 12:59 PM ET
Member Since: 3/22/2009
Posts: 104
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I like the Arshia Sattar version of Valmiki's Ramayana from Penguin books: ISBN 0140298665.