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Poems to Siva

The Hymns of the Tamil Saints

Indira Viswanathan Peterson

Composed by three poet-saints between the sixth and eighth centuries A.D., the Tevaram hymns are the primary scripture of the Tamil Saivism, one of the first popular large-scale devotional movements within Hinduism. Indira Peterson eloquently renders into English a substantial portion of these hymns, which provide vivid and moving portraits of the images, myths, rites, and adoration of Siva and which continue to be loved and sung by the millions of followers of the Tamil Saiva tradition. Her introduction and annotations illuminate the work's literary, religious, and cultural contexts, making this anthology a rich sourcebook for the study of South Indian popular religion.

Indira Peterson highlights the Tevaram as a seminal text in Tamil cultural history, a synthesis of pan-Indian and Tamil civilization, as well as a distinctly Tamil expression of the love of song, sacred landscape, and ceremonial religion. Her discussion of this work draws on her pioneering research into the performance of the hymns and their relation to the art and ritual of the South Indian temple.

Originally published in 1989.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki: An Epic of Ancient India, Volume I

Balakāṇḍa

Robert P. Goldman

This is the first of seven volumes of a translation of the Valmiki Ramayana, the great Sanskrit epic of the life of Rama, ideal man and incarnation of the great god Visnu. This renowned work of ancient India has profoundly affected the literature, art, religions, and cultures of countless millions of people in South and Southeast Asiaan influence that is perhaps unparalleled in the history of world literature. Balakanda, the opening portion of this first translation to be based on the critical edition (Oriental Institute, Baroda), is presented here in a compact volume without the section of notes that appears in the hardcover book.

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The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki: An Epic of Ancient India, Volume II

Ayodhyakāṇḍa

Robert P. Goldman

This is the second volume of a translation of India’s most beloved and influential epic saga, the monumental Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki. Of the seven sections of this great Sanskrit masterpiece, the Ayodhyakāṇḍa is the most human, and it remains one of the best introductions to the social and political values of traditional India. This readable translation is accompanied by commentary that elucidates the various problems of the text—philological, aesthetic, and cultural. The annotations make extensive use of the numerous commentaries on the Rāmāyaṇa composed in medieval India. The substantial introduction supplies a historical context for the poem and a critical reading that explores its literary and ideological components.

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The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki: An Epic of Ancient India, Volume III

Aranyakāṇḍa

Robert P. Goldman

This is the third volume of a planned seven-volume translation of India's most beloved and influential epic tale--the Ramayana of Valmiki. This third volume carries forward the narrative by following the exiled hero Rama, his wife, and his brother on their wanderings. The book contains the narrative center of the epic, the abduction of Sita by the demon king Ravana. It provides a profound meditation on the paradox of the hero as both human and divine.

The present translation seeks to provide a readable and trustworthy English version of the poem. It is accompanied by a full commentary elucidating the philological, aesthetic, and cultural problems of the text. Extensive use is made in the annotations of the numerous commentaries on the Ramayana. The substantial introduction to this volume aims to supply a historical context for an appreciation of the poem and a critical reading exploring the ideological components of the work.

The volumes of this work will present the entire Ramayana, translated for the first time on the basis of the critical edition (Oriental Institute, Baroda).

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The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki: An Epic of Ancient India, Volume IV

Kiskindhakāṇḍa

Rosalind Lefeber

This is the fourth volume of a translation of India's most beloved and influential epic tale--the Ramayana of Valmiki. As befits its position at the center of the work, Volume IV presents the hero Rama at the turning point of his fortunes. Having previously lost first his kingship and then his wife, he now forms an alliance with the monkey prince, Sugriva. Rama needs the monkeys to help him find his abducted wife, Sita, and they do finally discover where her abductor has taken her. But first Rama must agree to secure for his new ally the throne of the monkey kingdom by eliminating the reigning king, Sugriva's detested elder brother, Valin. The tragic rivalry between the two monkey brothers is in sharp contrast to Rama's affectionate relationship with his own brothers and forms a self-contained episode within the larger story of Rama's adventures.

This volume continues the translation of the critical edition of the Valmiki Ramayana, a version considerably reduced from the vulgate on which all previous translations were based. It is accompanied by extensive notes on the original Sanskrit text and on several untranslated early Sanskrit commentaries.

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The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki: An Epic of Ancient India, Volume V

Sundarakāṇḍa

Robert P. Goldman

The fifth and most popular book of the Ramayana of Valmiki, the Sundarakanda, recounts the adventures of the monkey hero Hanuman in leaping across the ocean to the island citadel of Lanka. Once there, he scours the city for the abducted Princess Siti. The poet vividly describes the opulence of the court of the demon king, Ravana, the beauty of his harem, and the hideous deformity of Sita's wardresses. After witnessing Sita's stern rejection of Ravana's blandishments, Hanuman reveals himself to the princess and restores her hope of rescue. The great monkey then wreaks havoc on the royal park and fights a series of hair-raising battles with Ravana's generals. Permitting himself to be captured by the warrior Indrajit, Hanuman is led into the presence of Ravana, whom he admonishes for his lechery. His tail is set ablaze, but he escapes his bonds and leaping from rooftop to rooftop, sets fire to the city. Taking leave of Sita, Hanuman once more leaps the ocean to rejoin his monkey companions.

This is the fifth volume translated from the critical edition of the Valmiki Ramayana. It contains an extensive introduction, exhaustive notes, and a comprehensive bibliography.

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The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki: An Epic of Ancient India, Volume VI

Yuddhakāṇḍa

Robert P. Goldman

The sixth book of the Ramayana of Valmiki, the Yuddhakanda, recounts the final dramatic war between the forces of good led by the exiled prince Rama, and the forces of evil commanded by the arch demon Ravana. The hero Rama's primary purpose in the battle is to rescue the abducted princess Sita and destroy the demon king. However, the confrontation also marks the turning point for the divine mission of the Ramavatara, the incarnation of Lord Visnu as a human prince, who will restore righteousness to a world on the brink of chaos. The book ends with the gods' revelation to Rama of his true divine nature, his emotional reunion with his beloved wife, his long-delayed consecration as king of Kosala, and his restoration of a utopian age. The Yuddhakanda contains some of the most extraordinary events and larger-than-life characters to be found anywhere in world literature.

This sixth volume in the critical edition and translation of the Valmiki Ramayana includes an extensive introduction, exhaustive notes, and a comprehensive bibliography.

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The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki: An Epic of Ancient India, Volume VII

Uttarakāṇḍa

Robert P. Goldman

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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Ramayana Stories in Modern South India

An Anthology

Compiled and Edited by Paula Richman

While some religious texts may remain static over time, the Ramayana epic has been retold in a variety of ways over the centuries and across South Asia. Some of the narrative's most probing and innovative retellings have appeared in print in the last 100 years in the region of South India. This collection brings together, for the first time, modern retellings translated from the four major South Indian languages and from genres as diverse as drama, short stories, poetry, and folk song. The selections focus on characters generally seen as stigmatized or marginalized, and on themes largely overlooked in previous scholarship. Editor Paula Richman demonstrates that twentieth-century authors have used retellings of the Ramayana to question caste and gender inequality in provocative ways. This engaging anthology includes translations of 22 primary texts along with interpretive essays that provide background and frameworks for understanding the stories.

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Rapt in the Name

The Ramnamis, Ramnam, and Untouchable Religion in Central India

In Rapt in the Name, Ramdas Lamb provides an intriguing account of the Ram bhakti tradition in India. Less well-known in the West than the tradition of devotion to Krishna, the Ram tradition is an important component of Hinduism. Ram is the most-worshipped form of the divine in North India today and has long been particularly important to those of the lower castes throughout India. Lamb explores both the evolution of the tradition and the rise of lower caste religious movements devoted to Ram, specifically the Ramnami Samaj, an Untouchable religious movement in Central India. Lamb’s study of the Ramnamis has spanned nearly three decades, first on a personal level as a Hindu monk and later as both a friend and a researcher. He discusses the historical origins, as well as present-day forms and structure of the Samaj, including a description of its distinctive ritual dress and practices. Among the more innovative aspects of the sect is its adaptation of the story of Lord Ram that is uniquely woven into its devotional repetition of his name (Ramnam). In addition, Lamb shares biographical sketches of six Ramnamis, each of which reveals the freedom of individual exploration and expression that is integral to the sect. This is a fascinating account of religious life and adaptation on the periphery of society.

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