* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project
Vālmīkī’s Sanskrit Rāmāyaṇa: Synopsis of the Rāma Story With kind permission of Paula Richman (ed) Many Rāmāyaṇas: the diversity of a narrative tradition in South Asia (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), pp.5-7. Book numbers added from John Brockington Righteous Rāma : the evolution of an epic (Delhi, OUP, 1984) As an important rider to her synopsis, Richman writes: ‘…Most scholars would agree that Vālmīkī’s Rāmāyaṇa, the most extensive early literary treatment of the life of Rāma, has wielded enormous influence in India, Southeast Asia, and beyond. Many later Rāmāyaṇa authors explicitly refer to it either as an authoritative source or as a telling with which they disagree. For centuries it has been regarded as the most prestigious Rāmāyaṇa text in many Indian circles. it has also drawn the most attention from Western scholars. However, I present Vālmīkī’s rendition here not as an Ur-text but only as the story of Rāma with which the majority of Western Rāmāyaṇa scholars are most familiar. My goal is not to privilege Vālmīkī’s Rāmāyaṇa but to give the non-specialist reader some necessary background, since in explaining the components of other tellings of the story the contributors of [her] volume often take a knowledge of Vālmīkī for granted… In order to maintain our perspective on Vālmīkī’s telling as one of many Rāmāyaṇas rather than as the authoritative Rāmāyaṇa, I will summarize the story in as neutral a way as possible, avoiding, for example, moral evaluation of the characters and their actions. My aim is to present readers with the plot of an extremely influential Rāmāyaṇa without encouraging them to view as normative the events, characterizations, and particular ideological commitments of Vālmīkī’s Rāmāyaṇa.’ Sanskrit Mahābhārata: from James Hegarty 2012), pp.199-205 Storyline Summary Religion, Narrative and Public Imagination in South Asia (London: Routledge, Rajput Queen: Summaries & Extracts from Ramya Sreenivasan The Many Lives of a Rajput Queen: heroic pasts in India c.1500-1900 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2007), pp.207-21, 224-27 Jayasi Padmāvat (1540CE) Extract Introduction and translation by Aditya Behl, ‘The Soul’s Quest in Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s Hindavi Romance’, in Barbara Metcalf (ed) Islam in South Asia in Practice (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009), pp.63-76 ‘The Isle of Singhala’ Bhāgavata Purāṇa (c.9th CE) Extract from Book 10, chs.29-30 ‘The Rāsa Pastime’ Translation from Edwin Bryant, Krishna: the beautiful legend of God¸Śrīmad Bhāgavata Purāṇa Book X (London: Penguin, 2003), pp.125134 Gītā Govinda (Sanskrit poem by Jayadeva, 1170 CEC) Extracts from Parts 6-12 on Rādhā and Krishna’s relationship Translation from Barbara Stoler Miller (ed & tr) Love Song of the Dark Lord: Jayadeva’s Gītāgovinda (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977) Having soothed Rādhā with his pleas in The Tenth Part, Krishna dresses and lies down on his forest bed waiting for her. Her girlfriend tells her not be be silly and to go to him, assuring her he is faithful. Purusha Sukta The Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad is the oldest Upaniṣad we have. from around 900-800 BCE. It may date Chāndogya Upaniṣad 6 tr. Valerie Roebuck, The Upaniṣads (London: Penguin, 2000) This is one of the oldest Upaniṣads dating possibly to c. 700BCE. Notice the frame story, and the two different types of stories contained within the ‘frame’ An origination myth from the Vishnu Purana The Purāṇas are an enormous body of Sanskrit texts which are often interrelated and very difficult to date. Some are dedicated to Lord Vishnu or his forms (e.g. Krishna in the Bhāgavata Purāṇa). Others are dedicated to Lord Shiva or to the Goddess Shakti. The Vishnu Purāna is probably one of the earlier ones and may have achieved its current form around 500 CE but this is a very approximate and much contested date. They belong to the huge category of smriti texts (‘remembered’) which are often presented as less authoritative than the shruti (‘heard’) texts of the Veda, but contain stories which are very well-known and continue to shape much Hindu thought. A selection of origination myths from the Vedic Sanskrit texts Translations here are from Wendy O’Flaherty (tr) Hindu Myths: a sourcebook translated from the Sanskrit (pp.27-28, 3235)) They are from: Ṛg Veda – famous Purusha Sukta Aitareya Brāhmaṇa Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa Bṛhadāranyaka Upaniṣad There is then a translation from the Chāndogya Upaniṣad by Valerie Roebuck. This is followed by an extract from the Vishnu Purana, a Sanskrit text outside the Vedas, also given in O’Flaherty, pp.43-46. The Vedic texts have four layers: The hymns of the Ṛg Veda (perhaps c. 1500BCE) (& three other collections) The Brāhmaṇas ( which give stories reflecting on the sacrificial ritual in which the hymns were used, and meditations on the connections between the macrocosm and the microcosm) The Āraṅyakas (which continue this) The Upaniṣads (perhaps from 900-200BCE) (which start to focus on the ultimate reality underlying the macrocosm and the microcosm, called Purusha (Person), Prāṇa (Breath), Ātman (Body/Self), Brahman (Great One, Whole) Bṛhadāraṅyaka Upaniṣad 3 The Great Forest Upaniṣad translation from Patrick Olivelle (tr) University Press, 1998), pp.34-52 Upaniṣads (Oxford: Oxford Look at the frame story. Note the references to the sacrificial ritual and to the context of competition. Look carefully at what the text says about renunciation and seeking realisation, but note that this is only one form of knowledge. The key protagonists are King Janaka of Videha and the great sage Yājñavalkya, who had already appeared in some stories in the Brāhmaṇas. The Dicing Game An extract from Mahābhārata Book 2 Book of the Assembly Hall Translation taken from J.A.B. van Buitenen (tr) (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1975) Mahābhārata vol 2 The Mahābhārata is one of the great Sanskrit epics. The Dicing Game is one of its most famous stories and lies at the root of why the two sets of cousins go to war, the central issue in the epic. Yudhiṣṭhira, King of Dharma, is the oldest of the Pāṇḍava brothers (the others are Bhīma, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahādeva). Draupadī is their joint wife. Duryodhana is the oldest of the Kaurava brothers, who sets his uncle, Śakuni, a master gambler, against Yudhiṣṭhira, to get the better of him. Vaiṣampāyana is the narrator.