Satādhika Grantha Nirmāta,
Dr. P. Sri Ramachandrudu,
Vēdānta Sirōmani, Vēdanta Visārada,
Retd. Professor in Sanskrit, Osmānia University.
Receipient of "Viswabhārati Award",
"Sahitya Academi Award"
Nandanam, 7.1.32/4, P.2,
Leelanagar, Begumpet, Hyderabad-16.
यावत् स्थाष्यन्ति गिरयः सरितस्च महीतले!
तावद्रामायण कथा लोकेषु प्रचरिष्यति!!
"The story of Ramayana will be popular among people so long as the mountains stand on the earth and the rivers flow is a prophecy of Brahmin or a boon granted to the Sage Valmeeki by him". How this prophecy has come true can be seen by the appearance of thousands of literary works, connected with the story of Ramayana almost in all the languages of the world in every conceivable literary form. As was declared by Macdonell-probably no work of world literature, secular in its origin, has ever produced so profound an influence on the life and thought of the people as Ramayana. The present work by Late Sri L.Ananta Rama Rao is a valuable addition to the vast Ramayana literature.
There are many English translations of Ramayana - to mention a few important ones - one translation of Ramayana by Sri Hariprasada Sastri was published from London long ago. Another translation by Sri N.Raghunatha Iyer, which is quite faithful to the original was published from Madras about 60 years ago. Another faithful Sloka to Sloka translation was published by Gita Press, Gorakhpur. A beautiful critical edition of Ramayana with English translation is being prepared at the Prinston University, New Jercy, USA., and one or two volumes have already come out. The present work of Sri L.Ananta Rama Rao is found to occupy a place of special importance among the English translation of Ramayana.
As the author himself says in one or two places, this work is in the form of the summary in English of Ramayana but not its verbatim translation. Though called summary no important item connected with the story or beautiful description found in the original has been left out in this translation. The story of the whole Ramayana barring a few last Sarga of Uttara Kānda [which cannot anyway be accepted as from the pen of Valmeeki] is narrated in a very beautiful chaste English.
The author is well acquainted with the Greek Mythology and some of the works in the Greek language perhaps through English translation. After the discovery of Sanskrit language and literature by the West in the 17th and 18th Centuries a descriptive "comparative Mythology" had emerged, because there were many similarities and also some dis-similarities between Indian Mythology and the Western [Greek] Mythology. It is but natural that there should be the flash in the minds of careful readers like Sri L.Ananta Rama Rao, while they go through the old Indian texts like the Ramayana of some ideas of similar nature contained in the other Mythological works. Sri L.Ananta
Rama Rao very often has referred to such similarities. In the context of referring to the description of war by Valmeeki and Homer he devoted nearly 40 full-length pages to narrate the story of Iliad and Odessey. He has also quoted in many places the descriptions and other material found in some other works based on Valmeeki's Rāmāyana, especially the Tamil version of Rāmāyana by Kamban.
The author has great admiration for the poesy of Valmeeki and highest respect for the culture, depicted in this great Epic and for the ancient Indian culture in general which made him enable to resist the temptation of making elaborate comments explaining the special features of the Indian Culture, the significance of various episodes and the greatness of the Mahārishis who had handed down such a great culture to the posterity. We hardly come across a page in this work, which does not contain such valuable and highly erudite comments and remarks. One thirds of this work is consisting of such comments only. One has only to go through these long passages carefully to discern the ideas intended by the author to be conveyed, without feeling the tedium of coming across the same ideas again. The readers who are interested in only the story part of this work can conveniently skip over these passages and derive full enjoyment of reading the original poems.
I feel this work augurs a new trend in Rāmāyana studies.
The three daughters of Sri L.A.Rāma Rao and Sri U.Mangapati Sarma and also his two other Co-brothers are to be congratulated for bringing out this valuable work because they are, in one attempt able to clear both Pitr Rna and Rshi Rna [the debts owed to the Forefathers and Rishis].
I am thankful to Sri U.Mangapati Sarma Garu for giving me the opportunity to go through this work before it is published.
December 14, 2003.