View Full Version : Ramesh Menon's Ramayana

28 November 2012, 07:52 PM
Namaste all,

At the suggestion of a forum user I forget the name of at this moment (sorry :o ) and a real life acquaintance, I recently got the Ramesh Menon version (it's not strictly a translation, more of a literary retelling apparently) of the Ramayana. Not being at all familiar with the actual content of the original Ramayana, I thought this would be a good version for me to read; I just barely started it tonight and already it's made an impression on me as a real page-turner! From what little I've read of it so far, it seems like Ramesh Menon has done a phenomenal job of turning the original epic into a version that can most certainly educate/entertain a reader with a short attention span like me, and yes, from me that is a high compliment. :D (I have a hard time sticking with novels, can't you tell? :p )

I was wondering if, before I get any farther, anyone else has thoughts to share on this version? Things I should keep in mind, explanations, etc.? However, I don't want anything spoiled for me as of yet. I know it might be hard to talk about this without spoilers, but...do your best. Please. :)

28 November 2012, 08:14 PM
I haven't looked at the Ramesh Menon's translation, so I can't comment upon it.

The best way to read a translation is to have an edition that has the original Sanskrit verses with translation, so you can use the translation as a guide to understand the original text better. In general translations in Indian languages like Hindi are more interesting and can be a source of joy while still preserving a lot of the cultural feel, even if the original verses are paraphrased.

An alternative to reading is listening to the story being told.

There is a website that sells audio CDs of the Ramayana in English: http://www.ramayanaudio.com/audiosamples.html I don't have these CDs, but they could be interesting to you.

There are also many beautiful chantings of the Rama Charita Manasa available and this website is working on making the recordings of the Sanskrit shlokas available : http://valmiki.iitk.ac.in/index.php?id=audiodisplay1

28 November 2012, 08:25 PM
Namaste Sahasranama,

You do have good points there, and indeed adaptations are almost always inferior to the original source. However, unfortunately I do not know any Hindi or Sanskrit...it's something I want to learn, and some friends even said they could teach me, but I haven't gotten around to learning it yet. So it seems to me this version by Ramesh Menon is the next best thing. I know it's best to read the original, but I gotta start somewhere.

Thanks for your thoughts, though. Once I learn Hindi or Sanskrit I'll be sure to try reading the Ramayana in one of those languages. :)

EDIT: Ooh, thanks for the link to the website with the audio CDs, I'll definitely take a look!

29 November 2012, 12:40 AM
Namaste Sahasranama
These are really good links, I don't know how I missed them! The audios are really nice to listen to, and I can listen while driving my car in the rain which is now starting here. Great resource for Ramayana!

Namaste Webimpulse!
This is really your first Ramayana? Well WELCOME to the Wonders and Joy and the Experiences now and to come in this great life engaging adventure called The Ramayana.

There are many Ramayanas all over the world. And many commentaries. There are entire books on only specific personalities such as Hanuman. Please come! You have your life to love and journey into this Kingdom. You will go many places. And the Ramayana is more than just a "book", it is in the very soil, birds and trees of Mother India, in the forests and jungles, and in you as well. You will become intiment friends and devotee of the Personaliies involved. It cannot be explained in terms of what you imagine. Soon, as you come into this Wonder, you will start to develop an intuitive understanding. You will approach closer. There are numerous powers or vibhutis in It. Greatness, purity. Where there is the Ramayana, there is a sacred place or bhaga. The 12 forms of Aditi or The Sun shine where there is The Ramayana. Shiva is there. And the Abode of Many Things are there to thrill you. Please come! From it a gift awaits for you. You will see the Marks of God, strength, fame, wealth, knowledge, beauty, detachment. You will know what a good Son means to the World and to the Father. Epithets are not enough to explain. Step inside, you have already approached. The Book is just the Spark of this Splendor.

Om Namah Sivaya

29 November 2012, 07:19 PM
Namaste Webimpulse,

Menon'a version is the version I was first introduced too, and I found it a stunning piece of work. I too, would love to read a more literal/original translation someday, but this version called out to me. Many of the re-tellings are depressingly abridged and I wanted as complete a version of the story as I could find while still maintaining comprehension.

This version has many great reviews so I went for it. For those who grow up with the story, of course anything but the original will pale in comparison, but for those looking in from the outside, I think a well written, accessible version is a good introduction. I hope you enjoy it! I was certainly inspired by it.:)