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The Sublime Myth of Rama as told by Valmiki and Tulasidasa (Set of 4 Volumes)

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Item Code: UBF847
Publisher: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Author: K.D. Prithipaul
Language: English
Edition: 2022
ISBN: 9788121513333
Pages: 1996
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 2.74 kg
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Book Description
About The Book
The Mahabharata and the Ramayana, both illustrated by war as their leitmotiv, constitute the defining characteristic of the Indian as the unique civilization not based on Force. As a love story the Ramayana owes its popularity as a graceful intimation of the absence of hatred in the elimination of Evil, with its cosmic density represented by Ravana. Both epics epitomize the visions of the ancient Sages who saw in Myth, not in the recording of events and deeds, the right representation of the sublime merits and virtues worthy of emulation in the searching for self- fulfillment as the finality of human existence. The recitation or the chanting of the Ramayana or Ramacaritamanasa verses becomes a mimesis of the qualities of the human avatar of Visnu: it transubstantiates the present transmigratory condition of the devotee into his singular history infused with the essence of the Deity. This is what explains Tulasidasa's providential originality of affirming that the recitation of the two syllables Ma and Ra, first used by Valmiki, are more potent than all the traditional means and methods prescribed as means for the attainment of self- perfection. He emphasizes that the two syllables are more effective than Rama Himself for they can hearten the passion of countless devotees, in numbers unlimited and infinitely greater than of those who happened to have been blessed with closeness to the Son of Dasaratha during the time which he spent on Earth. The soulelevating contemplating or singing of the Rama story transmutes the sum of the virtues extolled in the mythic Time into the history of the accomplished Devotee. In the individual's history persuaded by the Myth, devotion implies gratitude to the Sages who, with ineffable sagacity, bequeathed, as Dharma, the way of a Faith which, in events occurring in mythic time, inspire Truth, Goodness, Beauty in the devotee's mental time and space. In the monistic cosmology of the One, beside which, nothing exists, it is the subjective, personal grasp of Myth which brings out the immanent in-dweller (antaryami) into the Rama Bhakta's history. As such, self-fulfilled, endowed with Brahma-vidya, he sits, he walks, he speaks, in the banality of his social space. For the RamaBhakta all life is a festive Rama-Lilā.

About the Author
K. D. Prithipaul, Emeritus Professor of the University of Alberta, resides in Edmonton, Canada. He obtained his B.A. and M.A degrees from the Banaras Hindu University, in Varanasi. He continued his research at the University of Paris (Sorbonne) where he obtained his Doctorate. Among his publications are: Action and Contemplation in Advaita Vedanta; Moha: A Study of Spiritual Error in Brahmanism; Translation and Comparative Commentary of the Bhagavad Gità (in two volumes), The Labyrinth of Solitude: A Comparative Exposition of Dharma as Ontology according to the Mahabharata (in two volumes). Additionally, the following translations: The Philosophy of Nagarjuna (from V. Fatone's Spanish Original), The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (from F. Tola & C. Dragonetti's Spanish Original): Colonialism - A Global History (From) Marc Ferro's French Original). He is at present working on his last book: The Religious Question in India.

One late evening, in the tropical Mauritian summer of 1952, during a brisk discussion on some aspect of the Vedanta according to Sankaracharya, I asked Swami Nihśreyasananda, who belonged to the Ramakrishna Mission Order, on what did he base the intellectual strength of his wisdom, his knowledge and the forensic skill of his style of discussing and laboring the explanation of some knotty point. He was a marvelous dialectician. He spontaneously replied: "My strength is based on the Mahabharata and the Ramayana." After my retirement from moiling in the salt mine of the Arts Faculty of the University of Alberta, in Canada, I resolved to pay my debt of gratitude to the learned Swami by an essay on each of the two epics. Half of my homage and of my gratitude to him, in regard to the Mahabharata, appeared in 2012 as The Labyrinth of Solitude, with the subtitle: A Comparative Study of the Dharma as Ontology according to the Mahabharata. The present study on the Legend of Rama is the second half of the fulfillment of my debt which I swore to pay off when I retired in 1965.

During the summer of 1986, when I learned that the Learned Swami and respected teacher was visiting the Shri Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre in Los Angeles, I flew to meet him. It was the last time I did actually meet him before he left the world of Māyā to the enlightenment which he used to extol with unlimited vigour in his particular art of stressing a particular aspect of his knowing. Very early in the morning of the second day of my visit, Swami Nihśreyasananda was sitting in the library of the Centre surrounded by half a dozen of his disciples.

Few, very few indeed, of the thousands and thousands of academic articles, or cognate research materials, published in India, and in the West, on the contents of the Epics, have been esteemed as enhancements of the understanding of their contents and their messages. Still less have they contributed to a collective regeneration of the Brahmanist culture, after centuries of alien domination. Against the background of this intellectual sterility the words spoken by Swami Vivekananda, thanks to the services and the continued dedication of the Ramakrishna Mission, remain relevant, in their published version. His legacy continues to appeal to the mind and to the heart of the lovers of the Dharma. It is significant that the beauty and eminence of the three Dharmas - the Brahmanist, the Buddhist and the Jaina have been rightly acclaimed. In particular the ancient Acāryas, with their will to universal beneficence, have proclaimed and transmitted the ways to the mystic vision (darśana) of Gnostic self-perfection as the finality of human existence. It redounds to the spiritual magnanimity of the mystic poets of India that they gave to the world the evidence of a trans-cultural mystic self-fulfillment as the certitude concomitant with earthly life. The possibility of the ultimate break-through into perfection, by means of self-effort, and of the will to Be, beyond all categories of thought and contemplation, pertains to the 'being alive' of the individual, be he a sinner or a saint. None of the indigenous Indian Dharmas postulates the realization of self- perfectibility in some extra-terrestrial space glorified as Heaven. The affirmation of the finality of Heaven and of Hell as the loci of transcendental experience, august monotheistic divinity, negates the primacy of the world as realms presided over by an in its sustenance of the evolution of individual existence from birth to the ultimate experience of mystical self-realization, attainable in the body, on earth, in Time, as a singular, private, individual experience. The dualistic dogma of the disenchanted world-here and a perfect God-there, upheld by the believers in the monotheistic, revealed religions, has been an undying fiction which has generated countless calamities. These violent consequences have in their turn enshrined, in the consciousness of the greater part of educated mankind, that religion is the organic cause of wars and of all the forms of violent intolerance.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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