Bought Griffith’s translation of Rámáyańa

Finally I got my copy of Ralph T.H. Griffith’s translation of Rámáyańa in verse. For the past two weeks, whenever I could find some free time, I have been reading it on my android phone. The epubs are available on Project Gutenberg and the Aldiko reader renders the e-book quite nicely. I finished Bálakáńda and was quite impressed with the translation. The parts I liked in particular were the ones where Ráma fights Tádaka and the one where Viśhwamitra’s story is narrated by Śhatananda. Since I have not read the original (which requires me to learn sanskrit first!) I cannot say how true the translation has been to the original. There are some portions which have been translated quite well. I shall blog about the interesting verses some other time.

For now, I shall leave  you with the last few verses of Bálakáńda.

Rama and Lakshman honoured still
Their godlike sire with duteous will.
Two constant guides for Rama stood,
His father’s wish, the people’s good.
Attentive to the general weal
He thought and wrought to please and heal.
His mothers too he strove to please
With love and sonly courtesies.
At every time, in every spot,
His holy guides he ne’er forgot.
So for his virtues kind and true
Dearer and dearer Rama grew
To Dasharatha, Brahmans, all
In town and country, great and small.

And Rama by his darling’s side
Saw many a blissful season glide,
Lodged in her soul, each thought on her,
Lover, and friend, and worshipper.
He loved her for his father’s voice
Had given her and approved the choice:
He loved her for each charm she wore

And her sweet virtues more and more.
So he her lord and second life
Dwelt in the bosom of his wife,
In double form, that, e’en apart,
Each heart could commune free with heart.

Still grew that child of Janak’s race,
More goddess-fair in form and face,
The loveliest wife that e’er was seen,
In mortal mould sweet Beauty’s Queen.

Then shone the son Kaushalya bore,
With this bright dame allied,
Like Vishnu whom the Gods adore,
With Lakshmi by his side.

The highlighted portions in the verses above correspond to the verse 1.77.29 (read it here)

प्रिया तु सीता रामस्य दारा: पितृकृता इति। 
गुणाद्रूपगुणाच्चापि प्रीतिर्भूयोऽभ्यवर्धत ।।

I remember this verse from an upanyaasa on Ramayana by Shatavadhani Dr R Ganesh.

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About gautshen

A jack of many trades of which , Linux Kernel Programming puts food on the table. Also pursuing his PhD in the area Theoretical Computer Science at the Chennai Mathematical Institute. Is an avid reader interested in the Hindu traditions and philosophy. Loves Bicycling and Good Music. Name is Ranjal Gautham Shenoy.
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3 Responses to Bought Griffith’s translation of Rámáyańa

  1. S says:

    Oh great; I imagine reading the Ramayana in any form must be a rewarding experience.

    Just for comparison, you could also try R. C. Dutt’s (abridged) version in English verse (here or here or here).

    Also, though I have not done it myself, I think it is a good idea to just read the Sanskrit version along as you go, without bothering about not understanding some words, or not seeing the meaning of a verse, etc. Even if you understand very little currently, this is the best way of improving Sanskrit, I think. Anyway I have yet implemented this advice myself. 🙂

    • gautshen says:

      It is indeed a rewarding experience. So far, my exposure to Ramayana has been through the stories narrated by my grandmother, yakshagaanas, harikathas and of course, Ramanand Sagar’s TV Serial “Ramayan”. I haven’t read any unabridged version cover-to-cover as of now. So, I thought, while I am learning sanskritam, let me read the Ramayana in the verse form in a language that I can comprehend well. Hence Griffith’s translation.

      I do intend to revisit the sanskrit version once I am done with this one. That way it will be easy to follow (and guess) what’s going on even if I am not completely aware of some of the words used.

      Shatavadhani Dr R Ganesh seems to of the opinion that one can start reading Valmiki’s sanskrit Ramayana even with a rudimentary knowledge of Sanskritam. One of my acquaintances did exactly this as he was teaching himself sanskritam. He used to read one sarga per day. I think it took him two years to go through the whole Ramayana. IIRC, he was using the Ramayana edited and translated by Vidwan Ranganatha Sharma.

      • S says:

        Oh 2 years is great! Assuming the usual number of 24,000 verses in the Ramayana is right, that’s an average of about 33 verses a day, which seems quite reasonable, while still non-trivial.
        Come to think of it, a good experiment would be to pick a random section of the Ramayana, read 10 (or 50 or 100) verses of it however we plan to read it eventually (with translation, with commentary, with dictionary, whatever), and measure the time taken. That would give us an estimate of how much time it takes on average per verse, and then along with a “budget” of say half an hour a day or 5 minutes a day or whatever, we could have a goal of reading the whole thing in N years. 🙂

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