Preface

I was invited to participate in the Rāmāyaṇa Translation Project in the autumn of 1977. The Ayodhyākāṇḍa was substantially completed two years later in the summer of 1979, before I left for India to begin work on the third volume of Vālmīki’s poem, the Araṇyakāṇḍa. During both the actual work on the text and what has seemed an interminable process of preparing the volume for publication, I have benefited from the kindness and advice of many friends and institutions.

Robert Goldman of the University of California, Berkeley, general editor of the Translation Project, read through the entire manuscript carefully and knowledgeably and offered numerous suggestions for improving the work. Perhaps even more than this, his enthusiasm for the enterprise has been infectious, and his good humor and calmness under pressure have been a support from the beginning. His friendship is one of the most valued outgrowths of my association with this project.

The University of Iowa has been extraordinarily generous to me during my work on the Rāmāyaṇa. Through the Faculty Scholars Program in particular it has provided me with extended periods of time for research and reflection, without which my labors would have been appreciably retarded.

In India I received substantial help from V. W. Paranjpe, Professor Emeritus of Deccan College, Poona, who made available to me the rich resources of the Poona Dictionary Project. Pt. Śrīnivāsa Śāstri answered my questions about Sanskrit with vast knowledge and great good will. Friends in America who kindly took time to comment on parts of the book include Paul Greenough and Ronald Inden. A. L. Basham read through the whole work, and with his wide learning and experience in India clarified a number of obscurities for me. That errors and excesses remain means only that I should have adopted more of my colleagues’ suggestions than I have done.

Maureen Patterson, South Asia Librarian at the University of Chicago, helped to solve many frustrating bibliographical puzzles, and graciously made available to me several rare editions of Sanskrit texts. Margaret Case of Princeton University Press prepared the press copy with editorial skill and Indological acumen. Sally Sutherland of the Translation Project assisted in numerous ways in securing formal consistency between this and the previous volume of the series. Malinda Cox, with her impeccable literary taste and her generous hospitality, both improved the translation and made my frequent visits to Berkeley a great pleasure.

In Iowa City I have particularly to thank Chris Preuss of Weeg Computing Center. Without her technical expertise and willingness to help, the difficulties of computer translation between Iowa and Berkeley— at times more intractable than translating from Sanskrit into English — might never have been solved. I received a great deal of secretarial help from research assistants. Jey Flick entered well over six hundred pages of the commentary and has continued to oversee the progress of the volume through its final stages; her assistance has been more than one has the right to expect from one’s student, and I am truly grateful to her. Martha Selby did a good deal of last-minute checking and assisted in the preparation of the glossary and index.

March 1984

Sheldon Pollock