Ramáyana I: Boyhood

By Vālmīki
Translated by Robert P. Goldman
Foreword by Amartya Sen (To be published in the second edition)

Ramáyana I: Boyhood

Rama, the crown prince of the city of Ayódhya, is a model son and warrior. He is sent by his father the king to rescue a sage from persecution by demons, but must first kill a fearsome ogress. That done, he drives out the demons, restores peace and attends a tournament in the neighboring city of Míthila; here he bends the bow that no other warrior can handle, winning the prize and the hand of Sita, the princess of Míthila. He and Sita and his brothers and their wives return in triumph to Ayódhya, and are fêted. The epic proper is prefaced by an elaborate account of the origins of the poem and of poetry itself and a description of its early mode of recitation. This preamble is of great importance to an understanding of traditional Indian thinking on the subject of emotion and literary process.

Who exemplifies proper conduct and is benevolent to all creatures?
Who is learned, capable, and a pleasure to behold? Who is self-controlled, having subdued his anger? Who is both judicious and free from envy? Who, when his fury is aroused in battle, is feared even
by the gods? This is what I want to hear, for my desire to know is very strong. Great seer, you must know of such a man.

c.422 pp.  |  ISBN-13: 978-0-8147-3163-5  |  ISBN-10: 0-8147-3163-5  |  Co-published by New York University Press and JJC Foundation


“The Creation of Poetry”
(Canto 2-4, pp. 43-61)
(26 pp, 1.35mb)

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Download the title page and table of contents and one chapter of the book (in English and Sanskrit on facing pages), bundled together as a .pdf file. You can also download the CSL Front Matter (6pp, 1.3mb). It describes how we transliterate the Sanskrit text in the Roman alphabet and includes a guide to pronunciation. It also explains our system of representing phonetic fusion (sandhi).

You can set Adobe Acrobat Reader to display the Sanskrit text and translation in facing page view. Simply go to “View” in the toolbar, select “Page Layout” and click on “Facing.”

About the Translator

Robert P. Goldman is Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. He is director and general editor of the massive translation project of the critical edition of Valmíki’s Ramāyaṇa and has also translated Ramáyana V: Súndara, with Sally P. Goldman, with whom he has co-authored Devavāṇīpraveśikā: An Introduction to the Sanskrit Language.

About the Foreword Writer

Amartya Sen is a Nobel laureate and currently the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University. He is the author of numerous publications, including Development as Freedom.