Ramáyana II: Ayódhya

By Vālmīki
Translated by Sheldon I. Pollock

Ramáyana II: Ayódhya

In the great city of Ayódhya, the king decides to abdicate in favor of his beloved son Rama; but just as the celebrations reach their climax, a court intrigue involving one of the king’s junior wives and a maidservant results in Rama being forced into a fourteen-year banishment. He dutifully accepts his fate, and goes off to the jungle, accompanied by his wife, Sita, and his loyal brother Lákshmana. With the old king dead of a broken heart, another brother, Bhárata, refuses to profit by his own mother’s scheming, which leaves nobody to run the city. Eventually persuaded to act as regent, Bhárata consents to do so only on the condition that he live in a village outside the capital and act in Rama’s name, having installed that rightful ruler’s sandals symbolically on the the throne.

Sita was deeply distraught, and out of love and indignation she began to revile broad-chested Rághava. ‘What could my father Váideha, the lord of Míthila, have had in mind when he took you for a son-in-law, Rama, a woman with the body of a man? … Like a procurer, Rama, you are willing of your own accord to hand me over to others-your wife, who came to you a virgin and who has been a good woman all the long while she has lived with you. … As I follow behind you I shall no more tire on the path than on our pleasure beds. … To be with you is heaven, to be without you hell. Knowing how deep my love is, Rama, you must take me when you go.’

652 pp.  |  ISBN-13: 978-0-8147-6716-0  |  ISBN-10: 0-8147-6716-8  |  Co-published by New York University Press and JJC Foundation


“The Boons of Kaikéyi”
(Canto 7-9, pp. 69-87)
(26 pp, 1.37mb)

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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).

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About the Translator

Sheldon I. Pollock is William B. Ransford Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Columbia University. He has also translated Ramáyana III: The Forest of the Ramáyana, Bouquet of Rasas” and “River of Rasas and Rama’s Last Act.
He is the author of The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India and editor of Cosmopolitanism and Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia.