The Ramayana And The Mahabharata In Verse Form

by Romesh Dutt

A NOTE ON THE LATE ROMESH C. DUTT

ROMESH CHUNDER DUTT, to whom English readers are indebted for the condensed metrical version of the ancient Indian epics given in this volume, was one of the most distinguished sons of modern India. He came of a Hindu family standing high among the Kayasths, second of the great castes in Bengal, was born in 1848, and grew to manhood amid influences of deep spiritual disturbance.

In those days an Indian youth who had felt the call of the West encountered the sternest opposition from both his own family and the community, if hie avowed his ambition of making the voyage to Europe.

Rornesh Dutt, having passed through the Presidency College, Calcutta, took his fate into his own hands. Accompanied by two friends, both of whom after wards rose to eminence in Bengal, he secretly took ship, came to London, entered for the Indian Civil Service, and took third place in the open examination of 1869.

He was the first of his race to attain the rank of divisional commissioner, and long before his retirement in 1897, at the end of twenty-five years' service, had made a high reputation as an administrator. He sat for a time in the Bengal Legislative Council, and, in recognition of his official work, received the Companionship of the Indian Empire. He died on November 30, 1909, at Baroda, the capital of the important Native State which he had served with brilliant success as revenue minister and dewan.

The influences which determined his literary activity were primarily European. As a student in Calcutta he had made acquaintance with the English classics, and later, while at University College, had read the poets insatiably. Nevertheless his first successes were achieved in his mother tongue.

He wrote in Bengali poems and plays, historical and social novels, and aroused a storm of protest within the orthodox community of his Province by publishing a Bengali translation of the Rig Veda. In English, of which he had complete mastery, his first complete essay was a history of civilisation in Ancient India, which, though not a work of original research, fulfilled a useful purpose in its day.

When freedom from Government service gave him the opportunity he set himself to writing the Economic History of India and India in the Victorian Age, the two together forming, his chief contribution to the subject which he, more than any other Indian of his time, had made his own. In these books, as in others of kindred theme and purpose, there is much criticism of British administration, strongly felt if temperately expressed. Apart from this, its more controversial side, the work of Romesh Dutt is valuable mainly in that it has helped to reveal to his own people no less than to ours, the spiritual riches of ancient India.

S. K. RATCLIFFE

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The following is a list of the, various edition of "The Ramayana:

  • "The Ramayana," edited by S. Goressio (with Italian translation). 10 vols. 1843-58, 1859-60 (Calcutta), 1888 (Bombay).
  • English translations: by Kirtee Bass. 5 vols. Serampore, 1802.
  • "The Ramayuna of Valmeeki, in the original Sungscrit, with a Prose Translation and Explanatory Notes." W. Carey and J. Marshman. 1806-10.
  • An English translation for "Nirvachanothara, Ramayanum" (i.e. the "Uttara Ramayana "attributed to Vúlmíki, with Commentary). Madras, 1880.
  • Free English translation by R. T. H. Griffith. 5 vols. 1870-75.
  • Translation into English Prose. Edited by Manmatha Nath Dutt. 1889, 1892-94.
  • Condensed into English Verse by Romesh Dutt. 1899 (Temple Classics), 1900.

Works on:

  • Sir M. Williams, "Indian Epic Poetry, with full Analysis of the Ramayana and Mahabharata." 1863.
  • J. T. Wheeler, "History of India." 1867, &c.
  • J. C. Oman, "Struggles of the Dawn, the Stories of the Great Indian Epics, Ramayana," &c. 1893. "The Great Indian Epics," &c. 1894, 1899 (Bohn).

The following is a list of the various editions of " The Mahabharata":

  • Complete edition, Calcutta, 1834-39, 4 vols.; Bombay, 1863; re-edited, with commentary by Nitakantha Govinda, 1890.
  • Translations into English Prose, by Protap Chandra Roy, 1883; (Sanscrit text of Maharshi Vyas, with complete English and Hindi translations, 1902, &c.).
  • "Virtue's Triumph; or, The Mahâ-Bhârata." By Rai Bahadur, P. Anunda Charlu. 1894.
    Prose literal translation, by Manmatha Nath Dutt. 1895.
  • Condensed into English verse by Romesh Dutt (Temple Classics). 1898. The same, with Introduction by W. Max-Müller. 1899.
  • (Many English translations of portions of the whole epic have been published.)

Works on:

  • H. H. Wilson," Essays on the Religion of the Hindoos." 1862.
  • Sir M. Williams, "Indian Epic Poetry," &c. 1863.
  • Wheeler, "The Vedic Period and the Mahabbarata." 1867.
  • Buehler and Kirste, " Indian Studies, Contributions to the History of the Mahabharata." 1892.
  • J. C. Oman (see above).
  • V. Fausboll, "Indian Mythology, according to the Mahabharata in Outline" (Oriental Religions Series, Luzac, vol. i.). 1903.
  • "Raganama Ramkrishna Bhaguvata," an attempt to analyse the Mahabharata from the higher Brahminical standpoint. 1905.
  • Chintamani Vinayaka Vaidya, "The Mahabharata; a Criticism." 1905. "Epic India; or, India as described in the -'Mahabharata and Ramayana." 1907.

CONTENTS

THE RAMAYANA

  • I. SITA-SWAYAMVARA (THE BRIDAL OF SITA)
  • II. VANA-GAMANA-ADESA (THE BANISHMENT)
  • III DASA-RATHA-VIYOGA (THE DEATH OF THE KING)
  • IV. RAMA-BHARATA-SAMBADA (THE MEETING OF THE PRINCES)
  • V. PANCHAVATI (ON THE BANKS OF THE GODAVARI)
  • VI. SITA-HARANA (SITA LOST)
  • VII. KISHKINDHA (IN THE NILGIRI MOUNTAINS)
  • VIII. SITA-SANDESA (SITA DISCOVERED)
  • IX. RAVANA-SABHA (THE COUNCIL OF WAR)
  • X. YUDDHA (THE: WAR IN CEYLON)
  • XI. RAJYA-ABHISHEKA (RAMA'S RETURN AND CONSECRATION)
  • XII. ASWA-MEDHA (SACRIFICE OF THE HORSE)
  • CONCLUSION
  • TRANSLATOR'S EPILOGUE

THE MAHA-BHARATA

  • I. ASTRA DARSANA (THE TOURNAMENT)
  • II. SWAYAMVARA (THE BRIDE'S CHOICE)
  • III. RAJASUYA (THE IMrFRIAL SACRIFICE)
  • IV. DYUTA (THE FATAL DICE)
  • V. PATIVRATA-MAHATMYA (WOMAN'S LOVE)
  • V1. GO-HARANA (CATTLE-LIFTNG)
  • VII. UDYOGA (THE COUNCIL OF WAR)
  • VIII. BHISHMA-BADHA (FALL OF BHISHMA)
  • IX. DRONA-BADHA (FALL OF DRONA)
  • X. KARNA-BADIIA (FALL OF KARNA)
  • XI. SRADDHA (FUNERAL RITES)
  • XII. ASWA-MEDHA (SACRIFICE OF THE HORSE)
  • CONCLUSION
  • TRANSLATOR'S EPILOGUE
  • GLOSSARY

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From the ramayana and the Mahabharata condensed into English verse by Romesh c. Dutt (1899) to the right hon. Professor f. Max Muller who has devoted his lifetime to the elucidation of the learning, literature, and religion of ancient India and has recognized and vindicated what is true and great and ennobling in modern India this translation of the Ramayana is dedicated as a sincere token of the esteem and regard of my countrymen