The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki: An Epic of Ancient India, Volume VII
Introduction, Translation, and Annotation by Robert P. Goldman & Sally J. Sutherland Goldman
The seventh and final book of the monumental Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki, the Uttarakāṇḍa, brings the epic saga to a close with an account of the dramatic events of King Rāma's millennia-long reign. It opens with a colorful history of the demonic race of the rākṣasas and the violent career of Rāma’s villainous foe Rāvaṇa, and later recounts Rāma’s grateful discharge of his allies in the great war at Lankā as well as his romantic reunion with his wife Sītā. But dark clouds gather as Rāma, confronted by scandal over Sītā’s time in captivity under the lustful Rāvaṇa, makes the agonizing decision to banish his beloved wife, now pregnant. As Rāma continues as king, marvelous tales and events unfurl, illustrating the benefits of righteous rule and the perils that await monarchs who fail to address the needs of their subjects.
The Uttarakāṇḍa has long served as a point of social and religious controversy largely for its accounts of the banishment of Sītā, as well as of Rāma’s killing of a low-caste ascetic. The translators’ introduction provides a full discussion of these issues and the complex reception history of the Uttarakāṇḍa. This translation of the critical edition also includes exhaustive notes and a comprehensive bibliography.
Robert P. Goldman is the William and Catherine Magistretti Distinguished Professor of Sanskrit and Indian studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and general editor of the Rāmāyaṇa Translation Project. Sally J. Sutherland Goldman is senior lecturer in Sanskrit at the University of California, Berkeley, and associate editor of the Rāmāyaṇa Translation Project.