The Song of Rama

Pages of Inspiration–Book Review

Book: The Song of Rama
Author: Devi Vanamali
Publisher: Blue Dove Press, First Edition 2001

The Lord takes an avatara  out of mere compassion towards His creation. With Maya as His veil, the Lord mingles with His devotees and performs many lilas. These bring joy to devotees of all ages, for eternity.

One such avatara of the Lord that melts our heart, saddens us and yet makes us understand His immense love for all of us is that of Lord Sri Rama. The Ramayana (The Path of Rama), written originally in Sanskrit thousands of years ago by Sage Valmiki, is the first poem epic of its kind. Its bittersweet story holds a special place in the hearts of millions of Hindus all over the world.

Though there have been many translations of the epic in various languages, the version by Devi Vanamali called “The Song of Rama” is a wonderful read indeed!

HH Sri Swami Krishnanandji Maharaj of Divine Life Society, Rishikesh and HH Sri Swami Satchidanandji Maharaj of Anandashram, Kanhangad have provided the introduction and preface to this book.

By merely reading about the lilas of the Lord in great works such as Ramayana and Srimad Bhagavatam, one is bestowed with bhakti (devotion), jnana (knowlegde) and vairagya (dispassion). To highlight this fact, each chapter of every kanda starts with a prayer along with its meaning. Every chapter concludes with a conversation between Lord Rama and Sage Vasishta on the highest Vedantic truths.

Devi Vanamali does not shy away from controversial episodes of Ramayana such as killing of Vali, abandoning Sita Devi in the forest, etc. Though these events are of little significance to a true devotee of the Lord, the writer goes to great lengths in clearing the air and highlighting the supreme qualities of Lord Rama and His adherence to dharma even during grave personal crisis.

If poetry can be turned into prose without diluting the literary greatness or divinity of this masterpiece, “The Song of Rama” stands testimony to that fact. Written in simple English, it is a touching retelling of the Lord’s story, a pleasant page turner and a tear-jerker all rolled into one. Devotees, lovers of literature, connoisseurs of English Language, and all people, young and old alike, are certain to enjoy this book.

It is also available in India as “Sri Rama Lila” published by Wordspeak Inc.

Aravind Thathachari, Dallas, TX

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