Ramayana Traditions in Eastern India - Assam, Bengal, Orissa

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About the Book:

Though the structure of the popular Ramayanas composed in Assamese, Bengali and Oriya is based on the version of Valmiki, the poets are eclectic in their choice of material and freely select episodes from the Puranas, Sanskrit devotional Ramayanas, Sakta works and the oral tradition, as long as these are not in direct conflict with Valmiki. Unlike vernacular Ramayanas in some other regions of India, here poets do not allow the narrative to be overwhelmed by theological or sectarian concerns. Many apocryphal episodes common to all three literatures do not seem to be found outside Eastern India.

About the Author:

Dr. W.L. Smith teaches in the Department of Indology, University of Stockholm, Stockholm.

CONTENTS

Preface

Contents

Abbreviations of Texts

  1. Ramayana Traditions
      Valmiki
      Other Ramayana Traditions
      Sectarian Ramayanas
      The Oral Tradition

  2. The Ramayana in Eastern India
      The Setting
      The Poems
      The Poets

  3. Structure
      Composition
      The Valmikian Framework
      Adapting Valmiki

  4. Sources and Influences
      Puranas
      Erotic Literature
      Martial Literature

  5. Factors in Variation
      Explanatory Detail
      Reduplication
      Resolving Contradictions

  6. Ethical Revision
      The Death of Valin
      Apologetic Techniques
      The Problem of Sita

  7. Bhakti
      The Devotional Reinterpretation
      The Homiletic Approach
      Lila
      Demon Devotees
      Other Apocryphal Episodes

  8. Saiva and Sakta Elements
      Saivism
      Minor Sakta Episodes
      The Thousand-Headed Ravana
      Mahiravana

  9. Other Apocryphal Episodes
      The Satrunjaya
      The Patali Kanda
      Aetiological Tales

  10. Parochialization
      The Rama-Bharata Samvada
      Characterization
      Hanuman
      The Gods

Bibliography

Index