English Prose translation of the complete Valmiki Ramayana by Shri Manmatha Nath Dutt in 7 volumes.
The Ramayana is certainly one of the world's oldest legends. Modern scholars claim that it was first composed around 300 BC. The devout Hindu believes that Rama lived many hundred millennia ago, in the treta yuga, and that was also when Valmiki first told his immortal story. The epic is called the Adi Kavya, the world's first poem. The God Brahma himself is meant to have inspired Valmiki to create his classic, in twenty-four thousand slokas. The true purpose of the Ramayana is to awaken its reader spiritually, and to send him forth on the great journey that leads to Moksha, to God.
The poem is traditionally divided into several major kandas or books, that deal chronologically with the major events in the life of Rama -
1. Bala kanda
2. Ayodhya Kanda
3. Aranya Kanda
4. Kishkinda Kanda
5. Sundara Kanda
6. Yuddha Kanda and
7. Uttara Kanda.
The Bala Kanda describes the birth of Rama, his childhood and marriage to Sita. The Ayodhya Kanda describes the preparations for Rama's coronation and his exile into the forest. The third part, Aranya Kanda, describes the forest life of Rama and the kidnapping of Sita by Ravana. The fourth book, Kishkinda Kanda, describes the meeting of Hanuman with Rama, the destruction of the vanara king Vali and the coronation of his younger brother Sugriva to the throne of the kingdom of Kishkindha. The fifth book is Sundara Kanda, which narrates the heroism of Hanuman, his flight to Lanka and meeting with Sita. The sixth book, Yuddha Kanda, describes the battle between Rama's and Ravana's armies. The last book, Uttara Kanda, describes the birth of Lava and Kusha to Sita, their coronation to the throne of Ayodhya, and Rama's final departure from the world.