Few works in world literature have inspired so vast an audience, in nations with radically different languages and cultures, as the Ramayana and Mahabharata, two Sanskrit verse epics written some 2,000 years ago.
In Ramayana (written by a poet known to us as Valmiki), William Buck has retold the story of Prince Rama-with all its nobility of spirit, courtly intrigue, heroic renunciation, fierce battles, and triumph of good over evil-in a length and manner that will make the great Indian epics accessible to the contemporary reader.
The same is true for the Mahabharata-in its original Sanskrit, probably the longest Indian epic ever composed. It is the story of a dynastic struggle, between the Kurus and Pandavas, for land. In his introduction, Sanskritist B. A. van Nooten notes, "Apart from William Buck's rendition [no other English version has] been able to capture the blend of religion and martial spirit that pervades the original epic."
Presented accessibly for the general reader without compromising the spirit and lyricism of the originals, William Buck's Ramayana and Mahabharata capture the essence of the Indian cultural heritage.
The Mahabharata is an Indian epic, in its original Sanskrit probably the largest ever composed. It is the story of a dynastic struggle that provides a social, moral, and cosmological background to the climatic battle. The present English rendition is a retelling based on a translation of the Sanskrit original published by Pratap Chandra Roy, Published in the beginning of this century. William buck has condensed the story. The old translation from which he worked covers 5800 pages of print, while his own book is less than a tenth of that length. But by and large, Buck's rendition reflects the sequence of events in the Sanskrit epic, and he uses the traditional techniques for instance, of stories within stories, flashbacks, moral lessons laid in the mouths of principal characters.There are other English versions of the Mahabharata, some shorter, some longer. But apart from William Buck's rendition, none have been able to capture the blend of religion andmartial spirit that pervades the original epic. It succeeds eminently in illustrating how seemingly grand and magnificent human endeavors turn out to be astoundingly insignificant in the perspective of eternity.
"A pleasure to read . . . Anyone interested in Indian literature should read it." - Times Literary Supplement: