Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Paris, France (AFP) - After ten years of work, publisher Diane Selliers has launched an impressive work, the “Ramayana”, a masterpiece of Indian literature, illustrated with 660 miniatures selected from museums and collectors around the world. It comes as seven volumes in a red box, carefully wrapped in a protective bag “like sacred objects,” said Selliers.  “This is not a merely a book but a work of art, a testament to civilization,” said the editor, born in Belgium in 1955 but living in France for many years.  An eternal epic, the “Ramayana” recounts the exemplary life of Prince Rama and his successful struggle against the demon king Ravana and his army of monkeys. Transmitted by oral tradition, it has been written down in several versions over the centuries.  

For this edition, Diane de Selliers chose the most famous version of Valmiki; translation done by Madeleine Biardeau.  “We worked like crazy to find the Indian miniatures scattered throughout the world,” said the editor.  She travelled extensively in India, Britain and the United States to collect the images of Ramayana paintings that date from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century.  Selected thumbnails come from 72 museums and collectors. Diane de Selliers had to convince Indian museums of its approach, the “reassurance” on his way to work and his spirit.  Priced at 850 Euros (US$1,170) for the launch, the book, which weighs 15 pounds, is a limited edition of 3,000 numbered copies. Selliers plans to publish an English edition for the Indian market next year.

Since 1991, Diane de Editions Selliers create high-quality books, combining the great texts and illustrations by artists at the rate of one per year as “Fables” of La Fontaine, “The Divine Comedy” of Dante and most recently the novel “The Tale of Genji” by Murasaki Shibiku.  But “The Ramayana” is quite different.  “This is a World Heritage treasure,” notes the editor, who points out that these miniatures are fragile and often threatened by bad storage conditions. Some miniatures were never photographed, especially among private collectors.  “The Ramayana”, ki jay!!!

Valmiki wrote the Ramayana on the instruction of Narada.  The Ramayana is famous as the original epic of India. During the time of the Ramayana, Sanskrit was prevalent as the spoken language in Aryan society. ... Among the Ramayanas written in Indian languages, the Tamil Ramayana of Kambala composed in the 9th century of the Christian era, the Bengali Ramayana of Krittivas composed in the 15th century and the Hindi Ramayana of Tulasi dasa composed in the 17th century are the most famous. In the western countries, the Ramayana was apparently first translated into the Italian language.  The Valmiki Ramayana has been written in seven kandas (sections), namely: Adi-kanda, Ayodhya-kanda, Aranya-kanda, Kishkindha-kanda, Sundara-kanda, Lanka-kanda and Uttara-kanda. The Ramayana is a voluminous scripture.

Śrīla Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Mahārāja :
“Dasavatara - The Ten Manifestations of God”
Chapter 7: “Sri Ramacandra-avatara”
Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math
http://www.gokul.org.uk  -  http://www.sreecgmath.org

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