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The Rama Jataka in Laos (In 2 Volumes)

Sachchidanand Sahai (Author)
Synopsis The two volumes offer for the first time a critical and comprehensive study and an annotated translation of the Laotian Palm-leaf manuscript popularly known as the Phra Lak Phra Lam. Recognised as the Rama Jataka in the Buddhist milieu of Laos, this text ranks next to the Vessantara Jataka as a sacred text. It is an important Laotian addition to the existing stock of Buddhist Jataka literatue. The Volume I of this study analyses the Jataka format of the text in relation to the Dasaratha Jataka, the Mekong axis of the Rama-story, the role of the elder sister of Rama in Tai sibling rivalry and the importance of the bride-price in the Laotian society. The analysis is supported by an annotated translation of the first part of the Phra Lak Phra Lam which centers around the theme of the abduction of elder sister of Rama by Ravana. The Volume II, relating to the abduction of Sita by Ravana, outlines the Laotian Ramakatha in relation to Indian and extra-Indian versions of the story, analyses the institutioins of marriage and kingship, and the concept of incest in Laos. It examines the current theories regarding the location of Lanka. The arguments are well supported by the second part of the Phra Lak Phra Lam in translation. The diffusion of Buddhism in Indochina through the Rama legend, the transformation of Indian epic by a Laotian writer, the localization of the Rama legend in the Mekong valley, the indigenous perception of Indochina and many other little known aspects of Indochinese civilization have been carefully analysed in this publication. The present study constitutes an indispensable source book for the study of Buddhism and cultural, anthropological understanding of society, religion and literature in India and Indochina.
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About the author

Sachchidanand Sahai

Professor Sachchidanand Sahai (born 1941) served as Pro-Vice Chancellor, Magadh University, Bodh-Gaya in 2001. Currently he is Member, Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi. Professor Sahai obtained his M.A. degree in Ancient Indian History, culture and Archaeology from Banaras Hindu University, with the award of A.S. Altekar Gold Medal in 1962. His researches on ancient Cambodia under the guidance of eminent French savant George Coedes in the University of Paris (Sorbonne) during 1965-69 lead to a doctoral degree and the publication of a pioneering work Les institutions politiques et I’ organization administrative du Cambodge ancien, EFEO, Paris, 1971. Professor Sahai was offered a Fulbright post-doctoral fellowship at Cornell Fellowships at Australian National University and Maison de Science de I’Homme, Paris. Under the auspices of Indian Council for Cultural Relations Professor Sahai worked as Visiting Professor of Asian Civilization at Sisavangvong University, Vientiane, Laos. He also worked as Research Professor at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi. Professor Sahai is the author of a number of books and research papers on the cultural history of South East Asia. He is the founder of the South East Asian Review and the International Conference on Thai Studies.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Rama Jataka in Laos (In 2 Volumes)
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.1996
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8170188393
length xii+348p., Tables; Maps; Abbreviations; Bibliography; Index; 25cm.