The king decides to abdicate in favor of Rama; but just as the celebrations reach their climax, a court intrigue forces Rama and Sita into fourteen years banishment; they dutifully accept their fate, and go off to the jungle. The other brothers refuse to benefit from his misfortune, which leaves nobody to run the city; eventually one of them is persuaded to act as regent, but only consents to do so on condition that he lives outside the city and acts in Rama's name.
"Ayodhya" is Book Two of Valmiki's national Indian epic, The Ramayana. The young hero Rama sets out willingly from the capital with wife and brother for a fourteen-year banishment, which will entail great suffering and further difficult choices in the books ahead. Of the seven books of this great Sanskrit epic, "Ayodhya" is the most human, and it remains one of the best introductions to the social and political values of traditional India.
Co-published by New York University Press and the JJC Foundation
For more on this title and other titles in the Clay Sanskrit series, please visit http://www.claysanskritlibrary.org
Sheldon I. Pollock is the William B. Ransford Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Studies and Chairman of the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University. He is the author of The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India and editor of Cosmopolitanism and Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia.