This is the first of seven volumes of a translation of the Valmiki Ramayana, the great Sanskrit epic of the life of Rama, ideal man and incarnation of the great god Visnu. This renowned work of ancient India has profoundly affected the literature, art, religions, and cultures of countless millions of people in South and Southeast Asiaan influence that is perhaps unparalleled in the history of world literature. Balakanda, the opening portion of this first translation to be based on the critical edition (Oriental Institute, Baroda), is presented here in a compact volume without the section of notes that appears in the hardcover book. Goldman has chosen a translation style that is simple, direct, and very close to the text, without being prosaic. He has avoided the twin pitfalls of preciousness and pedantry. The Ramayana, as he reminds us, is a poem in a sense we have almost lost touch with: intended to be heard, easily understood, chanted in a loose and repetitive meter that permits the lapidary phrase. --Edwin Gerow, Journal of Asian StudiesGoldman, Robert P. is the author of 'Ramayana of Valmiki:epic Anc.india V.1' with ISBN 9780691065618 and ISBN 0691065616.