Started in 2014, the Rāmāyaṇa Colloquium is an open reading group formed to give students, staff, and faculty at UT additional experience with and exposure to Sanskrit literature. The informal group meets regularly (once per week) to read one of the two classical epics of India, the Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki. The main purpose of the group is simply to read together a great and beautiful text in the original. We use a bilingual edition so that anyone, including those with little or no Sanskrit, can participate, if desired, but we go through the original text. All Sanskrit students, as well as the Sanskrit-curious, are invited to join us, because the second goal for the group will be to develop and strengthen the community of scholars and students interested in Sanskrit, Indian literature, and classical India. We think that means everybody and hope you find time to join us regularly or from time to time.
As A.K. Ramanujan famously wrote, “In India and Southeast Asia, no one ever reads the Ramayana or the Mahabharata for the first time. The stories are there, ‘always already.'” (“Three Hundred Ramayanas,” in Many Ramayanas, ed. Paula Richman, California, 1991, p.46). Therefore, everyone should feel free to come at any time, no preparation required, and pick up the reading wherever we happen to be. We use the Clay Sanskrit Library edition, in this case the Ayodhyā Book translated by Sheldon Pollock.