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Ram the Demon Slayer


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Long ago, the story goes, the entire earth was overrun with demons. The ten-headed demon king Ravana had prayed to his grandfather, Lord Brahma, asking to be granted immortality. And Brahma had granted his wish . . . almost. No god, demon, plant, or animal could harm Ravana, which allowed him to cause considerable damage as he and his demon army ransacked the earth. But Ravana was so scornful of humans he hadn’t bothered to ask for protection from them. This omission would prove to be his downfall.

With cries for help rising from every corner of the earth, the heavenly gods Lords Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu decided that something had to be done to rid the world of the rampaging demons and to restore peace and order. They decided that Vishnu should be incarnated upon the earth in the form of the virtuous prince Ram. As a human prince, albeit one who had help from the gods, he would be able to defeat the demon king Ravana.

Adapted from the epic story the Ramayana and illustrated with rich colour paintings executed in the traditional Indian wash technique, Ram the Demon Slayer makes accessible to Western children and their parents one of India’s favourite heroes. It follows Ram from his conception and birth through his training with sages and first successful demon battles to his marriage to the beautiful princess Sita and his final triumphant victory over the demon king Ravana. Honest, trustworthy, compassionate, and brave--Ram is indeed the ideal hero.

VATSALA SPERLING, PH.D., fluent in five Indian languages and Sanskrit, learned these traditional stories at her mother’s feet and enjoys introducing them to children of the Western world. Before marrying and moving to the United States, she was the chief of Clinical Microbiological Services at the largest children’s hospital in India. She is the author of A Marriage Made in Heaven, How Ganesh Got His Elephant Head, and How Parvati Won the Heart of Shiva and lives in Vermont with her husband and son.

PIETER WELTEVREDE, who began his artistic studies with Harish Johari in 1977 and also studied with Shri Chandra Bal, is a social scientist by training. He lives in Holland with his wife and two children and travels to India annually. He is also the illustrator of Little Krishna, How Ganesh Got His Elephant Head, How Parvati Won the Heart of Shiva, and The Monkeys and the Mango Tree.

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