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The Ramayana (Devanāgarī: , ) is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is attributed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon ( ). The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India, the other being Mahabharata. It depicts the duties of relationships, portraying ideal characters like the ideal servant, the ideal brother, the ideal wife and the ideal king.

The name Ramayana is a tatpurusha compound of and "going, advancing", translating to "Rama's Journey". The Ramayana consists of 24,000 verses in seven books ( ) and 500 cantos ( ), and tells the story of Rama (an incarnation of the Hindu preserver-god Vishnu), whose wife Sita is abducted by the demon (Rakshasa) king of Lanka, Ravana. Thematically, the epic explores the tenets of human existence and the concept of dharma.

Verses in Ramayana are written in a 32-syllable meter called . The epic was an important influence on later Sanskrit poetry and Indian life and culture, primarily through its establishment of the shloka meter. Like its epic cousin the Mahābhārata, however, the Ramayana is not just an ordinary story: it contains the teachings of ancient Hindu sages and presents them through allegory in narrative and the interspersion of the philosophical and the devotional. The characters of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Bharata, Hanuman and Ravana (the villain of the piece) are all fundamental to the cultural consciousness of Indiamarker.

There are other versions of Ramayana, notably Buddhist (Dasaratha Jataka No. 461) and Jain in India, and also Thai, Laos and Malayasian versions of the Ramamyana legend.

Textuality

Traditionally, Ramayana is ascribed to Valmiki, regarded as India's first poet. The Indian tradition is unanimous in its agreement that the poem is the work of a single poet, the sage Valmiki, a contemporary of Rama and a peripheral actor in the epic drama. The story's original version in Sanskrit is known as Valmiki Ramayana, written around 4th century B.C. According to Hindu tradition, the Ramayana takes place during a period of time known as Treta Yuga.

In its extant form, Valmiki's Ramayana is an epic poem of some 50,000 lines retelling in Sanskrit verses. The text survives in several thousand partial and complete manuscripts, the oldest of which appears to date from the 11th century A.D. The text has several regional renderings, recensions and subrecensions. Textual scholar Robert P. Goldman differentiates two major regional recensions: the northern (N) and the southern (S). Famous recensions include the Ramayanam of Kamban in Tamil (ca. 11th-12th century), Shri Rama Panchali or Krittivasi Ramayan by Krittibas Ojha in Bengali (ca. 15th Century) and Ramacharitamanas by Tulasidas in Awadhi which is a dialect of Hindi (c. 16th century). Scholar Romesh Chunder Dutt writes that "the Ramayana, like the Mahabharata, is a growth of centuries, but the main story is more distinctly the creation of one mind."

There has been speculation as to whether the first and the last chapters of Valmiki's Ramayana were written by the original author. Raghunathan writes that many experts believe they are integral parts of the book in spite of some style differences and narrative contradictions between these two chapters and the rest of the book.

Period

According to literary scholarship, the main body of the Ramayana first appeared as an oral composition somewhere between 750 and 500 BCE. Cultural evidence (the presence of sati in the Mahabharata but not in the main body of the Ramayana) suggests that the Ramayana predates the Mahabharata. By tradition, the epic belongs to the Treta Yuga, one of the four eons (yuga) of Hindu chronology; thus, it is held to date back 880,000 years. Rama is said to have been born in the Treta Yuga to King Daśaratha in Ikshuaku vansh (clan).

The core events of the epic may be of even greater age, as the names of the characters (Rama, Sita, Dasaratha, Janaka, Vasishta, Vishwamitra) are all known in Vedic literature such as the Brahmanas which are older than the Valmiki Ramayana. However, nowhere in the surviving Vedic poetry is a story similar to the Ramayana of Valmiki. According to the modern academic view, Brahma, one of the main characters of Ramayana, and Vishnu, who according to Bala Kanda was incarnated as Rama, are not Vedic deities, and come first into prominence with the epics themselves and further during the 'Puranic' period of the later 1st millennium CE. There is also a version of Ramayana, known as Ramopakhyana, found in the epic Mahabharata. This version, depicted as a narration to Yudhishtra, does not accord divine characteristics to Rama.

There is general consensus that books two to six form the oldest portion of the epic while the first book Bala Kanda and the last the Uttara Kanda are later additions. The author or authors of Bala Kanda and Ayodhya Kanda appear to be familiar with the eastern Gangetic basin region of northern India and the Kosala and Magadha region during the period of the sixteen janapadas as the geographical and geopolitical data is in keeping with what is known about the region. However, when the story moves to the Aranya Kanda and beyond, it seems to turn abruptly into fantasy with its demon-slaying hero and fantastic creatures. The geography of central and South India is increasingly vaguely described. The knowledge of the location of the island of Sri Lankamarker also lacks detail. Basing his assumption on these features, the historian H.D. Sankalia has proposed a date of the 4th century BC for the composition of the text. A. L. Basham, however, is of the opinion that Rama may have been a minor chief who lived in the 8th or the 7th century BC.

Characters



  • Rama is the hero of this epic tale. He is portrayed as the seventh incarnation of the god Vishnu. He is the eldest and favorite son of the King of Ayodhya, Dasharatha, and his wife Kousalya. He is portrayed as the epitome of virtue. Dasharatha is forced by Kaikeyi, one of his wives, to command Rama to relinquish his right to the throne for fourteen years and go into exile.
  • Sita is the beloved wife of Rama and the daughter of king Janaka. Sita is also known as Janaki. She is the incarnation of goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu. Sita is portrayed as the epitome of female purity and virtue. She follows her husband into exile and is abducted by Ravana. She is imprisoned on the island of Lanka until Rama rescues her by defeating the demon king Ravana. Later, she gives birth to Lava and Kusha, the heirs of Rama.
  • Hanuman is a vanara belonging to the kingdom of Kishkindha. He is portrayed as an incarnation of the god Shiva (the Eleventh Rudra) and an ideal bhakta of Rama. He is born as the son of Kesari, a vanara king, and the goddess Anjana. He plays an important part in locating Sita and in the ensuing battle.
  • Lakshmana, the younger brother of Rama, who chose to go into exile with him. He is portrayed as an incarnation of the Shesha, the nāga associated with the god Vishnu. He spends his time protecting Sita and Rama. He is forced to leave Sita, who was deceived by the demon Maricha into believing that Rama was in trouble. Sita is abducted by Ravana upon him leaving her.
  • Ravana, a rakshasa, is the king of Lanka. After performing severe penance for ten thousand years he received a boon from the creator-god Brahma that he could not be killed by either gods, demons or spirits. He is portrayed as a powerful demon king, who disturbs the penances of Rishis. Vishnu incarnates as the human Rama to defeat him, thus circumventing the boon given by Brahma.
  • Dasharatha is the king of Ayodhyamarker and the father of Rama. He has three queens, Kousalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi, and three other sons: Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna. Kaikeyi, Dasharatha's favourite queen, forces him to make his son Bharata crown prince and send Rama into exile. Dasharatha dies heartbroken after Rama goes into exile.
  • Bharata is the son of Dasharatha. When he learns that his mother Kaikeyi had forced Rama into exile and caused Dasharatha to die brokenhearted, he storms out of the palace and goes in search of Rama to the forest. When Rama refuses to return from his exile to assume the throne, Bharata obtains Rama's sandals and places them on the throne as a gesture that Rama is the true king. Bharata then rules Ayodhya as the regent of Rama for the next fourteen years.
  • Shatrughna is the son of Dasaratha and his third wife Queen Sumitra. He is the youngest brother of Lord Rama and also the twin brother of Lakshmana.


Synopsis

The poem is traditionally divided into several major kandas or books, that deal chronologically with the major events in the life of Rama—Bala kanda, Ayodhya Kanda, Aranya Kanda, Kishkinda Kanda, Sundara Kanda, Yuddha Kanda, and Uttara Kanda. The Bala Kanda describes the birth of Rama, his childhood and marriage to Sita. The Ayodhya Kanda describes the preparations for Rama's coronation and his exile into the forest. The third part, Aranya Kanda, describes the forest life of Rama and the kidnapping of Sita by the demon king Ravana. The fourth book, Kishkinda Kanda, describes the meeting of Hanuman with Rama, the destruction of vanara king Vali and the coronation of his younger brother Sugriva on the throne of the kingdom of Kishkindha. The fifth book is Sundara Kanda, which narrates the heroism of Hanuman, his flight to Lanka and meeting with Sita. The sixth book, Yuddha Kanda, describes the battle between Rama's and Ravana's armies. The last book, Uttara Kanda, describes the birth of Lava and Kusha to Sita, their coronation to the throne of Ayodhya, and Rama's final departure from the world.

Bala Kanda

The birth of four sons of Dasaratha


Dasharatha was the king of Kosala, the capital of which was the city of Ayodhyamarker. He had three queens: Kausalya, Kaikeyi and Sumithra. He was childless for a long time and, anxious to produce an heir, he performs a fire sacrifice known as Putra-Kameshti Yagna. As a consequence, Rama is first born to Kausalya, Bharata is born to Kaikeyi, and Sumitra gives birth to twins named Lakshmana and Shatrughna. These sons are endowed, to various degrees, with the essence of the god Vishnu; Vishnu had opted to be born into mortality in order to combat the demon Ravana, who was oppressing the gods, and who could only be destroyed by a mortal. The boys are reared as the princes of the realm, receiving instructions from the scriptures and in warfare. When Rama is 16 years old, the sage Vishwamitra comes to the court of Dasaratha in search of help against demons, who disturbed the sacrificial rites. He chooses Rama, who is followed by Lakshmana, his constant companion throughout the story. Rama and Lakshmana receive instructions and supernatural weapons from Vishwamitra, and proceed to destroy the demons.

Janaka was the king of Mithila. One day, a female child was found in the field by the king Janaka in the deep furrow dug by this plough. Overwhelmed with joy, the king regarded the child as a "miraculous gift of god". The child was named Sita, the Sanskrit word for furrow. Sita grew up to be a girl of unparalleled beauty and charm. When Sita was of marriageable age, the king decided to have a swayamvara which had a contest. The king placed a heavy bow, presented to him by god Shiva and anyone who could wield the bow would marry Sita. The sage Vishwamitra attends the swayamvara with Rama and Lakshmana. Only Rama wields the bow and breaks it. Marriages are arranged between the sons of Dasarahta and daughters, nieces of Janaka. The weddings are celebrated with great festivity at Mithila and the marriage party returns to Ayodhya.

Ayodhya Kanda

After Rama and Sita have been married for twelve years, Dasharatha who had grown old expresses his desire to crown Rama, to which the Kosala assembly and his subjects express their support. On the eve of the great event, Kaikeyi—her jealousy aroused by Manthara, a wicked maidservant—claims two boons that Dasaratha had long ago granted her. Kaikeyi demands Rama to be exile into wilderness for fourteen years, while the succession passes to her son Bharata. The heartbroken king, constrained by his rigid devotion to his given word, accedes to Kaikeyi's demands. Rama accepts his father's reluctant decree with absolute submission and calm self-control which characterizes him throughout the story. He is joined by Sita and Lakshmana. When he asks Sita not to follow him, she says, "the forest where you dwell is Ayodhya for me and Ayodhya without you is a veritable hell for me." After Rama's departure, king Dasaratha, unable to bear the grief, passes away. Meanwhile, Bharata who was on a visit to his maternal uncle, learns about the events in Ayodhya. Bharata refuses to profit from his mother's wicked scheming and visits Rama in the forest. He requests Rama to return and rule. But Rama, determined to carry out his fathers orders to the letter, refuses to return before the period of exile. However, Bharata carries Rama's sandals, and keeps them on the throne, while he rules as Rama's regent.

Aranya Kanda

Rama, Sita and Lakshmana journeyed southward along the banks of river Godavari, where they built cottages and lived by what the forest had to offer. At the Panchavatimarker forest, they are visited by a rakshasa woman, Surpanakha, the sister of Ravana. She attempts to seduce the brothers but failing in this, tries to kill Sita. Lakshmana stops her by cutting off her nose and ears. Hearing about this her demon brother, Khara, organizes an attack against the princes. Rama annihilates the demons and Khara. The news of these events reach Ravana who resolves to destroy Rama by capturing Sita with the aid of the rakshasa Maricha. Maricha assuming the form of a golden deer captivates Sita's attention. Entranced by the beauty of the deer Sita pleads with Rama to capture it. Rama, aware that this is the play of the demons, is unable to dissuade Sita from her desire and chases the deer into the forest. After some time Sita hears Rama calling out to her; afraid for his life she insists that Lakshmana rush to his aid. Lakshmana tries to assure her that Rama is invincible, and that it is best if he continues to follow Rama's orders to protect her. On the verge of hysterics Sita insists that it is not she but Rama who needs Lakshmana's help. He obeys her wish but stipulates that she is not to leave the cottage or entertain any strangers. Finally with the coast clear, Ravana appears in the guise of an ascetic requesting Sita's hospitality. Unaware of the devious plan of her guest Sita is then forcibly carried away by the evil Ravana. Jatayu, a vulture, tries to rescue Sita but falls mortally wounded. At Lanka, Sita is kept under the heavy guard of rakshasis. Ravana demands Sita to marry him, but Sita, who is eternally devoted to Rama, refuses. Rama and Lakshmana learn about Sita's abduction from Jatayu, and immediately set out to save her. During their search, they meet Shabari, a woman ascetic who directs them towards Sugriva and Hanuman.

Kishkindha Kanda

The Kishkindha Kanda is set in the monkey citadel of Kishkindha. Rama and Lakshmana meet Hanuman, the greatest of monkey heroes and a adherent of Sugriva, the banished pretender to the throne of Kishkindha. Rama befriends Sugriva and helps him win over his brother Vali and regain the kingdom of Kiskindha. In exchange for the help received from Rama, Sugriva sends search parties to the four corners of the earth, only to return without success from north, east and west. The southern search party under the leadership of Angad and Hanuman learns from a vulture named Sampati that Sita was taken to Lanka.

Sundara Kanda

Sita at Ashokavana.
Hanuman is seen on the tree.


The Sundara Kanda forms the heart of Valmiki's Ramayana and consists of a detailed, vivid account of Hanuman's adventures. After learning about Sita, Hanuman assumes a gargantuan form and makes a colossal leap across the ocean to Lanka. Here, Hanuman explores the demon's city and spies on Ravana. He locates Sita in Ashoka grove, who is wooed and threatened by Ravana and his rakshasis to marry Ravana. He reassures her, giving Rama's signet ring as a sign of good faith. He offers to carry Sita back to Rama, however she refuses, reluctant to allow herself to be touched by a male other than her husband. She says that Rama himself must come and avenge the insult of her abduction.

Hanuman then wreaks havoc in Lanka, by destroying trees, buildings and killing Ravana's warriors. He allows himself to be captured and produced before Ravana. He gives a bold lecture to Ravana to release Sita. He is condemned and his tail is set on fire. But Hanuman escapes his bonds and, leaping from roof to roof, sets fire to Ravana's citadel and makes the giant leap back. The joyous search party returns to Kishkindha with the news.

Yuddha Kanda

This book describes the Yudha (battle) between the forces of Rama and Ravana. Having received Hanuman's report on Sita, Rama and Lakshmana proceed with their allies towards the shore of the southern sea. There they are joined by Ravana's renegade brother Vibhishana. The monkeys construct a bridge (known as Rama Setumarker) across the ocean, and the princes and their army cross over to Lanka. A lengthy battle ensues and Rama kills Ravana. Rama then installs Vibhishana on the throne of Lanka. On meeting Sita, Rama asks her to undergo agni Pariksha (test of fire) to prove her purity, since she stayed at the demon's place. When Sita plunges into the sacrificial fire, Agni the lord of fire raises Sita, unharmed, to the throne, attesting to her purity. The episode of agni pariksha varies in the versions of Ramayana by Valmiki and Tulsidas. At the expiration of his term of exile, Rama returns to Ayodhya with Sita and Lakshmana, where the coronation is performed.

Uttara Kanda

Sita in the Hermitage of Valmiki


The Uttara Kanda concerns the final years of Rama, Sita and his brothers. After being crowned king, many years passed pleasantly with Sita. However, despite the agni pariksha (fire ordeal) of Sita, rumors about her purity are spreading among the populace of Ayodhya. Rama yields to public opinion and forces himself to banish Sita into the forest, where the sage Valmiki provides shelter in his ashrama (hermitage). Here she gives birth to twin boys—Lava and Kusha, who became pupils of Valmiki and are brought up in ignorance of their identity. Valmiki composes the Ramayana and teaches Lava and Kusha to sing it. Later, Rama holds a ceremony during Ashwamedha yagna, which the sage Valmiki, with Lava and Kusha, attends. Lava and Kusha sing the Ramayana in the presence of Rama and his vast audience. When Lava and Kusha recite about Sita's exile, Rama becomes grievous, and Valmiki produces Sita. Sita calls upon the Earth, her mother, to receive her and as the ground opens, she vanishes into it. Rama also learns that Lava and Kusha are his children. Later a messenger from the gods appears and informs Rama that the mission of his incarnation was over. Rama returns to his celestial abode. The Uttara Kanda is regarded to be a later addition to the original story by Valmiki.

Influence on culture and art

One of the most important literary works of ancient India, the Ramayana has had a profound impact on art and culture in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The story ushered in the tradition of the next thousand years of massive-scale works in the rich diction of regal courts and Brahminical temples. It has also inspired much secondary literature in various languages, notably the Kambaramayanam by the Tamil poet Kambar of the 13th century, Molla ramayanam in Telugu and the 14th century Kannada poet Narahari Kavi's Torave Ramayan, 15th century Bengali poet Krittibas Ojha, known as the Krittivasi Ramayan and the 16th century Awadhi version, Ramacharitamanas, written by Tulsidas.

The Ramayana became popular in Southeast Asia during the 8th century and was represented in literature, temple architecture, dance and theatre. Today, dramatic enactments of the story of Ramayana, known as Ramlila, take place all across India and in many places across the globe within the Indian diaspora.

Variant versions



As in many oral epics, multiple versions of the Ramayana survive. In particular, the Ramayana related in North India differs in important respects from that preserved in South India and the rest of South-East Asia. There is an extensive tradition of oral storytelling based on the Ramayana in Thailandmarker, Cambodiamarker, Malaysiamarker, Laosmarker, Vietnammarker, Indonesiamarker and Maldives. Father Kamil Bulke, author of Ramakatha, has identified over 300 variants of Ramayana.

Within India

The seventh century CE "Bhatti's Poem" of is a Sanskrit retelling of the epic that simultaneously illustrates the grammatical examples for 's as well as the major figures of speech and the Prakrit language.

There are diverse regional versions of the Ramayana written by various authors in India. Some of them differ significantly from each other. During the twelfth century AD, Kamban wrote Ramavatharam, known popularly as Kambaramayanam in Tamil. Valmiki's Ramayana inspired the Sri Ramacharit Manas by Tulasidas in 1576, an epic Awadhi (a dialect of Hindi) version with a slant more grounded in a different realm of Hindu literature, that of bhakti. It is an acknowledged masterpiece of India, popularly known as Tulsi-krita Ramayana. Gujarati poet Premanand wrote a version of Ramayana in the 17th century. Other versions include a Bengali version by Krittivas in the 14th century, in Oriya by Balarama Das in the 16th century, in Marathi by Sridhara in the 18th century, a Telugu version by Ranganatha in the 15th century, a Torave Ramayana in Kannada by the 16th century poet Narahari and in 20th century Rashtrakavi Kuvempu's Sri Ramayana Darshnam, Kotha Ramayana in Assamese by the 14th century poet Madhava Kandali and Adhyathma Ramayanam Kilippattu, a Malayalam version by Thunchaththu Ezhuthachan in the 16th century.

There is a sub-plot to Ramayana, prevalent in some parts of India, relating the adventures of Ahi Ravana and Mahi Ravana, the evil brother of Ravana, which enhances the role of Hanuman in the story. Hanuman rescues Rama and Lakshmana after they are kidnapped by the Ahi-mahi Ravana at the behest of Ravana and held prisoner in a subterranean cave, ready to be sacrificed to the goddess Kali.

Mappillapattu—a genre of song popular among the Muslims belonging to Keralamarker and Lakshadweepmarker—has incorporated some episodes from the Ramayana in some of its songs. These songs, known as Mappila Ramayana, have been handed down from one generation to the next orally. In Mappila Ramayana, the story of the Ramayana has been changed into that of a sultan, and there are no major changes in the names of characters except for that of Rama which is `Laman' in many places. The language and the imagery projected in the Mappilapattu are in accordance with the social fabric of the earlier Muslim community.

In Nepal

Two versions of Ramayana are present in Nepal. One is written by Mahakabhi Siddhidas Mahaju in Nepal Bhasa. The other one is written by Aadikavi Bhanubhakta Acharya. The Nepal Bhasa version by Siddhidas Mahaju marks a great point in the renaissance of Nepal Bhasa whereas the one of Bhanubhakta Acharya is the first epic of Nepali.

Southeast Asian versions

Many other Asian cultures have adapted the Ramayana, resulting in other national epics. Kakawin Ramayana is an old Javanese rendering of the known as the Yogesvara Ramayana attributed to the scribe Yogesvara circa 9th century CE, employed in the court of the Sriwijaya. It has 2774 stanzas in manipravala style that is, a mixture of Sanskrit and Archaic prose Javanese language. The most influential version of the Ramayana is the Ravanavadham of Bhatti, popularly known as Bhattikavya which most greatly influenced all Javenese (and by extension cultures influenced by Java: Malaysian, Champa, Khmer etc).

The Javanese Ramayana differs markedly from the original Hindu prototype. These are dealt with in depth in the article Kakawin Ramayana.

The first half of this Ramayana Jawa is basically similar to the original Indian version. The second half is divergent to the point of being unrecognizable by Indian scholars of the original Ramayana. One of the many major changes is the inclusion of the all-powerful Javanese indigenous deity dhayana Guardian God of Java Semar (in Balinese literature known as Twalen) and his misshapen sons, Gareng, Petruk, and Bagong who make up the numerically significant four Punokawan or "clown servants". The second half, the indigenous extrapolation, is the most popular and performed in all wayang performances.

Phra Lak Phra Lam is a Lao language version, whose title comes from Lakshmana and Rama. The story of Lakshmana and Rama is told as the previous life of the Buddha. In Hikayat Seri Rama of Malaysiamarker, Dasharatha is the great-grandson of the Prophet Adam. Ravana receives boons from Allah instead of Brahma. In many Malay language versions, Lakshmana is given greater importance than Rama, whose character is considered somewhat weak.

Cambodia version of Ramayana is known as Reamker, the most famous story which provided in Khmer Literature since Funan era through Khmer empire until today when It adapts the Hindu ideas to Buddhist themes and shows the balance of good and evil in the world. The Reamker has several differences from the original Ramayana, including scenes not included in the original and emphasis on Hanuman and Sovanna Maccha, a retelling which influences the Thai and Lao versions. Reamker in Cambodia is not confined to the realm of literature but extends to all Cambodian art forms, such as sculpture,Khmer classical dance,Theatre known as Lakhorn Luang where it is the foundation of the royal ballet,Poetry and the mural and bas reliefwhat it been around Silver Pagodamarker and Angkor watmarker.

Thailand's popular national epic Ramakien is derived from the Hindu epic. In Ramakien, Sita is the daughter of Ravana and Mandodari (T'os'akanth (=Dasakanth) and Mont'o). Vibhisana (P'ip'ek), the astrologer brother of Ravana, predicts calamity from the horoscope of Sita. So Ravana has her thrown into the waters, who, later, is picked by Janaka (Janok). While the main story is identical to that of the Ramayana, many other aspects were transposed into a Thai context, such as the clothes, weapons, topography, and elements of nature, which are described as being Thai in style. It has an expanded role for Hanuman and he is portrayed as a lascivious character. Ramakien can be seen in an elaborate illustration at the Wat Phra Kaewmarker temple in Bangkok.

Other Southeast Asian adaptations include Ramakavaca of Balimarker (Indonesia), Maharadya Lawana and Darangen of Mindanaomarker (Philippines), and the Yama Zatdaw of Myanmarmarker. Aspects of the Chinese epic Journey to the West were also inspired by the Ramayana, particularly the character Sun Wukong, who is believed to have been based on Hanuman.

Theological significance

Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, is a popular deity worshiped in the Hindu religion. Each year, many devout pilgrims trace his journey through India, halting at each of the holy sites along the way. The poem is not seen as just a literary monument, it serves as an integral part of Hinduism, and is held in such reverence that the mere reading or hearing of it, or certain passages of it, is believed by Hindus to free them from sin and shower blessings upon the reader or listener. According to Hindu tradition, Rama is an incarnation (Avatar) of the god Vishnu. The main purpose of this incarnation is to demonstrate the righteous path (dharma) for all living creatures on earth.

Arshia Sattar states that the central theme of the Ramayana, as well as the Mahabharata, is respectively Ram's and Krishna's hidden divinity and its progressive revelation.

Contemporary versions



Contemporary prose versions of the epic Ramayana include Sri Ramayana Darshanam by Dr. K. V. Puttappa in Kannada and Ramayana Kalpavrikshamu by Viswanatha Satyanarayana in Telugu, both of which have been awarded the Jnanpith Award. A prose version called Geet Ramayan in Marathi by G.D. Madgulkar was rendered in music by Sudhir Phadke and is considered to be a masterpiece of Marathi literature. The popular Indian author R. K. Narayan wrote a shortened prose interpretation of the epic, and another modern Indian author, Ashok Banker, has so far written a series of six English-language novels based on the Ramayana. In addition, Ramesh Menon wrote a single-volume edition of the Ramayana, which has received praise from scholars. A short version with a somewhat contemporary feel, influenced, according the author, by contemporary representations of guerilla warfare, appeared in Martin Buckley's Ramayana-based travelogue, Indian Odyssey (Random House London, 2008).

In September 2006, the first issue of Ramayan 3392 A.D. was published by Virgin Comics, featuring the Ramayana as re-envisioned by author Deepak Chopra and filmmaker Shekhar Kapur.

The Ramayana has been adapted on screen as well, most notably as the television series Ramayan by producer Ramanand Sagar, which is based primarily off of the Ramcharitmanas and Valmiki's Ramayana and, at the time, was the most popular series in Indian television history. In the late 1990s, Sanjay Khan made a series called Jai Hanuman, recounting tales from the life of Hanuman and related characters from the Ramayana. A Japanese animated film called Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama was also released in the early 1990s. US animation artist Nina Paley retold the Ramayana from Sita's point of view (with a secondary story about Paley's own marriage) in the animated musical Sita Sings the Blues.

See also



Footnotes

  1. , "Introduction" p.xiii
  2. , p.198
  3. , p.81
  4. , p.29
  5. , p.xxi
  6. "Valmiki's Ramayana: Its nature and history", pp.4-6
  7. , p.191
  8. Raghunathan, N. (trans.), Srimad Valmiki Ramayana
  9. Arya, R. P. (ed.), Ramayan of Valmiki
  10. Goldman, Robert P., The Ramayana of Valmiki: An Epic of Ancient India p. 23
  11. das, Krishna Dharma. The Ramayana p. 1
  12. Indian Wisdom Or Examples of the Religious, Philosophical, And Ethical Doctrines of the Hindus, by Monier Williams, Published 2006
  13. In the Vedas Sita means furrow relating to a goddess of agriculture. - S.S.S.N. Murty, A note on the Ramayana
  14. Goldman, Robert P., The Ramayana of Valmiki: An Epic of Ancient India p 24
  15. Rama - The story of a history - chennaionline.com
  16. Goldman, Robert P., The Ramayana of Valmiki: An Epic of Ancient India p. 15-16
  17. Goldman, Robert P., The Ramayana of Valmiki: An Epic of Ancient India p. 28
  18. See Sankalia, H.D., Ramayana: Myth or Reality, New Delhi, 1963
  19. Basham, A.L., The Wonder that was India, London, 1956, p 303
  20. , p.106
  21. , p.23
  22. , p.27
  23. , p.29
  24. , p.16
  25. , p.7 "These sons, are infused with varying portions of the essence of the great Lord Vishnu who has agreed to be born as a man in order to destroy a violent and otherwise invincible demon, the mighty rakshasa Ravana who has been oppressing the gods, for by the terms of a boon that he has received, the demon can be destroyed only by a mortal."
  26. , p.7
  27. , p.73
  28. , pp.60-61
  29. , p.82
  30. , p.8
  31. , p.117
  32. , pp.69-70
  33. , p.83
  34. , p.9
  35. , p.166-168
  36. , pp.112-115
  37. , pp.121-123
  38. , p.183-184
  39. , p.197
  40. , p.4
  41. , pp.84-88
  42. , p.3
  43. , p.10
  44. , p.4
  45. , pp. 11-12
  46. , p.84
  47. , p.13
  48. , "Aswa-Medha" p.146
  49. Stutterhiem, WF: 1921: Rama-legenden und Rama reliefs in Indonesien. Mueller, Munich: 1925.
  50. Hooykaas C. The Old Javanese Ramayana Kakawin. The Hague: Nijhoff: 1955.
  51. KMusuem manuscript Kropak no. 1102 Ramayana of the Sundanese Lontar Collection (Koleksi Lontar Sunda of 'Museum dan Kepustakaan Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta National Museum.
  52. Netscher E. iets over eenige in de Preanger-regentschappen gevonden Kawi handschriften in Tiijdschroft van het Bataviaasch Genootschap. Volume 1. pp469-479. Chapter Het verboden Tschiboeroej in Pleyte CM Soendasche Schetsen (Bandung Kolff C 1905. pp160-175.)
  53. Nurdin. J aka J. Noorduyn: 1971.Traces of an Old Sundanese Ramayana Tradition in Indonesia, Vol. 12, (Oct., 1971), pp. 151-157 Southeast Asia Publoications at Cornell University. Cornell University: 1971
  54. Hatley, Barbara: 1971. "Wayang and Ludruk: Polatrities in Java in The Drama Review: TDR, Vol. 15, No. 2, Theatre in Asia (Spring, 1971), pp. 88-101. MIT Press: 1971
  55. Suryo S. Negoro. Semar. in Joglo Semar (Semar's mansion) http://www.joglosemar.co.id/semar.html
  56. Effect Of Ramayana On Various Cultures And Civilisations p. ?


References

  • Arya, Ravi Prakash (ed.). Ramayana of Valmiki: Sanskrit Text and English Translation. (English translation according to M. N. Dutt, introduction by Dr. Ramashraya Sharma, 4-volume set) Parimal Publications: Delhi, 1998 ISBN 81-7110-156-9
  • Mahulikar, Dr. Gauri. Effect Of Ramayana On Various Cultures And Civilisations, Ramayan Institute
  • Rabb, Kate Milner, National Epics, 1896 - See eText Project Gutenburg
  • Raghunathan, N. (transl.), Srimad Valmiki Ramayanam, Vighneswara Publishing House, Madras (1981)
  • A different Song - Article from "The Hindu" August 12, 2005 - [7278]


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