Ramayana (/rɑːˈmɑːjənə/; Sanskrit: रामायणम्, Rāmāyaṇam [ɽaːˈmaːjɐɳɐm]) is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Mahābhārata. Along with the Mahābhārata, it forms the Hindu Itihasa.
The epic, traditionally ascribed to the Hindu Valmiki, narrates the life of Rama, the legendary prince of the Kosala Kingdom. It follows his fourteen-year exile to the forest from the kingdom, by his father King Dasharatha, on request of his second wife Kaikeyi. His travels across forests in India with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana, the kidnapping of his wife by Ravana, the great king of Lanka, resulting in a war with him, and Rama's eventual return to Ayodhya to be crowned king.
There have been many attempts to unravel the epic's historical growth and compositional layers; various recent scholars' estimates for the earliest stage of the text range from the 7th to 4th centuries BCE, with later stages extending up to the 3rd century CE.
The Ramayana is one of the largest ancient epics in world literature. It consists of nearly 24,000 verses (mostly set in the Shloka meter), divided into seven Kandas and about 500 sargas (chapters). In Hindu tradition, it is considered to be the adi-kavya (first poem). It depicts the duties of relationships, portraying ideal characters like the ideal father, the ideal servant, the ideal brother, the ideal husband and the ideal king. Ramayana was an important influence on later Sanskrit poetry and Hindu life and culture. Like Mahabharata, Ramayana is not just a story: it presents the teachings of ancient Hindu sages in narrative allegory, interspersing philosophical and ethical elements. The characters Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Bharata, Hanuman, Shatrughna, and Ravana are all fundamental to the cultural consciousness of India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and south-east Asian countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
There are many versions of Ramayana in Indian languages, besides Buddhist, Sikh, and Jain adaptations. There are also Cambodian, Indonesian, Filipino, Thai, Lao, Burmese, and Malaysian versions of the tale.
The name Ramayana is a tatpuruṣa compound of the name Rāma.
According to Hindu tradition, and the Ramayana itself, the epic belongs to the genre of itihasa like Mahabharata. The definition of itihāsa is a narrative of past events (purāvṛtta) which includes teachings on the goals of human life. According to Hindu tradition, 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 24,000 verses. The text survives in several thousand partial and complete manuscripts, the oldest of which is a palm-leaf manuscript found in Nepal and dated to the 11th century CE. A Times of India report dated 18 December 2015 informs about the discovery of a 6th-century manuscript of the Ramayana at the Asiatic Society library, Kolkata. The Ramayana text has several regional renderings, recensions and sub recensions. Textual scholar Robert P. Goldman differentiates two major regional revisions: the northern (n) and the southern (s). 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 discussion as to whether the first and the last volumes (Bala Kanda and Uttara Kanda) of Valmiki's Ramayana were composed by the original author. Most Hindus still believe they are integral parts of the book, in spite of some style differences and narrative contradictions between these two volumes and the rest of the book.
Retellings include Kamban's Ramavataram in Tamil (c. 11th–12th century), Gona Budda Reddy's Ramayanam in Telugu (c. 13th century), Madhava Kandali's Saptakanda Ramayana in Assamese (c. 14th century), Krittibas Ojha's Krittivasi Ramayan (also known as Shri Rama Panchali) in Bengali (c. 15th century), Sarala Das' Vilanka Ramayana (c. 15th century) and Balaram Das' Dandi Ramayana (also known as the Jagamohan Ramayana) (c. 16th century) both in Odia, sant Eknath's Bhavarth Ramayan (c. 16th century) in Marathi, Tulsidas' Ramcharitamanas (c. 16th century) in Awadhi (which is an eastern form of Hindi) and Thunchaththu Ezhuthachan's Adhyathmaramayanam in Malayalam.
Ramayana predates Mahabharata. However, the general cultural background of Ramayana is one of the post-urbanization periods of the eastern part of north India and Nepal, while Mahabharata reflects the Kuru areas west of this, from the Rigvedic to the late Vedic period.
The names of the characters (Rama, Sita, Dasharatha, Janaka, Vashista, Vishwamitra) are all known in late Vedic literature. However, nowhere in the surviving Vedic poetry is there a story similar to the Ramayana of Valmiki. According to the modern academic view, Vishnu, who, according to Bala Kanda, was incarnated as Rama, first came into prominence with the epics themselves and further, during the puranic period of the later 1st millennium CE. Also, in the epic Mahabharata, there is a version of Ramayana known as Ramopakhyana. This version is depicted as a narration to Yudhishthira.
Books two to six form the oldest portion of the epic, while the first and last books (Bala Kanda and Uttara Kanda, respectively) are later additions, as some style differences and narrative contradictions between these two volumes and the rest of the book. The author or authors of Bala Kanda and Ayodhya Kanda appear to be familiar with the eastern Gangetic basin region of northern India and with the Kosala, Mithila and Magadha regions during the period of the sixteen Mahajanapadas, based on the fact that the geographical and geopolitical data accords with what is known about the region.
Dasharatha was the king of Ayodhya. He had three wives: Kaushalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra. He was childless for a long time and anxious to produce an heir, so he performs a fire sacrifice known as putra-kameshti yagya. As a consequence, Rama is first born to Kaushalya, Bharata is born to Kaikeyi, Lakshmana and Shatrughna are born to Sumitra. These sons are endowed, to various degrees, with the essence of the Supreme Trinity Entity Vishnu; Vishnu had opted to be born into mortality 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 from Vashistha. When Rama is 16 years old, sage Vishwamitra comes to the court of Dasharatha in search of help against demons who were disturbing 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 in the deep furrow dug by his 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. The king had decided that who ever could lift and wield the heavy bow, presented to his ancestors by Shiva, could marry Sita. Sage Vishwamitra takes Rama and Lakshmana to Mithila to show the bow. Then Rama desires to lift it and goes on to wield the bow and when he draws the string, it breaks. Marriages are arranged between the sons of Dasharatha and daughters of Janaka. Rama gets married to Sita, Lakshmana to Urmila, Bharata to Mandavi and Shatrughna to Shrutakirti. The weddings are celebrated with great festivity in Mithila and the marriage party returns to Ayodhya.
After Rama and Sita have been married for twelve years, an elderly Dasharatha 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 Dasharatha had long ago granted her. Kaikeyi demands Rama to be exiled into the 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 characterises 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 Dasharatha, 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 father's 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.
After thirteen years of exile, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana journey southward along the banks of river Godavari, where they build cottages and live off the land. At the Panchavati forest they are visited by a rakshasi named Shurpanakha, sister of Ravana. She tries to seduce the brothers and, after failing, attempts to kill Sita. Lakshmana stops her by cutting off her nose and ears. Hearing of this, her brother Khara organises an attack against the princes. Rama defeats Khara and his raskshasas.
When the news of these events reach Ravana, he 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 ploy of the demons, cannot dissuade Sita from her desire and chases the deer into the forest, leaving Sita under Lakshmana's guard. 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 stranger. He draws a chalk outline, the Lakshmana rekha, around the cottage and casts a spell on it that prevents anyone from entering the boundary but allows people to exit. With the coast finally clear, Ravana appears in the guise of an ascetic requesting Sita's hospitality. Unaware of her guest's plan, Sita is tricked into leaving the rekha and is then forcibly carried away by Ravana.
Jatayu, a vulture, tries to rescue Sita, but is mortally wounded. At Lanka, Sita is kept under the guard of rakshasis. Ravana asks Sita to marry him, but she refuses, being eternally devoted to Rama. Meanwhile, Rama and Lakshmana learn about Sita's abduction from Jatayu and immediately set out to save her. During their search, they meet Kabandha and the ascetic Shabari, who direct them towards Sugriva and Hanuman.
Kishkindha Kanda is set in the ape (Vanara) citadel Kishkindha. Rama and Lakshmana meet Hanuman, the biggest devotee of Rama, greatest of ape heroes and an adherent of Sugriva, the banished pretender to the throne of Kishkindha. Rama befriends Sugriva and helps him by killing his elder brother Vali thus regaining the kingdom of Kishkindha, in exchange for helping Rama to recover Sita. However Sugriva soon forgets his promise and spends his time in enjoying his powers. The clever former ape queen Tara (wife of Vali) calmly intervenes to prevent an enraged Lakshmana from destroying the ape citadel. She then eloquently convinces Sugriva to honour his pledge. Sugriva then 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 Angada and Hanuman learns from a vulture named Sampati (elder brother of Jatayu), that Sita was taken to Lanka.
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 sea to Lanka. On the way he meets with many challenges like facing a Gandharva kanya who comes in the form of a demon to test his abilities. He encounters a mountain named Mainakudu who offers Lord Hanuman assistance and offers him rest. Lord Hanuman refuses because there is little time remaining to complete the search for Sita.
After entering into Lanka, he finds a demon, Lankini, who protects all of Lanka. Hanuman fights with her and subjugates her in order to get into Lanka. In the process Lankini, who had an earlier vision/warning from the gods that the end of Lanka nears if someone defeats Lankini. Here, Hanuman explores the demons' kingdom and spies on Ravana. He locates Sita in Ashoka grove, where she is being wooed and threatened by Ravana and his rakshasis to marry Ravana. Hanuman reassures Sita, giving Rama's signet ring as a sign of good faith. He offers to carry Sita back to Rama; however, she refuses and says that it is not the dharma, stating that Ramayana will not have significance if Hanuman carries her to Rama – "When Rama is not there Ravana carried Sita forcibly and when Ravana was not there, Hanuman carried Sita back to Rama". She says that Rama himself must come and avenge the insult of her abduction.
Hanuman then wreaks havoc in Lanka by destroying trees and buildings and killing Ravana's warriors. He allows himself to be captured and delivered to Ravana. He gives a bold lecture to Ravana to release Sita. He is condemned and his tail is set on fire, but he escapes his bonds and leaping from roof to roof, sets fire to Ravana's citadel and makes the giant leap back from the island. The joyous search party returns to Kishkindha with the news.
Also known as Lanka Kanda, this book describes the war between the army of Rama and the army of 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 apes named Nala and Nila construct a floating bridge (known as Rama Setu) across the sea, using stones that floated on water because they had Rama's name written on them. The princes and their army cross over to Lanka. A lengthy war ensues. During a battle, Ravana's son Indrajit hurls a powerful weapon at Lakshmana, who is badly wounded and is nearly killed. So Hanuman assumes a gigantic form and flies from Lanka to the Himalayas. Upon reaching Mount Sumeru, Hanuman was unable to identify the herb that could cure Lakshmana and so decided to bring the entire mountain back to Lanka. Eventually, the war ends when Rama kills Ravana. Rama then installs Vibhishana on the throne of Lanka.
On meeting Sita, Rama asks her to undergo an Agni Pariksha (test of fire) to prove her chastity, as he wants to get rid of the rumors surrounding her purity. When Sita plunges into the sacrificial fire, Agni, lord of fire raises Sita, unharmed, to the throne, attesting to her innocence. The episode of Agni Pariksha varies in the versions of Ramayana by Valmiki and Tulsidas. In Tulsidas's Ramacharitamanas, Sita was under the protection of Agni (see Maya Sita) so it was necessary to bring her out before reuniting with Rama. At the expiration of his term of exile, Rama returns to Ayodhya with Sita and Lakshmana, where the coronation is performed. This is the beginning of Ram Rajya, which implies an ideal state with good morals. Ramayan is not only the story about how truth defeats the evil, it also teaches us to forget all the evil and arrogance that resides inside ourselves.
Uttara Kanda concerns the final years of Rama, Sita and Rama's brothers. After being crowned king, Rama passes time pleasantly with Sita. After some time, Sita gets pregnant with twin children. However, questions about her "purity" spread among the populace of Ayodhya and the people reject the Agni Pariksha ("fire ordeal") as proof of her purity. They refuse to accept Sita as their queen because, despite her innocence, they believe she is of soiled reputation. Rama yields to public opinion and reluctantly banishes Sita to the forest, where the sage Valmiki provides shelter in his ashrama ("hermitage"). Here, she gives birth to twin boys, Lava and Kusha, who become pupils of Valmiki and are brought up in ignorance of their identity.
Valmiki composes the Ramayana and teaches Lava and Kusha to sing it. Lava and Kusha sing the Ramayana in the presence of Rama and his vast audience. When the twins learn how Rama banished Sita to the forest, they leave the palace, angry at the treatment meted to Sita by Rama. Later, Rama decides to conduct the Ashwamedha yagna which requires the presence of his wife. Due to Sita’s absence, the sages recommend Rama to remarry so that he can conduct the yagna. Rama refuses to do so saying that he wishes to remain loyal to Sita and instead decides to use an idol of Sita for the yagna. He asks the idol to be made of gold, symbolic of what he thinks of her purity. When the yagna’s horse, while travelling all over the world, reaches Valmiki’s ashram, Lava and Kusha tie the horse to a tree, preventing it from going further. When Rama comes to know about the horse’s capture, he reaches Valmiki’s ashram where he sees Sita and learns that Lava and Kusha are his children. Seeing them, Rama becomes grief-stricken and wants them to return to Ayodhya. However, questions about Sita’s “purity” and the legitimacy of Rama’s children still persist in people’s minds. Realizing this, Rama asks Sita to prove her purity before the people of Ayodhya. Tired of repeated trials by a patriarchal society, Sita calls upon the Earth, her mother, to receive her if she has always been loyal to Rama. The ground opens and she vanishes into it, finally laying to rest doubts about her “purity” and the legitimacy of her children. Rama, grief-stricken at Sita’s departure, returns to Ayodhya with his children. Many years later, a messenger from the Gods appears and informs Rama that the mission of his incarnation is over. Rama hands over the kingdom of Ayodhya to his children and returns to his celestial abode along with his brothers. It was dramatised as Uttararamacarita by the Sanskrit poet Bhavabhuti.
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 southeast Asia. There is an extensive tradition of oral storytelling based on Ramayana in Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam and Maldives.
There are diverse regional versions of the Ramayana written by various authors in India. Some of them differ significantly from each other. During the 12th century, Kamban wrote Ramavataram, known popularly as Kambaramayanam in Tamil. A Telugu version, Ranganatha Ramayanam, was written by Gona Budda Reddy in the 14th century. The earliest translation to a regional Indo-Aryan language is the early 14th century Saptakanda Ramayana in Assamese by Madhava Kandali. Valmiki's Ramayana inspired Sri Ramacharit Manas by Tulsidas 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 the Ramayana in the 17th century. Other versions include Krittivasi Ramayan, a Bengali version by Krittibas Ojha in the 15th century; Vilanka Ramayana by 15th century poet Sarala Dasa and Dandi Ramayana (also known as Jagamohana Ramayana) by 16th century poet Balarama Dasa, both in Odia; a Torave Ramayana in Kannada by 16th-century poet Narahari; Adhyathmaramayanam, a Malayalam version by Thunchaththu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan in the 16th century; in Marathi by Sridhara in the 18th century; in Maithili by Chanda Jha in the 19th century; and in the 20th century, Rashtrakavi Kuvempu's Sri Ramayana Darshanam in Kannada.
There is a sub-plot to the Ramayana, prevalent in some parts of India, relating the adventures of Ahiravan and Mahi Ravana, 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, to be sacrificed to the goddess Kali. Adbhuta Ramayana is a version that is obscure but also attributed to Valmiki – intended as a supplementary to the original Valmiki Ramayana. In this variant of the narrative, Sita is accorded far more prominence, such as elaboration of the events surrounding her birth – in this case to Ravana's wife, Mandodari as well as her conquest of Ravana's older brother in her Mahakali form.
In the Buddhist variant of the Ramayana (Dasarathajātaka, #467), Dasharatha was king of Benares and not Ayodhya. Rama (called Rāmapaṇḍita in this version) was the son of Kaushalya, first wife of Dasharatha. Lakṣmaṇa (Lakkhaṇa) was a sibling of Rama and son of Sumitra, the second wife of Dasharatha. Sita was the wife of Rama. To protect his children from his wife Kaikeyi, who wished to promote her son Bharata, Dasharatha sent the three to a hermitage in the Himalayas for a twelve-year exile. After nine years, Dasharatha died and Lakkhaṇa and Sita returned; Rāmapaṇḍita, in deference to his father's wishes, remained in exile for a further two years. This version does not include the abduction of Sītā.There is no Ravan in this version i.e. no Ram-ravan war.
Jain versions of the Ramayana can be found in the various Jain agamas like Ravisena's Padmapurana (story of Padmaja and Rama, Padmaja being the name of Sita), Hemacandra's Trisastisalakapurusa charitra (hagiography of 63 illustrious persons), Sanghadasa's Vasudevahindi and Uttarapurana by Gunabhadara. According to Jain cosmology, every half time cycle has nine sets of Balarama, Vasudeva and prativasudeva. Rama, Lakshmana and Ravana are the eighth baladeva, vasudeva and prativasudeva respectively. Padmanabh Jaini notes that, unlike in the Hindu Puranas, the names Baladeva and Vasudeva are not restricted to Balarama and Krishna in Jain Puranas. Instead they serve as names of two distinct classes of mighty brothers, who appear nine times in each half time cycle and jointly rule half the earth as half-chakravartins. Jaini traces the origin of this list of brothers to the jinacharitra (lives of jinas) by Acharya Bhadrabahu (3d–4th century BCE).
In the Jain epic of Ramayana, it is not Rama who kills Ravana as told in the Hindu version. Perhaps this is because Rama, a liberated Jain Soul in his last life, is unwilling to kill. Instead, it is Lakshmana who kills Ravana. In the end, Rama, who led an upright life, renounces his kingdom, becomes a Jain monk and attains moksha. On the other hand, Lakshmana and Ravana go to Hell. However, it is predicted that ultimately they both will be reborn as upright persons and attain liberation in their future births. According to Jain texts, Ravana will be the future Tirthankara (omniscient teacher) of Jainism.
The Jain versions have some variations from Valmiki's Ramayana. Dasharatha, the king of Saketa had four queens: Aparajita, Sumitra, Suprabha and Kaikeyi. These four queens had four sons. Aparajita's son was Padma and he became known by the name of Rama. Sumitra's son was Narayana: he came to be known by another name, Lakshmana. Kaikeyi's son was Bharata and Suprabha's son was Shatrughna. Furthermore, not much was thought of Rama's fidelity to Sita. According to the Jain version, Rama had four chief queens: Maithili, Prabhavati, Ratinibha, and Sridama. Furthermore, Sita takes renunciation as a Jain ascetic after Rama abandons her and is reborn in heaven. Rama, after Lakshmana's death, also renounces his kingdom and becomes a Jain monk. Ultimately, he attains Kevala Jnana omniscience and finally liberation. Rama predicts that Ravana and Lakshmana, who were in the fourth hell, will attain liberation in their future births. Accordingly, Ravana is the future tirthankara of the next half ascending time cycle and Sita will be his Ganadhara.
In Guru Granth Sahib, there is a description of two types of Ramayana. One is a spiritual Ramayana which is the actual subject of Guru Granth Sahib, in which Ravana is ego, Sita is budhi (intellect), Rama is inner soul and Laxman is mann (attention, mind). Guru Granth Sahib also believes in the existence of Dashavatara who were kings of their times which tried their best to restore order to the world. King Rama (Ramchandra) was one of those who is not covered in Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Granth Sahib states:
He also said that the almighty, invisible, all prevailing God created great numbers of Indras, Moons and Suns, Deities, Demons and sages, and also numerous saints and Brahmanas (enlightened people). But they too were caught in the noose of death (Kaal) (transmigration of the soul). This is similar to the explanation in Bhagavad Gita which is part of the Mahabharata.
Besides being the site of discovery of the oldest surviving manuscript of the Ramayana, Nepal gave rise to two regional variants in mid 19th – early 20th century. One, written by Bhanubhakta Acharya, is considered the first epic of Nepali language, while the other, written by Siddhidas Mahaju in Nepal Bhasa was a foundational influence in the Nepal Bhasa renaissance.
Ramayana written by Bhanubhakta Acharya is one of the most popular verses in Nepal. The popularization of the Ramayana and its tale, originally written in Sanskrit Language was greatly enhanced by the work of Bhanubhakta. Mainly because of his writing of Nepali Ramayana, Bhanubhakta is also called Aadi Kavi or The Pioneering Poet.
The Cambodian version of the Ramayana, Reamker (Khmer: រាមកេរ្ដិ៍ - Glory of Rama), is the most famous story of Khmer literature since the Kingdom of Funan era. It adapts the Hindu concepts 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 (the foundation of the royal ballet), poetry and the mural and bas-reliefs seen at the Silver Pagoda and Angkor Wat.
There are several Indonesian adaptations of Ramayana, including the Javanese Kakawin Ramayana and Balinese Ramakavaca. The first half of Kakawin Ramayana is similar to the original Sanskrit version, while the latter half is very different. One of the recognizable modifications is the inclusion of the indigenous Javanese guardian demigod, Semar, and his sons, Gareng, Petruk, and Bagong who make up the numerically significant four Punokawan or "clown servants". Kakawin Ramayana is believed to have been written in Central Java circa 870 AD during the reign of Mpu Sindok in the Medang Kingdom. The Javanese Kakawin Ramayana is not based on Valmiki's epic, which was then the most famous version of Rama's story, but based on Ravanavadha or the "Ravana massacre", which is the sixth or seventh century poem by Indian poet Bhattikavya.
Kakawin Ramayana was further developed on the neighboring island of Bali becoming the Balinese Ramakavaca. The bas-reliefs of Ramayana and Krishnayana scenes are carved on balustrades of the 9th century Prambanan temple in Yogyakarta, as well as in the 14th century Penataran temple in East Java. In Indonesia, the Ramayana is a deeply ingrained aspect of the culture, especially among Javanese, Balinese and Sundanese people, and has become the source of moral and spiritual guidance as well as aesthetic expression and entertainment, for example in wayang and traditional dances. The Balinese kecak dance for example, retells the story of the Ramayana, with dancers playing the roles of Rama, Sita, Lakhsmana, Jatayu, Hanuman, Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Indrajit surrounded by a troupe of over 50 bare-chested men who serve as the chorus chanting "cak". The performance also includes a fire show to describe the burning of Lanka by Hanuman. In Yogyakarta, the Wayang Wong Javanese dance also retells the Ramayana. One example of a dance production of the Ramayana in Java is the Ramayana Ballet performed on the Trimurti Prambanan open air stage, with the three main prasad spires of the Prambanan Hindu temple as a backdrop.
Yama Zatdaw is the Burmese version of Ramayana. It is also considered the unofficial national epic of Myanmar. There are nine known pieces of the Yama Zatdaw in Myanmar. The Burmese name for the story itself is Yamayana, while zatdaw refers to the acted play or being part of the jataka tales of Theravada Buddhism. This Burmese version is also heavily influenced by Ramakien (Thai version of Ramayana) which resulted from various invasions by Konbaung Dynasty kings toward the Ayutthaya Kingdom.
The Maharadia Lawana, an epic poem of the Maranao people of the Philippines, has been regarded as an indigenized version of the Ramayana since it was documented and translated into English by Professor Juan R. Francisco and Nagasura Madale in 1968.(p"264") The poem, which had not been written down before Francisco and Madale's translation,(p"264") narrates the adventures of the monkey-king, Maharadia Lawana, whom the Gods have gifted with immortality.
Francisco, an indologist from the University of the Philippines Manila, believed that the Ramayana narrative arrived in the Philippines some time between the 17th to 19th centuries, via interactions with Javanese and Malaysian cultures which traded extensively with India.(p101)
By the time it was documented in the 1960s, the character names, place names, and the precise episodes and events in Maharadia Lawana's narrative already had some notable differences from those of the Ramayana. Francisco believed that this was a sign of "indigenization", and suggested that some changes had already been introduced in Malaysia and Java even before the story was heard by the Maranao, and that upon reaching the Maranao homeland, the story was "further indigenized to suit Philippine cultural perspectives and orientations."(p"103")
Thailand's popular national epic Ramakien (Thai:รามเกียรติ์., from Sanskrit rāmakīrti, glory of Rama) is derived from the Hindu epic. In Ramakien, Sita is the daughter of Ravana and Mandodari (thotsakan and montho). Vibhishana (phiphek), the astrologer brother of Ravana, predicts the death of Ravana from the horoscope of Sita. Ravana has thrown her into the water, but she is later rescued by Janaka (chanok).:149 While the main story is identical to that of 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 Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok.
A critical edition of the text was compiled in India in the 1960s and 1970s, by the Oriental Institute at Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India, utilizing dozens of manuscripts collected from across India and the surrounding region. An English language translation of the critical edition was completed in November 2016 by Sanskrit scholar Robert P. Goldman of the University of California, Berkeley.
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 with the lone exception of Vietnam. The story ushered in the tradition of the next thousand years of massive-scale works in the rich diction of regal courts and Hindu temples. It has also inspired much secondary literature in various languages, notably Kambaramayanam by Tamil poet Kambar of the 12th century, Telugu language Molla Ramayanam by poet Molla and Ranganatha Ramayanam by poet Gona Budda Reddy, 14th century Kannada poet Narahari's Torave Ramayana and 15th century Bengali poet Krittibas Ojha's Krittivasi Ramayan, as well as the 16th century Awadhi version, Ramacharitamanas, written by Tulsidas.
Ramayanic scenes have also been depicted through terracottas, stone sculptures, bronzes and paintings. These include the stone panel at Nagarjunakonda in Andhra Pradesh depicting Bharata's meeting with Rama at Chitrakuta (3rd century CE).
The Ramayana became popular in Southeast Asia during 8th century and was represented in literature, temple architecture, dance and theatre. Today, dramatic enactments of the story of the Ramayana, known as Ramlila, take place all across India and in many places across the globe within the Indian diaspora.
In Indonesia, especially Java and Bali, Ramayana has become a popular source of artistic expression for dance drama and shadow puppet performance in the region. Sendratari Ramayana is Javanese traditional ballet of wayang orang genre, routinely performed in Prambanan Trimurti temple and in cultural center of Yogyakarta. Balinese dance drama of Ramayana is also performed routinely in Balinese Hindu temples, especially in temples such as Ubud and Uluwatu, where scenes from Ramayana is integrap part of kecak dance performance. Javanese wayang kulit purwa also draws its episodes from Ramayana or Mahabharata.
Ramayana has also been depicted in many paintings, most notably by the Malaysian artist Syed Thajudeen in 1972. The epic tale was picturized on canvas in epic proportions measuring 152 x 823 cm in 9 panels. The painting depicts three prolific parts of the epic, namely The Abduction of Sita, Hanuman visits Sita and Hanuman Burns Lanka. The painting is currently in the permanent collection of the Malaysian National Visual Arts Gallery.
Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, is one of the most popular deities worshipped in the Hindu religion. Each year, many devout pilgrims trace their journey through India and Nepal, halting at each of the holy sites along the way. The poem is not seen as just a literary monument, but 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 bless the reader or listener.
Multiple modern, English-language adaptations of the epic exist, namely Ram Chandra Series by Amish Tripathi, Ramayana Series by Ashok Banker and a mythopoetic novel, Asura: Tale of the Vanquished by Anand Neelakantan. Another Indian author, Devdutt Pattanaik, has published three different retellings and commentaries of Ramayana titled Sita, The Book Of Ram and Hanuman's Ramayan. A number of plays, movies and television serials have also been produced based upon the Ramayana.
Starting in 1978 and under the supervision of Baba Hari Dass, Ramayana has been performed every year by Mount Madonna School in Watsonville, California. Currently, it is the largest yearly, Western version of the epic being performed. It takes the form of a colorful musical with custom costumes, sung and spoken dialog, jazz-rock orchestration and dance. This performance takes place in a large audience theater setting usually in June, in San Jose, CA. Dass has taught acting arts, costume-attire design, mask making and choreography to bring alive characters of Sri Ram, Sita, Hanuman, Lakshmana, Shiva, Parvati, Vibhishan, Jatayu, Sugriva, Surpanakha, Ravana and his rakshasa court, Meghnadha, Kumbhakarna and the army of monkeys and demons.
Bharata (; Sanskrit: भरत, IAST: Bharata) is a Hindu deity depicted in the epic poem, Ramayana. According to the poem Bharata was the younger half brother of Lord Rama. Ramayana holds Bharata as a symbol of dharma and idealism.
According to the Ramayana, Rama is the seventh avatar of Vishnu while Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna are considered as part-incarnations of Sheshanaga, Shankha and
Sudarshana chakra respectively.Hanuman
In Hinduism, Hanuman (; Sanskrit: हनुमान्, IAST: Hanumān) is an ardent devotee of Rama. Lord Hanuman, known as the Lord of Celibacy was an ideal "Brahmachari" or called Naistika Brahmachari in Sanskrit and is one of the central characters of the Indian Epic ￼￼Ramayana￼￼. ￼￼As one of the Chiranjivi, he is also mentioned in several other texts, such as the Mahabharata and the various Puranas. Hanuman is the son of Anjani and Kesari and is also son of the wind-god Vayu, who according to several stories, played a role in his birth.If yoga is the ability to control one's mind then Hanuman is the quintessential yogi having a perfect mastery over his senses, achieved through a disciplined lifestyle tempered by the twin streams of celibacy and selfless devotion (bhakti). In fact, Hanuman is the ideal Brahmachari (one who follows the path of Brahma), if ever there was one.
He is also a perfect karma yogi since he performs his actions with detachment, acting as an instrument of destiny rather than being impelled by any selfish motive.
While Hanuman is one of the central characters in the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana, the evidence of devotional worship to him is missing in the texts and archeological sites of ancient and most of the medieval period. According to Philip Lutgendorf, an American Indologist known for his studies on Hanuman, the theological significance and devotional dedication to Hanuman emerged about 1,000 years after the composition of the Ramayana, in the 2nd millennium CE, after the arrival of Islamic rule in the Indian subcontinent. Bhakti movement saints such as Samarth Ramdas expressed Hanuman as a symbol of nationalism and resistance to persecution. In the modern era, his iconography and temples have been increasingly common. He is viewed as the ideal combination of "strength, heroic initiative and assertive excellence" and "loving, emotional devotion to his personal god Rama", as Shakti and Bhakti. In later literature, he has been the patron god of martial arts such as wrestling, acrobatics, as well as meditation and diligent scholarship. He symbolizes the human excellences of inner self-control, faith and service to a cause, hidden behind the first impressions of a being who looks like an Ape-Man Vanara.Hanuman is stated by scholars to be the inspiration for the allegory-filled adventures of a monkey hero in the Xiyouji (Journey to the West) – the great Chinese poetic novel influenced by the travels of Buddhist monk Xuanzang (602–664 CE) to India.Jatayu
In the Hindu epic Ramayana, Jatayu is the younger son of Aruṇa. His brother, Sampati, is a demi-god who has the form of a vulture and was an old friend of Dasharatha (Rama's father).Kishkindha
Kishkindha (Kannada: ಕಿಷ್ಕಿಂಧೆ Kishkindhe; IAST: Kiṣkindhā, Devanagari: किष्किन्धा) is the monkey (Vanara) kingdom of the Vanara King Sugriva, the younger brother of Vali, in the Indian theology of Ramayana times. This was the kingdom where he ruled with the assistance of his friend, Hanuman.
This kingdom is identified to be the regions around the Tungabhadra river (then known as Pampa Saras) near Hampi and belongs to Koppal district, Karnataka. The mountain near the river with the name Rishimukha where Sugriva lived with Hanuman, during the period of his exile also is found with the same name.
During the time of Ramayana, i.e., Treta Yuga, the whole region was within the dense forest called Dandaka Forest extending from Vindhya range to the South Indian peninsula. Hence this kingdom was considered to be the kingdom of Vanaras which in Sanskrit means "apes" or "forest-humans"(Van+Nar). During Dwapara Yuga, the Pandava Sahadeva was said to visit this kingdom, as per the epic Mahabharata, during his southern military campaign to collect tribute for Yudhishthira's Rajasuya sacrifice.Kusha (Ramayana)
Kusha or Kusa (Sanskrit: कुश) and his twin brother Lava were the children of Rama and Sita. Their story is recounted in the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. Hindu traditions claim he ruled the entire region of Kashmir, Indus River and Hindu Kush as frontier lands of India known as Hindu Kush Kshetra and founded the city of Kashmir in the valley and Kasur with Lavapuri of lava in base lands, though local lore contends Kasur was founded in 1525 by Pashtun migrants. His brother Lava is traditionally believed to have founded Lavapuri (current day city of Lahore).
The imperial line that ruled Kingdom of Benares-Kashi and the Maurya Empire, which ruled South Asia from 320-185 BCE, claimed descent from Kusha. Kusha is said to be a Raghuvanshi Ikshvaku Suryavanshi.Lakshmana
Lakshmana (Sanskrit: लक्ष्मण, IAST: lakṣmaṇa, lit. he who has the signs of fortune), also spelled as Laxman or Lakhan, is the younger brother of Rama and his aide in the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. He is also known by other names- Saumitra (Sanskrit: सौमित्र, IAST: saumitra, lit. son of Sumitra), Ramanuja (Sanskrit: रामानुज, IAST: rāmānuja, lit. younger brother of Rama) and Bharatanuja (Sanskrit: भरतानुज, IAST: bharatānuja, lit. younger brother of Bharata) or Laxman.
Lakshmana is the twin brother of Shatrughna. According to the Valmiki Ramayana, Lakshmana is one quarter (25%) component of the manifestation of Lord Vishnu and is considered to be an avatar of Vishnu. However some puranas of later times regard him as the avatar of Shesha, the thousand-headed serpent associated with Lord Vishnu, the supreme deity in Hinduism.Lanka
Lanka () is the traditional name given to the main island of Sri Lanka meaning "island"; the honorific "Sri" is added to the term in the official name of Sri Lanka. It is widely known in the Hindu communities of India as the name given in the ancient epics of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.Lava (Ramayana)
Lava (Sanskrit: लव) and his twin brother Kusa, were the children of Rama and Sita. Their story is recounted in the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. Lava was younger of the two and is said to have a wheatish golden complexion like their mother, while Kusha had a blackish complexion like their father.
Lava is purported to have founded Lavapuri
(the modern day city of Lahore),
which is named after him. The Sikarwar Rajputs, the Lohana, Awadhiya and Leva Patidar are present-day Indo-Aryan ethnic groups who claim their descent from Lava. Lava belongs to the Ikshvaku clan or Suryavansha Dynasty of Kshatriyas in ancient India.Rama
Rama or Ram (; Sanskrit: राम, IAST: Rāma), also known as Ramachandra, is a major deity of Hinduism. He is the seventh avatar of the god Vishnu, one of his most popular incarnations along with Krishna and Gautama Buddha. In Rama-centric traditions of Hinduism, he is considered the Supreme Being.Rama was born to Kaushalya and Dasharatha in Ayodhya, the ruler of the Kingdom of Kosala. His siblings included Lakshmana, Bharata, and Shatrughna. He married Sita. Though born in a royal family, their life is described in the Hindu texts as one challenged by unexpected changes such as an exile into impoverished and difficult circumstances, ethical questions and moral dilemmas. Of all their travails, the most notable is the kidnapping of Sita by demon-king Ravana, followed by the determined and epic efforts of Rama and Lakshmana to gain her freedom and destroy the evil Ravana against great odds. The entire life story of Rama, Sita and their companions allegorically discusses duties, rights and social responsibilities of an individual. It illustrates dharma and dharmic living through model characters.Rama is especially important to Vaishnavism. He is the central figure of the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana, a text historically popular in the South Asian and Southeast Asian cultures. His ancient legends have attracted bhasya (commentaries) and extensive secondary literature and inspired performance arts. Two such texts, for example, are the Adhyatma Ramayana – a spiritual and theological treatise considered foundational by Ramanandi monasteries, and the Ramcharitmanas – a popular treatise that inspires thousands of Ramlila festival performances during autumn every year in India.Rama legends are also found in the texts of Jainism and Buddhism, though he is sometimes called Pauma or Padma in these texts, and their details vary significantly from the Hindu versions.Rama Navami
Rama Navami (Devanagari: राम नवमी; IAST: Rāma navamī) is a spring Hindu festival that celebrates the birthday of lord Rama.
He is particularly important to the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism, as the seventh avatar of Vishnu. The festival celebrates the descent of god Vishnu as Rama avatar, through his birth to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya in Ayodhya. The festival is a part of the spring Navratri, and falls on the ninth day of the bright half (Shukla Paksha) in the Hindu calendar month of Chaitra. This typically occurs in the Gregorian months of March or April every year. Rama Navami is an optional government holiday in India.The day is marked by Rama Katha recitals, or reading of Rama stories. Ramayana and Mahabharata are considered Itihasa by Indian traditions. Some Vaishnava Hindus visit a temple, others pray within their home, and some participate in a bhajan or kirtan with music as a part of puja and aarti. Some devotees mark the event by taking miniature statues of the infant Rama, washing it and clothing it, then placing it in a cradle. Charitable events and community meals are also organized. The festival is an occasion for moral reflection for many Hindus. Some mark this day by vrata (fasting).The important celebrations on this day take place at Ayodhya and Sita Samahit Sthal (Uttar Pradesh), Sitamarhi (Bihar), Janakpurdham (Nepal), Bhadrachalam (Telangana), Kodandarama Temple, Vontimitta (Andhra Pradesh) and Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu). Rathayatras, the chariot processions, also known as Shobha yatras of Rama, Sita, his brother Lakshmana and Hanuman, are taken out at several places. In Ayodhya, many take a dip in the sacred river Sarayu and then visit the Rama temple.Ramlila
Ramlila (Rāmlīlā) (literally 'Rama’s lila or play') is any dramatic folk re-enactment of the life of Rama according to the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana or secondary literature based on it such as the Ramcharitmanas. It particularly refers to the thousands of Hindu god Rama-related dramatic plays and dance events, that are staged during the annual autumn festival of Navratri in India. After the enactment of the legendary war between Good and Evil, the Ramlila celebrations climax in the Dussehra (Dasara, Vijayadashami) night festivities where the giant grotesque effigies of Evil such as of demon Ravana are burnt, typically with fireworks.Rama is the seventh avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu and the central figure of the Ramayana, a Sanskrit epic that integrates performance arts with stories driven by ethical values. The epic text is dated to 1st millennium BCE, and Ramlila is an adaptation of those stories. Most Ramlilas in North India are based on the 16th century secondary work on Ramayana, Ramcharitmanas a verse form composition in the regional vernacular language (Hindi), by Tulsidas. These verses are used as dialogues in traditional adaptations. Open-air productions are staged by local Ramlila committees (Samitis), and funded entirely by the villagers or local neighborhoods in urban areas. The core team of performance artists train for the dance-drama, but the actual performance attracts impromptu participants from the audience and villagers. This art form is a part of the Hindu culture, found for many gods and goddesses, but those of Rama, Durga (as Durga Puja) and Krishna (as Rasa lila) are the most popular and annual events in the Indian subcontinent.The Ramlila festivities were declared by UNESCO as one of the "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" in 2008. Ramlila is particularly notable in historically important Hindu cities of Ayodhya, Varanasi, Vrindavan, Almora, Satna and Madhubani – cities in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. The epic and its dramatic play migrated into southeast Asia in the 1st millennium CE, and Ramayana based Ramlila is a part of performance arts culture of Indonesia particularly the Hindu society of Bali, Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand. In the 19th and 20th centuries, with the movement of Asian diaspora into European colonies as indentured servants, the cultural celebration of Ramlila is now found in many parts of the world.Ravana
Ravana (IAST: Rāvaṇa; ;) is described in the Hindu epic Ramayana as the demon king of Lanka.Ravana is described as having been as a follower of Shiva, a great scholar, a capable ruler and a maestro of the Veena, but someone who wished to overpower the Devas. His ten heads represent his knowledge of the six shastras and the four Vedas. In the Ramayana, Ravana kidnaps Rama's wife Sita to exact vengeance on Rama and his brother Lakshmana for having cut off the nose of his sister Shurpanakha.
Ravana is worshiped by Hindus of Bisrakh, who claim their town to be his birthplace. He is considered to be the most revered devotee of Shiva. Images of Ravana are seen associated with Shiva at some places. He also appears in Buddhist Mahayana text Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, and Buddhist Ramayanas and Jatakas, as well as in Jain Ramayanas.Saptakanda Ramayana
Saptakanda Ramayana is the 14th-15th century Assamese version of the Ramayana attributed to the famous assamese poet Madhava Kandali. It is considered to be the first translation from the Sanskrit into a modern regional Indo-Aryan language, preceded only by Kambar's translation into Tamil. The work is also considered one of the earliest written examples of Assamese.
A particular feature of this work is the non-heroic portrayal of Rama, Sita, and other characters, as explicitly stated by Madhav Kandali himself, which rendered the work unsuitable for religious purposes. This feature disturbed a later poet, Ananta Kandali, who was moved enough to comment on it. The first (Adikanda) and last (Uttarakanda) cantos of Madhava Kandali's work were lost, and were later inserted by Madhavdeva and Sankardeva respectively in the 16th century. The poem has been translated into English.Shravan
Shravan (Sanskrit: श्रवण; Kannada: ಶ್ರವಣಕುಮಾರ; also known as Shravan Kumar (Sanskrit: श्रवणकुमार) or Shrobon in Bengali) is a mythological character whose short life is depicted in Ramayana, an ancient Sanskrit epic.Sita
Sita (pronounced [ˈsiː t̪aː] listen , Sanskrit: सीता, IAST: Sītā) or Seeta, is the consort of Lord Rama (incarnation of Vishnu and Krishna) and an avatar of Sri Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess that denotes good character, good fortune, prosperity, success, and happiness. She is esteemed as the paragon of spousal and feminine virtues for all women.Sita is the central female character and one of the central figures in the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. She is described as the daughter of the earth goddess, Bhūmi and the adopted daughter of King Janaka of Videha and his wife, Queen Sunaina. She has a younger sister, Urmila, and the female cousins Mandavi and Shrutakirti. Sita is known for her dedication, self-sacrifice, courage and purity.
Sita, in her youth, marries Lord Rama, the prince of Ayodhya. After marriage, she goes to exile with her husband and brother-in-law Lakshmana. While in exile, the trio settle in the Dandaka forest from where she is abducted by Ravana, the Rakshasa king of Lanka. She is imprisoned in Ashoka Vatika in Lanka until she is rescued by Rama, who slays her captor. After the war, Rama asks Sita to undergo Agni Pariksha (an ordeal of fire) by which she proves her purity before she is accepted by Rama, which for the first time makes his brother Lakshmana get angry at him.
In some versions of the epic, the fire-god Agni creates Maya Sita, who takes Sita's place and is abducted by Ravana and suffers his captivity, while the real Sita hides in the fire. During the Agni Pariksha, Maya Sita and the real Sita exchange places again. While some texts say that Maya Sita is destroyed in the flames of Agni Pariksha, others narrate how she is blessed and reborn as the epic heroine Draupadi or the goddess Padmavati. Some scriptures also mention her previous birth being Vedavati, a woman Ravana tries to molest. After proving her purity, Rama and Sita return to Ayodhya, where they are crowned as king and queen. After few months, Sita becomes pregnant, a washerman makes insensitive comments on Sita to his wife, which Rama in disguise hears. Rama then sends Sita away on exile. Lakshmana is the one who leaves Sita in the forests near sage Valmiki's ashram . Years later, Sita returns to the womb of her mother, the Earth, for release from a cruel world as a testimony of her purity after she reunites her two sons Kusha and Lava with their father Rama.Vali (Ramayana)
In the Hindu epic Ramayana, vanara Vali (Bali) was king of Kishkindha, husband of Taara, son of Indra, biological son of Vriksharaja and Elder brother of Sugriva and father of Angada. He was killed by Lord Rama, an Avatar of Lord Vishnu. Vali was invincible during Treta Yuga. Vali defeated some of the greatest warriors like Ravana and Meghanada. Even Lord Rama & Lord Hanuman couldn't fight against Vali because Vali was blessed that when he will fight with someone he would take 50% of the opponent's strength thus any body would lose their half of strength & Vali goes upper hand with opponent's half strength & his own power & could defeat any one.
In Hare Krishna belief-system, Vali was reincarnated as Jara (the hunter) who killed Krishna with an arrow tipped with a shard of iron from a club borne by Samba(Krishna's son by Jambavati).
Vali (Sanskrit: वाली, nominative singular of the root वालिन् (Valin) is also known as Bali in several Indian languages. His other names include:
Northern Thai: Bari
Valmiki (; Sanskrit: वाल्मीकि, Vālmīki) is celebrated as the harbinger-poet in Sanskrit literature. The epic Ramayana, dated variously from 5th century BCE to first century BCE, is attributed to him, based on the attribution in the text itself. He is revered as Ādi Kavi, the first poet, author of Ramayana, the first epic poem.
Ramayana, originally written by Valmiki, consists of 24,000 shlokas and 7 cantos (kaṇḍas) including Uttara Kanda. Ramayana is composed of about 480,002 words, being a quarter of the length of the full text of the Mahabharata or about four times the length of the Iliad. The Ramayana tells the story of a prince, Rama of the city of Ayodhya in the Kingdom of Kosala, whose wife Sita is abducted by Ravana, the demon-king (Rakshasa) of Lanka. The Valmiki Ramayana is dated variously from 500 BCE to 100 BCE or about co-eval with early versions of the Mahabharata. As with many traditional epics, it has gone through a process of interpolations and redactions, making it impossible to date accurately.
British satirist Aubrey Menen says that Valmiki was, "recognized as a literary genius," and thus was considered, "an outlaw," presumably because of his, "philosophic scepticism," as part of an "Indian Enlightenment" period. Valmiki is also quoted to be the contemporary of Rama. Menen claims Valmiki is, "the first author in all history to bring himself into his own composition." Rama met Valmiki during his period of exile and interacted with him. Valmiki gave shelter to Sita in his hermitage when Rama banished her. Kusha and Lava, the twin sons of Shri Rama were born to Sita in this hermitage. Valmiki taught Ramayana to Kusha and Lava, who later sang the divine story in Ayodhya during the Ashwamedha yajna congregation, to the pleasure of the audience, whereupon, King Rama questioned who they were and later visited Valmiki's hermitage to confirm if Sita, the two children claimed as their mother was in fact his wife in exile. Later, he summoned them to his royal palace. Kusha and Lava sang the story of Rama there and Rama confirmed that whatever had been sung by these two children was entirely true.Vishvamitra
Brahmarshi Vishvamitra (viśvā-mitra) is one of the most venerated rishis or sages of ancient India. He is also credited as the author of most of Mandala 3 of the Rigveda, including Gayatri Mantra. The Puranas mention that only 24 rishis since antiquity have understood the whole meaning of—and thus wielded the whole power of—Gayatri Mantra. Vishvamitra is supposed to be the first, and Yajnavalkya the last.
The story of Vishvamitra is narrated in the Balakanda of Valmiki Ramayana. Mahabharata adds that Vishvamitra's relationship with Menaka resulted in a daughter, Shakuntala, whose story is narrated in Adi Parva of Mahabharata.
Vishvamitra was a king in ancient India, also called Kaushika (descendant of Kusha) and belonged to Amavasu Dynasty. Vishwamitra was originally the Chandravanshi (Somavanshi) King of Kanyakubja. He was a valiant warrior and the great-grandson of a great king named Kusha. Valmiki Ramayana, prose 51 of Bala Kanda, starts with the story of Vishvamitra:
There was a king named Kusha (not to be confused with Kusha, son of Rama), a brainchild of Brahma and Kusha's son was the powerful and verily righteous Kushanabha. One who is highly renowned by the name Gaadhi was the son of Kushanabha and Gaadhi's son is this great-saint of great resplendence, Vishvamitra. Vishvamitra ruled the earth and this great-resplendent king ruled the kingdom for many thousands of years.
His story also appears in various Puranas; however, with variations from Ramayana. Vishnu Purana and Harivamsha chapter 27 (dynasty of Amaavasu) of Mahabharata narrates the birth of Vishvamitra. According to Vishnu Purana, Kushanabha married a damsel of Purukutsa dynasty (later called as Shatamarshana lineage - descendents of the Ikshvaku king Trasadasyu) and had a son by name Gaadhi, who had a daughter named Satyavati (not to be confused with the Satyavati of Mahabharata).
Satyavati was married to an old man known as Ruchika who was foremost among the race of Bhrigu. Ruchika desired a son having the qualities of a good person and so he gave Satyavati a sacrificial offering (charu) which he had prepared to achieve this objective. He also gave Satyavati's mother another charu to make her conceive a son with the character of a Kshatriya at her request. But Satyavati's mother privately asked Satyavati to exchange her charu with her. This resulted in Satyavati's mother giving birth to Vishvamitra, and Satyavati gave birth to Jamadagni, father of Parashurama, a person with qualities of a warriorYoga Vasistha
Yoga Vasistha (Sanskrit: योग-वासिष्ठ, IAST: Yoga-Vāsiṣṭha) is a philosophical text attributed to Valmiki, although the real author is unknown. The complete text contains over 29,000 verses. The short version of the text is called Laghu Yogavasistha and contains 6,000 verses. The exact century of its completion is unknown, but has been estimated to be somewhere between 6th-century to as late as 14th-century, but it is likely that a version of the text existed in the 1st millennium.The text is named after sage Vasistha who is mentioned and revered in the seventh book of the Rigveda, and who was called as the first sage of the Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy by Adi Shankara. The text is structured as a discourse of sage Vasistha to Prince Rama. The text consists of six books. The first book presents Rama's frustration with the nature of life, human suffering and disdain for the world. The second describes, through the character of Rama, the desire for liberation and the nature of those who seek such liberation. The third and fourth books assert that liberation comes through a spiritual life, one that requires self-effort, and present cosmology and metaphysical theories of existence embedded in stories. These two books are known for emphasizing free will and human creative power. The fifth book discusses meditation and its powers in liberating the individual, while the last book describes the state of an enlightened and blissful Rama.Yoga Vasistha teachings are structured as stories and fables, with a philosophical foundation similar to those found in Advaita Vedanta, is particularly associated with drsti-srsti subschool of Advaita which holds that the "whole world of things is the object of mind". The text is notable for expounding the principles of Maya and Brahman, as well as the principles of non-duality, and its discussion of Yoga. The short form of the text was translated into Persian by the 15th-century.Yoga Vasistha is famous as one of the historically popular and influential texts of Hinduism. Other names of this text are Maha-Ramayana, Arsha Ramayana, Vasiṣṭha Ramayana, Yogavasistha-Ramayana and Jnanavasistha.
Ramayana by Valmiki
|Seven Books (Kandas)|
and inspired works