The Ramayana is an old Sanskrit epic that chronicles Prince Rama’s journey to save his beloved wife, Sita, from Ravana’s grasp with the aid of a monkey army. It is typically dated between 500 BCE and 100 BCE and given the authorship to the sage Valmiki.
The epic, which has 24,000 words and is divided into seven cantos, contains the wisdom of extremely old Hindu gurus. One of ancient India’s most significant literary works, it has had a substantial impact on art and culture in South East Asia and the Indian subcontinent, with early versions of the story also found in the Buddhist canon.
Some of India’s best writers have repeatedly recreated the Ramayana in dramatic and poetic form and in narrative sculptures on temple walls. It is reenacted in dance dramas, village theater, shadow puppet theater, and the yearly Ram-lila. It is one of the mainstays of later dramatic traditions.
The original five books of an oral epic with regional significance in the north, which dealt with a hero’s exile, the kidnapping of his wife by a rival king, and her rescue, were combined into seven books known as kandas, in which the protagonist Rama was transformed into an avatar of the god Vishnu, the setting was expanded to include all of India, and the struggle to reclaim his wife was used as a parable for the ultimate victory of the just.
Personas From The Ramayana
The protagonist of the Ramayana story and a manifestation of the god Vishnu is Rama. He is a good prince who is adored by the populace. He is Dasaratha’s favorite and oldest son, the King of Ayodhya. Due to the planning of his stepmother Kaikeyi, he is banished from Ayodhya.
Sita is the wife of Rama and the Mithila king Janaka’s daughter. The ideal of a woman’s chastity and purity is Sita.
Rama’s younger brother is Laksmana. He chooses to accompany Rama and Sita when exiled from Ayodhya since he is wholly devoted to Rama.
The monarch of Lanka, Ravana, had 20 arms and ten heads. During a hard penance of 10,000 years, he acquired a blessing from the God Brahma that gods, demons, or spirits could not slay him. After Ravana received his gift from Brahma, he immediately set about destroying the planet and upsetting the good actions of the Hindu elders. Vishnu takes the form of a human Rama and is aided by an army of monkeys and bears to overpower him and avoid the blessing that Brahma bestowed upon him.
Rama’s father, Dasaratha, was the ruler of Ayodhya.
Rama’s mother, Kausalya, was Dasaratha’s first wife.
Kaikeyi is Rama’s stepmother and Dasaratha’s wife. She requests that Rama be exiled to the forest and that Bharata be given the throne in his place.
Dasaratha’s second child is Bharata. He bursts out of the palace and sets out in pursuit of Rama after learning that his mother, Kaikeyi, had forced Rama into exile, resulting in Dasaratha’s death from heartbreak. Rama’s sandals are placed on the throne as a sign that Rama is the rightful ruler after Rama declines to return from exile to take the throne.
Lakshmana and Satrughna’s mother, Sumitra, is Dasharatha’s wife.
The sage and cunning monkey known as Hanuman aids Rama in his mission to defeat Ravana and save Sita.
The monarch of the monkey kingdom is Sugriva. His brother Bali usurped his throne, but Rama aids him in removing the intruder in exchange for his help locating Sita.
The Ramayana’s Major Story
Dasaratha was the monarch of the former Kosala empire, which had Ayodhya as its capital. Dasaratha had three wives, yet he was disappointed that he had no offspring. He performed a rite on the priest Vahishtha’s advice and received four sons from his three wives.
By his wife Kaushlaya, King Dasaratha has one son, Rama, who is the oldest. Dasaratha very much loves Rama, and he wants Rama to succeed him as king.
Another of King Dasaratha’s wives, Kaikei, felt frightened since she preferred her son Bharata to succeed. She, therefore, devised a scheme to cast Rama into a fourteen-year exile in the dangerous jungle so that Bharata might rule as king.
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When Rama was exiled, Sita and Lakshmana, Rama’s sister and wife, insisted on traveling with him. Thus, in quest of a spot to make their home, they ventured into the forest together. Not long after they left, King Dasaratha died in despair.
When Bharatha learned what his mother had done to bring about his father’s death and Rama’s exile, he became furious.
Then he pursued Rama and begged him to return, but Rama was adamant about keeping his promise to spend the remaining fourteen years in exile. Rama gave Bharata his sandals to serve as a symbol of him when Bharatha ruled as king till Rama’s return.
Assault By The Sister Of Ravana
The sister of Ravana, Surpanakha, saw Rama at some point while they were being exiled in the wilderness and fell in love with him because of his attractive appearance. Rama, who adores Sita dearly, politely turned down her attempts.
She then turned and approached Lakshmana, who rudely sent her away. She attacked Sita in a rage. Lakshmana hacked off Surphanakha’s nose while defending Sita.
Surphanakha became enraged and turned to her brothers for retaliation. She turned to Ravana for assistance after her brothers Khara and Dushana were vanquished.
Ravana Kidnaps Sita.
Sita was the most beautiful woman in the world, and when Ravana learned what had happened to Surphanakha and her, he was determined to kidnap her. Then, while Rama was away chasing a stunning golden deer that was a demon in disguise, Sita was abducted.
Rama was able to find Sita with the aid of Hanuman. In a bloody battle, they overcame Ravana with the assistance of Lakshmana.
Sita’s Claim Of Innocence
Despite their victory against Ravana, Rama was hesitant to give Sita back because he was concerned about her purity. She attempted suicide by jumping into a fire to show Rama she was virginal, but the gods protected her, demonstrating her innocence.
After Rama’s fourteen-year exile was over, the three returned to Ayodhya. The populace gladly welcomed their return, and Rama was crowned King of Kosala and exercised rule for a very long time.
The Ramayana’s Significance In Indian Culture
Some have repeatedly told Rama’s story of India’s most significant writers in Sanskrit and local tongues because of the epic’s poetic stature and fantastic narrative.
It is a mainstay of court drama, dance dramas, and shadow puppet theaters, among other theatrical genres. The yearly Ram-lila, also known as the “Rama-play,” is presented in northern India during the October Dassehra festival to commemorate Rama and Sita and the victory of light over darkness.
A Different Ending
This cheerful conclusion is a standard part of the Ramayana story. Yet, some versions of the narrative say that Sita was exiled for refusing to undergo the fire test a second time because rumors about her innocence were circulating.