Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ramayana History In Variant Versions

Lord Hanuman is well known for his extreme devotion to Lord Rama. Lord Hanuman is always depicted in the Indian folklaire as an icon of true devotion and a symbol of the power of true devotion and chastity.
Lord Hanuman's devotion to Lord Rama is symbolic of the devotion of the enlightened individual soul towards the supreme soul.
Many stories from the Indian literature tell the tales of Lord Hanuman protecting devotees of Lord Rama and helping those who seek his either spiritually or otherwise. Swami Tulasidas has written these lines in respect of Lord Hanuman's great character, in praise of his powers and also devotion.




Ramayana History In Variant Versions:


The Rāmāyaṇa ( Devanāgarī: रामायण) is an ancient Sanskrit epic attributed to the poet Valmiki and is an important part of the Hindu canon ( smṛti). The name Rāmāyaṇa is a tatpurusha compound of Rāma and ayana "going, advancing", translating to "the travels of Rāma". The Rāmāyaṇa consists of 24,000 verses in seven cantos (kāṇḍas) and tells the story of a prince, Rama of Ayodhya, whose wife Sita is abducted by the demon ( Rākshasa) king of Lanka, Rāvana. In its current form, the Valmiki Ramayana is dated variously from 500 BC to 100 BC, or about co-eval to early versions of the Mahabhārata. As with most traditional epics, since it has gone through a long process of interpolations and redactions, it is impossible to date it accurately. The Rāmāyana had an important influence on later Sanskrit poetry, primarily through its establishment of the Sloka meter. But, like its epic cousin Mahābhārata, the Rāmāyana 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, Hanumān and Rāvana (the villain of the piece) are all fundamental to the cultural consciousness of India.
One of the most important literary works on ancient India, the Ramayana has had a profound impact on art and culture in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The story of Rama also inspired a large amount of later-day literature in various languages, notable among which are the works of the sixteenth century Hindi poet Tulsidas and the Tamil poet Kambar of the 13th century.
The Ramayana is not just a Hindu religious tale. Starting from the 8th century, the colonisation of Southeast Asia by Indians began. Several large empires like the Khmers, the Majapahits, the Sailendras, the Champas and Sri Vijaya were established. Because of this, the Ramayana became popular in Southeast Asia and manifested itself in text, temple architecture and performance, particularly in Indonesia ( Java, Sumatra, Bali and Borneo), Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines and Vietnam.
Structure of Valmiki Ramayana





Hanuman Jyanti

Hanuman Chalisa In English

Hanuman Chalisa In Hindi


Bajrang Baan - Most Powerful Mantra

Sankat Mochan Hanuman Aashtak





Valmiki's Ramayana, the oldest and most widely read version of Ramayana is the basis of all the various version of Ramayana that are prevalent in the various cultures. The text survives in numerous complete and partial manuscripts, the oldest surviving of which is dated from the eleventh century AD. The current text of Valmiki Ramayana has come down to us in two regional versions from the north and the south of India. Valmiki Ramayana has been traditionally divided into seven books, dealing with the life of Rama from his birth to his death.
Bala Kanda – Book of the young Rama which details the miraculous birth of Rama, his early life in Ayodhya, his slaying of the demons of the forest at the request of Vishvamitra and his wedding with Sita.
Ayodhya Kanda – Book of Ayodhya in which Dasharatha comes to grief over his promise to Kaikeyi and the start of Rama's exile.
Aranya Kanda – Book of the Forest which describes Rama's life in the forest and the abduction of Sita by Ravana.
Kishkindya Kanda – Book of Kishkinda, the Vanara kingdom in which Rama befriends Sugriva and the Vanara army and begins the search for Sita.
Sundara Kanda – Book of Sundara ( Hanuman) in which Hanuman travels to Lanka and finds Sita imprisoned there and brings back the good news to Rama.
Yuddha Kanda – Book of the War, which narrates the Rama-Ravana war and the return of the successful Rama to Ayodhya and his coronation.
Uttara Kanda – Epilogue, which details the life of Rama and Sita after their return to Ayodhya, Sita's banishment and how Sita and Rama pass on to the next world.
There have been speculations on whether the first and the last chapters of Valmiki's Ramayana were indeed written by the original author. Many experts are of the opinion that they are integral part of the book in spite of the many differences in style and some contradictions in content between these two chapters and the rest of the book. These two chapters contain most of the mythological interpolations found in the Ramayana, such as the miraculous birth of Rama and his divine nature as well as the numerous legends surrounding Ravana.
Main characters

Sculpture of Hanuman carrying the Dronagiri mountain, sculpted in Terra cotta
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Sculpture of Hanuman carrying the Dronagiri mountain, sculpted in Terra cotta
Rama is the hero of this epic tale. He is portrayed as an incarnation of the god Vishnu. He is the eldest and the favorite son of the King of Ayodhya, Dasharatha. He is a popular prince loved by one and all. He is the epitome of virtue. Dasaratha, forced by one of his wives Kaikeyi commands Rama to relinquish his right to the throne for fourteen years and go into exile by his father. While in exile, Rama kills the demon king Ravana.
Sita is the wife of Rama and the daughter of king Janaka. Sita is the epitome of womanly purity and virtue. She follows her husband into exile and there gets abducted by Ravana. She is imprisoned in the island of Lanka by Ravana. Rama rescues her by defeating the demon king Ravana.
Hanuman is a vanara belonging to the kingdom of Kishkinda. He worships Rama and helps find Sita by going to the kingdom of Lanka crossing the great ocean.
Lakshmana, the younger brother of Rama, chose to go into exile with him. He spends his time protecting Sita and Rama. He is deceived by Ravana and Maricha into believing that Rama was in trouble while Sita gets abducted.
Ravana, a rakshasa, is the king of Lanka. He received a boon from Brahma that he will not be killed by either gods, demons or by spirits, after performing a severe penance for ten thousand years. He was also the most intelligent and erudite living being of his time. He has ten heads and twenty arms. After getting his reward from Brahma, Ravana begins to lay waste the earth and disturbs the deeds of good Brahmins. Rama is born a human to defeat him, thus overcoming the boon given by Brahma.
Dasharatha is the king of Ayodhya 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 heir apparent and send Rama into exile. Dashatara dies heartbroken after Rama goes into exile.
Bharata is the second son of Dasharata. When he learns that his mother Kaikeyi had forced Rama into exile and caused Dasharata to die broken hearted, he storms out of the palace and goes in search of Rama. When Rama refuses to break his exile to return to the capital to assume the throne, he requests and gets Rama's sandals and places them on the throne. Bharata then rules Ayodhya as a representative of Rama.

Vishvamitra is the sage who takes Rama into the forest at the behest of defeating the demons destroying his Vedic sacrifices. On the way back he takes Rama into Mithila where Rama sees and falls in love with Sita.

Ramayana History In Variant Versions

Lord Hanuman is well known for his extreme devotion to Lord Rama. Lord Hanuman is always depicted in the Indian folklaire as an icon of true devotion and a symbol of the power of true devotion and chastity.
Lord Hanuman's devotion to Lord Rama is symbolic of the devotion of the enlightened individual soul towards the supreme soul.
Many stories from the Indian literature tell the tales of Lord Hanuman protecting devotees of Lord Rama and helping those who seek his either spiritually or otherwise. Swami Tulasidas has written these lines in respect of Lord Hanuman's great character, in praise of his powers and also devotion.




Ramayana History In 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 Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam and Maldives. Father Kamil Bulke, author of Ramakatha, has identified over 300 variants of Ramayana.

In India[edit]
The 7th century CE "bhatti's poem" Bhaṭṭikāvya of Bhaṭṭi is a Sanskrit retelling of the epic that simultaneously illustrates the grammatical examples for Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī 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 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 the 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-krta Ramayana. Gujarati poet Premanand wrote a version of Ramayana in the 17th century. Other versions include Krittivasi Ramayan, a Bengali version by Krittibas Ojha in the 15th century; the Vilanka Ramayana by the 15th century poet Sarala Dasa[8] and the Dandi Ramayana (also known as Jagamohana Ramayana) by the 16th century poet Balarama Dasa both in Odia; a Torave Ramayana in Kannada by the 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 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, 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 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.

Mappillapattu—a genre of song popular among the Muslims belonging to Kerala and Lakshadweep—has incorporated some episodes from the Ramayana into 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.




Hanuman Jyanti

Hanuman Chalisa In English

Hanuman Chalisa In Hindi


Bajrang Baan - Most Powerful Mantra

Sankat Mochan Hanuman Aashtak





Buddhist version[edit]
In the Buddhist variant of Rāmāyaṇa (Dasarathajātaka, #467), Dasaratha was the king of Benares and not Ayodhya. Rāma [called Rāmapaṇḍita in this version] was son of Kausalya, first wife of Dasaratha, Lakṣmaṇa [Lakkhaṇa] was sibling of Rama and son of Sumitra second wife of Dasaratha, and Sita wife of Rama. To protect his children from his wife Kaikayi, who wished to promote her son Bharata, Dasaratha sent the three to a hermitage in the Himalayas for a twelve-year exile. After nine years, Dasaratha 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.

In the explanatory commentary on the Jātaka, Rāmapaṇḍita is said to have been a previous incarnation of the Buddha and Sītā an incarnation of Yasodharā.

Sikh version[edit]
In Guru Granth Sahib, there is description of two types of Ramayana. One is spiritual Ramayana which is actual subject of Guru Granth Sahib, in which Ravan is ego, Seeta is budhi (intellect), Rama is inner soul and Laxman is mann (attention, mind). Guru Granth Sahib also believes in existence of dasavtara who were kings of their times which tried their best to bring revolution in the world. King Ramchandra was one of those and it is not covered in Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Granth Sahib states:

ਹੁਕਮਿ ਉਪਾਏ ਦਸ ਅਉਤਾਰਾ॥
हुकमि उपाए दस अउतारा॥
By hukam (supreme command), he created his ten incarnations,
This version of Ramayana was written by Guru Gobind Singh, which is part of Dasam Granth. In dasam granth, Guru Gobind Singh also explained that he does not believe Ramchandra as a God. He is equating Ramchandra with a common man.

He also said that the almighty, invisible, all prevailing God created so many of Indras, Moons and Suns, Deities, Demons and sages, so many saints and Brahmanas (enlightened people). But they too were caught in the noose of death (KAAL) (Transmigration of the soul). This is very well same to as explained in Geeta which is part of Mahabharata.

Jain version[edit]
Main articles: Rama in Jainism and Salakapurusa
Jain versions of Ramayana can be found in the various Jain agamas like 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 class of mighty brothers, who appear nine times in each half time cycle and jointly rule the half the earth as half-chakravartins. Jaini traces the origin of this list of brothers to the jinacharitra (lives of the jinas) by Acharya Bhadrabahu (3–4th century BCE).

In the Jain epic of Ramayana, it is Lakshmana who ultimately kills Ravana and not Rama as told in the Hindu version. 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 became 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 Jain version, Rama had four chief-queen's: 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 fourth hell, will attain liberation in their future births. Accordingly, Ravana is the future tirthankara of next half ascending time cycle and Sita will be his Ganadhara.

In Nepal[edit]
Besides being the site of discovery of the oldest surviving manuscript of 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 renaissance of that language.

The 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'.

Southeast Asian versions[edit]

Hanuman discovers Sita in her captivity in Lanka, as depicted in Balinese dance.

Lakshmana, Rama and Sita during their exile in Dandaka Forest depicted in Javanese dance.
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 Malaysia,[9][10] 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.


The Thai retelling of the tale—the Ramakien—is popularly expressed in traditional regional dance theatre.

Rama (Yama) and Sita (me thida) in Yama Zatdaw, the Burmese version of the Ramayana.
The Cambodian version of Ramayana, the Reamker, is the most famous story of Khmer literature since the Kingdom of Funan era. It adapts the Hindu concepts to Buddhist themes and show's 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, theater 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.

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). Vibhisana (phiphek), the astrologer brother of Ravana, predicts calamity from the horoscope of Sita. Ravana has her thrown into the water, but is later rescued by Janaka (chanok). 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 Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok.

Other Southeast Asian adaptations include Kakawin Ramayana of Java, Ramakavaca of Bali (Indonesia), Maharadia Lawana and Darangen of the Moro Muslims of Mindanao (Philippines) and the Yama Zatdaw of Myanmar.

Influence on culture and art[edit]

A Ramlila actor wears the traditional attire of Ravana.
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 the Kambaramayanam by the Tamil poet Kambar of the 12th century, the 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.

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.

The 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 72 x 453 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.