The most significant epic poem of India-Ramayana:
Ramayana is an epic poem of ancient India which is also famous as Ramayanam in Sanskrit. Ramayana is one of the oldest Sanskrit epics of India. The other one is Mahabharata. The great sage Valmiki wrote this epic poem which is classified into seven parts, and it holds about 96,000 verses.
The epic story of Ramayana
Lord Vishnu’s seventh avatar Ramchandra was born in the kingdom of Ayodhya. Avatar is a deity’s incarnation or physical appearance on earth. King Dasharatha was the ruler of Ayodhya and Rama was the first son of King Dasaratha and his first queen Kaushalya. Rama had three more siblings from three different queens named Lakshmana, Bharata, and Shatrughna. The mother of Bharata, Kaikeyi wanted him to become the next king of Ayodhya while Dasharatha wanted Rama to become the next king as the people of the kingdom loved him a lot. Queen Kaikeyi once saved his husband’s life in a war. That time King Dasharatha promised her that he would fulfil any two wishes of her. Queen expressed her unpropitious desires to her husband. She wanted Bharata to be the king of Ayodhya and also wished to send Rama in the forest for fourteen years.
Journey to Forest:
Rama with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana left Ayodhya for fourteen years, and Bharata became the King of Ayodhya. King Dasharatha couldn’t bear this pain, and he died. In the forest demon-king, Ravana fell in love with Sita and kidnapped her.
Rama with the help of Hanuman, the avatar of Lord Shiva, killed Ravana and returned to his kingdom after fourteen years and became the king.
The story of Ramayana
It discusses the social responsibilities, rights and duties of an individual. Rama is the central character of this epic poem. He is crucial for Vaishnavism which is one of the famous traditions of Hinduism. Vaishnavism or Vaishnava dharma believes that Lord Vishnu is the supreme power among all deities and Rama was the avatar of Lord Vishnu.
The division of Ramayana
Ramayana is divided into seven parts
- The first part is Balakand. The book is all about the childhood of Rama.
- The second part is Ayodhyakanda. This one is all about the Kingdom Ayodhya.
- The third one named Aranyakanda and it’s all about the forests.
- The name of the fourth book is Kishkindhakanda. Here the episode of Kishkindha is described when Rama encountered monkey king Baali.
- The fifth part is Sundarakanda which means beautiful.
- The sixth one is Yuddhakanda. It is the book of war.
- The seventh section of the book is Uttarakanda which is also the last part of Ramayana. This one is the book of after events.
The different meanings of Rama according to the Vedic literature
Rama has mainly two contextual meanings according to the Vedia literature. The first one is the dark colour or black. The dark colour is related to ratri. The definition of ratri is the night. This meaning of Rama described in the Atharvaveda. According to another Vedic text, the meaning of Rama is charming or beautiful or pleasing or lovely. This word also used as a suffix. The proof found in the Buddhist texts.
The name of Rama is also associated with two distinct patronymic names of different individuals, Aupatasvini and Margaveya. The name first appeared in the Vedic literature. This name is mainly associated with three different avatars of Lord Vishnu.
- The sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu was Parashu-Rama.
- The seventh avatar was Rama-chandra.
- Apart from that, the name of Lord Krishna’s brother was Bala-Rama. He is also recognized as Halayudha.
Additionally, in different Hindu texts and mythical stories, the name Rama arrived frequently. Upanishads are the significant layers of Vedic literature. The name of Rama also found in different Upanishads and post-Vedic pieces of writing.
Rama the avatar of Lord Vishnu also known as Ramachandra, Raghava and Dasarathi. Ramachandra represents the beauty of darkness or moon while Raghava represents solar dynasty which is mentioned in Hindu cosmology. Rama was the son of King Dasharath. So his name was also Dasharathi.
Apart from these three, he had various other names. For example, Ramavijaya, Phra Ram, Raja Bantugan, Ramar, Phreah Ream, and so on. It is recorded in the Vishnu Sahasranama that Lord Vishnu’s 394th name was Rama.
Some interesting facts about the most celebrated epic poem Ramayana
People have diverse opinions regarding the written timing of Ramayana. According to some legends, Rishi Valmiki wrote Ramayana near about 2,500 years ago, and according to others, written over 1,800 years ago. But everyone believes this old book was written before Mahabharata.
The characters of Ramayana are not only famous historically, but also they inspired multiple secondary literature and performance arts. Adhyatma Ramayana is an excellent example of that. This one is a spiritual treatise by Ramanandi monasteries. Apart from that, the treatise the Ramcharitmanas written by Prabhakar Nandi also inspired by Ramayana. Various performance arts encouraged by these exceptional creations. Every year on Dussehra, Ramlila performed in different places of India. Dussehra one of the most well-known festivals in India celebrated at the time of autumn, every year.
You’ll find the legends of Ramayana in the texts of Buddhism and Jainism. Rama mentioned as the Padma and Pauma in these books. The details of Lord Rama also differ from the Hindu tales.
In between the 9th and 10th century, a Tamil version of Ramayana written by Kamban. The name of the Tamil version of Ramayana was ramavataram. The meaning of ramavataram is the return of Rama. Tulsidas, a great saint and a poet, wrote Ramayana Hindi version in the 16th century. The name of the Hindi version of Ramayana Ramcharitmanas. This epic poem Ramayana translated into various other languages of the world. Its greatness has spread in numerous other countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and so on.
Ramayana teaches us we must take our responsibilities and never neglect our duties. It also shows the love between brothers and the bonding of a true family.