Religion & Spirituality

The Ramayana – India’s Most Beloved Epic Tale

indias-epic-ramayana

The Ramayana – An Indian Epic 

The Ramayana so Called Ramayan is undoubtedly one of the most timeless story from Indian epics. So Ramayana the epic Book is written by Valmiki. The Valmiki ramayana book is story about Ram and Sita with the demon king, Ravana. in This post we are Going to discuss about Ramayana Characters, Ramayana Book in Humam Value Contrast with Ramayana summary.

The true origins of the story are debated, but the authorship of the  Indian epic as we generally know it is assigned to the great sage Valmiki and is referred to as the Adi Kavya, or original epic. About the Valmiki Ramayana book, Swami Vivekananda has said: “No language can be purer, none chaster, none more beautiful, and at the same time simpler, than the language in which the great poet has depicted the life of Ram and sita.”

Valmiki :Who Wrote Ramayana the Epic

Universally acclaimed and accepted as the first among Sanskrit poets, Valmiki was the first to discover a metrical expression of epic dimension and vision to match the emotional ecstasy of the story of Rama and Seetha . According to a legend, Valmiki was a robber who one day met a hermit who transformed him into a virtuous being. Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom was believed to have assured the sage by standing at his side and guiding him to visualize the events of Ramayana and eulogize them with epic dignity and secular simplicity.

Ramayana Characters 

Rama

The son of King Dasaratha and Queen Kausalya, Rama is the prince of Ayodhya. He is an avatara of Vishnu, the Blue God and the sustainer of the world. Rama is also a virtuous, strong, and just man in his own right. He is married to Sita, whom he loves deeply, and has a strong bond with his brother Lakshmana as well.

Sita

Sita’s father, King Janak, found her lying in a furrow on sanctified ground and decided to raise her as his daughter. She marries Rama, and loves him so much that she follows him into exile. She is famed for her virtue and beauty, and is regarded as an avatara of the goddess Lakshmi, Vishnu’s consort.

Ravana

Ravana is a rakshasa who performed sadhana for the God Siva for many years, and in return received a great blessing from the God, he cannot be killed by any God, demon, or other divine being. His arrogance combined, with great intelligence and power, has led him to rule over much of the earth, spreading terrible evil everywhere he goes.

Lakshmana

Son of King Dasaratha, and brother of Rama. He is deeply devoted to his brother, whom he follows through many dangerous adventures and quests. He is married to Sita’s younger sister, Urmila.

King Dasaratha

King of Ayodhya, father of Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata, and Shatrughna. Of all his three sons, he loves Rama most deeply, and tries to shelter the boy from any danger. He is a good king: kind, just and well-liked by his people.

Viswamitra

Viswamitra is a great sage and wise man who was once a king. Through long meditation, he gained a number of magical powers. He takes Rama on a quest to defeat a demon and to lift the bow of Siva, the first step in the future king’s great journey.

Ganga

Ganga is a goddess, the daughter of Himavan. Because of her incomparable beauty, she was given to the Devas, and she became the Milky Way. Later, Siva brought her down to earth and she became the river Ganga.

Siva

Siva is part of the great trinity in Hinduism, along with Vishnu and Brahma. He is a great ascetic, and often sits in meditation. He is able to tame the power of other gods, devas, and supernatural beings, and he often grants blessings and wishes to those who sit in dedication meditation (‘tapasya’). His wife is Parvati.

Lava

Along with Kusha, one of the youths to whom Valmiki taught the Ramayana that he received from Narada. He is one of the sons of Rama, but he does not know this.

Kusha

Along with Lava, one of the youths to whom Valmiki taught the Ramayana that he received from Narada. He is one of the sons of Rama, but he does not know this.

Vasishta

Guru to King Dasaratha, he offers religious advice and human values to the king and the royal family.

Rishyaringa

A great rishi; he presides over the sacrifice that King Dasaratha offers in order to get a son. He is sometimes depicted as a combination of a deer and a man.

Taraka

A beautiful woman who was transformed into a demon (rakshasi) when she tried to seduce the rishi Agastya. As a demon, she drinks the blood of living creatures and kills anything she can see. In one of his first great acts, Rama breaks her curse by slaying her.

Kaikeyi

The third and youngest wife of King Dasaratha, and mother of Bharata. She is famed for her beauty. After she saved the life of Dasaratha in battle, he offered to grant anything she would ask of him. She later calls in this favor to have Bharata crowned king and Rama sent into the forest, inspired by the words of her maid, Manthara.

Sumitra

Second wife of Dasaratha. She is the mother of Lakshmana and Shatrughna.

Kausalya

The first wife of Dasaratha and mother of Rama. She is the oldest wife, and very kind and wise. She does not have a close relationship with her husband, but she loves her son Rama very deeply.

Manthara

An old maid of Kaikeyi’s. She is a wicked woman, and gives Kaikeyi the idea to ask Dasaratha to exile Rama and crown Bharata king instead.

Guha

King of the hunters, he rules near the wilderness in Shringiberapura. He is fiercely loyal to Rama.

Bharata

Son of King Dasaratha and Queen Kaikeyi, he is half-brother to Rama, Lakshmana, and Shatrughna. He is devoted to his brother Rama, and he tries desperately to undo the damage committed by his mother Kaikeyi.

Shatrughna

Son of King Dasaratha and Queen Sumitra (she drank two sips from the sacred cup, and consequently had twins). His twin brother is Lakshmana, and his half-brothers are Rama and Bharata. He follows his brother Bharata everywhere.

Sumantra

Chief counselor of Dasaratha. He is the one who unwillingly brings Rama into exile.

Surpanakha

The sister of Ravana, she is a powerful rakshasi. She attempts to seduce Rama and kill Sita, but the princely brothers attack her. She tries to muster the rakshasa army against Rama.

Maricha

A rakshasa, uncle of Ravana. Rama defeated him with a purifying magical weapon, and he renounced his evil ways to become a rishi.

Khara

A rakshasa, cousin to Ravana. He rules the area of Janasthana, near the forest of Rama’s exile. He is very powerful, and likes to kill rishis and despoil sacred rituals.

Jatayu

A powerful golden eagle who speaks in the voice of a human being. He was loyal to King Dasaratha, and pledges his service to Rama. He dies defending Sita from Ravana.

Kabandha

A terrible rakshasa who has the form of a body with no legs or head — only arms and a gaping mouth. He was transformed into this ugly shape by Indra; formerly, he was a celestial archer. He tells the brothers to seek Sugriva, the prince of vanaras.

Sugriva

The rightful king of the vanaras, a race of magical monkeys. He was usurped by his brother Vali, and pledges his service to Rama and Lakshmana if they can restore him to his throne.

Hanuman

Great Devotees od Shri Rama & Advisor to Sugriva. He is the son of the wind god Vayu and a vanari woman.

Angada

A vanara youth, son of Vali and nephew of Sugriva. He is brave and intelligent.

Vibheeshana

Young brother of Ravana. Though he is a rakshasa, he is wise and good. When Ravana refuses to listen to his counsel, he joins Rama’s army.

Sampati

A great golden eagle, brother of Jatayu. His wings were burned when he flew too close to the son.

Jambavan

King of the Riksharaj (magical bears). He is an ally of Sugriva and Rama. He is known for his gentle wisdom and quiet strength.

Indrajit

The favorite son of Ravana, and his most powerful warrior. He earned his name after he captured Indra, the king of the gods.

Kumbhakarna

Ravana’s brother. He is a giant with infinite strength who sleeps for six months at a time before waking up and eating everything he can see.

Agastya

An elderly and extremely powerful rishi who blesses Rama. Later when Rama is king of Ayodhya, he comes to Rama’s palace and tells him secret tales about the people he met on his journeys.

Unparalleled  Popularity Of The Ramayana

The Ramayana characters and incidents in Ramayana provide the ideas and wisdom and human values of common life and help to bind the people of India, regardless of caste and language. It is no wonder that two of India’s greatest festive events–Dusshera and Diwali–are directly inspired by the Ramayana. The first commemorates the siege of Lanka and Rama’s victory over Ravana; the second, the festival of lights, celebrates Rama and Sita’s home coming to their kingdom in Ayodhya.

The Seven ‘Kandas’ Or Sections

The epic poem is composed of rhyming couplets (known as slokas in high Sanskrit), employing a complex meter called anustup. These verses are grouped into individual chapters, or cantos called sargas, in which a specific event or intent is told. The sargas themselves are grouped into books called kandas.

The seven kandas of Ramayana are:

• Bal Kanda, the boyhood section.
• Ayodhya Kanda, Rama’s life in Ayodhya, until his banishment.
• Aranya Kanda, Rama’s life in the forest and Sita’s abduction by Ravana.
• Kishkindha Kanda, Rama’s stay at Kishkindha, the capital of his monkey ally, Sugriva.
• Sundara Kanda, Rama’s passage to Sri Lanka.
• Yuddha Kanda or Lanka Kanda, Rama’s battle with Ravana, the recovery of Sita, and return to Ayodhya.
• Uttara Kanda, the section narrating Rama’s life in Ayodhya as king, the birth of his two sons, Sita’s test of innocence and return to her mother, and Rama’s demise or ‘ ala samadhi (water-tomb).

Ramayana Summary

The Ramayana story describes the royal birth of the god Rama in the kingdom of Ayodhya (Oudh), his tutelage under the sage Vishvamitra, and his success in bending Shiva’s mighty bow at the bridegroom tournament of Sita, the daughter of King Janaka, thus winning her for his wife. After Rama is banished from his position as heir to the kingdom through a palace intrigue, he retreats to the forest with his wife sita and his brother, Lakshmana, to spend 14 years in exile.

There Ravana, the demon-king of Lanka, carries off Sita to his capital while her two protectors are busy pursuing a golden deer sent to the forest to mislead them. Sita resolutely rejects Ravana’s attentions, Rama and his brother set out to rescue her. After numerous adventures, they enter into alliance with Sugriva, king of the monkeys, and, with the assistance of the monkey-general Hanuman and Ravana’s own brother, Vibhishana, they attack Lanka. Rama slays Ravana and rescues Sita, who undergoes an ordeal by fire in order to clear herself of suspicions of infidelity.

When Ram and Sita return to Ayodhya, however, Rama learns that the people still question the queen’s chastity, and he banishes her to the forest. There she meets the sage Valmiki  and at his hermitage gives birth to Rama’s two sons. The family is reunited when the sons come of age, but Sita, after again protesting her innocence, plunges into the earth, her mother, who receives her and swallows her up.

Even now, the Ramayana continues to inspire a great many books interpreting its messages or presenting illustrated versions of the tale.

Ramayana Week & Ramnavami

The Ramayana Week begins nine days before Ramanavami, the birthday of Lord Rama.Every year, the Ramayana Week coincides with the beginning of Vasanta Navratri and culminates on the day of Ramnavami.