Saturday, March 12, 2022

The Ramayana

THE RAMAYANA (Valmiki, Indian, perhaps 5th century BCE)

The Ramayana is the shorter of the two great Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Mahabharata. Said to have been written by the sage Valmiki, it tells the story of Prince Rama, considered by worshipers of Lord Vishnu to be an avatar (material incarnation) of that supreme deity. Through the machinations of his stepmother, Rama undergoes a fourteen-year exile, along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana. Much of the story is taken up with the kidnapping of Sita to Sri Lanka by the demon Ravana, and her rescue (with the help of Hanuman, a divine monkey and devotee of Lord Rama) before the prince's return to his city and reclaiming of his throne.

  • The Ramayana contains nearly 24,000 verses in seven chapters.
  • The oldest parts of the story date to the 7th-4th centuries BCE, the latest up to the 3rd century CE.


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