The Ramayana is an ancient Indian epic poem that tells the story of Rama, a prince of Ayodhya who is believed to be an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India, the other being the Mahabharata.
The story of the Ramayana describes the journey of Rama from his youth to his ascension to the throne of Ayodhya. Along the way, he faces many challenges, including being banished to the forest for fourteen years by his father, King Dasaratha, and his wife Sita being abducted by the demon king Ravana.
Rama is assisted in his journey by his faithful brother Lakshmana and the monkey-god Hanuman. Together, they fight several battles against Ravana and his army before finally defeating him and rescuing Sita.
The Ramayana is a deeply spiritual text revered by Hindus all over the world. It is seen as a guide to living a virtuous life and is often used as a tool to teach moral lessons to children.
Ramayana is such a religious book and saga in which every Indian has faith. Ramayana in Sanskrit—Sanskrit: Ramayanam = Rama + Ayanam; Which literally means the life story of Lord ‘Shri Ram’. Let us tell you that Ramayana is a non-historical epic composed in Sanskrit by Maharishi Valmiki, which contains the life story of Shri Ram, the king of Ayodhya.
Ramayana is also called Adikavya and its author Balbalmiki is also called ‘Adikavi’. Even though Ramayana and Mahabharata are not considered historical but in Sanskrit literature tradition Ramayana and Mahabharata are said to be historical and both are the most famous and respected texts of Sanatan or Hindu culture.
The Ramayana is divided into seven chapters. These parts are known as Kanda. It has a total of about 24,000 verses. This epic has a lot of influence on the literature of Sanskrit and other Indian languages and on the basis of Ramayana, many commentaries and many ‘Ramayana’ were composed in different languages.
What is the time of the composition of Ramayana?
According to the Rishi tradition, the creation period of Ramayana is believed to be of Tretayuga. According to Shri Nischalanand Saraswati (Shankaracharya of Govardhan Peeth) Prabhriti Saints, the incarnation of Shri Ram took place in the twenty-fourth Treta Yuga of the seventh Vaivaswat Manvantar of the Shvetavarah Kalpa, according to which the era of Shri Ramchandra ji is approximately two and a quarter. million years ago. In its context, there is evidence from Vichar Piyush, Bhusundi Ramayana, Padmapurana, Harivansh Purana, Vayu Purana, Sanjivani Ramayana, and Puranas. But when we study the Vedas they remain silent on this, there is no mention of Ramayana or Shri Ram.
Continuous efforts have been made to reveal the historical development order and structural layers of this world-famous epic. Modern scholars date its composition from the 7th to the 4th century BC. Till Some scholars consider it to be a creation till the third century AD. Some Indians say that it was written before 600 BC.
The reasoning behind this is that the Mahabharata does not say anything about Buddhism while other traditions like Jainism, Shaivism, and Pashupata are mentioned in the Mahabharata. The Mahabharata was composed after the Ramayana, so the Ramayana must have been before the time of Gautama Buddha. According to the language-style also, the Ramayana must be before the time of Panini.
It is also said that the first and last cantos of the Ramayana were probably added later. From chapters two to seven, more emphasis has been laid on the fact that Shriram is an incarnation of Vishnu.
According to some, the Greek and several other references in this epic suggest that the book may not date back to the 2nd century BCE, but this notion is controversial. The date of 600 BCE is also correct because the Buddhist Jataka describes the characters of the Ramayana while the Ramayana does not describe the characters of the Jataka.
Ramayana is a huge book and it is not possible to present the entire Ramayana here. That’s why we are presenting the Ramayana story in brief.
In ancient Hindu religious scriptures, Lord Rama has been called an incarnation of Vishnu. Vishnu incarnated as Shri Ram on earth to guide mankind to the welfare and truth. Ultimately, Shriram killed King Ravana (King of Lanka/Rakshasraj) and freed the earth from sin by re-establishing Dharma and Truth.
If we talk about the parts of Ramayana, there are seven Kandas in it.
6-Lanka Kand and
First Chapter – Balkand
Bal Kand is the story of Shri Ram’s father and Ram’s childhood and marriage. According to this chapter, there was a king named Dasharatha in the city of Ayodhya (present-day Uttar Pradesh), whose three wives were Kaushalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra. When the king did not have a child for a long time, he organized the Putrakameshti Yajna, which was performed under the leadership of Ringi Rishi, by the order of his Guru Shri Vashishtha to get a child.
At last, Agnidev was pleased with the sacrifices of this devotionally completed Yajna and he appeared and gave Havishyapatra (Kheer, Payas) to the king. The king fed this miraculous kheer to all his three wives. All three queens became pregnant after consuming Kheer, as a result of which Kausalya gave birth to Rama, Kaikeyi gave birth to Bharat and Sumitra gave birth to sons named Lakshmana and Shatrughna.
A sage named Vishwamitra was very troubled by the attacks of demons, for this remedy, when the sons of Dashrath grew up, the sage sought permission from Dashrath to take Ram and Lakshman with him to protect the Yagyas and the ashram from the demons.
Rama and Lakshmana reach the sage’s hermitage, Rama kills demons like Tadka and Subahu and shoots Maricha with a fruitless arrow, and takes him across the ocean. On the other hand, Laxman destroyed the entire army of demons.
Guru Vishwamitra came to Janak’s city Mithila (Janakpur) along with Ram and Lakshmana after receiving the invitation of King Janak for the Dhanushyagya organized for Sita’s Swayamvara. On the way, Rama rescued Ahilya, the wife of Gautama Muni. Coming to Mithila, when Shri Ram picked up the Shiv bow and cut it into two pieces, and according to the condition, Ram married Sita. Simultaneously with the marriage of Rama and Sita, Guru Vashishtha got Rama’s brothers, Bharata married Mandavi, Lakshmana to Urmila, and Shatrughna to Shrutakirti.
Chapter II – Ayodhya Kand
In the second chapter, sometime after the marriage of Shri Ram, King Dasaratha wanted to hand over the throne to his elder son Ram. Then the maidservant named Manthara poisoned Kaikai’s mind so that you ask for the throne for her son Bharat. Coming to Manthara’s words, Kaikeyi went to the house of anger. When Dasaratha came to know the reason for her displeasure, Kaikeyi asked the king for a boon to hand over the throne to her son Bharata and exiled Shri Ram for fourteen years. Dasaratha was bound by the old promise given to the queen and he accepted the queen’s words with a very sad heart.
Ram left for the forest as per his father’s order. Sita and Lakshman also went with them. Nishadraj Guh did a lot of service to all three in Ringverpur. After some reluctance, Kevat took all three across the river Ganges. In Prayag, Shri Ram met Bharadwaj Rishi. From there, Ram crossed the Yamuna and reached Valmiki Rishi’s ashram. As advised by Valmiki, Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana fixed their abode in Chitrakoot.
King Dasaratha went to heaven due to separation from his sons. Sage Vashishtha called Bharat and Shatrughna from their maternal grandfather’s house to Ayodhya. When Bharat returned to his father, he came to know about the deviousness of Mother Kaikeyi, due to which she suffered a lot. Bharat reprimanded the mother for her deviousness and performed the last rites of Dasaratha as per the orders of the teachers.
Bharat refused to become the king of Ayodhya and went to Chitrakoot with all the family members to persuade Ram to bring him back.
Now Kaikeyi also felt remorse for what she had done. Bharata and all others requested Rama to come back and take over the throne of Ayodhya, but Rama rejected this request to obey his father and follow the tradition of Raghuvansh.
When Rama did not agree to return to Ayodhya in any way, Bharata along with his dear ones came back to Ayodhya with Rama’s Paduka. He enshrined Ram’s Paduka on the royal throne and started living in Nandigram.
Third Chapter- Aranya Kand
After staying in Chitrakoot for a few years, Shri Ram left there and reached the hermitage of Atri Rishi. Atri praised Rama and his wife Anasuya explained to Sita the essence of Pativrata Dharma.
Rama proceeded further from the sage’s hermitage and met Sharbhanga Muni. Sharbhang Muni was living there only with the desire to see Ram, so after fulfilling his desire to see Ram, he consumed his body with the fire of yoga and went to Brahmalok. And moving forward, Ram saw heaps of bones at various places, about which the sages told Ram that the demons had eaten many sages and the bones of those sages were there.
At this Rama vows that he will kill all the demons and make the earth free from demons. Ram later met sages Sutikshna, Agastya, etc. on the way and entered the Dandak forest where he met Jatayu. Rama made Panchavati his abode.
Ravana’s sister Shurpanakha came to Panchavati and begged Rama for love. Rama sends him to Lakshmana saying that his younger brother is alone (Unmarried).
Rejecting her love request, Lakshmana cut off her nose and ears thinking her to be the sister of an enemy. Shurpanakha sought help from Khar-Dushan and he came with his army to fight. In the battle, Rama killed Khara-Dushana and his army.
Shurpanakha went and complained to her brother Ravana. Ravana sent Maricha in the form of a golden deer to seek revenge, seeing which Sita asked Rama for its golden bark. Ordering Lakshmana to guard Sita, Rama went after him in the form of a golden deer to kill Maricha. Maricha was killed at the hands of Rama, but while dying, Maricha uttered Rama’s voice and called out ‘Hi Lakshmana’, hearing which Sita got apprehensive and sent Lakshmana to Rama.
After Laxman left, Ravana single-handedly abducted Sita and took her to Lanka. On the way to save Sita, Jatayu tried to stop Ravana, but an enraged Ravana killed him with the bar of the sword.
Rama was very sad after not getting Sita and started lamenting. On meeting Jatayu on the way, he told Rama about his plight by Ravana and defeated Sita, and took her to the South. After telling all this, Jatayu gave up his life and after performing her last rites, Ram proceeded in search of Sita inside the dense forest.
On the way, Rama rescued Gandharva Kabandha, who had become a demon due to Durvasa’s curse and went to Shabari’s hermitage, where he out of devotion ate false plums given by her. Thus Rama proceeded into the dense forest in search of Sita.
Fourth Chapter – Kishkindha Kand
Ram came near Rishyamook mountain. Sugriva along with his ministers lived on that mountain. Sugriva, fearing that Bali might send two heroes to kill them, sent Hanuman in the form of a Brahmin to inquire about Rama and Lakshmana.
After learning that they were not sent by Bali, Hanuman befriends Rama and Sugriva. Sugriva consoles Rama that Janaki will be found and that he will help him find her, while also telling about the atrocities committed on him by his brother Bali. Prabhu Shri Ram ended Bali and gave Sugriva the kingdom of Kishkindha to Sugriva and Angad became the crown prince there.
After getting the kingdom, Sugriva got engrossed in enjoyment and the rain and autumn passed. To Ram’s displeasure, Sugriva sent the monkeys to search for Sita. The monkeys who went in search of Sita saw a Tapaswini in a cave.
Tapaswini led the search party with the power of yoga to the beach, where they met Sampati. Sampati told the monkeys that Ravana had kept Sita in Ashokavatika, Lanka. Jambavan encouraged Hanuman to cross the ocean.
Chapter Five – Sunderkand
Hanuman went to Lanka. Surasa tested Hanuman and blessed him by finding him able and able. On the way, Hanuman killed the shadow-catching demon and attacked Lankini, and entered Lanka. He met Vibhishan. When Hanuman reached Ashokavatika, Ravana was threatening Sita.
Trijata consoles Sita after Ravana leaves. Being alone, Hanuman ji met mother Sita and gave her the ring of Rama. Hanuman destroyed Ashok Vatika and destroyed Ravana’s son Akshay Kumar.
Meghnath tied Hanuman to a snake and took him to Ravana’s meeting. In answer to Ravana’s question, Hanuman introduced himself as the messenger of Rama. Ravana tied a cloth dipped in oil to Hanuman’s tail and set it on fire, on which Hanuman burnt Lanka.
Hanuman reached to Sita. Sita bid him goodbye by giving him a bangle. They came back across the ocean and met all the Vanaras and all went back to Sugriva. Ram was very pleased with Hanuman’s work. Rama reached the beach with an army of monkeys.
On the other hand, Vibhishana explained to Ravana not to have enmity with Rama, but Ravana insulted Vibhishana and threw him out of Lanka. Vibhishan, who helped Rama, was declared the future king of Lanka.
Rama requested the sea to give way. Ram got angry about not accepting the request and fearing his anger, the sea himself came and after requesting, Ram told the method of making a bridge over the sea with Nal and ‘Neel’.
Sixth Chapter – Lanka Kand (War Case)
On the instructions of Jambavant, both the brothers Nal-Neel prepared a bridge over the sea with the help of the monkey army. Shri Ram established Shri Rameshwar there, worshiped Lord Shankar and crossed the ocean with the entire army, and reached Sri Lanka. Ravana was greatly disturbed by the news of the bridge being closed and Rama crossing the sea.
The arrogant Ravana did not agree even after being persuaded by Ravana’s wife Mandodari, not to enmity with Rama. Here Rama along with his monkey army started living on Mount Meru. Angad went to Ravana in Lanka as a messenger of Rama and gave him a message to come to the shelter of Rama, but Ravana did not agree.
When all the efforts for peace failed, the war started. A fierce battle took place between Laxman and Meghnad. Laxman fainted due to the attack of Shaktibaan. Hanuman brought Sushen Vaidya for treatment and went to bring Sanjivani.
On receiving the news from the spy, Ravana sent Kalnemi to disturb Hanuman’s work, who was killed by Hanuman. Due to the non-recognition of the medicine, Hanuman carried the whole mountain and went back.
On the way, Bharat made Hanuman unconscious considering him to be a demon, but knowing the truth sent him back to Lanka by sitting on his arrow. Seeing the delay in getting the medicine here, Ram started creating a Ruckus. Hanuman brought the medicine at the right time and Laxman was cured by Sushen’s treatment.
Ravana wakes up Kumbhakarna for the war. Kumbhakarna also unsuccessfully advised Ravana to seek refuge in Rama. In the battle, Kumbhakarna attained supreme glory at the hands of Rama. Lakshman fought Meghnad and killed him.
There were many fierce battles between Rama and Ravana and in the end Ravana was killed by Rama. After handing over the kingdom of Lanka to Vibhishana, Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana boarded the Pushpakaviman and left for Ayodhya.
Seventh Chapter – Uttarkand
Uttarkand is the epilogue of Ram Katha. Rama returned to Ayodhya with Sita, Lakshmana, and Sampoorna Vanarsena. Ram was welcomed grandly, and everyone including Bharat was overjoyed.
Rama’s coronation took place with the praise of the Vedas and Shiva. The visitors were sent away. Rama preached to the people and the people expressed gratitude. Four brothers had two sons each. Ramrajya became an ideal.
Along with the above things, Goswami Tulsidas ji in Uttarkand Shri Ram-Vashishtha dialogue, Narad ji coming to Ayodhya praising Ramchandra ji, Shiv-Parvati dialogue, Garud Moh and Garud ji listening to Ramkatha and Ram-Mahima from Kakbhushundi ji The story, description of the previous birth of Kakbhushundi ji, description of knowledge-devotion, great glory of knowledge-devotion, seven questions of Garuda and Kakbhushundi ji’s answers, etc. have also been described in detail.
Where Tulsidas ji has finished Ramcharitmanas by writing the above description, Adikavi Valmiki in his Ramayana, the story of the birth of Ravana and Hanuman in Uttarakand, Sita’s exile, King Nriga, King Nimi, King Yayati and the dog’s justice in Ramrajya The story, the birth of Lavakush, the ritual of Ashwamedha Yagya by Rama and the singing of the Ramayana composed by the great poet Valmiki by his sons Lava and Kush, Sita’s entry into the abyss, Lakshmana’s abandonment are also described in that Yagya.
The Uttarakand in Valmiki Ramayana ends only after the great journey of Rama. There are many controversies regarding Uttarakhand. It is believed that Uttarakhand is not a part of the original Valmiki Ramayana. And later many stories were added to it, which have been prepared by adding stories written by different authors. Many scholars are unanimous about Uttarakhand not being a part of the original Ramayana.
Qualities of an ideal man
The seventeen qualities of Shri Ram are described in Valmiki Ramayana, which is an important formula to increase leadership potential in people and to be a leader in any field. Valmiki ji asked Narad ji at present who is such a person in this world who is virtuous, virtuous, pious, grateful, truthful, and steadfast as well as virtuous? He is beneficial to all living beings, as well as learned, able, and beloved.
16 character traits of Shriram, which are expected to be in every ideal man.
- Viryavan (Veer)
- Dharmagya (knower of religion)
- Gratitude (not forgetting the good things done by others)
- Satyavakya (the one who speaks the truth)
- strict fasting
- Sarvabhutahitah (one who does good to all beings)
- Sada Priyadarshan (Everloving)
- Jitkroda (one who has conquered anger)
- Anasuyak (reliever of jealousy)
- Bibhyati Dev Ch Jatroshasya Sanyuge
Commentaries on Ramayana
There are three lessons of Valmiki Ramayana:-
(1) Dakshinatya lesson
(2) Gaudiya Path
(3) North Western text or Kashmiri version (Amrita Kataka Tika)
There is not only a difference in the text in these three lessons, but in some places, the cantos are also different. There are 30 commentaries on Ramayana. Following are the main commentaries-
Commentator Name of Commentator
- Brahad Vivran
- Laghu Vivran
- Ramayanatattvadeepika (Maheshvaratirthi) – Mahesh Tirtha
- Bhushan (Govindrajiya) Govindraj
- Valmikihriday – Ahobal
- Amritakatak – Madhavayogi
- Dharmakutam – Trimbak Makhin
- Tanishloki Periyar – Vachambillai
- Ramayanabhushan – Prabal Mukundasuri
Sanskrit declined due to foreign powers coming to power in India and due to a lack of proper knowledge and influence of foreign power, Indian people began to consider their own culture inferior. Knowing such a situation to be extremely critical, the great sage Saint Tulsidas once again wrote down the holy story of Shri Ram in the indigenous language for public awareness.
Saint Tulsidas named this book ‘Ramcharitmanas’ full of the welfare story of Lord Ram written by him. Generally ‘Ramcharitmanas’ is known as ‘Tulsi Ramayana’. In the course of time, many scholars have written the story of Lord Shriram many times according to their intelligence, knowledge, and opinion. Many Ramayanas have been composed in this way.
What do we learn from Ramayana?
The Ramayana is an ancient Indian epic that tells the story of Lord Rama and his wife Sita, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The epic is considered one of the most important pieces of literature in Indian history and culture and teaches many valuable life lessons, including:
Importance of Dharma: The Ramayana emphasizes the importance of following one’s dharma or duty, which leads to a fulfilling life.
The Power of Truth The character of Sita teaches us the importance of speaking the truth and living a life of integrity.
Consequences of Greed: Ravana, the main antagonist of the story, represents the destructive nature of greed and teaches us that the pursuit of power and wealth can have dire consequences.
The Value of Relationships: The story of Lord Rama and Sita highlights the importance of healthy relationships and the strength of love and loyalty.
Role of Sacrifice: The Ramayana also teaches us the value of sacrifice for the greater good, as Lord Rama willingly gives up his comfortable life to fulfill his duties and protect his people.
Importance of Forgiveness: The story also emphasizes the power of forgiveness, as Lord Rama forgives those who wronged him, including his brother Bharata, who unknowingly betrayed him.
Overall, the Ramayana provides valuable insight into the complexities of human nature and the importance of living a virtuous life based on the principles of Dharma and Satya.https://studyguru.org.in