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HomeLifestyleA journey from Valmiki to Tulsidas to the timeless Ramayana stories.

A journey from Valmiki to Tulsidas to the timeless Ramayana stories.

While Valmiki’s Ramayana is undoubtedly the most famous rendition of the epic, many writers across centuries and regions have re-imagined and retold the story of Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana. These diverse Ramayanas offer unique perspectives, cultural nuances, and literary styles that enrich our understanding of this timeless story.

Valmiki (3rd-2nd century BCE): The cornerstone of Ramayana literature, Valmiki’s Sanskrit epic, believed to be composed between the 3rd and 2nd century BCE, according to Britannica, is considered the original and most authoritative version. Its 24,000 verses narrate in detail the entire journey of Rama, from his exile to his victorious return, with deep philosophical and religious insights.

Kambar (12th century AD): According to a report in The Hindu, Ramavataram, written by the 12th century Tamil poet Kambar, is revered as the Tamil Ramayana. It infuses the epic with Dravidian cultural elements, emphasizing devotion and highlighting Rama’s compassion and righteousness.

Tulsidas (16th century AD)According to Britannica, Tulsi Das’s Awadhi Hindi Ramcharitmanas, composed in the 16th century, is arguably the most popular rendition in North India. Known for its devotional fervor and lyrical beauty, it portrays Rama as an ideal king and husband while emphasizing moral values ​​and personal faith.

Gona Budda Reddy (13th century AD): According to Britannica, Ranganatha Ramayanam, written by Gona Budda Reddy in the 13th century, is considered to be the Telugu Ramayana. It focuses on the divine nature of Rama and his role as the protector of religion, as well as incorporating local folklore and traditions.

Molla (15th century BC): According to Britannica, Molla Ramayanam, written by Molla in the 15th century, is another major Telugu performance. It is known for its poetic language and dramatic storytelling, making it a popular choice for dramatic performances and oral storytelling.

Bhasa (4th century CE): According to Britannica, while it is not the entire Ramayana, Bhasa’s Sanskrit play “Abhishek Natak” depicts the coronation of Rama. It offers a unique dramatic interpretation of the story, focusing on the political and emotional complexities of power and duty.

Banabhatta (7th century AD): According to Britannica, Banabhatta’s Sanskrit prose romance “Kadambari” contains the underlying Ramayana narrative. This unique inclusion demonstrates the prevalence of the Ramayana theme in Indian literature and its influence on various genres.

These are just a few examples of the innumerable writers who have shaped the rich literary landscape of the Ramayana. Examining the diverse Ramayanas allows us to appreciate the adaptability of the epic, its ability to resonate with different cultures and eras, and its enduring relevance in shaping spiritual and moral values.

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