Ramayana is one of the largest ancient Indian epic in the world literature comprising 24000 verses that are mostly written in the form of Shlokas/anustups and divided into seven kandas in a sequential manner like Adi / Bal kanda, ayodhya kanda, aranya kanda, kishkindhya kanda, sundara kanda, lanka kanda and uttara kanda and about 500 sargas/chapters.
Each kand represents the different phases of Rama’s life.
1.Bal Kand : Childhood of Rama
2.Ayodhaya Kand : Ram’s life in Ayodhaya before arriving for forest exile
3.Aranya Kand :Ram’s life in forest and Sita abduction by Ravana.
4.Kishkindha Kand : Ram’s stay in Kishkindha ,the capital of his monkey army with Sugriva.
5.Sunder Kand : Ram’s journey to Sri Lanka
6.Yudh Kand or Lanka Kand : Ram’s battle in Sri Lanka followed by the freedom of Sita and returning back toEarth.
7.Uttar Kand : Ram’s life as a king in Ayodhaya , Birth of two Sons of Sita, Sita to prove her innocence giving Agni pariksha and returning back to her mother under the Earth.
Ramcharitmanas is an epic poem in the Awadhi dialect of Hindi, composed by the 16th-century
Indian Bhakti poet Goswami Tulsidas (1532–1623). Tulsidas was a great scholar of Sanskrit. However, to make the story of Rama as accessible to the layman Tulsidas chose to write in Awadhi, a dialect of Hindi which was the language of general public in large parts of north India at the time. Tulsidas resolve to simplify the knowledge contained in the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Puranas to the common people. Subsequently, his work was accepted by all.
The characters Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata, Sita, Hanuman, and Ravana are all fundamental to the cultural consciousness of the South Asian nations of India, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia,Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the South-East Asian countries of Thailand. Ramayana is traditionally attributed to the authorship of the Sage Valmiki around 500 BCE to 100 BCE.
In Northern India, the annual Ramlila or Rama play is showcased during autumn festival of Dussehra to celebrate Rama and Sita, the eventually triumph of light over darkness.
A widely popular epic television series Ramayan played in India during 1987- 1988 , drawing over one hundred million viewers to become world’s most viewed mythological serial. Also the dubbed Ramayana serial features are highlighted in India Today Magazine. From 2008 a new big budget Ramayana series has been aired across All India television screens.
Here are 10 most interesting truths related to Ramayana:
- According to Valmiki’s Ramayana, Lord Rama was an outstanding human being but in Rama Charit Manas, Tulsidas referred him as god.
Hindus perceive Lord Rama as Maryada Purushottama, the perfect man.
- Ravana was a devotee of Lord Shiva. To impress God, he sacrificed his head. This happened ten times after which Lord Shiva gave him all those heads.
- Laxman didn’t sleep at all during the 14 years of exile in an effort to guard Rama and Sita. He’s known as Gudakesh, the man who’s defeated sleep.
- Hanuman covered himself with sindoor to keep Lord Rama safe. That’s the reason he’s called Bajrang Bali.
- Sita had broken the shiv dhanush ( Lord Shiva’s bow) during her childhood. That’s the reason King Janak put the condition of breaking the bow at Sita’s swayamvar.
- The white stripes on a squirrel’s body are given by Lord Rama.
When the monkeys were making Ram Setu, a squirrel tried to help them. The monkey’s made fun of it, but lord Rama was impressed with its dedication. Ram patted the back of squirrel and the white stripes appeared as his finger prints.
- Nandi, the bull, had cursed Ravana. He had said that monkeys will become a cause of your destruction. Remember the incident in Ramayana when Hanumanji puts Lanka on fire?
- Laxman killed three sons of Ravana – Meghnad, Prahast and Atikay. Out of Ravana’s three sons, only Meghnad has been discussed on several occasions in Ramayana.
- While Lord Rama is known to be an avatar of Lord Vishnu, Laxman is considered to be an avatar of Sheeshnaag, the serpent associated with Vishnu.
- Kuber, god of wealth, had constructed Lanka for himself. However, he was overthrown by his half brother, Ravana.
Evidences to prove Ramayana existence :
1.Cobra hood cave, Sri Lanka
In Sigiriya, Sri Lanka archaeologists found to have a cave natural and despite being untouched by human hands, has taken the shape of a cobra! Moreover, paintings on its walls of the cave depicting scenes of Sita being captured by the Asuras also confirms the proof of Ramayana.
2.Lepakshi in Andhra Pradesh
In fact there is an actual place in Andhra Pradesh called ‘Lepakshi’, which is reportedly the place where the Jatayu fell. Jatayu, being a crucial part of saving Sita is highly revered in the Ramayana.
3.Ashokvanam in Sri lanka
There is a place which is now a tourist spot in Sri lanka called Sita Kotuwa. According to the mythology, Ravana took her to Ashok Vatika and there is an actual ‘Ashokvanam’ in Sri Lanka.
4.The footprints of Lord Hanuman
Till date, there are footprints that have been said to be of Hanuman near Ashokvanam. These footprints differ in size and are a reflection of the special powers of the Hanuman.
5.Dark soil :
Even today, in some parts where Ravaana’s palace once reportedly stood, the soil is somewhat darker than that of the surrounding area. In the process, Hanuman set Ravaana’s kingdom on fire by jumping over distances and places which were burnt.
Must be built by Ravaana, the hot springs are well-like structures and well known source of Sri Lanka’s supply of naturally hot water.
7. 10 headed Ravaana
While the statement that Ravaana has 10 heads might seem highly impossible, the fact that he ruled 10 kingdoms means 10 crowns. Simple. Another theory states that Ravana was a great scholar and his ten heads symbolise his mastery over 6 shastras and 4 vedas.
8. Ram Setu
With the help of Google maps carefully watch the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, one can actually see a link between the two countries and even confirmed in the NASA reports. This link has often been dubbed as the Ram Setu or Rama’s bridge and even sometimes as the Adam’s bridge.
9. Panchavati Panchvati is the same place in Nasik where Ram, Sita and Lakshman made as their abode once they were exiled from the royal palace and even today this place has a lot of temples and is often visited by people.
10.Google Map confirms 21 days
Ramayana returned back to Ayodhaya from Sri Lanka on the 21st day. Even today, the journey from these two lands takes a total of 21 days by foot, according to the much-trusted google Maps – which is pretty much the number of days from Vijaya Dashami to Diwali.