How old is ramayan


Ramayana (Sanskrit: रामायण rāmāyaṇa n.) literally: "the life course (Ayana) of Rama", (life) course of Rāma; one of the two great ancient Indian epics (the second is the Mahabharata), which are still very popular in today's India. The Ramayana consists of around 24,000 Sanskrit verses, which are divided into seven books or Kandas. Its author is Valmiki, who is also known as the "first poet" (Adikavi); Title of the work ascribed to Vālmīki on the life of Rāma, Sītā and their companions. The main hero of the Ramayana is Rama, an incarnation of the god Vishnu, who came down to earth as an avatar to liberate the world from the demon prince Ravana.

Rama, the joyful radiant one

The seven books (kanda) of Ramayana have the following names:

The Ramayana describes, with many insertions and episodes, the life of Rama and his wife Sita, their kidnapping by the demon prince Ravana to Lanka, the liberation of Sita and the destruction of Lanka as well as the destruction of Ravana with the help of the monkey god Hanumat.

That or the Ramayana?

Is it correct, the Ramayana or the To say ramayana? From Sanskrit, "the Ramayana" would be correct, because Ramayana is neuter (neuter) in Sanskrit. However, it is quite common in German to say "die Ramayana", since in German words ending in -a are usually of the female gender. In Sanskrit, however, words that end in a short -a are always masculine or neuter. By the way, it is also called theMahabharata and theYoga Sutra.

Sukadev on Ramayana

Transcription of a lecture video (2014) by Sukadev on Ramayana

"Ayana" means to go, the way, and Rama is of course Rama. Ramayana, the coming and going of Rama. Ayana are also the adventures and life stories of Rama. Ramayana, the life story of Rama. Ramayana was written in the oldest form of Valmiki. And the Ramayana, together with the Mahabharata, is one of the two most important Ithihasas. The Ithihasas in turn belong to the four important Indian scriptures: These are the Vedas, which are referred to as Shruti, what is revealed. The Smritis, then, is what has been handed down or remembered. Puranas is what is ancient. And then the Ithihasas, the heroic stories, especially Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Ramayana includes the story of Rama. Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman, Bharata - you have probably heard something about all of these if you have already dealt with yoga or if you have sung kirtan. About the Ramayana you will also find a large summary on the Yoga Vidya pages, the entire Ramayana summarized, then also the various Kandas, i.e. the different chapters of the Ramayana, described in more detail. You will also find the characters of the Ramayana. And so you have a lot of information.

Ramayana in short means: The parents of Rama were Dasaratha and the Kausalya. As a youth, Rama went to the forest with his brother Lakshmana to do an apprenticeship at Vishwamitra. Rama then went on a diplomatic mission, he found Sita, his wife, as the daughter or foster daughter of Janaka. The two married, they came back and Rama was to become king. Then there was some confusion and some difficulty because Rama’s stepmother, Kaikeyi, wanted her own son, Bharata, to become king.

And so Rama said: “No problem, then I'll just go into exile.” So Rama went into exile, together with his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana, they lived in the forest, they intensified their spiritual practice, they sought the company of different people Ascetics in the forest, those who practiced spiritual practices. Then there was a demon named Ravana, and the demon wanted Rama's wife, Sita, to be his wife. He robbed Sita and abducted her to Shri Lanka.

And Rama was very sad, he loved his wife very much, he wanted to get Sita back. He found a great servant in Hanuman. Hanuman, the monkey god or the great monkey who was the human ape at the same time. And Hanuman served Rama, and together with an army of monkeys and bears, Rama was able to free Sita. They returned to the kingdom, back to Ayodhya, and so Ramaraja, the reign of Rama, began as a happy period in Indian history.

That’s short, the Ramayana is so much more. The life story of Rama and his adventures are inspiring to this day, also and especially in his ethical conflicts and in the example set by Rama, Hanuman, Lakshmana and Bharata.

Overview of the Ramayana

Rama with his wife Sita, his brother Lakshmana and the monkey god Hanuman

The Ramayana, composed by Valmiki, is, along with the Mahabharata, one of the great Hindu epics. The Ramayana reveals the virtues that make up an ideal father, ideal servant, ideal brother, ideal wife, and ideal king. The name "Ramayana" is made up of 'Rama' and 'ayana' - walking, progressing, translated 'Rama's journey'.

The Ramayana consists of 24,000 verses and seven books (Kandas). Bala Kanda, Ayodhya Kanda, Aranya Kanda, Kishkindha Kanda, Sundara Kanda, Yuddha Kanda, Uttara Kanda.

The Ramayana describes the story of Rama, the seventh incarnation or AvatarVishnus, and his wife Sita, who was robbed by Ravana, the demon king of Lanka. The Ramayana thematizes and examines the human characteristics with regard to the concept of Dharma, the Divine Order.

The Ramayana had a significant influence on the later Sanskrit poetry and on the life and culture of Hinduism. Like the Mahabharata, the Ramayana is not just a story. It presents the teachings of the ancient sages and the Vedas and explains philosophical and religious questions in parables.

The characters of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Bharata, Hanuman and Ravana are firmly anchored in the consciousness of the people in India, Nepal and many Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The Seven Books of the Ramayana

Bala Kanda - the first book of the Ramayana

The first book of Ramayana speaks about the childhood of Rama: Dasharatha was king of Ayodhya. He had three wives Kausalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra. For a long time he was childless and worried about an heir to the throne. He performed a yajna, or fire offering, to ask for sons. The sacrifice was successful and the sons were born. Rama from Kausalya, Bharata from Kaikeyi and Lakshmana and Shatrughna from Sumitra.

These sons had different proportions of Vishnu. Vishnu had decided to descend to earth as a human being in order to destroy the Asura, the demon Ravana. This terrorized the gods and could only be killed by a mortal.

The princes were instructed in the scriptures and the arts of war. When Rama was 16 years old, the sage Vishvamitra came to Dasharatha and asked for help against demons who were disturbing the wise men’s fire offerings. Rama and Lakshmana were chosen to go with Vishvamitra. They received Divine weapons from him and began to destroy the demons.

Janaka was the king of Mithila. One day a girl was found in a furrow in the king's fields. The king was overjoyed to receive the 'gift of God' and gave the child the name Sita, or furrow.

Sita grew into a beautiful woman and the time to choose a husband came. The king owned a bow that he had received from Shiva. Anyone who could master this bow was allowed to marry Sita. Vishvamitra participated in the competition with Rama and Lakshmana. Rama broke the bow in two. So he received Sita and the wedding was prepared. Rama married Sita, Lakshmana married Urmila, Bharata married Mandavi, and Shatrughna married Shrutakirti. The wedding took place in Mithila, after which everyone returned to Ayodhya.

Ayodhya Kanda - the second book of the Ramayana

The second book of the Ramayana is called Ayodhya Kanda and has the palace intrigue of Kaikeyi on the subject: After Rama and Sita had been married for twelve years, Dasharatha decided to want to crown Rama king. Kaikeyi, incited by her servant Manthara, now wanted to redeem two wishes that Dasaratha once granted her. She demanded that Rama go into exile for fourteen years and that her son, Bharata, become king. Fulfilling the wishes was a matter of honor for the king, even if the decision broke his heart. Rama bowed to the father's wish, Lakshmana and Sita accompanied him. After Rama's departure, the king died of a broken heart soon after.

Bharata did not want to become king because of his mother's intrigue and visited Rama in his hermitage. He asked Him to come back and take the throne. But Rama wanted to comply with his father's request and refused. Bharata asked Rama for his sandals, which he would put before the throne as long as he reigned for him.

Aranya Kanda - the third book of the Ramayana

The third book of Ramayana is called Aranya Kanda and is about the life of Sita, Rama and Lakshmana in the forest: Rama, Sita and Lakshmana moved further south to the banks of the Godavari River, where they built a hut. In the Panchavati Forest they were visited by a demon, Surpanakha. She was Ravana's sister. She wanted to seduce Rama and Lakshmana, but did not succeed. Out of anger she attacked Sita, Lakshmana cut off her nose.

In a rage she went back to Lanka, told Ravana about the beautiful Sita and that she would be the right wife for him. She advised him to kidnap her. Ravana wondered how he could do it. He asked his uncle Maricha to transform into a golden deer and graze near Rama's hut. When Sita sees the deer she will surely ask Rama and Lakshmana to catch it for her. As soon as Sita is alone, Ravana will kidnap her.

Kishkindha Kanda - the fourth book of the Ramayana

The subject of the fourth book of Ramayana is Rama's encounter with the monkey kingdom Kishkinda: Kishkindha was the monkey kingdom. Rama and Lakshmana met Hanuman there, the greatest of them being the monkey and friend of the exiled Sugriva. Rama kills Sugriva's brother Vali and Sugriva was able to return to the throne. Sugriva had promised to help Rama to free Sita in return, but soon forgot the promise.His wife Tara reminded him again and he set up search parties for Sita in all directions. Hanuman and Angada, the leaders of the Southern Search Force, tracked down Sita in Lanka.

Sundara Kanda - the fifth book of the Ramayana

The Sundara Kanda is the heart of the Ramayana. It describes in detail the adventures of Hanuman. After Sita was sighted in Lanka, Hanuman assumed a gigantic figure and jumped across the ocean to Lanka. He found Sita in the Ashoka Forest and gave her Rama's ring as a mark of identification. He wanted to carry her back, but Sita refused, she didn't want to be touched by any man but hers. She asked that Rama come himself.

Hanuman destroyed Lanka, killed Ravana's forces, and set Lanka on fire with his burning tail. Then he jumped back and reported the news in Kishkindha.

Yuddha Kanda - the sixth book of the Ramayana

This sixth book of the Ramayana describes the battle between the monkey army and Ravana. When Rama and Lakshmana heard Hanuman's report, they set off for Lanka. Two monkeys built a bridge over the ocean and everyone was able to invade Lanka. A fierce battle broke out, Rama killed Ravana and made Vibhishana king.

The monkeys storm the palace and Rama demanded that Sita be brought to him. Valmiki mentions that Rama was afraid of what people might say when he sees the woman who lived in another man's apartment.

He stated that he was fighting for the sake of justice, not for Sita. He rejected Sita. You can marry another prince or the new king of Lanka. The deeply sad Sita lit a pyre and stood in the fire, Agni did not hurt her, and her purity was confirmed. The gods appeared to confirm the Divine nature of Rama and Sita. Sita is returned to Rama. Rama asked that all those who died in the war be brought back to life. All are returning to Ayodhya.

Uttara Kanda - the seventh and final book of the Ramayana

The Uttara Kanda is a later extension of the Ramayana and deals with the last years of Rama, Sita and the brothers: They lived happily together for many years. But rumors began to circulate again about Sita's unspoiled state. Rama bowed to the opinion of the population and sent Sita into exile in the forest. She found refuge in the hermitage of Valmiki and gave birth to her sons, Lava and Kusha. They were tutored by Valmiki, he also taught them the Ramayana and they remain ignorant of their parentage.

When Rama carried out a horse sacrifice, the horse grazed her forest, which brought her into conflict with her father. Unaware of their relationship to Rama, they caught the horse and refused to return it. An argument ensued during which they easily defeated Rama's brothers, Bharata, Shatrughna and Lakshmana. It is possible that Rama also intervened in the fight, but when He saw how strong and brave both were, he invited them to perform the horse sacrifice in Ayodhya. It was then that He learned that the two were His sons.

Sita called the earth, it opened and Sita went back into her mother. A messenger from the gods appeared and informed Rama that his task had been completed. Rama went back to heaven.

Uttara Kanda, this final chapter of the Ramayana, is controversial among spiritual aspirants. It is often believed that this book was added later to the Ramayana - and would ruin the actual happy ending of the Ramayana (Sita and Rama happily reunited in Ayodhya). In later editions / retellings of the Ramayana, e.g. by Tulsidas, Uttara Kanda is either omitted or told differently: Rama and Sita rule the kingdom happily and fairly for many years. Rama Raja, the rule of Rama, is seen as the ideal of government.

Origin of the Ramayana

Mythological stories about the origin of the Ramayana

Ratnakar becomes Valmiki and author of the Ramayana

One of these legends about the origin of the Ramayana goes as follows: There was once a mugger named Ratnakar. This attacked a sage (Rishi) named Narada. Narada told the Ratnakar that it was pretty cowardly to attack a poor old man. He would know a more worthy opponent. Ratnakar wanted to know who this was. Narada told him it was his own mind, his own thinking. Ratnakar resolved to defeat his own mind, let Narada introduce him to the mantra Rama and fell into deep meditation. His meditation was so deep that ants built an anthill around him. Narada gave him the name Valmiki, "who was born out of an anthill". Because Ratnakar alias Valmiki came out of meditation completely transformed. He had had a vision of Rama and had seen all of the Ramayana in his vision. Later he wrote down all of the Ramayana.

Valmiki tells Lava and Kusha the Ramayana

Another story about the origin of the Ramayana goes as follows: Lava and Kusha, the sons of Sita and Rama, grew up in the Ashram of Valmiki. One day they wanted to know who their father was. So Valmiki tells them the story of the life of Rama, the Ramayana.

Narada tells Valmiki the Ramayana, Valmiki composes the Ramayana in verse

Another version of how the Ramayana came about: Narada one day visited sage Valmiki in his hermitage. Valmiki asked the Narada a question: How does an ideal person behave? Narada responded to the Valmiki with the narration of the life of Rama, known as Samkshepa Ramayana. Valmiki was deeply moved by the story. In a meditative mood, he went to a river. There he observed a pair of copulating birds. A hunter shot the male bird with an arrow. The grief of the female bird moved the heart of Valmiki. Valmiki scolded the hunter - but this scold came in the form of a poem in a certain form of verse, called Shloka. When Valmiki returned to his Ashram, Brahma, the Creator, appeared to him and commanded him to write the Ramayana, the life story of Rama, in the Shloka meter, which he had intuitively discovered at the river. Brahma also gave Valmiki the ability to see all the events of the Ramayana in his mind's eye and to understand the background of the Ramayana.

Historical origin of the Ramayana

Origin of the Ramayana according to classical chronology

According to Indian tradition, the Ramayana was composed by Valmiki, who lived at the time of the Vedas. This means that the Ramayana is at least 5000 years old. It is sometimes even said that the Ramayana was played in an earlier age (Yuga), Dvapara Yuga, and is about 40,000-50,000 years old. Swami Vishnu-devananda once said that it was conceivable that the states of the apes and bears described in the Ramayana could have been states of other human species such as Neanderthals, who were contemporaries of Homo Sapiens Sapiens at that time. Swami Vishnu himself said that this was speculation.

Origin of the Ramayana according to Indological knowledge

The Indologists assume that the Ramayana originated between the 4th century BC and the 2nd century AD, possibly going back to older sources. According to this doctrine, the form known today with the seven books of Ramayana goes back to the 2nd century AD. back.

Versions of the Ramayana

The best known today is the Ramayana of Valmiki, the oldest known version of the Ramayana, although according to classical chronology the Samkshepa Ramayana is said to be even older.

However, there are several other versions of the Ramayana:

  • The Ramayana Champu was written by King Bhoja in the Indian Middle Ages
  • Very popular today is a Ramayana version by the poet and saint Tulsidas, called Ramcharitamanas

Ramayana in Southeast Asia

The Ramayana found widespread use in Southeast Asia, which is also known as "back India". The Ramayana is very well known in Bali, Cambodia and Thailand. This is how many national versions of the Ramayana came about.

In Thailand, the "Ramakian" is particularly popular, a Ramayana retelling that was written in the late 18th century at the instigation of King Rama II.

See also


  • Swami Sivananda, Gods and Goddesses in Hinduism (2008)
  • Swami Sivananda, Inspirational Stories (2005)
  • Swami Sivananda, Japa Yoga (2003)
  • Swami Sivananda, Divine Knowledge (2001)
  • Swami Sivananda, Shrimad Bhagavad Gita. Explanatory text and commentary by Swami Sivananda (1998)
  • Swami Sivananda: Beauties of Ramayana Divine Life Society, 1996
  • Swami Sivananda, Sadhana - A textbook on techniques for spiritual perfection
  • Swami Sivananda: Festivals and Lent Days in Hinduism, Yoga Vidya Verlag
  • Ramayana

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