Ramayana: Ancient Indian Epic.

Discussion in 'Religion & Culture' started by johnee, Feb 10, 2010.

?

Who was better?

Poll closed Sep 1, 2012.
  1. Rama (and his cohorts)

    18 vote(s)
    81.8%
  2. Ravana (and his cohorts)

    2 vote(s)
    9.1%
  3. I cannot pick a side.

    2 vote(s)
    9.1%
  1. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Prologue:
    Ramayana is one of the oldest epics of the world and it enjoys the rare distinction of having enjoyed popularity even after thousands of centuries. Ramayana is a story of King Rama who ruled Khosala, one of the ancient Indian kingdoms. Ramayana, over the years has been translated into different languages, both Indian and foreign. Some authors used their creative license to change certain scenes slightly to suit the tastes of their audience or to make some scenes dramatic. But the widely acknowledged original version is written in Sanskrit by Valmiki. Sanskrit is an old Indian language which is today not spoken widely. Sanskrit is still considered the mother of most Indian languages, that is one reason why many indian languages share many similar words. Because they are all derived from Sanskrit.

    Ramayana has been very popular in India and many characters are widely famous. But interestingly some popular scenes are absent or different in the original Srimad Ramayanam written by Valmiki.

    I am attempting to write briefely the original Srimad Ramayana story to the best of my knowledge and ability in a simple and modern way to those who are interested in Indian ancient epic. The Ramayana gives us a window to the exceptionally rich, mature and kind of culture of India whose roots are in the saying " Vasudaiva Kutumbakam(World is a family)". This saying is millenias old but is refreshingly modern and similar to the latest buzz word "global village". Similarly, the Ramayana though an old story is surprisingly strikes a chord in our modern lifestyle. It not only teaches us ancient values of India, its riches, its heritage, its culture but also its history...
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
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  3. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Interesting topic please go ahead.
     
  4. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    Please Johnee, go on. I was gonna ask you to post about the matter we discussed yesterday! I ll be closely following this. God Speed
     
  5. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Some Background Info for better understanding of story...

    Many ancient epics mention the story of King Rama born in Ikshavaku Dynasty who ruled the Kingdom of Khosala and had defeated Ravana. It seems like it was a real incident. Whether we accept Rama to be a God or not is our individual discretion.
    Hindus believe Sri Rama to be an avatar of Sri Maha Vishnu. It is believed by Hindus that Sri Maha Vishnu takes avatars whenever the dharma(good, righteous, and justice) is being undermined by Adharma(opposite of dharma) and when sajjan(good people) are being harrassed by dusht(bad guys). Sri Maha Vishnu is said to have taken many avatars, semi-avatars to cleanse the world of bad people and wrong practises.

    Some of the major avatars are:

    1. Matsya, the fish, appeared in the Satya Yuga.

    2. Kurma, the tortoise, appeared in the Satya Yuga.

    3. Varaha, the boar, appeared in the Satya Yuga.

    4. Narasimha, the half man/half lion appeared in the Satya Yuga.

    5. Vamana, the dwarf, appeared in the Treta Yuga.

    6. Parashurama, Rama with the axe, appeared in the Treta Yuga.

    7. Rama, Ramachandra, the human prince and king of Ayodhya, appeared in the Treta Yuga.

    8. Krishna: A complete avatar. He is revered as Jagadguru(teacher of the world) for giving Bhagadwad Gita.

    9. Kalki: an avatar that is yet to come. It is supposed to come in Kali Yuga(we presently live in Kali Yuga).

    Some people also consider Gautama Buddha to be an avatar of Sri Maha Vishnu.

    EDIT:
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    BTW, if you are confused with the words Yuga, heres some explanation. According to ancient indian science, the time is divided into four yugas. In modern day, we divide time into AD and BC. Similarly, the ancient indians divided time into four yugas:

    First Yuga is Sath Yuga. When the world was mostly a fine place to live. When people followed dharma. Demons(rakshas) used to live. Gods(devas) used to be visible to people. Any slight adharma was punished by gods. Dharma is generally symbolised by Cow. The saying goes that Dharma used to walk on four legs in Sath Yuga.

    Second Yuga is Tretha Yuga: When Dharma was slightly reduced. Adharma increased slightly. Dharma(symbolised by cow) used to walk on three legs.

    Third Yuga is Dwapara Yuga: When Dharma and Adharma were in equal proportion. Gods became invisible. Demons went underwater into sea. Dharma(symbolised by cow) walked on two legs.

    Fourth and final Yuga is Kali Yuga: When Adharma was predominant and Dharma was neglected. Dharma walked on one leg.

    The exact duration of each yuga is unclear and different calculations by different scholars yields different figures.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Rama is said to be the human incarnation who has lived his life like a normal human being with no extra-ordinary powers. His life is often declared as an ideal role model for all human beings. Rama is called Maryad Purshottam. Purshottam means the best man and maryada would broadly mean respect.

    Whether we take Rama as great indian king who led a extraordinary life or take him as a god incarnate, is upto us.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  6. Sabir

    Sabir DFI TEAM Senior Member

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    Have you noticed friends that some stories from Indian epics and mythology are coroborated by books of other religions and vice versa. Like the 'great deluge' mentioned in both -story of Noa's ark as well as in story of matsyabatara'. According to Bible, Eve was sent in Srilanka after being ousted from the paradise and Adam went there in search of her. So similar to the strory of Rama. So the bridege linking Srilanka with Indian mainland (which came to much controversy recently) is also known as 'Adam's Bridge'. Any other similarities known to anyone? Little offtopic but I think small related discussions will enrich the thread. Waiting for more Johney....
     
  7. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Sabir, thats an intresting observation. But I must point out that the similarities are mostly superficial, the actual details are vastly different. Also it is not Matsyabarata but Mahabharata. Matsya is fish, maybe you taught its name is taken from the great deluge. But that is not the case, the actual name of the epic is bharata or Jaya. Jaya would mean Victory and Bharata is the name of the land in which this story happened.

    And as for the Ramayana, I will start it in the evening...
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2010
  8. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Definitions of terms used in Ramyana Story.

    Guys, before I delve into Ramayana, some definitions of some terms so that the story could be understood better.

    Rishi: Rishi is a term used for someone who has left the material world to do spiritual excercises(like meditate, pray, do yagams..etc). Meditation is called as tapasya in sanskrit. It is believed that through tapasya and kundalini yoga, the rishis can attain super-human powers. The extent of tapasya determines the super-human powers. Though such powers are attained by the rishis, it is not the goal. The ultimate of goal of tapasya is god. It is believed that if someone(anyone) goes and does tapasya sincerely for enough time, then the god will appear to give him a boon. Ravana(the villian of Ramayana) had done tapasya for 10,000 years. Yep, 10,000 years!!

    There are different stages of Rishi-hood. The stages are:

    -Rajarshi
    -Maharshi
    -Brahmarshi.

    There is another kind of Rishi-hood: Devarshi. Devarshis are the divine rishis of Gods. They are supremely knowledgeble and always in meditation.


    Yagam: It is a ritual where a fire is ignited and ghee is poured into it while uttering mantras(hymns that are supposed to contain powers). The ghee is called 'havisu'. This is considered to please the gods. The ghee is poured into the fire(agni) while chanting mantras. And Gods come and take the havisu. They bless the person, region, nation who has performed the yagam. There are different types of yagams.

    Gods: Gods are divine beings. They are young(the age of 30) forever, and they do not die(because they drink amritha). They have marriages as well. But they do not have children because of a certain curse. Gods also have to follow rules, they are not totally independent. They are like a cabinet which governs the universe. The Gods live in Heaven. The principled gods are:

    Indra: the king of Gods.
    Agni: fire god
    Varuna: water god
    Yama: god of death and justice
    Kubera: King of gandharvas

    There are supposed to be different races in the universe. These races are: Humans(nara), half-humans(vanara), gods(devas), demons(rakshas), Gandharvas, Kinneras, Kimpurushas, Nagas(snakes), animals(pashu).

    Gods, Gandharvas, Kinneras, Kimpurushas, and Nagas are superior races with divine qualities and great powers(physical, mental, magical..etc). Generally, all of them are collectively called as gods. Their number is thirty-three crores.
    Humans, Half-humans are normal races.
    Animals and insects are lowly races.
    Rakshas are demons. They are also have immense physical power but lack morals and have sadistic behaviour.

    Generally, Rakshas(demons) and Devas(gods) are locked in one-up man ship. Rakshas dream of defeating the gods and ruling the universe.
    Humans, Hal-humans, Animals, and insects are not really taken seriously. They just live their lives.

    Finally, there are three super gods: Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva. In simple terms: Brahma is the creator of the universe, Vishnu takes care of the universe and Shiva destroys the universe at the end of four yugas.
    But its a very simplistic explanation.
    These three super-gods rule the universe. The gods also run to one of them when they face problems.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  9. Agantrope

    Agantrope Senior Member Senior Member

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    Johnee u left about the concept of Durga and Bhairavi :). It will nice if it is also there because it is the Bhairavi is the one who destroys the whole universe after the 4 yugas

    Correct me if i am wrong
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2010
  10. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Agantrope, Lalitha devi has different rupas. Durga, Kalika, Sharada, Lakshmi, Rajarajeshwari...etc..etc. According to devi purana, she is supreme. Even Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma are under her. You know that it is very complex the whole thing. So, for now, lets stick with the simple things.
     
  11. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Ramayana Story: Unique Question of Rishi Valmiki

    Ok, I am starting the story. Before I start let me say that if there are any inaccuracies in the story please correct me. I will try and tell the story to the best of my abilities and knowlege. Ramayana is not just read but prayed to daily by great people. Ramayana is interpretted at several levels in several layers. Ramayana is interpretted as a Dharma Shastra(treatise of justice and righteousness), as ayurveda shastra, as mantra shastra, as yoga shastra, ....etc. I will only stick to the story part.


    Jai Sri Ram


    Ramayana Story:


    The story starts in the ashram of Valmiki. The ashrams are generally places where rishis live. These ashrams are at a distance from cities or villages because the rishis like to live in peace and do not want to be disturbed by people. One day devarshi(divine rishi) Narada came to Valmiki. Narada is tapasvi and vadvidamvaram. Tapasvi is a person who does certain kind of vratas. They eat 16 nivalas(gulps of rice) per day on full moon day, from there they decrease one nivala everyday till the new moon day. From there they increase one nivala every day till full moon day. Also, they spend their time in meditation(dhyanam). Their goal is to become one with brahman(the supreme god). They continously make dhyan on the brahman. Devarshi Narad was that kind of tapasvi. He was one with brahman. He had the knowlege of past, present and future. He was always blissful because he knew the true nature of this world and universe and because he was one with the supreme brahman. Narada was also vagvidamvaram. Which means that his words were always truthful. If he said something it would become true.

    That Narada came to meet Valmiki. Valmiki was also a tapsavi. He also had vrats and regularly meditated. Before I continue, one more thing, the time when Narada came to meet Valmiki, Sitadevi was living in Valmiki's ashram. That means Sitadevi had already gone to Lanka, comeback, and then Rama sent her to forest, where Valmiki found her and gave refuge in his ashram along with his numerous disciples and their wives. So, in short, the Ramayanam had already happened, infact it was at its fagend. Now, Devarsi Narada who was a tapasvi and vagvidamvaram had come to meet tapasvi and rishi Valmiki.

    When Narada came Valmiki prayed to him, welcomed him and asked him a question. This question is the root for the birth of the epic named ramayana. This question gave birth to the great indian epic which was written millenias before yet is popular even today. What is this question?

    The rishi valmiki asked:

    Is there any person in my lifetime who has following 16 qualities?
    gunah, viryam, dharma, krutagnasya, drudvrata, satyavakya, Charitra, Vidvaan, sarvabutah hitah, samartah, priya darshanah, aatmavaan, jitakrodho, dhyutimaan, anasuyukah, kasya bibyati devah ca jyata rosaya myuge,

    1) gunah = good qualities,
    2) viryam = courage, one who does not get shaken in his heart but is able to accomplish even very hard tasks,
    3) krutagnasya = one who remembers the help given to him by others
    4) drudvrata = firm resolved
    5) satyavrata = one who speaks only truth and nothing else
    6) charitra = character
    7) Charitra = character, conduct,
    8) Vidvaan = knowlegable, wise,
    9) sarvabutah hitah = one who wishes the best for every butah(living thing).
    10) samartah = one is abled, one who can achieve any given task,
    11) priya darshanah = handsome always in all attires at all times,
    12) aatmavan = one who has mastered his aatma,
    13) itakrodho = one who has mastered his anger,
    14) dhyutiman = one who has great shine,
    15) anasuyakah = one without jealousy,
    16) kasya bibyati devah ca jyata rosaya myuge = even gods will tremble when he gets angry.

    (note the difference between controlling and mastering. Mastering anger is different from controlling anger. We can control anger in certain situations but can lose its control sometimes. But once you master you something, its always in your control. Mastering anger means understanding the trigger for anger and why it erupts. Thus one gets to a situation where he does not get angry. There could be a doubt quality 13 and quality 16 are possible simulaneously. Rama does not get angry, he has mastered it, but he uses anger as a tool to get his work done when required. He expresses anger to get a work done. He does not get into the grip of anger like us.)

    This was the question asked by rishi Valmiki. He asked," is there any person with these 16 qualities. If there is such a person, please tell me who he is. And I want to know about a person who is alive not some historical figure." 16 qualities are generally possessed by moon in hindu literature. Thats is the reason Sri Rama is also called Ramachandra. So, now Valmiki has asked the question . This is the scene of epic Ramayana's birth. Then the devarshi Narada replied as follows, "You have asked a rare question and people with such qualities do not ordinarily exist(that means the one with all such qualities is an extra-ordinary person).Yes, Valmiki, such a person exists. He belongs to Ikshavaku kula(dynasty), he is the son of King Dasharatha, people call him Rama. He has all the qualities you mentioned and along with it he is a vasi(one who has mastered his senses). He has great willpower and great physical power. He knows all sciences. He has great riches. He has strong shoulders and high cheeks. He knows use of all weapons. He can control enemies. He knows all vedas. He is equal to Sri Maha Vishnu. He protects all the beings and dharma. He can protect the entire world. He protects his own dharma. He protects people who depend on him for protection. He is extremely handsome and pleasing to those who see him. He is satyaparakram(truth is his strength)." Then Devarshi Narada tells the entire Ramayana to rishi Valmiki in a brief manner. The Ramayana told by Narada to Valmiki is called Sankshep Ramayana. It is about 100 shlokas. It is called a mala mantram. It is supposed to have great powers to those who pray through it.


    Narada told the Ramayana in a brief manner in the following manner,"King Dasharatha did not have kids, so he performed ashvamedha yagam( a type of yagam) to clear his papam(bad karma). When he performed the yagam, he received a prasadam( any food item taken with a blessing of god). He gave it to his three wives and Rama was born as the eldest son to his first wife Kaushalya. Later Dasharatha wanted to annoint Rama as the King of Kaushalya to look after welfare of the people because people also wanted to see prince Rama as the king but then the dear wife of Dasharatha, Kaikeyi, claimed boons from Dasharatha according to which Rama must be banished to forests and Bharata(second son of Dasharata and only son of Kaikeyi) should be made as King. To honour the boons given by his father to kaikeyi, Sri Rama went to forest. Younger brother of Rama named Lakshmana also followed his brother out of brotherly love and affection. Sri Rama's wife Sita who was most beautiful lady, also accompanied her husband. All the people of ayodhya were immersed in sorrow.The trio of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana went into forests, crossing rivers and visting sages. Finally they went to chitrakuta. Bharata came back from his uncles house and got to know about the boons that his mother kaikeyi asked his father, he also came to know about the banishment of his brother and consquently death of his father. Bharata became sad and went to chitrakuta along with all the gurus(teachers), citizens and army to persuade Rama to take the throne back now that his father had expired. Rama did not agree because it was against the dharma. Then Bharat took the padukas(foot wear) of rama and ruled the khosala as rama's agent and rama's padukas as his symbol. Later Rama left Chitrakuta because it reminded him of his people who visited him recently. He left chitrakuta and entered Dandaka forest and resided there. A demoness named shurpanaka saw him and got attracted to him and approached him. But Rama cut her nose and ears. Kara and Dhushana(two demons) attacked Rama with a force of 14000 when Shurpanaka complained to them. Rama destroyed the entire 14000 demons, shurpanaka saw it and informed Ravana. Ravana abducted Sita and took her to Lanka. Rama befriended Sugreeva(vanara, a monkey clan that has human like qualities) and killed Vali(brother of Sugreeva). Then Rama sent vanaras to all directions to search for Sita. Hanuman(one of the vanaras sent to search for Sita) who went to south side, discovered Sita and came back to tell Rama about it. Rama built a bridge across the sea with the help of Neela(another vanara) and crossed the bridge along with his army of vanaras into Lanka. There he killed Ravan and returned to Ayodhya and ruled the earth for 11000 years. He showed rama rajya to the world. In Rama Rajya, there were no minor deaths, there were no widows, there were no fire accidents, there were no fevers, there were no starvations, there were no big diseases, there were no deaths of animals by drowing, there were no turbulances in the world, there were no thefts, Rama performed Ashvameda Yagams and many other yagams and gifted away lot of money, crores cows and expensive jewels to Brahmanas. He ruled for 11000years and then after giving up his body he reached Brahma Lokam(World of Brahma)."

    Narada also tells a phalashruti(advantages of listening/reading to a particular story). The phalashruti he gives to this ramayana is that those who read this will have a long life and will be able to see their great grand children and after that they will have a painless death and reach heaven.

    Rishi Valmiki listened to this brief Ramayna in a very attentive manner. He was delighted to listen and was filled with joy.

    To be contd...
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
    panduranghari likes this.
  12. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Guys, would appreciate if you give review. Should I continue? If so, am I very brief or too detailed? Is it lengthy? Is it clear? Do tell me.
     
  13. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    A great thread. Thanks Johnee.

    Please do continue.
     
  14. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    A_Chauhan,
    the original Ramayana is written in sanskrit by Adikavi Valmiki. Many translations into other languages are present. Ramcharit Manas by Sri Tulsidas in Bhojpuri, BhaskaraRamayana by Sri Bhaskara in Telugu, KambaRamayana by Sri Kamaban.....etc. All ramayanas differ slightly in content. All of them were written by great devotees of Sri Rama. But the acknowledged original one is Sanskrit Ramayan written Valmiki. My intention to start this thread was to write briefly the story written by Valmiki. If you want to post about RamcharitManas, I request you to open another thread, so that there is no confusion.

    EDIT: BTW, guys please give a review or if there is a mistake please point out. Also, if you want add something about valmiki ramyana, please do so. But do not bring in other topics, it deviates the thread and disturbs the continuity of story. Thanx.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2010
  15. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Ramayana Story Contd : Begining of the Epic Ramayana

    Jai Sri Ram

    Devarshi Narada had come to visit Rishi Valmiki in his Ashram. Rishi Valmiki who was a tapasvi asked Narada who was also a tapasvi a question that is rarely asked. Rishi Valmiki wanted know whether there existed any person who possessed 16qualities. Devarshi Narada replied that such a person existed and told that he was bornn in Ikshavaku Kula(dynasty) and his name was Rama who ruled the Kingdom Khosala with its capital as Ayodhya. Then Bhagwan Narada(Narada is equal to god because he is always in Brahmi state. So Narada is being referred as Bhagwan which means god.) went onto narrate the additional qualities of Sri Rama. He later told the story of Sri Rama in brief manner. This is called as Sankshepa Ramayana. It is said to possess many great powers and is called a mala mantram. Valmiki was delighted on listening to it. Note that Sitadevi was at that time residing in Valmiki's ashram along with her two sons Kusha and Lava.

    After telling the story, Narada left to heaven. But Valmiki could not forget the story and his heart was filled with Sankshepa Ramayana. It was noon time. Valmiki called one of his favourite disciples named Bharadwaja and said, " Lets us go to tamasa river for sandhya vandana.". Sandhya Vandana is a ritual that is practised in the pradosha time. Pradosha time means dawn(about 4:00 A.M- 6:00 A.M) and dusk(4-6). Tapasvis or religiously oriented do it at noon time as well. In Tretha Yuga, people used to be religious, so generally people performed Sandhya Vandana in noon time as well in Tretha Yuga. Sandhya vandana means praying to sun with gayatri mantra with water. It is ideally done at a river or a flowing water body. So, at noon time Valmiki left to tamasa river which was near his ashram along with one of his disciples who carried fresh clothes for his guru(teacher). Once they reached the river, Valmiki said,"Bharadwaja, look at this beautiful river whose water are so clean just like a good man's heart." The smiley used by Rishi Valmiki here "like good man's heart" shows us that his heart is still influenced by the Ramayana story he heard from Narada. Valmiki had just listened to a story of a great man, a good man(named Rama). This shows us how attentively Valmiki had listened to Narada and now his heart is still full of that story. Valmiki said that and was happy seeing the beautiful waters. He was enjoying watching the nature. He was in a blissful state of mind. He entered the waters and did his sandhya vandana and wore the fresh clothes brought by his disciple. His heart was still over-joyed. He happily looked at his sorroundings. He saw a pair of Krouncha birds. One male and the other female. They were fearlessly and happily playing with each other. The rishi saw them both and it made him more happier. But suddenly the male krouncha bird was hit by an arrow released by a hunter. The male bird was instantly killed and the female bird started crying in a very moving voice. This scene made the rishi very angry. He cursed the hunter in the following manner:

    maa nishhaada pratiSThaamtva | magamaH shaashvatiiH samaaH |
    yat krau~Ncha mithunaat eka | mavadhiiH kaama mohitam ||

    This means, "Oh hunter, you have killed a male bird when it was involved in a lustful play with its wife, your deed will be remembered by the world(for its cruelty)."

    It is said that Ramayana is born in this shloka. This shloka was meant by Valmiki to be a curse. But it can be interpretted in so many ways. One more meaning to this verse is, " O man(Vishnu), you killed the male(Ravana) who was living his life only through his kama(desire) leaving aside dharma. This has caused grief to female(mandodari, Ravana's wife). Your deed will be remembered by the world(for its greatness)."

    Another ways of interpretting it makes this verse give the entire story of Ramayana briefly. It is said that this verse briefly summarises all the 7 Khandas(units) of Ramayana. This is a very celebrated verse and is said to be the begining of Ramayana. So this was the begining of the great Ramayana.

    Rishi Valmiki returned to his ashram but could not forget the verse that he meant to be a curse. He thought," This verse has great qualities, it is poetic, music can be composed to it, it can be played on musical instruments.How can such qualities be present in a shloka that is meant only as a curse?" At moment, Brahma came to visit Valmiki in his divine vehicle. (Narada is son to Brahma. Brahma created Narada by mere thought, so he is Brahma's son.) First Narada came and tested Valmiki by telling him the story. After seeing how much the story had made a mark on the Valmiki's heart and seeing the soft heartedness of Valmiki(because he could not even tolerate the death and sorrow of a bird), Brahma himself came to visit Valmiki. Brahma ordered Valmiki to write Ramayana. Now, here we may get a doubt: Valmiki did not know the Ramayana before, so he asked Narada. Narada told him the story,but if Valmiki writes the story told by Narada only, then the real author would be Narada not Valmiki. But Valmiki is the author, how?
    Because Brahma ordered Valmiki to write the Ramayana and along with it gave a boon to him to be able to see into the past, present and future and also read the thoughts of the people involved in the story. So, Valmiki wrote the story by seeing it directly and also he knew the minds of all the people involved according to elders. Therefore, Valmiki Ramaynam alone is considered to be authentic. Valmiki Ramayanam is called ithihasam. Ithihasam means " it happened like this".

    So, now Rishi Valmiki started the Ramayana and finished it. It contained twenty-four thousand verses. Valmiki then thought who could really recite this wonderful poetic story. He found that the most suitable disciples were none other than Sitadevi's(and Sri Rama's) sons Kusha and Lava who were living incidentally in his ashram at that time along with their mother. So, Valmiki taught this Ramayana to Kusha and Lava so that they could spread this great story because it contained the essence of dharma and the story of purshottam(best among men). Rishi Valmiki declared that he had given three names to this story:

    -Sitayaha Charitam Mahat. (Sita's character/story is great)
    -Ramayanam.( Rama's ayanam meaning Rama's journey/story. It can also be interpretted as Ramaa's ayanam meaning Ramaa's journey/story. Ramaa means sitadevi. So, Ramayanam means Rama's journey of life or Sita's journey of life)
    -Poulatsya Vadha(death of Poulatsya. Poulatsaya is one is born in the vamsha(dynsaty) of Poulomi. Poulatsya here refers to Ravana. So, it means story of Ravana's death.)

    Now, this story was learned by Kusha and Lava. Kusha and Lava started spreading it by singing it in main cities where people gather. Once, it so happened that Sri Rama himself saw these two kids singing Ramayna and was impressed. Rama had not seen his sons before, therefore did not recognise them. Rama was impressed by the ramayana being sung by Kusha and Lava and invited them to sing it in palace. They went to palace and started singing it:

    Once upon a time there was a huge Kingdom named Khosala, whose capital Ayodhya was situated at the banks of the river Sarayu. It was built by Manu who was born in Ikshavaku. It had lot of big roads and small roads which were well decorated and kept cool by spraying waters. It had great forts and ditches to protect the forts. Many great warriors were stationed in these forts. Ayodhya was filled with foreigners who came to do business, tourists sprawled at this city and many kings came to pay tax to the emperor. The kingdom was ruled by Emperor Dasharatha. The people of the city were well versed in warfare but they had some rules of fighting. They never killed those who did not have parents or children. They never killed those who begged for forgiveness or those who were running away from battle. They hunted down animals in all ways possible. The Emperor ruling the kingdom was Dasharatha, he was rajarshi of the standard of Maharshi. He was a great warrior. He had done a lot of great yagams. He had gained influence over intellectuals by giving them great gifts. He had collected lots of riches and other articles of attraction. He followed dharma. He had great wisdom and was able to calculate the future events with his sharp intellect. He had subdued his enemies. He had a lot of friends who were powerful. He had gained control over his senses. His rule was dharmic.

    In that city of Ayodhya, not even one person was atheist, not even one person was not an intellectual, not even one person was lobhi(One who desires everything that he lays eyes on), not even one person was only kami(one who is guided by only his desires). Everyone in that city had a clean heart. Not one person was present in that city who did not wear a mukut(a headgear made of gold and other expensive jewels), not one person was present in that city who did not wear ear-jewelry(men also), not one person was present in that city who had less-luxuries, not one person was present who did not wear expensive necklaces,clothes and lockets. That means everyone was rich and were having extra-ordinary luxuries. Also everyone was dharmic. Such a great rule was possible because of good ministers of Dhasharatha. He had 8 ministers. He had Vashishta and Vamadeva as his purohiths(religious scholars). Vashishta was also guru(teacher) of Ikshvaku Kings including Dasharatha. Those eight ministers were knowlegable and unbiased. They were rich and had control over their senses. They administered in a very transparent manner. They were well-skilled, and respected their teachers and parents. They ignored the bad qualities of their teachers and parents but followed their good qualities.
    Thus, the kingdom was being administered in a perfect way. But there was one sorrow for Dhashratha, he had no kids. He thought that he had no kids because of some papam(bad karma) of past. So, he decided to perform ashvamedha yagam to remove his papam. He ordered his servants to call purohiths. Vashishta, Vamadeva..etc purohits came and met Dasharatha. Dasharatha told them about his wish to his teacher Vashishta and other purohiths. They all were pleased and gave him their blessings. Dasharatha ordered his servants to build yagya vatika(stage) at the banks of Sarayu River. Ashavamedha yagam is a very difficult yagam to perform, thats why not many kings perform it. Then Dasharatha went to antahpuram(palace of queens) and told his queens about his decision to perform Ashvamedha Yagam to remove his papam, so that they could beget kids. The queens were very pleased.

    One of the ministers named Sumantra came to antahpuram and told Dasharatha that he wanted to talk to him. Dasharatha seated him and allowed him to talk. Sumantra told that there was a great person named Rishi Shrunga who could head the Yagam. Sumantra advised Dashratha to go himself to invite Rishi Shrunga. Dasharatha did as advised and went himself to invite to Rishi Shrunga to the Ashvamedha Yagam. Dasharatha prayed to Rishi Shrunga to head the yagam. Rishi Shrunga agreed to head the yagam. Rishi Shrunga along with his wife Shanta came to Ayodhya. All the women of antahpuram came to welcome Shanta. Rishi Shrunga and Shanta entered antahpuram.
    Today, the place where Rishi Shrunga had performed tapasya(meditation), is called shringeri. Jagadguru Shankaracharya has established a peetam in Shringeri.

    To be Contd...(the next episode is the birth of Sri Rama)
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  16. A chauhan

    A chauhan "अहिंसा परमो धर्मः धर्म हिंसा तथैव च: l" Senior Member

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    I didn't mean that , whatever Ramayan it may be but the sole message is same, i tried to deal with the core teachings of Ramayan whether it's Ramayan or Shri Ramcharitmanas, actually i like this thread so i posted here, and it was not off topic to be deleted, and who changed its title i don't know...its a great thread and i really appreciate it and my post never offended anyone's feelings,however it seems that you are going to narrate the full story ... johnee keep it up
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  17. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Mate, not that your post was off-topic but the continuity of the story gets disturbed thats all, not ill-intent. I agree with what you were saying.
     
  18. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    Johnee, do you remember the "Sankshipt Ramayana"? It is the story of Ramayana in a single Sanskrit shloka.

    I used to remember it but have now forgotten it.
     
  19. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Vinod, do you mean the following shloka:
    maa nishhaada pratiSThaamtva | magamaH shaashvatiiH samaaH |
    yat krau~Ncha mithunaat eka | mavadhiiH kaama mohitam ||

    It is supposed to contain entire ramayana.
     
  20. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    johnee, you are narrating great. keep up mate. am enjoying it.
     
  21. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    keep up mate, loads of new info coming. i think what you could also do with each post where you continue the narration is give a header and then also blog the post.
     

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