The Ramayama – very short

The Ramayama is one of India’s central epics. It is not as long as the better-known Mahabharata (which is as long as the Iliad andthe Odyssey together), but is still quite a complicated story, which extends geographically across the Indian subcontinent. Since the Ramayama plays  partly in Hampi , and as I stumble upon it almost everywhere,  here a very brief summary

Rama is the firstborn son of King Ayodha in the north of India and a reincarnation of Vishnu. His father, however,  owes a favor to  another one of his wifes and she  requests to send  Rama into exile, so her son can be king. Rama then goes with his wife Sita and his devoted brother Lakshman into exile and spends several years in the woods. One day the sister of the demon Ravana tries to enchant Rama. But she is not successful, Rama even cuts off her nose.  Ravana could not stand this dishonour and  abductes Sita with a lousy trick.


Ramayama

Ravana abductes Sita

Rama and Lakshman head now on the search for Sita and end up in the monkey kingdom Kishkinda. This is the region around Hampi, where they then regulate royal conflicts between brothers, before they continue to search for Sita. With them  on the road is now Hanuman - who has an army of monkeys, and later becomes known as apegod.

 

Ramayama

Hanuman meets Rama and Laksman

The latter is first sent forward to Lanka (where Sita is) to announce the upcoming help. He is captured there  and during his liberation he  quickly sets Lanka on fire. The liberation of Sita is initiated with the construction of a bridge to Lanka with the help of the monkey  armycommanded by Hanuman. Rama wins the succeeding war even if Laksman is wounded.

 

Ramayama

Hanuman hands over to Sita a ring as message from Rama

Then Rama regulates also in Lanka the conflict between the royal brothers, before Rama, Laksman and Sita can finally return home. Before the all embracing happy end, however, Sita must still undergo a trial by fire, because her honor would otherwise be in doubt.

Here in the south where I am, illustrations from the Ramayama can be found in many temples. Not that I am able to  identify the different parts of the story on the sculptures. Also the guidebooks  are not accurate enough for this. But sometimes there is a person on charge in the temples, who can gie at least rudimentary information about the contents of the sculptures in exchange for a “small gift”to give in exchange for a small “gift”. More rarely, I can also listen to a guided  group (this especially when it comes toWestern groups are, but they are rare).

For this purpose the childrens books, with the most important stories come in handy. For 50 rupees (70 cents)I bought  an illustrated children’s book, which summarizes the story of Rama. It is  still surprisingly complicated, but really good to get a glance. There are also comics which retell the stories of gods and heroes. I am sure, that I am going to buy more of those in the next weeks….

 

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Comments

  1. Bishnu Khadka says:

    Really great story and beautiful images too. thanks for sharing a live experiences.
    take care

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