RAMAYANA AND its VARIANT VERSIONS
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RAMAYANA AND its VARIANT VERSIONS
VIJAY KUMAR SAPPATTI
Abstract of the paper :
Title of the paper : RAMAYANA AND its VARIANT VERSIONS
I have selected this topic of Ramayana variants to understand the different versions of the great epic available in various regions and across the borders . I have taken both international and regional versions into account .
I have used various books available in print medium and at the same time I have used the Internet facility also to research the subject which is spread in various platforms
The findings :
There are definitely more than one or several hundred versions as we go through the history and available resources. In each version there is some difference in explanations or in text format.
Despite the several versions available it is still one of the best epic available in world which captures the imagination of the readers.
Writing a paper on the variants of Ramayan is a difficult task. Reading so many versions available is a tedious task and with every version one reads, there is possibility that we change our perceptions about the great Epic. I have taken care and understood that with every version there is a story attached to it. There is a belief system behind the version. Be it local, regional, national or international. We see differences in the versions according to time period of that era!
But despite all the versions as they say “God is limitless and there is no limit to his stories.” This proverb comes true to its full sense. With every reading we come across a new story and new approach to the original Ramayana .
As we go through the details we understand the dynamics of each story. The reason for submissions of this paper is just to know the variations of Ramayan in each generation or different Eras.
Valmiki Ramayana- An introduction
The Ramayana is one of the great Hindu epics. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu literature, considered to be itihāasa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of Hinduism, the other being the Mahabharata. It depicts the duties of relationships, portraying ideal characters like the ideal father, the ideal servant, the ideal brother, the ideal wife, and the ideal king. The name Ramayana is a tatpurusha compound of Ram and Ayana ("going, advancing"), translating to "Rama's Journey".
Ramayana tells the story of Rama (an avatar of the Hindu supreme-god Vishnu), whose wife Sita is abducted by Ravana, the king of Lanka .Thematically, the Ramayana explores human values and the concept of dharma. It also gives us some insights as how to live life. Ramayana also tells us the basics of morality of life. It also shows various dimensions of Life on a greater canvas.
The Ramayana was first written by Valmiki [ original name Ratnakar ] the robber-turned-sage. The story of Rama was narrated to him by Narada. Once he witnessed a bird being killed by a hunter and heard the heart-rending cry of the bird’s mate. He felt the pain and out of this pain he was inspired to write the Ramayana.
The epic was an important influence on Sanskrit poetry and Indian life and culture, particularly through its establishment of the shloka meter. Like its epic cousin the Mahabharata, the Ramayana is not just an ordinary story: it contains the teachings of ancient Hindu sages and presents them in narrative allegory with philosophical and the devotional elements interspersed. The characters Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Bharata, Hanuman and Ravana are all fundamental to the cultural consciousness of India.
The epic is traditionally divided into several major kāndās (books), which deal chronologically with the major events in the life of Rama. The division into 7 kāndās is as follows:
Kanda / Book Title Contents / details
1. Bāla Kāṇḍa
(Book of childhood) The origins and childhood of Rama, born to king Dasharatha of Ayodhya and destined to fight demons. Sita's swayamvara and subsequent wedding to Rama
2. Ayodhya Kāṇḍa
(Book of ayodhya) The preparations for Rama's coronation in the city of Ayodhya, his exile into the forest, and the regency of Bharata.
3. Araṇya Kāṇḍa
(Book of the forest) The forest life of Rama with Sita and Lakshmana, his constant companion. The kidnapping of Sita by the demon king Ravana.
4. Kishkindha Kāṇḍa
(Book of the monkey kingdom) Rama meets Hanuman and helps destroy the monkey people's king, Vali, making Vali's younger brother, Sugriva, king of Kishkindha instead.
5. Sundara Kāṇḍa
(Book of beauty) Detailed accounts of Hanuman's adventures, including his meeting with Sita. Traditionally read first when reading the Ramayana, this book's name derives from the fond name given to Hanuman by his mother.
6. Yuddha Kāṇḍa
(Book of war, also known as Lanka Kanda)
The battle in Lanka between the monkey and the demon armies of Rama and Ravana, respectively. After Ravana is defeated, Sita undergoes the test of fire, completes exile with Rama, and they return to Ayodhya to reign over the ideal state.
7. Uttara Kāṇḍa
(Last book) Rumors of impurity lead to Sita's banishment, during which she gives birth to and raises Lava and Kusha. Rama and Sita reconcile. The twin boys later ascend the throne of Ayodhya, after which Rama departs from the world.
The Ramayana consists of 24,000 verses in seven books (kāṇḍas) and 500 cantos (sargas). Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is composed of verses called Sloka, in Sanskrit language, which is an ancient language from India and are written in a 32-syllable meter called anustubh. These verses are grouped into individual chapters called Sargas, wherein a specific event or intent is told. These chapters or sargas are grouped into books called Kaandas where Kaanda means the inter-node stem of sugar cane, or also a particular phase of the story or an event in the course of storytelling. In its extant form, Valmiki's Ramayana is an epic poem of some 50,000 lines. The text survives in several thousand partial and complete manuscripts, the oldest of which is a palm-leaf manuscript found in Nepal and dated to the 11th century CE. The text has several regional renderings, recensions, and subrecensions. Ramayana is composed of about 480,002 words, being a quarter of the length of the full text of the Mahabharata or about four times the length of the Iliad.
The Entire story of THE VALMIKI RAMAYANA is as detailed below:
Dasharatha was the king of Kosala, the capital of which was the city of Ayodhya. He had three queens: Kausalya, Kaikeyi and Sumithra. He was childless for a long time and, anxious to produce an heir, he performs a fire sacrifice known as Putra-Kameshti Yagna. As a consequence, Rama is first born to Kausalya, Bharata is born to Kaikeyi, and Sumitra gives birth to twins named Lakshmana and Shatrughna. These sons are endowed, to various degrees, with the essence of the God Vishnu; Vishnu had opted to be born into mortality in order to combat the demon Ravana, who was oppressing the Gods, and who could only be destroyed by a mortal. The boys are reared as the princes of the realm, receiving instructions from the scriptures and in warfare. When Rama is 16 years old, the sage Vishwamitra comes to the court of Dasharatha in search of help against demons, who were disturbing sacrificial rites. He chooses Rama, who is followed by Lakshmana, his constant companion throughout the story. Rama and Lakshmana receive instructions and supernatural weapons from Vishwamitra, and proceed to destroy the demons.
Janaka was the king of Mithila. One day, a female child was found in the field by the king in the deep furrow dug by this plough. Overwhelmed with joy, the king regarded the child as a "miraculous gift of God". The child was named Sita, the Sanskrit word for furrow. Sita grew up to be a girl of unparalleled beauty and charm. When Sita was of marriageable age, the king decided to have a swayamvara which included a contest. The king was in possession of an immensely heavy bow, presented to him by the God Shiva: whoever could wield the bow could marry Sita. The sage Vishwamitra attends the swayamvara with Rama and Lakshmana. Only Rama wields the bow and breaks it. Marriages are arranged between the sons of Dasharatha and daughters, nieces of Janaka. The weddings are celebrated with great festivity at Mithila and the marriage party returns to Ayodhya.
After Rama and Sita have been married for twelve years, Dasharatha who had grown old expresses his desire to crown Rama, to which the Kosala assembly and his subjects express their support. On the eve of the great event, Kaikeyi—her jealousy aroused by Manthara, a wicked maidservant—claims two boons that Dasharatha had long ago granted her. Kaikeyi demands Rama to be exiled into wilderness for fourteen years, while the succession passes to her son Bharata. The heartbroken king, constrained by his rigid devotion to his given word, accedes to Kaikeyi's demands. Rama accepts his father's reluctant decree with absolute submission and calm self-control which characterizes him throughout the story. He is joined by Sita and Lakshmana. When he asks Sita not to follow him, she says, "The forest where you dwell is Ayodhya for me and Ayodhya without you is a veritable hell for me." After Rama's departure, king Dasharatha, unable to bear the grief, passes away. Meanwhile, Bharata who was on a visit to his maternal uncle learns about the events in Ayodhya. Bharata refuses to profit from his mother's wicked scheming and visits Rama in the forest. He requests Rama to return and rule. But Rama, determined to carry out his father's orders to the letter, refuses to return before the period of exile. However, Bharata carries Rama's sandals, and keeps them on the throne, while he rules as Rama's regent.
Rama, Sita and Lakshmana journeyed southward along the banks of river Godavari, where they built cottages and lived off the land. At the Panchavati forest they are visited by a rakshasa woman, Surpanakha, the sister of Ravana. She attempts to seduce the brothers and, failing in this, attempts to kill Sita. Lakshmana stops her by cutting off her nose and ears. Hearing of this, her demon brother, Khara, organizes an attack against the princes. Rama annihilates Khara and his demons.
When news of these events reaches Ravana, he resolves to destroy Rama by capturing Sita with the aid of the rakshasa Maricha. Maricha, assuming the form of a golden deer, captivates Sita's attention. Entranced by the beauty of the deer, Sita pleads with Rama to capture it. Rama, aware that this is the play of the demons, is unable to dissuade Sita from her desire and chases the deer into the forest, leaving Sita under Lakshmana's guard. After some time Sita hears Rama calling out to her; afraid for his life she insists that Lakshmana rush to his aid. Lakshmana tries to assure her that Rama is invincible, and that it is best if he continues to follow Rama's orders to protect her. On the verge of hysterics Sita insists that it is not she but Rama who needs Lakshmana's help. He obeys her wish but stipulates that she is not to leave the cottage or entertain any strangers. Finally with the coast clear, Ravana appears in the guise of an ascetic requesting Sita's hospitality. Unaware of the devious plan of her guest, Sita is then forcibly carried away by the evil Ravana.
Jatayu, a vulture, tries to rescue Sita, but is mortally wounded. At Lanka, Sita is kept under the heavy guard of rakshasis. Ravana demands Sita marry him, but Sita, eternally devoted to Rama, refuses. Rama and Lakshmana learn about Sita's abduction from Jatayu, and immediately set out to save her. During their search, they meet the demon Kabana and the ascetic Shagbark, who direct them towards Sugriva and Hanuman.
The Kishkindha Kanda is set in the monkey citadel Kishkindha. Rama and Lakshmana meet Hanuman, the greatest of monkey heroes and an adherent of Sugriva, the banished pretender to the throne of Kishkindha. Rama befriends Sugriva and helps him by killing his elder brother Vali thus regaining the kingdom of Kishkindha, in exchange for helping Rama to recover Sita. However Sugriva soon forgets his promise and spends his time in debauchery. The clever monkey Queen, Tara, calmly intervenes to prevent an enraged Lakshmana from destroying the monkey citadel. She then eloquently convinces Sugriva to honor his pledge. Sugriva then sends search parties to the four corners of the earth, only to return without success from north, east and west. The southern search party under the leadership of Angad and Hanuman learns from a vulture named Sampati that Sita was taken to Lanka. Ravana is meeting Sita at Ashokavana. Hanuman is seen on the tree.
The Sundara Kanda forms the heart of Valmiki's Ramayana and consists of a detailed, vivid account of Hanuman's adventures. After learning about Sita, Hanuman assumes a gargantuan form and makes a colossal leap across the ocean to Lanka. Here, Hanuman explores the demon's city and spies on Ravana. He locates Sita in Ashoka grove, who is wooed and threatened by Ravana and his rakshasis to marry Ravana. He reassures her, giving Rama's signet ring as a sign of good faith. He offers to carry Sita back to Rama; however she refuses, reluctant to allow herself to be touched by a male other than her husband. She says that Rama himself must come and avenge the insult of her abduction.
Hanuman then wreaks havoc in Lanka by destroying trees and buildings, and killing Ravana's warriors. He allows himself to be captured and produced before Ravana. He gives a bold lecture to Ravana to release Sita. He is condemned and his tail is set on fire, but he escapes his bonds and, leaping from roof to roof, sets fire to Ravana's citadel and makes the giant leap back from the island. The joyous search party returns to Kishkindha with the news. The War of Lanka.It depicts monkey army of the protagonist Rama (top left, blue figure) fighting the demon-king of the king of Lanka, Ravana in order to save Rama's kidnapped wife Sita. The painting depicts multiple events in the battle against the three-headed demon general Trisiras, in bottom left - Trisiras is beheaded by the monkey-companion of Rama - Hanuman.
This book describes the battle between the forces of Rama and Ravana. Having received Hanuman's report on Sita, Rama and Lakshmana proceed with their allies towards the shore of the southern sea. There they are joined by Ravana's renegade brother Vibhishana. The monkeys named "Naal" and "Neel" constructs a floating bridge (known as Rama Setu) across the ocean, and the princes and their army cross over to Lanka. A lengthy battle ensues and Rama kills Ravana. Rama then installs Vibhishana on the throne of Lanka.
On meeting Sita, Rama asks her to undergo Agni Pariksha (test of fire) to prove her purity, since she had stayed at the demon's palace. When Sita plunges into the sacrificial fire, Agni the lord of fire raises Sita, unharmed, to the throne, attesting to her purity. The episode of Agni Pariksha varies in the versions of Ramayana by Valmiki and Tulsidas. The above version is from Valmiki Ramayana. In Tulsidas's Ramacharitamanas Sita was under the protection of Agni so it was necessary to bring her out before reuniting with Rama. At the expiration of his term of exile, Rama returns to Ayodhya with Sita and Lakshmana, where the coronation is performed. This is the beginning of Ram Rajya. Which means an ideal state with good morals. It is a place where all religions, creed and castes can live together in harmony and work towards progress together. Ram Rajya is the ultimate state of a true democracy where through unity one gains strength and protects the other as humanity is the greatest essence above all. Gambling, drinking and hunting were commonly condemned in Ram Rajya.
The Uttara Kanda concerns the final years of Rama, Sita, and Rama's brothers. After being crowned king, many years passed pleasantly with Sita. However, despite the Agni Pariksha (fire ordeal) of Sita, rumors about her purity are spreading among the populace of Ayodhya.Rama yields to public opinion and banishes Sita to the forest, where the sage Valmiki provides shelter in his ashram (hermitage). Here she gives birth to twin boys, Lava and Kusha, who became pupils of Valmiki and are brought up in ignorance of their identity.
Valmiki composes the Ramayana and teaches Lava and Kusha to sing it. Later, Rama holds a ceremony during Ashvamedha yagna, which the sage Valmiki, with Lava and Kusha, attends. Lava and Kusha sing the Ramayana in the presence of Rama and his vast audience. When Lava and Kusha recite about Sita's exile, Rama becomes grievous, and Valmiki produces Sita. Sita calls upon the Earth, her mother, to receive her and as the ground opens, she vanishes into it. Rama then learns that Lava and Kusha are his children. Later a messenger from the Gods appears and informs Rama that the mission of his incarnation was over. Rama returns to his celestial abode. The Uttara Kanda is regarded to be a later addition to the original story by Valmiki.
Ramayana – variant versions
"Both teller and listener shall be treasurers of wisdom for Rama's tale is mysterious." Indian saying.
And the great Tulsidas wrote:
हरी अनंत हरी कथा अनंता |
कहहि सुनहिं बहु बिधि सब संता ||
“God is limitless and there is no limit to his stories.”
Camille Bulcke, counted 300 telling’s of the epic. The number of versions of the epic which have existed in India and the rest of south-east Asia for the past 2,500 years or more is simply "astonishing".
Late poet and scholar AK Rumanian’s work - Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation is another milestone in this study.
Though Valmiki's Sanskrit poem Ramayana is the most influential among Indians, Ram's story is available in at least 22 languages, including Chinese, Laotian, Thai and Tibetan. Many of these languages have more than one telling of the epic.
The study of such variants in India as well as in other countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, China, Sri Lanka, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, Nepal, Philippines etc. There are texts of Ramayana in several regional languages, including Sanskrit, Chinese, Thai, Telugu, Bengali, Kashmiri, and Tamil.
I am presenting the variant versions in the following segments:
1. The Valmiki Ramayana translations / versions / adaptation
2. The Sanskrit /epic versions
3. The regional versions
4. The International versions
::: The valmiki Ramayana - translations & versions :::
1. The classic Griffith English translation
2. Muslim (Mappilla) Ramayana: Mappillapattu is a song genre popular among the Muslims in South India especially from Kerala and Lakshadweep. These Muslims incorporated episodes of Ramayana in these songs. These songs came to be known as Mappilla Ramayana and have been handed down from one generation to the next orally. In Mappilla Ramayana, the story of the Ramayana has been changed into that of a Sultan and there are no major changes in the names of characters except for that of Rama which is Laman in many places.
3. Jain Ramayana: in the Jain epic, Lakshmana kills Ravana. Rama is characterized an upright person who at the end sacrifices his kingdom, becomes a Jain monk and attains Moksha. Lakshmana kills Ravana and they both go to hell. According to the epic, one day they will be reborn as upright characters and will attain Moksha in their future births. Jains believe that Ravana will be reborn as Jain Tirthankara (the omniscient teacher).
4. Buddhist Version of Ramayana : In this version of Ramayana, Dasharatha was the king of Varanasi and not Ayodhya. Rama, Sita and Lakshmana were the siblings born to the first wife of Dasharatha. To protect his children from his second wife, the king sent the three in exile to the Himalayas. Twelve years later, the trio came back to the kingdom with Rama and Sita ruling as consorts. The abduction of Sita did not find a place in this version.
5. Sikh versionnIn of Ramayana : Guru Granth Sahib, there is description of two types of Ramayana. One is spiritual Ramayana which is actual subject of guru Granth sahib, in which ravan is ego, Seeta is budhi (intellect), ram is inner soul and lakshman is mann (attention, mind). The other Ramayana was written by Guru Gobind Singh,which is part of Dasam Granth
6. Champu Ramayana
7. Giridhara Ramayana,
8. Shree Ramayana mangeri,
9. Shree Ranganatha Ramayana,
10. Bhaskara Ramayana,
11. Radhey Shyam Ramayana.
12. Sitayah Caritam
13. Paulastya Vadham
14. Raghuvara Caritam
15. Raghuvamsa Caritam
17. Rama Caritam
18. Rama Katha.
19. The Gita Press version. it was published by the Nirnaya Sagara with Tilaka’s commentary in 1930
20. The Bangiya version
21. Italian Translation by Gorressio
22. The Eastern (Bangya) in 1908 in Bengali Characters by Pancanana Tarkaratna.
23. The Northwestern (Pascimaottariya), The Pascimottariya version was published in 1931
24. Ramayanam : Bhaaradwaaja Ramayanam and Hanumat Ramayanam : Contemporaries of Rama
25. Kamban 11th century CE
26. Ranganatha 12th to 15th century CE
27. Krttivas 14th century CE
28. Tulsidas’s Ramcharit Manas 1574 CE (Hindi)
29. Molla 1576 CE (Telugu)
30. Narahari 16th century CE
31. Balaramadas 16th century CE
32. Premanand 17th century CE
33. Sridhara 18th century CE
34. Ezhutthacchan century CE (Malayalam)
35. Ramakandam – Telugu Historical Novel 21st century CE
36. French edition of Ramayana
37. The earliest record of the Ramayana is a Chinese Buddhist text of disputed date.
38. Pre-Christian, Buddhist Dasaratha Jataka,
39. The sixteenth-century Bengali Ramayana Kriitibasa, by Chandravati,
40. The eighteenth-century Kashmiri Ramayana of Divakar Prakash Bhatt.
41. Anti-neo-nazi version of the Ramayana in London,
42. English version of Kamban — is by R. K. Narayan (Penguin Books)
43. Ramayana by C. Rajagopalachari (Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan).
44. Ramayana by William Buck.
45. The multi-volume version by Robert Goldman, Sheldon Pollock, and others.
46. AruNAchala Kavi's Rama nAtakam ,
47. Bhavabhuthi's MahAveera Charitham ( 700-740 AD ),
48. Swami Desikan's ( 1268-1369 AD ) Raghu Veera Gadhyam.
49. Father Kamil Bulke, author of Ramakatha
::: The Sanskrit / epic versions of ramayana :::
1. DURVAASA RAMAYANA : There is another Ramayana titled "DURVAASA RAMAYANA" written by the great sage Durvaasa Maharishi.
2. DEIVATHIN KURAL : by Mahaswamiji Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati
3. Mantra Ramayana: Nilakantha compiled a collection of mantras from the Rig Veda that correspond to the story of Rama. This collection is called the Mantra- Ramayana. The Mantra Ramayana itself has more than 150 Riks.
4. Adbhuta Ramayana: Adbhuta Ramayan is also said to be authored by sage Valmiki. This classic book can be broadly divided into two parts. The first (canto 1-16) elaborately describes the Ramayana upto killing of Ravana. The second part (canto 17-27) presents the story of Sri Ram's campaign against the thousand headed demon king Ravana of Pushakar who was the elder brother of the ten headed Ravana of Lanka, and much stronger and powerful than latter. In this war, Sita assumed the form of Makhakali, the dark-skinned Goddess worshipped as Shakti, to slay this Ravana and his demon force.The climax of the book and the aspect which makes it so unique and holy is when lord Ram prays to the cosmic Goddess or Shakti tuning 1008 divine names or mantras which describe and enumerate the various glories virtues and attributes of the magnificent Shakti of Mother Nature.
5. Adhyatma Ramayana: Adhyatma Ramayana represents the story of Rama in a spiritual context and in this version everything is preordained. It comprises around 4200 verses, is embedded in Brahmanda Purana and is considered to be authored by Ved Vyasa. Adhyatma Ramayana provides several valuable insights as follows; The provocation of the Queen Kaikeyi by her maid Manthara, was not an evil act of her choice as presented in the Valmiki's version Ramayana, but mastered by the goddess of knowledge, Saraswati, thus Manthara appears only to be playing her character in the larger drama of destiny, which lead to the killing of Ravana, the sole reason Lord Vishnu had incarnated as Rama. Similarly, according to this text, real Sita was never really abducted by Ravana. Rama being the all-knower in this version, has premonition about the abduction, and thus instructs Sita to invoke Agni, the God of Fire and creates an illusionary self, or Maya Sita, thus when Ravana finally appears, Sita plays along the character, and illusionary Sita is abducted, and is regained after the fire ordeal, once Ravana is killed. Adhyatma Ramayana raises every mundane activity of Rama, to a spiritual or transcendent level, Adhyatma Ramayana presents Ramayana as a divine allegory, where an exiled king, a man out of his elements, gets beguiled by the lure of maya or the illusions, - maya mrigya, hence loses his Beloved - Sita, to the demon or dark forces - Ravana. Later when he repents and asks for divine grace, he is given the strength and friends (Hanuman) to help him reclaim his divinity - (his Beloved).
6. Ananda Ramayana: Contents: 1. Sara-kanda. 2. Yatra-kanda. 3. Yaga-kanda. 4. Vilasa-kanda. 5. Janma-kanda. 6. Vivaha-kanda. 7. Rajya-kanda 8. Manohar-kanda. 9. Purna-kanda. In the Ananda Ramayana several events of later period have been included which could never appear to have been composed by Valmiki at all. There is a tradition that the Ananda Ramayana was composed by someone in the fourteenth century or so by a great poet, which appears to be acceptable by and large. One of the most interesting aspects of this Ramayana is the inclusion of the episode of abduction of Kausalya by Ravana which stands included in the first Sarga of the Sara-kanda. Further, this Ramayana portraits iconographical features of Rama and his brothers, describes about birth of Sita, Ravana carrying Parvati, skill of Hanuman etc. This Ramayana also has the unique coverage highlighting the Ramaraksa Stotras, a thousand names of Rama and the formation of several types of Ramabhadra and Ramalingatobhadras, besides Rama, Sita and the other kavacas.
7. Dingnaga (5th C.E.)
8. Bhavabhuti (8th C.E.)
9. Bhasa (5th C.E.) brings in significant changes to Valmiki Ramayana in his play called ‘Pratima Nataka’.
10. The 7th century CE "bhatti's poem" Bhaṭṭikāvya of Bhaṭṭi
11. Vasistha Ramayana
12. Agastya Ramayana is also traditionally attributed to Agastya.
13. An eleventh century Sanskrit play entitled Mahanataka by Hanumat relates the story of Rama in nine, ten, or fourteen acts, depending on recension.
14. Laghu Yoga Vasishtha, by Abhinanda of Kashmir,
15. the Mahabharata (in the Ramokhyana Parva of the Vana Parva)
16. Bhagavata Purana contains a concise account of Rama’s story in its ninth skandha;
17. brief versions also appear in the Vishnu Purana as well as in the Agni Purana.
18. adbhutottara ramayanam
19. agastya ramayanam
20. agnivesa ramayanam
21. anargha raghava ramayanam
22. atri ramayanam
23. bal ramayana natakam
24. bharat ramayanam
25. bharadvaja ramayanam
26. bhatti kavyam
27. bhusundi ramayanam
28. bibhisana ramayanam
29. brahma ramayanam
30. campu ramayanam
31. deha ramayanam
32. dharma ramayanam
33. garuda ramayanam
34. gautam ramayanam
35. govinda ramayanam
36. hanumad ramayanam
38. jamadagni ramayanam
39. jaimini ramayanam
40. janaki harana ramayanam
41. jatayu ramayanam
42. kapil ramayanam
43. khetaketu ramayanam
44. kraunca ramayanam
45. krutivas ramayanam
46. lalit ramcaritam
47. lomasa ramayanam
48. mahabharat-van parvatantargat ramakatha
49. maha ramayanam
50. mahavir carit natakam
51. mahesvara ramayanam
52. mangal ramayanam
53. manu ramayanam
54. naividheya ramayanam
55. naradiya ramayanam
56. naradokta ramayanam
57. prasanna raghava natakam
58. pulastya ramayanam
59. raghuvamsa mahakavyam (by Kalidas)
60. ramacarit cintamani
63. ramesvara samhita
64. ramnam mahatmyam
65. ram raksastotram
66. ram samhita
67. saubhari ramayanam
68. siva ramayanam
69. skanda ramayanam
70. sugriva ramayanam
71. sumantra ramayanam
72. sunand ramayanam
73. surya ramayanam
74. sutiksna ramayanam
75. vasistha ramayanam
76. viranci ramayanam
77. visvamitra ramayanam
78. vrutta ramayanam
79. unmatta ramayanam
80. uttara ramacarit natakam
81. yajnavalkya ramayanam
83. There are many other works also which are not yet collected fully.
::: The regional versions of Ramayana :::
1. Ramcharitmanas written by Tulsidas in the 16th century [ Awadhi and Hindi ]
2. In Urdu, it the Pothi Ramayana written in 17th century.
3. In Jammu and Kashmir, it is Kashmiri Ramavatara Charita written in 19th century.
4. In Punjab, it is the Ramavatara written in 17th century by Guru Gobind Singh.
5. In Gujarat, it is the Tulsi-krita Ramayana a Gujarati adaptation of Tulisdas Ramayana in 17th century by poet Premanand.
6. In Maharashtra, it is the Marathi Bhavartha Ramayana written by Eknath in the 16th century. There is also reference of Ramayana being translated into old Marathi during the 12th or 13th century.
7. In Assam, it is the Assamese Katha Ramayana or Kotha Ramayana in 15th century by Madhava Kandali. Saptakanda Ramayana is the 14th century Assamese version of the Ramayana attributed to the poet Madhava Kandali. It is considered to be the first translation from the Sanskrit to a modern regional Indo-Aryan language. This work is also considered one of the earliest written examples of the Assamese language.
8. In Bengal, it is the Bengali Krittivas Ramayan written by poet Krittivas in 15th century.
9. In Orissa, it is the Oriya Balramadasa Ramayana was adapted by Balarama Das in the 16th century.
10. In Andhra Pradesh, the Telugu Ramayan is known as Sri Ranganatha Ramayana and was adapted by Buddha Reddy.
11. In Karnataka, it is Kannada versions of the Ramayan – the Kumudendu Ramayana (Jain version) in 13th century and the Kumara-Valmiki Torave Ramayana in 16th century. There is another one titled Ramachandra Charita Purana written by Nagachandra during the 13th century.
12. In Tamil Nadu, it is the most popular Tamil Kamba Ramayana written by poet Kamban in the 12th century.
13. In Kerala, it is the Malayalam Adhyatma Ramayanam Kilipattu written by Thunchaththu Ezhuthachan in the 16th century.
14. An URDU version is called the "Pothi Ramayana" and was written in 17th century by Chak bast
15. Sri Ramayana Darshanam by Dr. K. V. Puttappa in Kannada
16. Ramayana Kalpavrikshamu by Viswanatha Satyanarayana in Telugu,
17. Geet Ramayanin Marathi by G.D. Madgulkar was rendered in music by Sudhir Phadke and is considered to be a masterpiece of Marathi literature.
18. Chanda Jha (1831–1907)-Mithilabhasha Ramayan
19. Lal Das (1856–1921) - Rameshwarcharit ramayan
20. Suryanayan Jha "sars's -ShreeSeetaRamcharitmanas
21. Seetayan- baidyanath Mallik 'Bidhu'
22. Seetawatarn mahakavya of Pradeep maithiliputra.
::: International translations/ versions :::
1. SRILANKA : In this version, Ravana is hero and He was known to be a complete manwhich is why he came to be known as “Dasamukha”. His kingdom was known to be the most advanced kingdom of his times. He freed a race from the oppression of the Devas. And yet Ravana’s death is the most celebrated death of the mankind.
2. Malaysia: Malaysian Ramayana According to this version of Ramayana, Dasaratha is a great grandson of Prophet Adam. Ravana receives boons from ALLAH and not Brahma. Lakshmana is the hero in this story and Rama is not at all heroic.
3. THAILAND : Thai Ramayana Thai version of Ramayana is known as Ramakien in the local language. In this version, Sita is the daughter of Ravana and Mandodari. Hanuman is the hero in this story and not Rama. In Malaysia, the Ramayana episodes are divided into two categories, those that concern the fundamental plot, pokok, (base,trunk) and those non-fundamental episodes, rantings (twigs), which consist of Rama's adventures and those of the other main characters
4. INDONESIA :The Ramayana epic came to Indonesia around the 8th or 9th century and was written in the Old Javanese language. It was entitled Ramayana Kakawin. It was used to revive Hinduism at the time when Buddhism was firmly entrenched in Sumatra, West and Central Java. The Hindu resurgence was made possible through the puppet shadow play, Wayang Kulit and the Wayang Purwa. There are also masked dance dramas, wooden doll puppet plays, and ballets depicting the Ramayana. A gamelan orchestra invariably accompanies these dramatic performances.
5. Hungerian version !
6. CAMBODIA :The Reamker is the Cambodian version of the Ramayana. There is evidence of the importance of Rama's story in Cambodian culture that dates to the 6th century AD. The earliest references to the Rama story are found in temple iconography and epigraphy. During the medieval centuries several versions of literary texts entitled Ramaker were written. Today we see evidence of the Ramakerti in oral tales, visual, and performing arts, especially classical dance of the Cambodian court.
7. LAOS :In northeastern Thailand there is a version of the Ramayana entitled Phra Lak Phra Lam which is the same story and title found in Laos. There are three versions of the Phra Lak Phra Lam and local legend has it that two of them were told by Buddha himself. It became a Jataka tale and is considered to be a story of one of the previous lives of Buddha. To the people Rama represents the ideals of righteousness and his life is depicted in dance, music, art, narrative, oral, and folkloric tradition throughout Laos. Two popular versions of the Ramayana are Phra Lak Phra Lam and Gvay Dvorahbi and are told for instructive and entertaining purposes.
8. Ramakavaca of Bali (Indonesia)
9. Maharadia Lawana and Darangen of Mindanao (Philippines),
10. The Yama Zatdaw ofMyanmar.
11. The 9th-century Javanese Kakawin Ramayana
12. Yogesvara Ramayana is attributed to the scribe Yogesvara circa 9th century CE, who was employed in the court of the Medang in Central Java
13. The Ravanavadham of Bhatti, popularly known as Bhattikavya.
14. Nepali ramyana - written by Bhanubhakta Acharya
15. written by Siddhidas Mahaju in Nepal Bhasa
16. Cambodia - Reamker
17. Thailand - Ramakien
18. Laos - Phra Lak Phra Lam
19. Burma (Myanmar) - Yama Zatdaw
20. Malaysia - Hikayat Seri Rama
21. Java, Indonesia - Kakawin Ramayana
22. Philippines - Maharadia Lawana
23. Nepal - The Nepal Bhasa version called Siddhi Ramayan was written by Mahakavi Siddhidas Mahaju Amatya during Nepal Bhasa renaissance era and the Khas language (later called "Nepali") version of Bhanubhaktako Ramayan by Bhanubhakta Acharya marked the first epic written in the language.
24. Tibet — found in several manuscripts from Dunhuang.
My Comments and observation
Despite all the versions as they say “God is limitless and there is no limit to his stories.” This proverb comes true to its full sense. With every reading we come across a new story and new approach to the original Ramayana .
Conclusion : Ramayana – The final word
As Tulsidas said :
हरी अनंत हरी कथा अनंता |
कहहि सुनहिं बहु बिधि सब संता ||
“God is limitless and there is no limit to his stories.”
There is no limit as how many versions of Ramayana are available in today’s world. I have tried to collect some of the known versions. I have taken help of many books and websites and material available on net and print media. And I am thankful to them all.
JAI SRI RAMA