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What is Ramayana
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The Ramayan (Devanāgarī: Rāmāyana) is an ancient Sanskrit epic attributed to the poet Valmiki and an important part of the Hindu canon (smrti). The name Rāmāyan is a tatpurusha compound of Rām and ayan "going, advancing", translating to "Rām's Journey".

The Ramayana is ascribed to a single author, Vālmiki. The Rāmāyan consists of 24,000 verses in seven cantos (ndas) and tells the story of Rama, whose wife Sita is abducted by the demon (Rākshas) king of Lanka, Rāvan. Verses are written in thirty two syllable meter called Anustubh.

Valmiki Ramayana has been traditionally divided into seven cantos (books), dealing with the life of Rama from his birth to his death.

1.       Bala Kanda – Book of the young Rama which details the miraculous birth of Rama, his early life in Ayodhya, his slaying of the demons of the forest at the request of Vishvamitra and his wedding with Sita.

2.       Ayodhya Kanda – Book of Ayodhya in which Dasharatha comes to grief over his promise to Kaikeyi and the start of Rama's exile.

3.       Aranya Kanda – Book of the Forest which describes Rama's life in the forest and the abduction of Sita by Ravana.

4.       Kishkindha Kanda – Book of Kishkindha, the Vanara kingdom in which Rama befriends Sugreeva and the Vanara army and begins the search for Sita.

5.       Sundara Kanda – Book of Sundar (Hanuman) in which Hanuman travels to Lanka and finds Sita imprisoned there and brings back the good news to Rama.

6.       Yuddha Kanda Book of the War, which narrates the Rama-Ravana war and the return of the successful Rama to Ayodhya and his coronation.

7.       Uttara Kanda – Epilogue, which details the life of Rama and Sita after their return to Ayodhya, Sita's banishment and how Sita and Rama pass on to the next world.

Traditionally the epic belongs to the Treta Yuga, one of the four eons (yug) of Hindu chronology. Ram is said to have been born in the Treta Yug to King Daśarath in Ikshvaku Vansh.

The exact date of creation of Ramayana is unknown, and is estimated to lie between the 10th and 5th century B.C. As per the traditional astronomical back-projection by the Vedic system, the events of the war between Rama and Ravana happened 9299 years ago, as of November 3, 2007. It should be added that attempts to date events or read history or allegory from astronomical descriptions are quite exact, yet they tend to be heavily contested.

The story of Ram also inspired a large amount of latter-day literature in various languages, notable among which are the works of the sixteenth century Hindi poet Tulsidas, Tamil poet Kambar of the 13th century Molla Ramayanam in Telugu and the 14th century Kannada poet Narahari Kavi`s Torave Ramayan. The Ramayan became popular in Southeast Asia during the 8th century and manifested itself in text, temple architecture and performance.

The discovery of the Ram Setu (Rama's Bridge) between India and Sri Lanka has leant strong support to the epic being based on real events.

Image:Nasabridge.jpg

Image:Nasabridge.jpg

Reference

 Wikipedia. (2007). At http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramayana.

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