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The Ramayana is an Indian epic written by the sage Valmiki, considered as one of the first poets in India. Valmiki narrates the story of a Raghuvamsa[?] prince Rama of Ayodhya in about 100,000 verses, all composed in Sanskrit.

Rama is an avatar or incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The main purpose of His incarnation is supposed to be a demonstration of an ideal human life on this planet earth. Incidentally, Rama also slains the evil and its propagator Ravana at the end of the story.

Rama is the son of the King Dasarath[?]. Just before the day of his coronation, Rama is asked to leave for a 14-year exile by his step mother kaikeyi. Rama, being an obedient child, leaves for the jungles with his wife Sita and his half-brother Lakshmana.

Soorpanaka, Ravana's sister, tries to seduce the handsome Rama during his stay in the jungles. Infuriated by this act of seduction, Lakshmana cuts off her nose. Ravana, the Lankan Rakshasa emperor, abducts Rama's wife Sita to avenge his sister's loss of nose.

Rama approaches the Vaanara[?] (ape) king Sugreevi and starts a reconnaissance mission to find out the presence of Sita thru his loyal follower, Hanuman. Hanuman explores the Lanka island and gets back to Rama declaring her presence in the kingdom of Lanka.

Rama sends a peace-keeping mission, which Ravana refutes. Rama is left with the only choice of slaining Ravana, which he does to get back his wife Seeta. Rama gets back to Ayodhya after the exile and and rules his kingdom happily there after.

Ramayana illustrates

  • an ideal son, an ideal king and ideal husband thru Rama.
  • an ideal wife thru Sita.
  • an ideal brother thru Lakshmana and Bharata(another half-brother of Rama).
  • what not to do thru Ravana.

Thus Ramayana has established a code of conduct for all the coming generations of India.

Ramayana was translated into Hindi as Sri Ramacharith Manas by Tulsidas.

External Links

Online Ramayana (http://www.onlinedarshan.com/ramayana/index.htm)

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