2. The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit
epic which follows Prince Rama's
quest to rescue his beloved wife Sita
from the clutches of Ravana with the
help of an army of monkeys. It is
traditionally attributed to the
authorship of the sage Valmiki and
dated to around 500 BCE to 100 BCE.
3. Comprising 24,000 verses in seven cantos,
the epic contains the teachings of the
very ancient Hindu sages. One of the
most important literary works of ancient
India, it has greatly influenced art and
culture in the Indian subcontinent and
South East Asia, with versions of the
story also appearing in the Buddhist
canon from a very early date.
4. The story of Rama has constantly been
retold in poetic and dramatic versions
by some of India's greatest writers and
also in narrative sculptures on temple
walls. It is one of the staples of later
dramatic traditions, re-enacted in
dance-dramas, village theatre,
shadow-puppet theatre and the
annual Ram-lila (Rama-play).
5. The original five books of an oral epic of
local northern significance dealing with a
hero and his exile, the abduction of his wife
by a rival king and her rescue became
conflated into seven books in which the
hero Rama became an avatar of the god
Vishnu, the scene shifted to encompass the
whole of India, and the struggle to recover
his wife became a metaphor for the final
triumph of the righteous.
6. Rama, prince of Ayodhya, won the hand of the
beautiful princess Sita (seen here), but was exiled
with her and his brother Laksmana for 14 years
through the plotting of his stepmother. In the forest
Sita was abducted by Ravana, and Rama gathered
an army of monkeys and bears to search for her. The
allies attacked Lanka, killed Ravana, and rescued
Sita. In order to prove her chastity, Sita entered fire,
but was vindicated by the gods and restored to her
husband. After the couple's triumphant return to
Ayodhya, Rama's righteous rule (Ram-raj)
inaugurated a golden age for all mankind.
9. The poem is written in the third
person. It generally describes
events from the point of view of
Rama, but also switches to other
relevant settings where Rama is
not present, such as the court of
10. Rama - is the titular protagonist and
the first son of King Dasaratha.
Sita - is Rama's wife and the incarnation
of the goddess Lakshmi, Vishnu's wife—
Sita was literally made for Rama.
Lakshmana - is Rama's half brother, and son
to King Dasaratha. The two are very close,
and Lakshmana represents the ideal brother.
11. Ravana - is a rakshasa (demon) with
ten heads and ten sets of arms, and is
the king of the island Lanka.
Hanuman - is a monkey who initially
serves Sugreeva. In his childhood,
Hanuman's father told Hanuman to dedicate
his life to serving Vishnu.
Jatayu - is a great eagle and was at one
point a dear friend of Dasaratha.
12. Dasaratha - is the emperor of Kosala
and Rama’s father.
Sugreeva - is a monkey from Kiskinda.
Vali - is the initial king of the monkeys in
Kiskinda. He's a very powerful being in
his own right, but he also has the special
power of being nearly invincible.
13. Bharatha - is the son
of Dasaratha and Kaikeyi. Like his
brothers, Bharatha is a skilled warrior
and exceptionally thoughtful.
Kaikeyi - is Dasaratha's favorite wife and
the mother of Bharatha.
King Janaka - is Sita's adoptive father and
the king of Mithila.
14. Soorpanaka - is Ravana's demoness
Kooni - is a hunchback woman and one
of Kaikeyi's companions.
Vishnu - is one of the gods that make up the
Hindu Trinity (alongside Shiva and Brahma)
and referred to as the protector.
Indra - is a lesser god in Hindu mythology.
15. Brahma - is one of the gods that
comprises the Hindu Trinity, along
with Shiva and Vishnu. Is the creator
and has four faces.
Mareecha - is Thataka's son and Ravana's
uncle. Though he's a demon, he attempts to
correct his life by giving up his violent
ways and praying.
16. Shiva - with Brahma and Vishnu,
Shiva is one of the gods that makes
up the Hindu Trinity. He's referred to
as the destroyer. Shiva is one of the
gods who granted Ravana the
boons that made him powerful, and
he assists Brahma and Vishnu in
orchestrating Ravana's later
17. Kamban/The Poet - was a medieval
poet who composed a Tamil
translation of the Ramayana. The
narrator uses Kamban's version as
source material to write this edition
of the Ramayana, and refers to
Kamban as "the poet" when
describing how he refers to certain
plot points or descriptions.
18. Lakshmi - is a Hindu goddess and the
god Vishnu's wife. She incarnates
as Sita when Vishnu incarnates
Kausalya - is Rama's mother
and Dasaratha's wife. She's devoted to her
husband and loves her fellow wives' sons
as her own.
19. Sumithra - is the mother of the
twins Lakshmana and Sathrugna, and
one of Dasaratha's wives.
Viswamithra - is a sage, though he was
once a powerful king. He
teaches Rama about weaponry.
Angada - is the son of Tara and Vali. He's an
instrumental figure in Rama's fight
20. Tara - is initially Sugreeva's wife, but
becomes Vali's wife when Vali banishes
Sugreeva. She has one son, Angada.
Sathrugna - is Lakshmana's twin and the son
of Dasaratha and Sumithra. He
helps Bharatha rule in Rama's absence, and helps
Rama enter into exile safely.
Sumithra - is Dasaratha's third wife. She's the
mother of the twins Lakshmana and Sathrugna.
21. Indrajit - is one of Ravana's sons. He
wholeheartedly supports his father.
Kumbakarna - is one of Ravana's brothers.
He's massive, violent, and a deep sleeper—it
takes an entire army to wake him.
Matali - is the driver of the god Indra's chariot.
The gods send him to assist Rama in the battle
22. Ahalya – created by Brahma to be the most
beautiful and perfect woman. The
god Indratricked Ahalya into having sex
with him, and as punishment, Ahalya's
husband cursed her to turn to stone until she
hears Rama's name.
Kara - is a demon warrior who
serves Ravana and
protects Soorpanaka. Rama kills him.
23. Thataka - is the first demoness
that Rama kills. She eats everything that
crosses her path, and her evil spoils the land
and turns it into a desert.
Sampathi - is Jatayu's brother. He's disfigured
because the sun god burnt him many years ago.
When he meets Angada and Hanuman, he
hears Rama's name and this restores Sampathi to
his original, majestic form.
24. Vibishana - is Ravana's youngest
brother. He's the most logical and
good-hearted of all Ravana's brothers
and tries to convince Ravana to
release Sita. When Ravana refuses and
banishes him, Vibishana joins Rama's
army and offers intelligence on
Ravana's weapons and army that
allow Rama to plan a successful attack.
25. Exposition : Ravana, the ten-headed
king of the evil demons, continually
pursues the destruction of dharma or
social and moral order in the world. The
gods persuade Vishnu to reincarnate
himself as a man to defeat
Ravana. Vishnu is now born as Rama,
son of Dasartha. The epic centers on the
life and adventures of Rama and Sita,
the daughter of goddess Earth, his wife.
When Ravana stole Sita and
brought her to his place.
When Rama fought against
Ravana for two days where
many were injured and some
27. Resolution: They won the battle and was
able to take Sita back. But then there
are rumors pertaining to his wife's
infidelity so she was exiled. One day, Rama
met his sons, twins, and sent a messenger to
findSita and convince her to return. Sita
returned the next day and revealed her
innocence with the accusation. And from
that moment, he would never see her wife
again and Rama's life returned to Vishnu.
28. • The Perfect Man
• Romantic Love
• Brotherly Love
• Good and Evil
• Human and Divine
29. The epic's poetic stature and marvellous story
means that the story of Rama has been
constantly retold by some of India's greatest
writers both in Sanskrit and regional languages.
It is one of the staples of various dramatic
traditions, in court drama, dance-dramas, and in
shadow-puppet theatres. In northern India, the
annual Ram-lila or 'Rama-play' is performed at
the autumn festival of Dassehra to celebrate
with Rama and Sita the eventual triumph of light
30. A hugely popular television series, 'Ramayan', was
aired in India 1987-1988, drawing over 100 million
viewers to become 'the world's most viewed
mythological serial'. Dubbed 'Ramayan' fever
by India Today magazine, it was reported that
India came to a virtual standstill as so many people
who could gain access to a television stopped
whatever they were doing to watch the small
screen adventures of Rama. From January 2008, a
new big-budget primetime series of
the Ramayana has been appearing on television
screens across India.