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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Maniratnam Demonised Aboriginal Icon RAVAN Once Again to Justify Ethnic Cleansing by Rama, the Aryan whom Chidambaram Replicates in His Corporate War Against Aboriginal Humanscape as Insurrections against Monopolistic Aggression is defined INSURGENCY

Maniratnam Demonised Aboriginal Icon RAVAN Once Again to Justify Ethnic Cleansing by Rama, the Aryan whom Chidambaram Replicates in His Corporate War Against Aboriginal Humanscape as Insurrections against Monopolistic Aggression is defined INSURGENCY to Make Way for Military Option!

Indian Holocaust My Father`s Life and Time - Four Hundred

Palash Biswas

http://indianholocaustmyfatherslifeandtime.blogspot.com/


Maniratnam Demonised Aboriginal Icon RAVAN Once Again to Justify Ethnic Cleansing by Rama, the Aryan whom Chidambaram Replicates in His Corporate War Against Aboriginal Humanscape as Insurrections against Monopolistic Aggression is defined INSURGENCY to Make Way for Military Option!Even today, Aboriginal Tribal Landscape is One Third of Indian Land which is RICH with Natural resources!Foreign Genome Rooted Brahamins do follow the Tradition of Aryan Attack under Manusmriti Apartheid zionsist Corporate Global Order.Cinema is always used for Hindu Rashtra in India to sanctify Manusmriti Rule sustaining Brahaminical system. A Director so Eminent must be aware of the Ethnic Implications of the Icons he is using to uphold the so called Values, the USP of the Film!But the Brahaminical Aesthetics is based on EXCLUSION as the Economics is!

A cinema hall planning to screen ''Raavanan'' was torched here amidst protests against the film owing to it''s star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and director Mani Ratnam''s decision to stay away from the IIFA awards held in Sri Lanka. An unidentified group in Eastern Sri Lanka has called on theatre owners in the country to boycott Tamil movies and the bi-lingual film, starring Abhishek Bachchan in the Hindi version and Vikran in Tamil, is the first victim.

The group had sent hand bills to cinema owners, saying that the boycott of the IIFA event by Indian artistes had brought disrepute to Sri Lanka and therefore retaliation was just and appropriate. On Thursday, a day before the release of ''Raavanan'', Shanthi cinema in Eastern Batticaloa, which was planning to screen the much hyped film was torched.


The hall''s manager Kandasamy Murugesu said that three people came to his theatre on Monday and told him he should not screen films from Tamil Nadu. "I informed the Kattankudi police and three days later there was an arson attack," ''The Sunday Times'' quoted him as saying.


The manager said he would not bow to this threat and would screen films produced in Tamil Nadu and asked for police protection. Amitabh Bachchan, son Abhishek and daughter-in-law Aishwarya, had given the glitzy event a miss, citing work commitments.


The Bachchan family''s decision to skip the event raised many eyebrows as megastar Amitabh Bachchan is the ambassador for IIFA. The celebration was boycotted by the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce as a mark of protest against the alleged mistreatment of Tamils in the country. The film industry in the state of Tamil Nadu, which shares close cultural and religious links with the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka, stayed away from the event with superstars Kamal Haasan, Rajnikanth also giving it a miss.

Unveiled: Raavan First look – images

ManiRatnam-Raavan-First-look.jpg

Director Mani Ratnam have officially released the first look of his much-awaited Abhishek Bachchan and Aiswarya Rai starrer Raavan, which has music by AR Rahman.

Also, he has launched 40 second awesome teaser trailer of the film ( Tamil and Telugu Raavanan teaser trailer will be released soon).

Checkout poster from the film.

ManiRatnam Raavan First look - image (1) ManiRatnam Raavan First look - image (2) ManiRatnam Raavan First look - image (3)

Historical definitions of races in India

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
See Demographics of India for information about population of India.

Various attempts have been made, under the British Raj and later times, to classify the population of India according to a racial typology. After the independence, in pursuance of the Government's policy to discourage community distinctions based on race, the 1951 Census of India did away with racial classifications. The national Census of independent India does not recognize any racial groups in India.[1]

Some scholars of the colonial epoch attempted to find a method to classify the various groups of India according to the predominant racial theories popular at that time in Europe. This scheme of racial classification was used by the British census of India. It was often mixed with considerations about the caste system.

Contents

[hide]

[edit] Great races

Scientific racism of Europe divided mankind into three "great races", Caucasoid (white), Mongolic (Asian) and Negroid (black) in accordance with their own world-view.

The populations of the Indian subcontinent however were problematic to classify under this scheme. They were assumed to be a mixture of an indigenous "Dravidian race", tentatively with an "Australoid" grouping, with an intrusive Aryan race, identified as a sub-race to the Caucasoid race, but some authors also assumed Mongolic admixture, so that India, for the purposes of scientific racism, presented a complicated mixture of all major types.

Edgar Thurston identified a "Homo Dravida" who had more in common with the Australian aboriginals than their Indo-Aryan or high-caste neighbors. As evidence, he adduced the use of the boomerang by Kallan and Marawan warriors and the proficiency at tree-climbing among both the Kadirs of the Anamalai hills and the Dayaks of Borneo.[2].

In 1865, anthropologist Thomas Huxley said, "The so-called Dravidian populations of Southern Hindostan lead us back, physically as well as geographically, towards the Australians while the diminutive Mincopies of the Andaman islands lie between the Negro and Negrito races, and, as Mr. Busk has pointed out, occasionally present the rare combination of brachycephaly, or short-headedness, with wooly hair."[3] "the Hindoos of the Valley of the Ganges and the Indus, who there is every reason to believe result from the intermixture of distinct stocks...[3] Aryan invaders were white men. It is hardly doubted that they intermixed with the dark Dravidian aborginees and that the high-caste Hindoos are what they are in virtue of the Aryan blood they inherited... I do not know any good reason for the physical differences between a high-caste Hindoo and a Dravidian, except the Aryan blood in the veins of the former"[3]

The "Negroid" status of the Dravidians however remained disputed. In 1898, ethnographer Friedrich Ratzel remarked about the "Mongolian features" of "Dravidians", resulting in his "hypothesis of their [Dravidians] close connection with the population of Tibet" whom he adds "Tibetans may be decidedly reckoned in the Mongol race"[4] In 1899, a journal called "Science" summarized Ratzel's findings over India with, "India is for the author [of the History of Mankind, Ratzel], a region where races have been broken up pulverized, kneaded by conquerors.[5] Doubtless a pre-Dravidian negroid type came first, of low stature and mean physique, though these same are, in India, the result of poor social and economic conditions.[5] Dravidians succeeded negroids, and there may have been Malay intrusions, but Australian affinities are denied.[5] Then succeeded Aryan and Mongol, forming the present pot porri through conquest and blending."[5]

In 1900, anthropologist Joseph Deniker said, "the Dravidian race is connected with both the Indonesian and Australian... [t]he Dravidian race, which it would be better to call South Indian, is prevalent among the peoples of Southern India speaking the Dravidian tongues, and also among the Kols and other people of India... The Veddhas... come much nearer to the Dravidian type, which moreover also penetrates among the populations of India, even into the middle valley of the Ganges.".[6] Deniker groups "Dravidians" as a "subrace" under the group of "Curly or Wavy Hair Dark Skin" in which he also includes the "Ethiopian" and "Australian".[6] Also, Deniker mentions that the "Indian race has its typical representatives among the Afghans, the Rajputs, the Brahmins and most of North India but it has undergone numerous alterations as a consequence with crosses with Assyriod, Dravidian, Mongol, Turkish, Arab and other elements."[6]His theories have been discarded by post-modern anthropologists.

During 1930-2010, There have been several historians and scientists who have proved that there are no separate races of so called Aryans or Dravadians as they belong to the same race. This has picked up strong footing, as on one hand, there are no evidences till date in support of Aryan invasion theory, and increased number of historical and scientific evidences that prove that there is only one race, on the other. Evidences include a ground-breaking research in 2009 that has been conducted jointly by Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) Hyderabad along with Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public health, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT of USA. The research team has made this claim after observing that north and south Indians are genetically similar.

[edit] Martial races theory

Main article: Martial Race

The Martial races theory was a British ideology based on the assumption that certain peoples were more martially inclined as opposed to the general populace or other peoples.[7] The British divided the entire spectrum of Indian ethnic groups into two categories: a "martial race" and a "non-martial race". The martial race was thought of as typically brave and well built for fighting. |last=Rand |first=Gavin |title = Martial Races and Imperial Subjects: Violence and Governance in Colonial India 1857–1914 |journal= European Review of History

The non-martial races were those whom the British believed to be unfit for battle because of their sedentary lifestyle.

The question of loyalty and disloyalty cannot be debated on the simple fact that many of the races mentioned as "loyal" actually did participate in the rebellion. One of the more famous rebels, Bhagat Singh, was a Sikh. The Indian rebellion of 1857 may have played a role in British reinforcement of the martial races theory. During this rebellion, some Indian troops, particularly in Bengal, mutinied, but the "loyal", Sikhs, Punjabis, Dogras, Gurkas, Garhwalis, Devars, and Pakhtuns (Pathans) did not join the mutiny and fought on the side of the British Army. Modern scholars have suggested that this theory was propagated to accelerate recruitment from among these races, while discouraging enlistment of "disloyal" Indians who had sided with the rebel army during the war.[8]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Kumar, Jayant. Indian Census 2001. September 4, 2006.
  2. ^ C. Bates, 'Race, Caste and Tribes in Central India' in: The Concept of Race, ed. Robb, OUP (1995), p. 245, cited after Ajay Skaria, Shades of Wildness Tribe, Caste, and Gender in Western India, The Journal of Asian Studies (1997), p. 730.
  3. ^ a b c Huxley, Thomas. Collected Essays of Thomas Huxley: Man's Place in Nature and Other Kessinger Publishing: Montana, 2005. ISBN 1-4179-7462-1
  4. ^ Ratzel, Freidrich. The History of Mankind. Macmillan and Co.:New York, 1898. ISBN 978-81-7158-084-2 p.358
  5. ^ a b c d Mason, O.T. "Scientific Books." Science Volume 10 (1899) p.21
  6. ^ a b c Deniker, Joseph. The Races of Man: An Outline of Anthropology and Ethnography. Charles Scribner's and Sons: London, 1900. ISBN 0-8369-5932-9 p.498
  7. ^ Heather Streets. Martial Races: The military, race and masculinity in British Imperial Culture, 1857-1914
  8. ^ Country Studies: Pakistan - Library of Congress
[hide]
v  d  e
Historical definitions of race

Color terminology for race

Typological definitions of race

Typological sub-types

Other concepts

Writers

Writings
Post image for Raavan — The Most Awaited Mani Ratnam Film

Raavan — The Most Awaited Mani Ratnam Film

by Kanika Mahajan on June 16, 2010

Mani Ratnam's much-awaited Raavan — starring Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai and South-Indian superstar Vikram — is a landmark adaptation of the ancient epic 'Ramayana', moulded to suit the contemporary tastes.

Raavan is the story of police inspector Dev (played by Vikram) and his classical dancer wife Ragini (Aishwarya) who relocate to Lal Maati, a remote town in Northern India, after marriage. But Lal Maati is run by Beera Munda (Abhishek Bachchan) who is a ruthless tribal and has shifted the power equation to the have-nots of the region. Dev, in his attempt to restore order, is forced to create disturbance in Beera's world, thus starting a chain of events which hauls both Dev and Ragini into a struggle to survive in jungles and deepest ravines of region. Testing the power of good and evil, Dev and Beera fight a battle which only gets nail-biting as the movie progresses.

Shot at dazzling locations, Raavan has some amazing spine-chilling stunts, excellent cinematography, mesmerising music by a genius like A.R.Rahman, exceptional direction by Mani Ratnam and outstanding performances from the actors.

With so much of talent from the Indian film industry joining to put together a work like Raavan, the audience expectations are going to be high from the movie. However, the movie promises to completely absorb its audience through its emotional tension and excellent direction.

It is to be noted that Mani Ratnam, who is known for his great direction in movies like Roja, Bombay, Guru and Yuva, was recently honoured with Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker award 2010 at the 67th Venice International Film Festival.

Raavan will be releasing on June 18, and have its world premiere on the 16th of June in London.

http://www.freshnews.in/raavan-%E2%80%94-the-most-awaited-mani-ratnam-film-186813

Mayank Shekhar's Review: Raavan

Hindustan Times - ‎Jun 19, 2010‎
After paying London a visit, Mani Ratnam directed and Abhi-Ash starrer Raavan hits 2200 screens worldwide today. Check out the movie's stills. ...
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Lakshman gets candid about Raavan

Hindustan Times - ‎Jun 19, 2010‎
The actor who is only two films old confessed that working on Raavan with the likes of Mani Ratnam, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan and Govinda ...

Will Raavan recover its investment?

Hindustan Times - ‎Jun 18, 2010‎
There's Abhishek and Aishwarya Bachchan, South star Vikram, and it's a Mani Ratnam film," he says, but believes that the Tamil version will generate better ...
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Will Raavan be a bigger hit than Guru?

Rediff - ‎Jun 18, 2010‎
The actor suggested an alternative title to the Mani Ratnam film, which released June 18 -- his newest for the famed director following Yuva [ Images ] and ...

Movie Review: 'Raavan' a feast for the senses

Economic Times - ‎Jun 19, 2010‎
A film by Mani Ratnam is an experience of a lifetime. By jove, Mani knows how to tell a story! In "Raavan" he transports us into a forest of untamed sights, ...

"I find Hindi films very interesting" - Vikram

Oneindia - ‎Jun 19, 2010‎
Describe your role in Raavan, with which you have debuted in Hindi films! I am playing a very stylish and focused role of Dev in Mani Ratnam's Raavan. ...
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I feel like a beginner: Mani Ratnam

The Hindu - ‎Jun 18, 2010‎
Everybody just talks of the film as 'a Mani Ratnam film'! That the trilingual Raavan — Hindi, Tamil, Telugu — releases today across the country need not be ...

American media praises Raavan to heavens

Oneindia - ‎Jun 19, 2010‎
"Director Mani Ratnam and his colleagues give Bollywood fans full value. Ratnam's pace is steadfastly brisk, and his film is replete with dizzying ...

Unconvincing love angle: Raavan's Achilles heel

Himalayan Times - ‎13 hours ago‎
KATHMANDU: Movies like Roja and Yuva have proved director Mani Ratnam's skill at weaving a delicate love story and time relevant issue. In Raavan also there ...
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"Raavan" opens to rave reviews in the US

The Hindu - ‎Jun 18, 2010‎
AP Bollywood actor Aishwarya Rai with Tamil star Vikram during a promotional campaign of their film "Raavan". File Photo: AP Mani Ratnam's "Raavan" is ...
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Raavan: a myth or a metaphor

Sunday Times.lk - ‎20 hours ago‎
Made by reputed South Indian director Mani Ratnam, the film is now being screened at the Liberty cinema, Colombo. The film brings back the Bachchan couple ...

'Raavan' earns Rs 20 crore worldwide on opening day

Economic Times - ‎Jun 19, 2010‎
MUMBAI: Director Mani Ratnam's "Raavan", which was released in three languages Friday, grossed Rs.20 crore (around $4.4 million) worldwide on its opening ...
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The real hero of Raavan

Rediff - ‎Jun 18, 2010‎
Before he worked with Ratnam, Vikram said his thought in his college days was something like this: "'If I do a film with Mani Ratnam I can retire. ...

'Raavan' in Hollywood

FV Current Waves - Surbhi Garg - ‎20 hours ago‎
Indian films are getting more popular in US day by day. The latest inclusion is Mani Ratnam's "Raavan" which is getting rave reviews in the American media ...
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Raavan review: Critics divided on Ratnam's film

Mizoram Express (blog) - ‎Jun 18, 2010‎
Critics are divided by Mani Ratnam's 'Raavan'. The Friday first show evokes mixed-response from audience alike. IBN review quoting viewers says : The makers ...

'Raavan' beheaded by the audience

IBNLive.com - ‎Jun 18, 2010‎
Being a Mani Ratnam film, it might have a good opening at the box office. But it definitely has a rough road to travel from Monday. ...
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Mani Ratnam's Raavanan releases to full houses in Tamil Nadu

Daily News & Analysis - ‎Jun 18, 2010‎
PTI Chennai: Raavanan, the trilingual film directed by Mani Ratnam with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as the female lead in all three languages, released across ...
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Review: Raavan is a big yawn

Daily News & Analysis - Aniruddha Guha - ‎Jun 18, 2010‎
The sad part is that it's not outrageously bad as some other recent films, but it's unbelievably boring. Coming from Mani Ratnam, that's a bummer.
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"Raavan is definitely worth a watch, even if it's not the epic it was touted ...

Bollywood Spice - Aly Kassam - ‎Jun 19, 2010‎
After years of hype about Raavan being ace director Mani Ratnam's most grand film yet, the verdict is finally out, ...

'Raavan' fails to live up to audience expectations

Live Punjab - Priyanka Sharma - ‎Jun 19, 2010‎
Critically acclaimed filmmaker Mani Ratnam's film 'Raavan' (released on June 18) not just failed to impress ...

Movie Review: Raavan

Desi Hits! - ‎Jun 19, 2010‎
Director Mani Ratnam's "Raavan" has been described as a 'modern take' on the Indian epic "Ramayana " that tells the story of Rama and his wife Sita who is ...
height=80

Raavan is Mani, Abhi, Ash's best work

Rediff - ‎Jun 17, 2010‎
Mani Ratnam's Raavan is an overwhelming film. At times a tad bit overproduced, the film is an onslaught of brilliant use of technology on the viewer's ...
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Raavan Review: movie with good rating, Ramayana rewritten as Ravayana

infocera - Kanishk Matta - ‎13 hours ago‎
Raavan movie plot is predictable and also acting is good enough but Mani Ratnam's Raavan movie scores excellent on fanciful, fantastic and picturesque ...

Review: Raavan is ravishing but not high art

Daily News & Analysis - Johnson Thomas - ‎Jun 18, 2010‎
Mani Ratnam's much beleaguered 'Raavan' has finally hit the screens and it's a true feast for the eyes but the troubles that haunted it right throughout ...

I tortured entire crew of Raavan

Oneindia - ‎Jun 18, 2010‎
We planned Raavan in the monsoons, so that we could benefit from the helping hands of nature. A film by Mani Ratnam is considered a cinematic event. ...

"Raavan' truly a cinematic wonder

Entertainment and Showbiz! (blog) - ‎Jun 19, 2010‎
Mani Ratnam is to be given credit for using the natural light in the film. Raavan ends with soul searching for the viewers as they try to find out the ...
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Raavan is unforgivably boring

Rediff - ‎Jun 17, 2010‎
Mani Ratnam makes a film every few years, with the slow deliberation of one obsessed with every detail. The alarmingly prolific Ram Gopal Varma [ Images ...
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Mani Ratnam (Raavan) Villain reviews mixed response

Super Good Movies (blog) - ‎Jun 18, 2010‎
Mani Ratnam's latest film 'Villain' (Raavan) reviews to mixed response across the country. While in Southern states, many reviewers feel that 'Villain' is ...
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Raavan: Very little Mani, and absolutely no magic

Reuters India (blog) - ‎Jun 17, 2010‎
In every Mani Ratnam film I have seen so far, irrespective of whether I liked it or not, I have taken away one lasting image. There is no lasting image in ...

In Bollywood's 'Raavan,' Abhishek Bachchan a 'Ham'

Wall Street Journal (blog) - Tripti Lahiri - ‎Jun 18, 2010‎
Mani Ratnam's "Raavan," whose story and characters are inspired by the epic 'Ramayan,' opens worldwide today. ...



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Raavan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
For the mythological character from the Hindu epic Ramayana, see Ravana.
This article is semi-protected.
Raavan
Directed by Mani Ratnam
Produced by Mani Ratnam
Sharada Trilok
Shaad Ali
Written by Mani Ratnam
Vijay Krishna Acharya (dialogue)
Starring Abhishek Bachchan
Aishwarya Rai
Vikram
Govinda
Priyamani
Ravi Kishan
Nikhil Dwivedi
Tejaswini Kolhapure
Music by A. R. Rahman
Cinematography Santosh Sivan
V. Manikandan
Editing by Sreekar Prasad
Studio Madras Talkies
Distributed by Reliance Big Pictures
Release date(s) 18 June 2010
Running time 2 hour 19 minutes[1]
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget Rs. 80 Crore[citation needed]

Raavan (Hindi: रावण) is a 2010 Hindi film directed and co-written by Mani Ratnam. It stars Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai and Vikram in the lead roles while Govinda, Ravi Kishan, Nikhil Dwivedi, Tejaswini Kolhapure and Priyamani feature in key supporting roles. It was simultaneously released in Tamil as Raavanan with a slightly different cast, which would also be dubbed into Telugu[2] and other regional languages. The film's score and soundtrack is composed by A. R. Rahman.[3][4] The film was released on 18 June 2010.[5] The film's premiere was held in London on 16 June 2010.[6]

Contents

[hide]

Plot

The film is a modern-day version and a loose adaptation of the Indian epic Ramayana, in which Sita, the wife of Lord Rama, was abducted by the demon (Rākshasa) king of Lanka, Ravana.[7]

Cast

Production

Shooting began in the southern part of Tumkur , Karnataka at the end of October 2008. During filming, Mani Ratnam became ill which delayed the filming for a few months in 2009.[9] However, the film began its last schedule in August 2009. The film finished filming and went into post production by October 2009.[10] Manikandan was hired as the film's DOP or cinematographer. However he was replaced in early 2009 by Santosh Sivan.[11][12]

This film have numerous action scenes and stunts performed by the actors. The stunts are directed by Mani Ratnam and are choreographed by Peter Hein, who received Filmfare action award for the Hindi version of Ghajini and Anniyan. The Kerala martial art Kalarippayattu is also featured in the film.[13] Dancer Astad Deboo choreographed a passionate chase scene and tandav dance between Abhishek and Aishwarya for the film.[14][15] Indian fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee designed Aishwarya Rai's costumes in the film.[16]

Raavan has been shot in numerous locations around India including the forests of Karnataka (Tumkur), Kerala (Athirappilly Falls)[17], Ooty, Jhansi, Kolkata, Mahabaleshwar and in the Malshej Ghats in Maharashtra.[18][19]

Critical reception

Upon release, the film received mostly negative reviews from critics for its content, though its visual style and cinematography was praised by some of the critics. On review aggregation website, ReviewGang, the film scored 5/10 based on 11 critic reviews.[20] Baradwaj Rangan of The New Indian Express rated the film 4/5 and said "Raavan falls for Sita (and vice versa) in an intriguingly idiosyncratic take on the Ramayana - if you can get past the lead perfoes, that is" [21] Rajeev Masand of IBN gave the film 1.5/5 and said, "Despite some eye-watering camerawork and a stunning action piece in the film's climax, the film -- especially its first half -- is a carelessly edited mess of long scenes that make little sense when strung together".[22] Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama rated it 1.5/5 and said, "On the whole, Raavan is a king-sized disappointment, in terms of content".[23] Sukanya Venkatraghavan of Filmfare rated the film 3/5 and said, "Raavan has its moments but it lacks depth. The first half is fairly riveting but the second half slowly slips into a coma".[24] Nikhat Kazmi of Times of India rated it favourably at 3/5 saying, "There are enough punches in the second half to keep the momentum going, but by and large, the film scores mostly on art and aesthete".[25] Raja Sen of Rediff rated it 2/5 and said, "Raavan truly and tragically fails us is in taking one of our greatest epics, and making it unforgivably boring".[26] Parimal Rohit of Buzzine Bollywood said, "Raavan is ultimately a clever film, as it pushed the envelope on how one goes about defining who is good and who is evil." [27]

Among U.S. and U.K. film critics sampled on the Rotten Tomatoes aggregate site, Raavan rated 50%, with six reviews. Cath Clarke of The Guardian gave the film a rating of 2/5 and found it sexist.[28]. New York Post critic Lou Lumenick wrote, "If you're not a fan of Bollywood movies — which have long resisted crossover attempts in this country despite the success of hybrids such as Slumdog Millionaire — Mani Ratnam's action melodrama Raavan probably isn't going to make a convert out of you."[29] Adam Keleman of Slant Magazine rated the movie 1.5/4, and while saying it "[s]somewhat succeed[ed] as a specimen of pulpy, viscerally lavishing moviemaking" an calling it an "[u]nadulterated, action-packed spectacle", he ultimately believed the film "unsurprisingly falls into the trappings of its Bollywood roots, showcasing a few too many ludicrously positioned dance numbers—unnecessary embellishments that could have easily been trimmed if the film had any intention of trying to win over new audiences abroad."[30] However, Frank Lovece of Film Journal International found it a "cracklingly stylish, suspenseful psychological drama" with "a visual sense that evokes David Fincher at his darkest", and admired the dance numbers, "one taking place somewhat naturalistically at a wedding, the other essentially a stunning war dance."[31] Likewise, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times gave it positive reviews: Rachel Saltz of the former made it a Times "Critic's Pick" and lauded Ratnam as "a talented visual storyteller who directs action crisply and fills the screen with striking images" including "an eye-popping climactic battle",[32] while Kevin Thomas of the latter said the film "is replete with dizzying camerawork, myriad complications, violent mayhem, broad humor, [the] usual musical interludes, a cliffhanging climactic confrontation and a finish that strikes a note of poignancy."[33]

Soundtrack

Main article: Raavan (soundtrack)
Raavan
Soundtrack by A. R. Rahman
Released April 24, 2010 (2010-04-24)[34]
Recorded Panchathan Record Inn and A.M. Studios, Chennai, India
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Length 29:36
Label T-Series
Producer A. R. Rahman
Professional reviews
A. R. Rahman chronology
Ye Maaya Chesave
(2010)
Raavan
(2010)
Raavanan
(2010)

The soundtrack for the film is composed by A. R. Rahman with lyrics penned by Gulzar. It features six songs and an additional song that was performed by Rahman at the audio launch. It was released on 24 April 2010 by T-Series.

Tracklist

No. Title Artist(s) Length
1. "Beera Beera"   Vijay Prakash, Mustafa Kutoane, Keerthi Sagathia, A. R. Rahman 3:15
2. "Behene De"   Karthik, Mohammed Irfan 6:04
3. "Thok De Killi"   Sukhwinder Singh, Am'Nico 4:58
4. "Ranjha Ranjha"   Anuradha Sriram, Rekha Bhardwaj, Javed Ali 5:54
5. "Khilli Re"   Reena Bhardwaj 4:11
6. "Kata Kata"   Ila Arun, Sapna Awasthi, Kunal Ganjawala 5:12
7. "Jaare Ud Jaare" (additional song) A. R. Rahman 3:55

References

  1. '^ Raavan, Film Journal International Blue Sheets
  2. ^ "^ Raavan Telugu Version Cast & Crew". Ourcinemas.com. http://www.ourcinemas.com/telugu/villain/news.php. Retrieved 17 June 2010. 
  3. ^ "Abhishek-Aishwarya to star in Mani Ratnam's next". Bollywood Hungama. http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/news/2008/02/19/10925/index.html. Retrieved 19 February 2008. 
  4. ^ "Money money Mani". The Times of India. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India_Buzz/Money_money_Mani/articleshow/3260456.cms. Retrieved 22 July 2008. 
  5. ^ "Raavan - preview, traler, cast and crew". Moviewood.com. http://www.moviewood.net/bollywood/upcoming-movies/raavan. Retrieved 17 June 2010. 
  6. ^ "Ra.One to meet Raavan in London!". Hindustan Times. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Ra-One-to-meet-Raavan-in-London/H1-Article1-557480.aspx. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  7. ^ "Mani's Ravana secrets!". Behindwoods.com. http://www.behindwoods.com/tamil-movie-news-1/oct-08-04/mani-ratnam-22-10-08.html. Retrieved 22 October 2008. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Raavan: Complete Cast and Crew details". Bollywood Hungama. http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/movies/cast/14148/index.html. Retrieved 20 June 2010. 
  9. ^ "We were recording then Mani just walked out... into hospital". Mumbaimirror.com. http://www.mumbaimirror.com/article/30/200904162009041602185195895cafbe/We-were-recording-then-Mani-just-walked-out-into-hospital.html. Retrieved 16 April 2008. 
  10. ^ "Raavan embarks for last schedule, gears up for Apr-May'10 release". Bollywood Hungama. http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/features/2009/08/21/5419/. Retrieved 21 August 2009. 
  11. ^ "Santosh Sivan joins team 'Raavan'". Indiaglitz. http://www.indiaglitz.com/channels/tamil/article/47067.html. Retrieved 19 May 2009. 
  12. ^ "Mani Ratnam shoots in Ooty!". Sify.com. http://sify.com/movies/kannada/fullstory.php?id=14891619. Retrieved 2 June 2009. 
  13. ^ "Where the stars line up to learn Kalaripayattu". The Times of India. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Where-the-stars-line-up-to-learn-Kalaripayattu/articleshow/5331724.cms. Retrieved 13 December 2009. 
  14. ^ "Ash learns new steps!". The Times of India. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4821931.cms. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  15. ^ "From the street to the stage". Dnaindia.com. http://www.dnaindia.com/lifestyle/report_from-the-street-to-the-stage_1293202. Retrieved 26 September 2009. 
  16. ^ "'Khadi's Refinement Lies In Its Humility'". Outlookindia.com. http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?261316. Retrieved 24 August 2009. 
  17. ^ "Ash, Abhishek to shoot in Kerala". Rediff. http://inhome.rediff.com/movies/2008/oct/07bach.htm. Retrieved 7 October 2008. 
  18. ^ "More problems for Mani Ratnam". Sify.com. http://sify.com/movies/fullstory.php?id=14821190. Retrieved 18 December 2008. 
  19. ^ "Raavan brings Sita to town - Ash-Abhi to shoot for Mani". The Telegraph Calcutta. http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090215/jsp/frontpage/story_10538098.jsp. Retrieved 14 February 2009. 
  20. ^ "Raavan Critic Rating". ReviewGang. http://www.reviewgang.com/movies/56-Raavan-Reviews. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  21. ^ Rangan, Baradwaj. "'Raavan' Review". The New Indian Express. http://baradwajrangan.wordpress.com/2010/06/19/review-raavan/. Retrieved 19June 2010. 
  22. ^ Masand, Rajeev. "'Raavan' is a bore of a film". IBN. http://ibnlive.in.com/news/masand-raavan-is-a-bore-of-a-film/124771-47-84.html. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  23. ^ Adarsh, Taran. "Raavan: Movie Review". Bollywood Hungama. http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/movies/review/14148/index.html. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  24. ^ Venkatraghavan, Sukanya. "Raavan review". Filmfare. http://www.filmfare.com/articles/raavan-1073.html. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  25. ^ Kazmi, Nikhat. "Raavan review". Times of India. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/movie-reviews/hindi/Raavan/moviereview/6058139.cms. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  26. ^ Sen, Raja. "Raavan is unforgivably boring". Rediff. http://movies.rediff.com/report/2010/jun/18/raja-sen-reviews-raavan.htm. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  27. ^ "Raavan Film Review". Buzzine Bollywood. http://bollywood.buzzine.com/2010/06/review-raavan/. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  28. ^ "Film review: Raavan". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/jun/17/raavan-bollywood-film-review. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  29. ^ "Raavan Film Review". Newyork Post. http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/movies/bollywood_to_order_well_done_with_t6pCG5ftXB2h5b5HQR5dEO. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  30. ^ "Raavan Film Review". Slant Magazine. http://www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/raavan/4870. Retrieved 17 June 2010. 
  31. ^ Lovece, Frank. "Film Review: Raavan, Film Journal International, June 18, 2010
  32. ^ Saltz, Rachel. "An Indian Epic With Bollywood Glamour", The New York Times June 18, 2010
  33. ^ Thomas, Kevin. "Capsule movie reviews: '"Raavan, Los Angeles Times, June 18, 2010
  34. ^ "´Raavan´ : Music To Release On 24th April, Premiere At 11th IIFA, Sri Lanka". PlanetBollywood.com. http://www.planetbollywood.com/displayArticle.php?id=n041410090032. Retrieved 17 June 2010. 

External links

[hide]
v  d  e
Mani Ratnam filmography

Director
1980's
Pallavi Anu Pallavi (1983) • Unaru (1985) • Pagal Nilavu (1985) • Idaya Kovil (1985) • Mouna Raagam (1986) • Nayagan (1987) • Agni Natchathiram (1988) • Geethanjali (1989)

1990's
Anjali (1990) • Thalapathi (1991) • Roja (1992) • Thiruda Thiruda (1993) • Bombay (1995) • Iruvar (1997) • Dil Se (1998)

2000's
Alaipayuthey (2000) • Kannathil Muthamittal (2002) • Aayutha Ezhuthu (2004) • Yuva (2004) • Guru (2007)

2010's

Raavan (2010) • Raavanan (2010)


Producer
1980's
Nayagan (1987)

1990's
Roja (1992) • Thiruda Thiruda (1993) • Aasai (1995) • Bombay (1995) • Indira (1996) • Nerrukku Ner (1997) • Iruvar (1997) • Dil Se (1998)

2000's
Alaipayuthey (2000) • Dumm Dumm Dumm (2001) • Five Star (2002) • Kannathil Muthamittal (2002) • Saathiya (2002) • Aayutha Ezhuthu (2004) • Yuva (2004) • Guru (2007)

2010's

Raavan (2010) • Raavanan (2010)

Ravana

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"Ravan " redirects here. For other uses, see Ravan (disambiguation).
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A traditional depiction of Ravana
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This article contains Indic text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks or boxes, misplaced vowels or missing conjuncts instead of Indic text.

Ravana was a historical emperor who reigned over Sri Lanka from 2554 BC to 2517 BC.[1] He is the primary antagonist character of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. In the classic text, he is mainly depicted negatively, infamously kidnapping Rama's wife Sita, to claim vengeance on Rama and his brother Lakshmana for having cut off the nose of his sister Surpanakha.[2]

This depiction is, however, open to other interpretations. Ravana is described as a devout follower of Shiva, a great scholar, a capable ruler and a maestro of the Veena. He has his apologists and staunch devotees within the Hindu traditions, some of whom believe that his description as a ten-headed person is a reference to him possessing a very thorough knowledge over the 4 Vedas and 6 Upanishads, which made him as powerful as 10 scholars. An alternative interpretation is that he is guided by and does not have control over the five senses and five bodily instruments of action. His counterpart, Rama, on the contrary, is always in full control of these ten. However, there is mention in Atharvaveda of Demonic Brahmans called Dasagva (ten-headed) and Navagva (nine-headed). These early beings may be the actual forerunners of the later character in the Ramayana.

Ravana also authored Ravana Sanhita, a powerful book on the Hindu astrology, also known as Lal Kitab. Ravana possessed a thorough knowledge of Ayurveda and political science. He is said to have possessed the nectar of immortality, which was stored under his navel, thanks to a celestial boon by Brahma.[3]

Contents

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Etymology

The name Ravana obtains from the root, 'Ra' signifies the sun and 'vana' signifies generation.[4] Ravana had many other popular names such as Dasis Ravana, Ravan, Ravula, Lankeshwar, Ravanaeshwaran all signifying the qualities.

Birth

Ravana was born to a great sage known as Vishrava (or Vesamuni), and his wife, the daitya princess Kaikesi. He was born in the Devagana gotra, as his grandfather, the sage Pulastya, was one of the ten Prajapatis or mind-born sons of Brahma and one of the Saptarishi (Seven Great Sages Rishi) in the first Manvantara. Kaikesi's father, Sumali (or Sumalaya), king of the Daityas, wished her to marry the most powerful being in the mortal world, so as to produce an exceptional heir. He rejected the kings of the world, as they were less powerful than him. Kaikesi searched among the sages and finally chose Vishrava, the father of Kubera. Ravana was thus partly Brahmin and partly Daitya.

Even though he was partly Brahmin and partly Rakshas, Rama praised Ravan as Mahabrahmin. Rama had to do Ashwamedha yagna as penance for killing a Brahmin (Brahmahatyadosha).

His brothers were Vibhishana, Kumbhakarna and Ahiravana. Through his mother, he was related to the daityas Maricha and Subahu. Kaikesi also produced a daughter, Meenakshi ("girl with fish like eyes"), although later she was dubbed the infamous Shoorpanakha "winnow-like nails".

His father Vishrava noted that while Ravana was aggressive and arrogant, he was also an exemplary scholar. Under Vishrava's tutelage, Ravana mastered the Vedas, the holy books, and also the arts and ways of Kshatriyas (warriors). Ravana was also an excellent veena player and the sign of his flag had a picture of veena on it.[citation needed] Sumali, his mother's father, worked hard in secret to ensure that Ravana retained the ethics of the Daityas.

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Kartavirya Arjuna humbles Ravana (right)

The Ramayana tells that Ravana had close connections with region of the Yadus, which included Gujarat, parts of Maharashtra and Rajasthan up to Mathura south of Delhi. Ravana is believed to be related to Lavanasura, also regarded as a Rakshasa, of Madhupura (Mathura) in the region of the Surasenas, who was conquered & killed by Shatrughna, youngest brother of Rama.

After worshipping a Shiva Linga on the banks of the Narmada, in the more central Yadu region, Ravana was captured and held under the control of King Kartavirya Arjuna, one of the greatest Yadu kings. It is very clear from the references in the Ramayana that Ravana was no commoner among the Humans or Asuras, a great chanter of the Sama Veda.

Tapas to Brahma

Following his initial training, Ravana performed an intense penance to Brahma (the Creator God), lasting several years. He chopped his head for 10 times in an anger towards brahma not appearing for his penance, each time when he sliced his head new head aroze and thus continued his penance. Atlast Brahama pleased with his austerity appeared after he slew his head for 10th time and offered him a boon. Ravana asked for immortality, which Brahma refused to give, but gave him the celestial nectar of immortality. The nectar of immortality, which was stored under his navel, according to which he could never be vanquished till the nectar was dried out.

Ravana then asked for absolute invulnerability and supremacy before gods and heavenly spirits, other demons, serpents, and wild beasts. Contemptuous of mortal men, he did not ask for protection from these. Brahma granted him these boons, and additionally his 10 heads that he severed, along with great strength by way of knowledge of divine weapons and sorcery. Thus ravana known to be 'Dasamukha' (Dasa = ten, mukha = mouth/face).

King of Lanka

After winning these boons, Ravana sought out his grandfather, Sumali, and assumed leadership over his army. He then set his sights on capturing the island city of Lanka (present day Sri Lanka).

Lanka was an idyllic city, created by the celestial architect Vishwakarma for Kubera, the treasurer of the gods. Kubera had generously shared all that he owned with Ravana and the latter's siblings, who were Kubera's half-brothers and half-sister through his stepmother Kaikesi. However, Ravana demanded Lanka wholly from him, threatening to take it by force. Vishrava, their father, advised Kubera to give it up to him, as Ravana was now undefeatable.

Although Ravana usurped Lanka, he was nevertheless regarded as a benevolent and effective ruler. Lanka flourished under his rule, to the extent that it is said the poorest of houses had vessels of gold to eat and drink off, and hunger was unknown in the kingdom.

Devotee of Lord Shiva

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Ravana lifting mount Kailash - Ellora Caves.

Following his conquest of Lanka, Ravana encountered Shiva at his abode in Kailash. Here Ravana attempted to uproot and move the mountain on a whim. Shiva, annoyed by Ravana's arrogance, pressed his littlest Toe on Kailash, pinning him firmly and painfully under it. His ganas informed Ravana of whom he had crossed, upon which Ravana became penitent. He composed and sang songs praising Shiva, and is said to have done so for years until Shiva released him from his bondage.

Pleased with his resilience and devotion, Shiva gave to him the divine sword Chandrahas ("Moon-blade"). It was during this incident that he acquired the name 'Ravana', meaning "(He) Of the terrifying roar", given to him by Shiva - the earth is said to have quaked at Ravana's cry of pain when the mountain was pinned on him. Ravana in turn became a lifelong devotee of Lord Shiva and is said to have composed the hymn known as Shiva Tandava Stotra.

After Ravana had been given the Celestial juice of Immortality by Brahma, he went on to please Shiva. He cut his head & put it as sacrifice for pleasing Shiva, but Shiva replaced his head with a new one. This was repeated Nine times, on which Shiva was happy & pleased with Ravana's resilience & devotion. Thus he also got name Dasa-sheesha.

Emperor of the Three Worlds

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Ravana in Sanskrit drama of Kerala, India- Kutiyattam. Artist: Guru Nātyāchārya Māni Mādhava Chākyār[5]

His abilities now truly awe-inspiring, Ravana proceeded on a series of campaigns, conquering humans, celestials and other demons. Conquering the netherworld completely, he left his brother Ahiravana as king. He became supreme overlord of all asuras in the three worlds, making an alliance with the Nivatakavachas and Kalakeyas, two clans he was unable to subdue. Conquering several kingdoms of the human world, he performed the suitable sacrifices and was crowned Emperor.

Kubera at one point chastised Ravana for his cruelty and greed, greatly angering him. Proceeding to the heavens, Ravana fought and defeated the devas, singling out his brother for particular humiliation. By force he gained command over the gods, celestials, and the serpent races. At the time of the Ramayana, set several hundred years later, Ravana is shown as dominating all human and divine races - so much so that he can command the Sun's rising and setting[citation needed].

Women

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Ravana kidnapping Sita and killing Jatayu - By Raja Ravi Varma

Ravana was known for his virility and his aggressive conquests of women. Ravana had several wives, foremost of whom was Mandodari - daughter of Mayasura and an apsara named Hema.

Mandodari was renowned for her wisdom and grace as well as beauty and chastity. She is often compared to Sita, the most beautiful woman described in Indian spiritualism.

In addition to his wives, Ravana maintained a harem of incredible size, populated with women whom he captured in his many conquests, many of them accepted and lived happily in his harem for his great manhood, power, and knowledge of different subjects. Ravana was known to force himself upon any woman who rejected his advances. Two significant encounters occurred that would shape the course of the Ramayana.

The first was the encounter with the sage-woman Vedavati. Vedavati had been performing penance with the intention of winning Lord Vishnu as her husband. Ravana met her at her hermitage, her beauty enhanced by the austerities she had performed. He proposes to her and is rejected. Ravana mocks her austerities and her devotion to Vishnu; finding himself firmly rejected at every turn, he tries to molest Vedavati, pulling her hair. This greatly incensed her, and she forthwith cut off her hair, and said she would enter into the fire before his eyes, adding, "Since I have been insulted in the forest by thee who art wicked-hearted, I shall be born again for thy destruction." So she entered the blazing fire, and celestial flowers fell all around. It was she who was born again as Sita, and was the moving cause of Ravana's death, though Rama was the agent.

Vedavati is said to have been reborn as Sita, causing Ravana's death and winning Vishnu (as Rama) as her husband.

The second was his encounter with the apsara Rambha, upon whom he forced himself. Rambha was betrothed to Kubera's son, but her plea that she was like a daughter to him did not deter Ravana. Angered at this, Kubera's son cursed Ravana, stating that his ten heads would fall off if he forced himself upon any woman thereafter. This curse is said to have protected Sita's chastity while she was Ravana's captive for nearly a year.

Depiction in other Scriptures, as Vishnu's cursed doorkeeper

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Ravana as depicted in Yakshagana, popular traditional art of Karnataka
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An Effigy of Ravana with burning sparklers on Dusshera. Dashehra Diwali Mela in Manchester, England, 2006.

In the Bhagavata Purana, Ravana and his brother, Kumbhakarna were said to be reincarnations of Jaya and Vijaya, gatekeepers at Vaikuntha, the abode of Vishnu and were cursed to be born in Earth for their insolence.

These gatekeepers refused entry to the Sanatha Kumara monks, who, because of their powers and austerity appeared as young children. For their insolence, the monks cursed them to be expelled from Vaikuntha and to be born on Earth.

God Vishnu agreed that they should be punished. They were given two choices, that they could be born about 10 times as normal mortal people and followers of Vishnu, or three times as powerful and strong people, but as enemies of Vishnu, for which they chose the latter one. Ravana was one of their second birth as enemies of Vishnu.

Ravana's family

This section deals with many members of Ravana's family. Since they are hardly mentioned outside the Ramayana, not much can be said about them. They are presented here as they are in the Ramayana, which is viewed by some as being only the point of view of Rama devotees, but is the most complete account of the story that is known.

Ravana was married to Mandodari, the daughter of the celestial architect Maya, Dhanyamalini, and a third wife. He had seven sons from his three wives:

  1. Indrajit
  2. Prahasta
  3. Atikaya
  4. Akshayakumara
  5. Devantaka
  6. Narantaka
  7. Trishira

Ravana's paternal grandfather was Pulastya, son of Brahma. Ravana's maternal grandfather was Malyavan, who was against the war with Rama, and his maternal grandmother was Tataki. Ravana also had a maternal uncle, Maricha.

Ravana had six brothers and two sisters:

  1. Kubera - the King of North direction and the Guardian of Heavenly Wealth. He was an older half-brother of Ravana: they were born to the same father by different mothers.
  2. Vibhishana - A great follower of Rama and one of the most important characters in the Ramayana. As a minister and brother of Ravana, he spoke the Truth without fear and advised Ravana to return Kidnapped Sita and uphold Dharma. Ravana not only rejected this sane advice, but also banished him from his kingdom. Vibhishana sought protection from Rama, which was granted without hesitation. He is known as a great devotee of Rama.
  3. Kumbhakarna - One of the most jovial demons in Hindu history. When offered a boon by Brahma, he was tricked into asking for unending sleep! A horrified Ravana, out of brotherly love, persuaded Brahma to amend the boon. Brahma mitigated the power of the boon by making Kumbhakarna sleep for six months and being awake for rest six months of a year (in some versions, he is awake for one day out of the year). During the war with Rama, Kumbhakarna was awakened from his sleep. He tried to persuade Ravana to follow Dharmic path and return Sita; seek mercy of Rama. But he too failed to mend the ways of Ravana. However, he fought on the side of Ravana and was killed in the battlefield. Before dying he met Vibhishana and blessed him for following path of righteousness.
  4. Khara - King of Janasthan.[6] He protected the northern kingdom of Lanka in the mainland and his kingdom bordered with the Kosala Kingdom, the kingdom of Rama. He was well-known for his superior skills in warfare.
  5. Dushana - Viceroy of Janasthan.
  6. Ahiravan - King of the Underworld ruled by the rakshasas by Ravana and Demon King Maya.
  7. Kumbhini - sister of Ravana and the wife of the demon Madhu, King of Mathura, she was the mother of Lavanasura. She was renowned for her beauty and later retired to the sea for penance.
  8. Surpanakha - the evil sister of Ravana. She was the ultimate root of the kidnapping of Sita Devi. She was the one who instigated her brothers to wage a war against Rama.

Ravana Temples

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Thotsakan (Ravana)'s sculpture as a guardian of Wat Phra Kaew, Thailand

There are several temples where Ravana is worshipped.[7][8][9] Ravana is considered most revered devotee of Lord Shiva. The images of Ravana are seen associated with lord Shiva at some places.

There is a huge Shivalinga in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, supposedly installed by Ravana himself, with a statue of Ravana near by. Both Shivalinga and Ravana are worshiped by the fishermen community there.

Thousands of Kanyakubja Brahmins of the village Ravangram of Netaran, in the Vidisha District of Madhya Pradesh, perform daily puja (worship) in the Ravan temple and offer naivedyam / bhog (a ritual of sacrifice to the Gods. Centuries ago King Shiv Shankar built a Ravana temple at Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. The Ravana temple is opened once in a year, on Dashehra Day, to perform puja for the welfare of Ravana.

A Jain temple in Alvar, Rajasthan is called the Ravan Parsvanath Temple. The legend says that Ravana used to worship Parsvanath daily. While Ravana was on tour to Alvar he realized that he forgot to bring the image of Parsvanath. Mandodari, Ravana's wife, is said to have made an image of Parsvanath immediately. And hence the Ravan Parsvanath temple at Alvar.[10]

Ravana is said to have married Princess Mandodari at a place about 32 kilometers away from Jodhpur, which is now called Mandor. There is a mandap (altar or pavilion) where Ravana is said to have married Mandodari, and which the local people call Ravan Ki Chanwari.

At the altar can also be found the images of Saptamatri (Seven Mothers) flanked by Ganesha and Veera Bhadra. The Saptamatri images are said to precede the time of the Pratihara Dynasty (founded in the 6th Century AD) and are in fact reminiscent of the images of seven female deities of Harappa - the oldest civilization in India. In the nearby stepwell, a stone bears a script that resembles the Harappan script.

The Dave Brahmins of Mudgal Gotra, Jodhpur/Mandor who were originally from Gujarat, claim to be the descendants of Ravana. The say that since time immemorial they are performing the shraddh (death anniversary) of Ravana on Dashehra Day every year. They offer pind daan and take a bath after that ritual. They recently erected a Ravan temple in Jodhpur, where daily puja is performed.

There is a theory proposed by Sinhalese nationlists that points to the southern part of Sri Lanka as the capital of Ravana, hence the name Ruhuna came to existence. "Ruhuna" is claimed to be derived from the word's Ravana Pura or Rohana Pura, despite the liguistic improbability of 'va' becoming 'ha' in Prakrit. This is probably an attempt to tie Ravana with the history of that other national hero: Duttagamini, who was a king from that region.

Ravana-Dahan (Burning effigy of Ravana)

Effigy of Ravana is burnt on Vijayadashami, in India at many places. It is said that it is symbolization of triumph over evil (i.e. Ravana) by Rama.

Arguments in Favour of Ravana

While often thought of mainly as the infamous 10-headed demon, Ravana was also a notable scholar of the Vedas.

A not widely known metaphorical interpretation of Ravana's having ten heads is that the heads are a symbolic way to show the world about his knowledge. He was fully aware of the contents of the six Shastras. His knowledge of the six Shastras as well as his knowledge of the four Vedas, ten Holy Scriptures in all, is by this interpretation considered the inner meaning of the belief that Ravana had ten heads. He even knew that Ram was Narayana (Lord Vishnu) himself, who had come in human form.

However, since there was no other way for him to reach to Narayana, he had to cultivate wanton wickedness, violence and hatred, and invite Ram to kill him. Of course, this might be called a type of devotion that is stupid and infamous. But his inner aim was to cross the ocean of birth and death, through that act of self abnegation and surrender to Narayana.

Pro-Ravana interpretation of the Sita kidnapping

Even though Ravana is portrayed as a vile villain in Ramayana, this view is open to question due to lack of any overt instances, and is so questioned by a considerable number of believers.

It can be argued, for example, that Ravana's abduction of Sita was not driven by lust for her, but instead it was done to punish Ram for attacking his sister Surpanakha.

While Ram and Lakhsmana were living in the woods, Surpanakha saw Ram and fell in love with him. Smitten by Ram's beauty, Surpanakha proposed to Ram, who however turned her away saying he is married.

Surpanakha then approached Lakhsmana (Ram's brother) - but he, too, turned her away. The enraged Surpanakha tried to attack Sita as she was convinced that Ram discouraged her proposal because of Sita. At this point Lakhsmana cut off Surpanakha's nose and ears.

Though Lakhsmana did this for fear of Sita's safety, the extremity of the act upon his unarmed sister enraged Ravana and he abducted Sita to avenge the insult.

The Valmiki Ramayana does not say so much that Ravana was enraged as that he was provoked by his sister. Her winning argument for abducting Sita is this - if Ravana would not avenge his own sister - then no one would look up to him as a protector.

Nevertheless Ravana never even touched Sita while she was being held as his hostage. He visited her regularly and asked her consent to marry him. Every time Sita declined, but there is not a single instance when Ravana misbehaved with Sita.

He plays the role of a gentleman to the hilt, only because he was cursed by Kubera's son that he would lose all his 10 heads if he forced himself on any woman.

Also, as per Chanakya's Arthashastra, there are definite waiting periods prescribed for Married Women of different castes, whose husbands are living. It is also possible that Ravana was waiting for the prescribed one year period.

Influence on Indian Culture and Art

A Ramleela actor wears the traditional attire of Ravana One of the most important literary works of ancient India, the Ramayana has had a profound impact on art and culture in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The story ushered in the tradition of the next thousand years of massive-scale works in the rich diction of regal courts and Brahminical temples. It has also inspired much secondary literature in various languages, notably the Kambaramayanam by the Tamil poet Kambar of the 13th century, the Telugu-language Molla Ramayana, 14th century Kannada poet Narahari's Torave Ramayan, and 15th century Bengali poet Krittibas Ojha's Krittivasi Ramayan, as well as the 16th century Awadhi version, Ramacharitamanas, written by Tulsidasa.

The Ramayana became popular in Southeast Asia during the 8th century and was represented in literature, temple architecture, dance and theatre. Today, dramatic enactments of the story of Ramayana, known as Ramleela, take place all across India and in many places across the globe within the Indian diaspora. The Ramayana has inspired works of film as well, most prominently the North American Sita Sings the Blues, which tells the story supporting Sita through song.

Some Quotes by Ravana

"The power of OM in this world is real and still exists. But you or us will ever be able to find it or not... If you did find it, what are you going to do..."

"Winning or losing... It depends on who's the fastest..."

"O Lord, wandering with thee, even hell itself would be to me a heaven of bliss."

References

  1. ^ http://www.hindustantimes.com/Ravana-is-a-hero-for-Sinhala-nationalists/Article1-249335.aspx
  2. ^ Goldman 1990, 'Arānyakanda' (sargas 16-17)
  3. ^ Ramayana By Valmiki; Ramcharitmas by Tulsidasa (Lanka Kanda Vibhishana & Rama Samvaad)
  4. ^ http://www.hindustantimes.com/Ravana-is-a-hero-for-Sinhala-nationalists/Article1-249335.aspx
  5. ^ Māni Mādhava Chākyār (1996). Nātyakalpadrumam. Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi. p.6
  6. ^ http://www.maharashtra.gov.in/pdf/gazeetter_reprint/Nasik/histroy_hindus.html#1
  7. ^ Ravana has his temples, too. The Sunday Tribune – Spectrum. 21 October 2007.
  8. ^ Vachaspati.S, Ravana Brahma [in English], 2005, Rudrakavi Sahitya Peetham, Gandhi Nagar, Tenali, India.
  9. ^ Kamalesh Kumar Dave,Dashanan [in Hindi], 2008, Akshaya Jyotish Anusandan Kendra, Quila Road, Jodhpur, India.
  10. ^ Sri Alvar Tirth
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Aryan Invasion Theory and Politics: the Case of David Duke


Koenraad Elst

There are, broadly speaking, three political movements which have taken an interest in the Aryan invasion debate. The first consists of European colonialists and racists, very active before 1945, as in the Nazi schoolbooks where the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) was used as the perfect illustration of white dynamism and military superiority (whites entered the dark-skinned people's country, not the reverse), white racism (Aryan invaders devised and imposed the caste system to prevent miscegenation), the perennial threat of racial mixing (the upper castes are visibly non-white, proving that their ancestors succumbed to the seduction of dark-skinned beauties), and the destructive results of such racial mixing (Indians have not contributed to scientific progress for centuries, unlike their whiter ancestors, and they were no match for a small number of white British invaders). Likewise, in 1935 Winston Churchill declared that the British had as much right to be in India as anyone else there, except perhaps "the Depressed Classes, who are the native stock", meaning that most Indians were the progeny of invaders equally foreign in origin as the British.

The second group is the anti-Hindu front in India, including Christian missionaries, so-called Ambedkarites, Dravidian separatists, Marxists and, just now joining the AIT bandwagon, militant Muslims. All of these proclaim to be concerned with -- or just to be -- the natives of India, dispossessed by the Aryan invaders who brought Hinduism from outside. While the political animus of this group entirely stems from Indian conditions, viz. the anti-Hindu struggle, their intellectual source of inspiration, mainly through Christianity and Marxism, is largely Western.

The third group is lined up against the first two, in that it opposes the AIT: the Hindu nationalists. Seeing the disruptive and separatist uses to which the AIT has been and is being put, they feel they need to support the refutation of the AIT.

In Western academic accounts of the political aspects of the AIT, attention is mostly directed at the third group, and this in a uniformly negative and demonizing sense. The second group is practically ignored (though the academics concerned function willy-nilly as its intellectual support base), and the first group is relegated to the past. Contemporary AIT theorists are convinced that they themselves are entirely free from Aryanist fantasies and from colonial or missionary ulterior motives; and that no such pressure is exerted upon them by politicians or public opinion in the West, which after 1945 has completely lost interest in the "Aryan" question. They are indignated that Indian critics dare to even mention racism among the ideological motives behind the defence of the AIT.

This perception and self-perception among Western AIT scholars is worth a closer analysis, but in the present article I want to focus in particular on the assumption that for Western public opinion, the Aryan question is a dead issue. I will draw the readers' attention to a revival of the racist use of the AIT as the prime illustration of the racist worldview.

Revival of racism

David Duke holds a minor elected office in the Republican Party in Louisiana, where he served a term as state representative and narrowly missed being elected as governor. On the latter occasion he got 60% of the White vote in spite of being financially dwarfed by his opponent, so he clearly resonates with a sizable section of public opinion. As founder of the National Association for the Advancement of White People, he is now the undisputed leader of a reviving White racialism, keeping to a middle course between those who have only an occasional relation with race issues, like Pat Buchanan or Joseph Sobran, and those who have completely reduced their political action to race issues, often also overstepping legal boundaries, such as the Ku Klux Klan (of which Duke used to be a member until he got frustrated with its counterproductive extremism and bad image) and the Aryan Nation.

David Duke's recent book, My Awakening (Free Speech Press, Mandeville LA 1999) is undoubtedly a testimony to his competence as a political activist and influencer of public opinion. It is much better written than Hitler's Mein Kampf, with which it shares a semi-autobiographical format and a number of ideas, esp. on the alleged Jewish world conspiracy. One cannot deny Duke a certain erudition, quoting as he does from a wide range of prestigious publications somehow useful to his message, such as Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray's The Bell Curve (1994). He appeals to the fear of American Whites for the prospect of being numerically overwhelmed by Third World immigration, and seems himself to be the perfect illustration of a tendency to shed existing inhibitions about racism in proportion with the gradual sliding of the White majority into minority status. Indeed, the very name of his organization NAAWP, a pun on the NAACP (C for Colored), sends the message that Whites can claim the same identity-based rights which Blacks have recent claimed, from separate holidays (Kwanzaa, Martin Luther King day) to separate dormitories in college.

Though I am not closely familiar with the American situation, I think it is safe to predict that this book will soon be the Bible of the growing circles of Whites who, uncomfortable with actual or looming minority status, will seek stronger assertion of their racial identity. Consequently, I expect political scientists to analyze this book inside out, and I will presently confine myself to Duke's remarkable chapter on India.

Encounter with India

Like many Western tourists, the 21-year-old David Duke who spent a few weeks in India in 1971 was overwhelmed by the conspicuous poverty of the people:

"Millions in India live out their lives on the public streets in the dried mud. There they are born, and there they bathe, eat, sleep, excrete and copulate. As attested by the teeming population, the one thing they seem to do best is breed." (p.515)

This teeming population worries him, and he mentions with approval that a lady he knows always gives condoms and only condoms when someone comes by to collect money for some Third World project. What makes matters worse for Duke is that it is precisely the lower and "inferior" castes which have sex and procreation as their only pastime, so that the average genetic quality of the Indian population diminishes with every generation.

His explanation for the squalor he witnessed and for its contrast with occasional impressive monuments of ancient civilization is simple: it is ¾ what else? ¾ the Aryan Invasion Theory. After all:

"Aryans, or Indo-Europeans (Caucasians) created the great Indian, or Hindu civilization. Aryans swept over the Himalayas to the Indian subcontinent and conquered the aboriginal people. (...) The word Aryan has an etymological origin in the word Arya from Sanskrit, meaning noble. The word also has been associated with gold, the noble metal, and denoted the golden-skinned invaders (as compared to the brown-skinned aboriginals) from the West. (...) The conquering race initiated a caste system to preserve their status and their racial identity. The Hindu word for caste is Varna, which directly translated into English means color." (p.517-518)

So there you have it: Hindus have the longest-lasting racial Apartheid system in the world. Unfortunately they squandered the genetic treasure they brought with them from the far north by mixing with the darker natives: Hindu art testifies to the ancient Hindus' unabashed fondness for sex, and "it was not preoccupation with sex that brought down the high culture as much as it was the racial impact of that obsession. In spite of strict religious and civil taboos, the ancient Aryans crossed the color line. (...) Only a small percentage of each generation had sexual liaisons with the lower castes, but over dozens of generations a gradual change in the racial composition occurred." (p.518) So that is why the Indians haven't invented the automobile, why they were no match for the British or even the Chinese, why their streets are dirty, why their bureaucrats are corrupt: they lost their racial purity.

All this and the facts

David Duke's brief analysis of Indian society is a shorthand version of the most widespread theory of the Aryan invasion and the caste system. He has not distorted it to suit his own purposes; you can find it like that in many history books (e.g. the late Alain Daniélou's Histoire de l'Inde, and publications by leading scholars like Jan Gonda, SK Chatterjee, Gordon Childe, FBJ Kuiper, the early Asko Parpola, H Kulke & D Rothermund). You also find it in the missionary-supported pseudo-Ambedkarite movement which, unlike Dr. Ambedkar himself, fervently believes in and propagates this racial version of the AIT, the only difference being the respective evaluations of the contending races: pseudo-Ambedkarites and Dravidian separatists consider the dark-skinned natives the good guys. Yet, the world of scholarship is beginning to take its distance from this "Aryan apartheid" theory.

At this point I might quote some Hindu nationalist historians who question the AIT and especially its racial version, but such brown-skinned people would not carry conviction with the Duke school; so let me quote some German-originated White professors instead. In a very recent book, Aryan and Non-Aryan in South Asia (edited by Johannes Bronkhorst and Madhav M. Deshpande, Harvard 1999) Hans Heinrich Hock and Thomas Trautmann have, so to speak, replicated the Hindu nationalist questioning of the racial interpretation of certain Vedic allusions to ethnic conflict. Both conclude, after surveying all the passages formerly quoted in support of the racial interpretation, that there is little reason to interpret terms like varna, "color", in terms of skin color, and that reference to blackness in enemies has the well-known metaphorical meaning of secrecy or evil. Prof. Hock also points out that many leading Aryans are explicitly described as dark-skinned: Krishna, Draupadi, Arjuna (in spite of his name, "pale"), Nakula and Damayanti (p.154), and he might have added Rama and some of the Vedic seers.

The struggle between Rama and Ravana was not one between a white Aryan and a black Dravidian, as Tamil separatists claim: Ravana was dark-skinned, alright, but also a descendent of the Vedic Pulastya clan and competent to perform Vedic ritual, while the Aryan Rama was equally dark-skinned. Other scholars including Asko Parpola had earlier shown that the traditional enemies of the Vedic Aryans, viz. the Dasas, Dasyus and Panis, were principally the Iranian cousins of the Vedic Aryans (all three ethnonyms exist in Iranian, not in the supposedly aboriginal Indian languages like Dravidian and Munda), who on average were at least as white as the latter. While one can never exclude that in such a racially diverse country like India, opposing armies were sometimes markedly different in skin colour, there is simply no testimony in the copious native literature to the kind of grand racial apartheid design imagined by David Duke and like-minded people.

As for the present, not too much should be made of the appreciation of fair skin color in marriage advertisements: the aura which blondes or otherwise whitish women carry is pretty universal and doesn't require an Aryan Invasion scenario as explanation. If an explanation is needed, it is more likely the influence of white foreign rulers: Aghans and Turks in the past, British more recently. In religion, a North-Indian Jat or Yadav (intermediate castes) will respect a Tamil Brahmin for his Vedic learning eventhough the latter is usually darker than the former.

Finally, what are the facts concerning the "inferiority" of dark-skinned Hindus as compared with their supposedly white ancestors of the Vedic age and the latter's white nephews, the Europeans? It is true that in the past thousand years, India has suffered stagnation and decline, but this was largely due to political circumstances: the Muslim conquest and occupation (cfr. the decline of Chinese science under the Mongol occupation in the 13th century). Note that the Muslim invaders were much whiter than most Hindu natives, yet they destroyed all native universities without building a single new one. While the much‑touted science of the medieval Muslim empire was mostly borrowed, Indian science was mostly creative and innovative, witness the Arab name for the "Arab" number system: Rakmu'l Hindi, "Indian numerals".

Coming to the present, it cannot have escaped Mr. Duke's notice that most Indian immigrants in the US, already over a million, are mostly of the brainy type. In mathematics, the natural sciences, medicine and computer science, Indians are greatly "over‑represented" in the leading institutes in the West. In India itself, the recovery of India's greatness in scientific achievement has been slowed down for fifty years by Nehru's imposition of models he borrowed from White ideologues in Cambridge and Moscow, but lately India's breakthrough in these fields has undeniably been spectacular. If this is what a genetically degenerate people can achieve, perhaps the Duke clan should emulate their example.

How India woke David Duke up

So, David Duke, like many old-school Western scholars and like Hitler before him, sees in the Aryan invasion scenario a perfect illustration of his racialist world view. But it gets even better. Duke did not merely add the AIT to an arsenal of arguments which he was already building up in support of his racial politics, as just one more illustration. The AIT, in its racial version, played a completely pivotal role in his decision to devote his life to the cause of the White race.

In the countryside around Delhi, Duke visited a temple, and next to it,

"I saw something that will forever remain in my memory. In the shade sat a little, brown, half-caste Indian girl. She was thoroughly emaciated and resembled some sort of hideous doll except that she moved slightly, and her animated bones and skin had a terrifying effect. (...) On one cheek was an open sore the size of a quarter. More sores covered her arms, chest and legs. Dozens of flies covered each sore, jockeying with each other to feast on her flesh. (...) The child held her hand out to me, begging for a few rupees. I dug my hand deep into my pocket, pulled out all the Indian coins I had, and carefully tipped them into her dark, skeletal hand. I turned and stumbled back out into the hot Indian sun, my eyes blinded by tears." (p.523)

Yes, tears for so much human misery, i.e. for a victim of Nehru's counterproductive Soviet-oriented economic policies, just human fellow-feeling for a suffering child? That is what you would expect in this situation, and it may have been there in young David's mind, of course. But his belief in the AIT put a most peculiar spin on this experience:

"On the way back to my room I wondered if, in a few hundred years, some half-black descendant of mine would be sitting among the ruins of our civilization, brushing away the flies, waiting to die. Every day our nation grows a little darker from the torrential immigration of non-Whites, high non-White birthrates and increasing racial miscegenation (...) To the plaudits of the media, the Pariahs -- the Untouchables -- are slowly replacing the Brahmin of America and the entire Western world. The hideous skeletal girl in the prophetic setting of that Indian temple was my glimpse of the future of the Western world. (...) The huge populace of modern India cannot sustain the level of culture and economic well-being that its high-caste forebears created. (...) Our race's struggle for survival and evolutionary advancement became the meaning of my life when I looked into that little Indian girl's forlorn face (...) I determined that my life would be about awakening the Aryan within every person of European descent. When I grow weary in this battle and I find my character smeared or my personal life attacked, that girl's gaunt face is there to haunt me, to drive me onward. (...) that girl's countenance is there to remind me, in the most graphic terms, what failure would mean for our progeny." (p.523-524)

On seeing this pitiable girl outside a Hindu temple, Duke might have resolved to do something about poverty, unjust international trade relations, foolish economic policies, the starving of Hindu temple personnel and their families by Nehruvian secularism, or any other worthy cause somehow related to this poor girl. But because he believed in the invasion of white Aryans in India and their subsequent degeneration due to their biological Indianization, he resolved to do something entirely different: to blow new life into White racism. Who says that the racist understanding of the Aryan invasion scenario has become irrelevant in the West? It is the Aryan Invasion Theory that gave America the racialist politician David Duke:

"Before my journey to India, the racial ideals that I believed in were abstract concepts and principles. In the moment I saw that emaciated child in the ruins, all my ideas were dramatically transformed into the reality of flesh and blood. (...) Seeing the child in the temple changed an intellectual commitment into a holy obligation. (...) I realized that day, in the scorching Indian sun outside that temple, that I had to adopt the spirit of an Aryan warrior who understood that the current struggle of our race transcends the centuries. (...) The flame that ignited in me on that hot August day in India in 1971 is still white hot and imperishable." (p.525)

If the Aryan Invasion Theory is refuted, or alternatively, if its holds out against the present wave of criticism and gets confirmed and stronger than before, it will have consequences not only in the Indian power equation between Hindus and their enemies, but also in American politics.

http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/aid/davidduke.html

Why do South Indian Heroes look like Ravana?

"Why do South Indian Heroes look like Ravana?" he asked innocuously, supremely unaware of any potential to cause offence. I was at my institute's stores issuing some stuff, when the counter-clerk, engaged in a debate with a colleague about film heroes, suddenly turned on me and startled me with this question.

My trouble sensor was sniffing one of my old bogeymen – an Aryan vs. Dravidian fight. A South Indian who lived most of my life in the North, I'm a veteran in this fight. Dravidians are short, dark, have names beyond pronunciation, cooperated with the British, while Aryans are tall, fair, have good names and fought the British. So they're better. But Dravidians are mathematical wizards, man the higher bureaucracy, and have won more science Nobels* than Aryans, so they're superior – my equally puerile counter-argument, which in my boyhood generally sealed the debate.

But to encounter a new broadside in the hackneyed debate was a shock. "Why do South Indian Heroes look like Ravana?"
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I must admit some of them do look like Ravana. Ambareesh, the Kannada superstar or Vijaykanth, the Tamil one do suit the description of Ravana - Nearly jet-black skin, huge mustachios and and a goonda-like physique. One does have better-looking types like Madhavan, but that doesn't count with the North Indians.

"Well, you see" I began, "Ravana was the builder of the greatest city of Lanka. You guys believe that we Southerners worship Ravana, and that is quite true actually. Ravana was dark, had a great moustache. He was a great scholar who knew all the Vedas and Puranas and all the languages of the earth, including that of fishes and birds. He was of limitless muscular strength, and had defeated the Aryan god Indra and was matched in strength only by Vali.

"The Lanka that he had built was a city whose roads were paved with gold, and its walls were built of marble. He saw to it that none of his subjects ever starved, or had any needs. His granaries and treasuries were never just full, but overflowing. Thousands of petty kings paid homage to him. You must have heard of the ruins of Harappa on the Sindhu river. That is actually the site of original Lanka. Archaeologists have proved it.

"Sita was his daughter#, but in his youth he had erred and buried her as a baby in Janak's kingdom. But now he heard that she was married to a Prince Rama who turned out to be a good-for-nothing. He had been thrown out of his kingdom Ayodhya in favour of his abler brother. Full of remorse that he had not treated his daughter properly, Ravana brought her away to Lanka.

"But you Northerners paint it as if Ravana was a kidnapper. But it is the victor who writes the history. Ravana's fatherly feeling did him in; perhaps he should have left his daughter to her fate. Instead he invited the wrath of the bloodthirsty Aryan, Rama.

"The Aryan race is naturally hot-tempered and violent. See the murder rates in UP-Bihar, or look at the Pathans and Punjabis. Rama was no different. He descended with a horde of monkeys upon Lanka. Aided by that villainous cheat Vibhishana, he laid Lanka to ruin.

"He assassinated Ravana and burnt the city of Lanka. And to add insult to injury, he did it on Dasara day, when we worship our great goddess Chamundeshwari. The great Dravidian civilization was destroyed completely. The people had to leave the city and their belongings and flee far into the South. Their land was taken by the invading Aryans. Our ancestors discovered an island in the south, and tried to recreate our ancient city there. That is why it is called Sri Lanka. That barbarian Rama left scars that still hurt us deeply after thousands of generations.

"Even today, we look up to King Ravana as our role model. The builder of cities, the nurturer of men, and the scholar of unmatched prowess. We try to be like him. In a South Indian movie, we live out a fantasy. We try to reverse our great tragedy, when the Dravidian civilization was destroyed by the Aryan one. What if our great King Ravana had not been killed, and Rama defeated instead?

"In a South movie, the villain is generally tall and fair and cunning, who has come to shatter our peaceful lives. The hero is dark and strong and wise, who will resist the villain and finish him. That is why South Indian Heroes look like Ravana."

***

* C.V. Raman and S. Chandrashekhar (both Physics) vs. Hargobind Khurana (Medicine).
# In the Tamil version of Ramayana by Kambar, Sita is Ravana's daughter.

Disclaimer: All of this is concocted, and has little in relation with the official myth. But it seems to answer convincingly the stupid question that I have to face from time to time.
posted by Ozymandias at 11:05:00 PM class=icon-action

http://republicarumia.blogspot.com/2006/12/why-do-south-indian-heroes-look-like.html

BBC admits Aryan Invasion was a myth

Postby shailesh13 on Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:04 am

Mullers theory not true - BBC admits Aryan Invasion was a myth
By Arabinda Ghose

Ever since the German philosopher Max Muller had propounded the theory that the Aryans were not indigenous Indians and had actually come from outside, probably Central Asia, the whole world believed in it. Even eminent Indian historians had religiously given credence to this theory and Mullers assertion that the Vedas were composed sometime during 1500 BCE or later.

The following paragraphs, downloaded from the internet by the quarterly magazine Asian Agri History edited by Dr. Y.L. Nene and others,Vol.10.No.2 (April-June,2006) unambiguously accepts that Max Muller was entirely wrong. We give the website details at the end of this article.

Here is the full text of the paragraphs published by magazine: One of the most controversial ideas of Hindu History is the Aryan Invasion theory, originally devised by F. Max Muller in 1848,traces the history of Hinduism to the invasion of Indias indigenous people by lighter skinned Aryans around 1500 BCE. The theory was reinforced by other research over the next 120 years, and became the accepted history of Hinduism, not only in the West but in India. There is now ample evidence to show that Muller, and those who followed him, were wrong.

Why is the Theory no longer accepted

The Aryan invasion theory was based on archaeological, linguistic and ethnological evidence. Later research has either discredited this evidence or provided new evidence that combined with the earlier evidence and makes other explanations more likely. Modern historians of the area no longer believe that such invasions had such great influence on Indian history. It is now generally accepted that Indian history shows a continuity of progress from the earliest times to today. The changes brought to India by other cultures are not denied by modern historians, but they are no longer thought to be a major ingredient in the development of Hinduism.

Danger of the Theory

The Aryan Invasion Theory denies the Indian origin of Indias predominant culture, but gives credit for Indian culture to invaders from elsewhere. It even teaches that some of the most revered books of Hindu scripture are not actually India, and it devalues Indias culture by portraying it as less ancient that it actually is. The theory was not just wrong, it included unacceptably racist ideas:

1. It suggested that Indian culture was a culture in its own right and a synthesis of elements from other cultures;
2. It implied that Hinduism was not an authentically Indian religion but the result of cultural imperialism
3. It suggested that Indian culture was static, and only changed under outside influences;
4. It suggested that the dark-skinned Dravidian people of the South of India had got their faith from light-skinned Aryan invaders;
5. It implied that indigenous people were incapable of creatively developing their faith;
6. It suggested that indigenous people could not acquire new religious and cultural ideas from other races, by invasion or other processes;
7. It accepted that race was a biologically based concept (rather than, at least in part, a social construct)that provided a sensible way of a ranking people in a hierarchy, which provided a partial basis for the caste system;
8. It provided a basis for racism in the Imperial context by suggesting that the peoples of Northern India were descendants from invaders from Europe and so racially closer to the British Raj
9. It gave a historical precedent to justify the role and status of the British Raj, who could argue that they were transforming India for the better in the same way that the Aryans had done thousands of years earlier;
10. It downgraded the intellectual status of India and its people by giving a falsely late date to elements of Indian science and culture.

The website is :http://www.bbc.co.UK/religion/religions/hinduism/history/history5.shtml

Organiser has carried in the past scholarly articles by, among others, N.S. Rajaram. However, the admission by the British Broadcasting Corporation that Max Muller had deliberately given a falsely late date to elements of Indian science and culture, should now open the eyes of those scholars who still swear by the Aryan Invasion Theory.

One may add here that in the articles of the date of Lord Ramas date of birth published in the Organiser of February 5 and 26, 2006,this writer had quoted a researcher Pushkar Bhatnagar of Delhi as claiming that the date was January 10, 5114 BCE. This showed that the Ramayana written by sage Valmiki places Indian civilisation at least seven thousand years from present. One has to add that it must have taken Indians of those days to develop the society in which Lord Rama was born at least two to three thousand years from primitive state. This puts Indian civilisation to at least ten thousand years from the present. Since the Rigveda is older than the Ramayana, the date of its composition should be at least the seventh millennium before Christ. Shri Bhatnagars claim that the remnants of the bridge built by Lord Ramas army for the invasion of Lanka also proved its antiquity to seven thousand years before present.(This remnant is not the one said to have been photographed by NASA, the American Space Agency, which had denied that the photograph taken by it pertained to the old Setu built by Nala and other engineers accompanying Lord Rama).

Ramayana

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Rama (right) seated on the shoulders of Hanuman, battles the demon-king Ravana.
 
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The Ramayana (Devanāgarī: रामायण, Rāmāyaṇa) is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is attributed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon (smṛti). The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India, the other being the Mahabharata.[1] It depicts the duties of relationships, portraying ideal characters like the ideal servant, the ideal brother, the ideal wife and the ideal king.

The name Ramayana is a tatpurusha compound of Rāma and ayana ("going, advancing"), translating to "Rama's Journey". The Ramayana consists of 24,000 verses in seven books (kāṇḍas) and 500 cantos (sargas),[2] and tells the story of Rama (an incarnation of the Hindu preserver-god Vishnu), whose wife Sita is abducted by the demon king of Lanka, Ravana. Thematically, the epic explores the tenets of human existence and the concept of dharma.[3]

Verses in the Ramayana are written in a 32-syllable meter called anustubh. The epic was an important influence on later Sanskrit poetry and Indian life and culture, particularly through its establishment of the shloka meter. Like its epic cousin the Mahābhārata, 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.

There are other versions of the Ramayana, notably Buddhist (Dasaratha Jataka No. 461) and Jain in India, and also Thai, Lao, Burmese and Malay versions of the tale.

Contents

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[edit] Textuality

Traditionally, the Ramayana is ascribed to Valmiki, regarded as India's first poet.[4] The Indian tradition is unanimous in its agreement that the poem is the work of a single poet, the sage Valmiki, a contemporary of Rama and a peripheral actor in the epic drama.[5] The story's original version in Sanskrit is known as Valmiki Ramayana, dating to approximately the 8th century B.C.E in its oral tradition.[6] According to Hindu tradition, the Ramayana takes place during a period of time known as Treta Yuga.[7]

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 appears to date from the 11th century A.D.[8] The text has several regional renderings,[9] recensions and subrecensions. Textual scholar Robert P. Goldman differentiates two major regional recensions: the northern (N) and the southern (S).[8] Famous recensions include the Ramayanam of Kamban in Tamil (ca. 11th-12th century), Shri Rama Panchali or Krittivasi Ramayan by Krittibas Ojha in Bengali (ca. 15th Century), and Ramacharitamanas by Tulasidas in Awadhi which is a dialect of Hindi (c. 16th century).[9] Scholar Romesh Chunder Dutt writes that "the Ramayana, like the Mahabharata, is a growth of centuries, but the main story is more distinctly the creation of one mind."[10]

There has been speculation as to whether the first and the last chapters of Valmiki's Ramayana were written by the original author. Raghunathan writes that many experts believe they are integral parts of the book in spite of some style differences and narrative contradictions between these two chapters and the rest of the book.[11][12]

[edit] Period

According to Professor Ram Sharan Sharma, one of the two most renowned living historians of early India (the other being Professor Romila Thapar)[13], believes that the oral composition of the Ramayana began during the eighth century (800) BCE and later than Mahabharata whose period is 900 BCE, in its oral tradition, based on the kind of Sanskrit used and the society it represents.[14] Some cultural evidence (the presence of sati in the Mahabharata but not in the main body of the Ramayana) suggests that the Ramayana predates the Mahabharata.[15] However, the general cultural background of the Ramayana is one of the post-urbanization period of the eastern part of North India (c. 450 BCE), while the Mahabharata reflects the Kuru areas west of this, from the Rigvedic to the late Vedic period.[16]

By tradition, the epic belongs to the Treta Yuga, one of the four eons (yuga) of Hindu chronology. Rama is said to have been born in the Treta Yuga to King Daśaratha in the Ikshvaku vamsa (clan).[17]

The names of the characters (Rama, Sita, Dasharatha, Janaka, Vasishta, Vishwamitra) are all known in Vedic literature such as the Brahmanas which are older than the Valmiki Ramayana.[18] However, nowhere in the surviving Vedic poetry is a story similar to the Ramayana of Valmiki.[19] According to the modern academic view, Brahma, one of the main characters of Ramayana, and Vishnu, who according to Bala Kanda was incarnated as Rama, are not Vedic deities, and come first into prominence with the epics themselves and further during the 'Puranic' period of the later 1st millennium CE. There is also a version of Ramayana, known as Ramopakhyana, found in the epic Mahabharata. This version, depicted as a narration to Yudhishtira, does not accord divine characteristics to Rama.[20]

There is general consensus that books two to six form the oldest portion of the epic while the first book Bala Kanda and the last the Uttara Kanda are later additions.[21] The author or authors of Bala Kanda and Ayodhya Kanda appear to be familiar with the eastern Gangetic basin region of northern India and the Kosala and Magadha region during the period of the sixteen janapadas as the geographical and geopolitical data is in keeping with what is known about the region. However, when the story moves to the Aranya Kanda and beyond, it seems to turn abruptly into fantasy with its demon-slaying hero and fantastic creatures. The geography of central and South India is increasingly vaguely described. The knowledge of the location of the island of Sri Lanka also lacks detail.[22] Basing his assumption on these features, the historian H.D. Sankalia has proposed a date of the 4th century BC for the composition of the text.[23] A. L. Basham, however, is of the opinion that Rama may have been a minor chief who lived in the 8th or the 7th century BC.[24]

[edit] Characters

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Rama seated with Sita, fanned by Lakshmana, while Hanuman pays his respects.
  • Rama is the hero of the tale. Portrayed as the seventh incarnation of the god Vishnu, he is the eldest and favorite son of the King of Ayodhya, Dasharatha, and his wife Kousalya. He is portrayed as the epitome of virtue. Dasharatha is forced by Kaikeyi, one of his wives, to command Rama to relinquish his right to the throne for fourteen years and go into exile.
  • Sita is the beloved wife of Rama and the daughter of king Janaka. She is the incarnation of goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu. Sita is portrayed as the epitome of female purity and virtue. She follows her husband into exile and is abducted by Ravana. She is imprisoned on the island of Lanka until Rama rescues her by defeating the demon king Ravana. Later, she gives birth to Lava and Kusha, the heirs of Rama.
  • Hanuman is a vanara belonging to the kingdom of Kishkindha. He is portrayed as an incarnation of the god Shiva (the Eleventh Rudra) and an ideal bhakta of Rama. He is born as the son of Kesari, a vanara king, and the goddess Anjana. He plays an important part in locating Sita and in the ensuing battle.
  • Lakshmana, the younger brother of Rama, who chose to go into exile with him. He is portrayed as an incarnation of the Shesha, the nāga associated with the god Vishnu. He spends his time protecting Sita and Rama. He is forced to leave Sita, who was deceived by the demon Maricha into believing that Rama was in trouble. Sita is abducted by Ravana upon him leaving her.
  • Ravana, a rakshasa, is the king of Lanka. After performing severe penance for ten thousand years he received a boon from the creator-god Brahma that he could not be killed by gods, demons or spirits. He is portrayed as a powerful demon king, who disturbs the penances of Rishis. Vishnu incarnates as the human Rama to defeat him, thus circumventing the boon given by Brahma.
  • Dasharatha is the king of Ayodhya and the father of Rama. He has three queens, Kousalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi, and three other sons: Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna. Kaikeyi, Dasharatha's favourite queen, forces him to make his son Bharata crown prince and send Rama into exile. Dasharatha dies heartbroken after Rama goes into exile.
  • Bharata is the son of Dasharatha. When he learns that his mother Kaikeyi had forced Rama into exile and caused Dasharatha to die brokenhearted, he storms out of the palace and goes in search of Rama in the forest. When Rama refuses to return from his exile to assume the throne, Bharata obtains Rama's sandals and places them on the throne as a gesture that Rama is the true king. Bharata then rules Ayodhya as the regent of Rama for the next fourteen years.
  • Shatrughna is the son of Dasharatha and his third wife Queen Sumitra. He is the youngest brother of Rama and also the twin brother of Lakshmana.

[edit] Synopsis

The poem is traditionally divided into several major kandas or books, that deal chronologically with the major events in the life of Rama—Bala kanda, Ayodhya Kanda, Aranya Kanda, Kishkinda Kanda, Sundara Kanda, Yuddha Kanda, and Uttara Kanda.[9] The Bala Kanda describes the birth of Rama, his childhood and marriage to Sita.[25] The Ayodhya Kanda describes the preparations for Rama's coronation and his exile into the forest.[25] The third part, Aranya Kanda, describes the forest life of Rama and the kidnapping of Sita by the demon king Ravana.[25] The fourth book, Kishkinda Kanda, describes the meeting of Hanuman with Rama, the destruction of the vanara king Vali and the coronation of his younger brother Sugriva to the throne of the kingdom of Kishkindha.[25] The fifth book is Sundara Kanda, which narrates the heroism of Hanuman, his flight to Lanka and meeting with Sita.[25] The sixth book, Yuddha Kanda, describes the battle between Rama's and Ravana's armies.[25] The last book, Uttara Kanda, describes the birth of Lava and Kusha to Sita, their coronation to the throne of Ayodhya, and Rama's final departure from the world.[25]

[edit] Bala Kanda

Main article: Balakanda
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The birth of the four sons of Dasharatha

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.[26] As a consequence, Rama is first born to Kausalya, Bharata is born to Kaikeyi, and Sumitra gives birth to twins named Lakshmana and Shatrughna.[27][28] 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.[29] 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.[30]

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.[31] 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.[30]

[edit] Ayodhya Kanda

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Bharata Asks for Rama's paduka-footwear

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.[32][33] 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 exile 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.[34] Rama accepts his father's reluctant decree with absolute submission and calm self-control which characterizes him throughout the story.[35] 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."[36] After Rama's departure, king Dasharatha, unable to bear the grief, passes away.[37] 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.[34][37]

[edit] Aranya Kanda

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.[38]

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.[38][39]

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.[37] Rama and Lakshmana learn about Sita's abduction from Jatayu, and immediately set out to save her.[40] During their search, they meet the demon Kabandha and the ascetic Shabari, who direct them towards Sugriva and Hanuman.[41][42]

[edit] Kishkindha Kanda

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A stone bas relief at Banteay Srei in Cambodia depicts the combat between Vali and Sugriva (middle). To the right, Rama fires his bow. To the left, Vali lies dying.

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.[43] Rama befriends Sugriva and helps him by killing his elder brother Vali thus regaining the kingdom of Kiskindha, in exchange for helping Rama to recover Sita.[44] 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.[45] The southern search party under the leadership of Angad and Hanuman learns from a vulture named Sampati that Sita was taken to Lanka.[46][47]

[edit] Sundara Kanda

Main article: Sundara Kanda
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Ravana is meeting Sita at Ashokavana. Hanuman is seen on the tree.

The Sundara Kanda forms the heart of Valmiki's Ramayana[48] and consists of a detailed, vivid account of Hanuman's adventures.[43] 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.[43]

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.[43][49]

[edit] Yuddha Kanda

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The War of Lanka by Sahibdin.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" construct 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.[50]

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.[51] The episode of agni pariksha varies in the versions of Ramayana by Valmiki and Tulsidas.[52] At the expiration of his term of exile, Rama returns to Ayodhya with Sita and Lakshmana, where the coronation is performed.[50]

[edit] Uttara Kanda

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Sita in the Hermitage of Valmiki

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.[53] Rama yields to public opinion and banishes Sita to the forest, where the sage Valmiki provides shelter in his ashrama (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 Ashwamedha 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.[53][54] 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.[51] The Uttara Kanda is regarded to be a later addition to the original story by Valmiki.[9]

[edit] Influence on culture and art

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A Ramlila actor wears the traditional attire of Ravana

One of the most important literary works of ancient India, the Ramayana has had a profound impact on art and culture in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The story ushered in the tradition of the next thousand years of massive-scale works in the rich diction of regal courts and Brahminical temples. It has also inspired much secondary literature in various languages, notably the Kambaramayanam by the Tamil poet Kambar of the 13th century, the Telugu-language Molla Ramayana, 14th century Kannada poet Narahari's Torave Ramayan, and 15th century Bengali poet Krittibas Ojha's Krittivasi Ramayan, as well as the 16th century Awadhi version, Ramacharitamanas, written by Tulsidas.

The Ramayana became popular in Southeast Asia during the 8th century and was represented in literature, temple architecture, dance and theatre. Today, dramatic enactments of the story of Ramayana, known as Ramlila, take place all across India and in many places across the globe within the Indian diaspora. The Ramayana has inspired works of film as well, most prominently the North American Sita Sings the Blues, which tells the story supporting Sita through song.

[edit] Variant versions

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The epic story of Ramayana was adopted by several cultures across Asia. Shown here is a Thai historic artwork depicting the battle which took place between Rama and Ravana.

As in many oral epics, multiple versions of the Ramayana survive. In particular, the Ramayana related in North India differs in important respects from that preserved in South India and the rest of South-East Asia. There is an extensive tradition of oral storytelling based on the Ramayana in Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia and Maldives.[citation needed] Father Kamil Bulke, author of Ramakatha, has identified over 300 variants of Ramayana.[55]

[edit] Within India

The seventh century CE "Bhatti's Poem" Bhaṭṭikāvya of Bhaṭṭi is a Sanskrit retelling of the epic that simultaneously illustrates the grammatical examples for Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī as well as the major figures of speech and the Prakrit language.[56]

There are diverse regional versions of the Ramayana written by various authors in India. Some of them differ significantly from each other. During the 12th century AD, Kamban wrote Ramavatharam, known popularly as Kambaramayanam in Tamil. Valmiki's Ramayana inspired the Sri Ramacharit Manas by Tulasidas in 1576, an epic Awadhi (a dialect of Hindi) version with a slant more grounded in a different realm of Hindu literature, that of bhakti. It is an acknowledged masterpiece of India, popularly known as Tulsi-krita Ramayana. Gujarati poet Premanand wrote a version of Ramayana in the 17th century. Other versions include a Bengali version by Krittivas in the 14th century, in Oriya by Balarama Das in the 16th century, in Marathi by Sridhara in the 18th century, a Telugu version by Ranganatha in the 15th century, a Torave Ramayana in Kannada by the 16th century poet Narahari and in 20th century Rashtrakavi Kuvempu's Sri Ramayana Darshnam, Kotha Ramayana in Assamese by the 14th century poet Madhava Kandali and Adhyathma Ramayanam Kilippattu, a Malayalam version by Thunchaththu Ezhuthachan in the 16th century.

There is a sub-plot to Ramayana, prevalent in some parts of India, relating the adventures of Ahi Ravana and Mahi Ravana, the evil brother of Ravana, which enhances the role of Hanuman in the story. Hanuman rescues Rama and Lakshmana after they are kidnapped by the Ahi-mahi Ravana at the behest of Ravana and held prisoner in a subterranean cave, to be sacrificed to the goddess Kali.

Mappillapattu—a genre of song popular among the Muslims belonging to Kerala and Lakshadweep—has incorporated some episodes from the Ramayana into its songs. These songs, known as Mappila Ramayana, have been handed down from one generation to the next orally.[55] In Mappila 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. The language and the imagery projected in the Mappilapattu are in accordance with the social fabric of the earlier Muslim community.[55]

[edit] In Nepal

Two versions of Ramayana are present in Nepal. One is written by Mahakabhi Siddhidas Mahaju in Nepal Bhasa. The other one is written by Aadikavi Bhanubhakta Acharya. The Nepal Bhasa version by Siddhidas Mahaju marks a great point in the renaissance of Nepal Bhasa whereas the one of Bhanubhakta Acharya is the first epic of Nepali.[citation needed]

[edit] Southeast Asian versions

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The Javanese dance of Ramayana describe Shinta held as prisoner in Alengka palace surrounded by ladies in waiting.

Many other Asian cultures have adapted the Ramayana, resulting in other national epics. Kakawin Ramayana is an old Javanese rendering; Yogesvara Ramayana is attributed to the scribe Yogesvara circa 9th century CE, who was employed in the court of the Sriwijaya. It has 2774 stanzas in manipravala style, a mixture of Sanskrit and Archaic prose Javanese language. The most influential version of the Ramayana is the Ravanavadham of Bhatti, popularly known as Bhattikavya. The Javanese Ramayana differs markedly from the original Hindu prototype.

Phra Lak Phra Lam is a Lao language version, whose title comes from Lakshmana and Rama. The story of Lakshmana and Rama is told as the previous life of the Buddha. In Hikayat Seri Rama of Malaysia, Dasharatha is the great-grandson of the Prophet Adam. Ravana receives boons from Allah instead of Brahma.[57] In many Malay language versions, Lakshmana is given greater importance than Rama, whose character is considered somewhat weak.[citation needed]

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The Khmer retelling of the tale, the Reamker, is popularly expressed in traditional regional dance theatre.

The Cambodian version of Ramayana, the Reamker, is the most famous story of Khmer Literature since the Funan era. It adapts the Hindu concepts to Buddhist themes and shows the balance of good and evil in the world. The Reamker has several differences from the original Ramayana, including scenes not included in the original and emphasis on Hanuman and Sovanna Maccha, a retelling which influences the Thai and Lao versions. Reamker in Cambodia is not confined to the realm of literature but extends to all Cambodian art forms, such as sculpture, Khmer classical dance, theatre known as Lakhorn Luang (the foundation of the royal ballet), poetry and the mural and bas reliefs seen at the Silver Pagoda and Angkor wat.

Thailand's popular national epic Ramakien ("Glory of Rama") is derived from the Hindu epic. In Ramakien, Sita is the daughter of Ravana and Mandodari (T'os'akanth (=Dasakanth) and Mont'o). Vibhisana (P'ip'ek), the astrologer brother of Ravana, predicts calamity from the horoscope of Sita. So Ravana has her thrown into the waters, who, later, is picked by Janaka (Janok). While the main story is identical to that of the Ramayana, many other aspects were transposed into a Thai context, such as the clothes, weapons, topography, and elements of nature, which are described as being Thai in style. It has an expanded role for Hanuman and he is portrayed as a lascivious character. Ramakien can be seen in an elaborate illustration at the Wat Phra Kaew temple in Bangkok.

Other Southeast Asian adaptations include Ramakavaca of Bali (Indonesia), Maharadya Lawana and Darangen of Mindanao (Philippines), and the Yama Zatdaw of Myanmar. Aspects of the Chinese epic Journey to the West were also inspired by the Ramayana, particularly the character Sun Wukong, who is believed to have been based on Hanuman.[citation needed]

[edit] Theological significance

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Deities Sita (far right), Rama (center), Lakshmana (far left) and Hanuman (below seated) at Bhaktivedanta Manor, Watford, England.

Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, is a popular deity worshipped in the Hindu religion. Each year, many devout pilgrims trace his journey through India, halting at each of the holy sites along the way. The poem is not seen as just a literary monument, but serves as an integral part of Hinduism, and is held in such reverence that the mere reading or hearing of it, or certain passages of it, is believed by Hindus to free them from sin and bless the reader or listener.

According to Hindu tradition, Rama is an incarnation (Avatar) of the god Vishnu. The main purpose of this incarnation is to demonstrate the righteous path (dharma) for all living creatures on earth.

Arshia Sattar states that the central theme of the Ramayana, as well as the Mahabharata, is respectively Ram's and Krishna's hidden divinity and its progressive revelation.[58]

[edit] See also

[edit] Footnotes

  1. ^ William Buck & Van Nooten 2000, "Introduction" p.xiii
  2. ^ Dutt 2004, p.198
  3. ^ Brockington 2003
  4. ^ Prabhavananda 1979, p.81
  5. ^ Goldman 1990, p.29
  6. ^ Sharma, R.S. (2005). India's Ancient Past. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195687859. 
  7. ^ William Buck & Van Nooten 2000, p.xxi
  8. ^ a b Goldman 1990 "Valmiki's Ramayana: Its nature and history", pp.4-6
  9. ^ a b c d Sundararajan 1989, p.106
  10. ^ Dutt 2004, p.191
  11. ^ Raghunathan, N. (trans.), Srimad Valmiki Ramayana
  12. ^ Arya, R. P. (ed.), Ramayan of Valmiki
  13. ^ K.M. Shrimali (Volume 19 - Issue 18, August 31 - September 13, 2002). "The making of an Indologist". Frontline. http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1918/19180720.htm. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  14. ^ Sharma, R.S. (2005). India's Ancient Past. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195687859. 
  15. ^ Goldman, Robert P., The Ramayana of Valmiki: An Epic of Ancient India p. 23
  16. ^ M. Witzel, The Vedas and the Epics: Some Comparative Notes on Persons, Lineages, Geography, and Grammar. In: P. Koskikallio (ed.) Epics, Khilas, and Puranas. Continuities and Ruptures. Proceedings of the Third Dubrovnik International Conference on the Sanskrit Epics and Puranas. September 2002. Zagreb: Croatian Academy of Sciences and the Arts 2005: 21-80
  17. ^ Indian Wisdom Or Examples of the Religious, Philosophical, And Ethical Doctrines of the Hindus, by Monier Williams, Published 2006
  18. ^ In the Vedas Sita means furrow relating to a goddess of agriculture. - S.S.S.N. Murty, A note on the Ramayana
  19. ^ Goldman, Robert P., The Ramayana of Valmiki: An Epic of Ancient India p 24
  20. ^ Rama - The story of a history - chennaionline.com
  21. ^ Goldman, Robert P., The Ramayana of Valmiki: An Epic of Ancient India p. 15-16
  22. ^ Goldman, Robert P., The Ramayana of Valmiki: An Epic of Ancient India p. 28
  23. ^ See Sankalia, H.D., Ramayana: Myth or Reality, New Delhi, 1963
  24. ^ Basham, A.L., The Wonder that was India, London, 1956, p 303
  25. ^ a b c d e f g Keshavadas 1988, p.23
  26. ^ Keshavadas 1988, p.27
  27. ^ Keshavadas 1988, p.29
  28. ^ William Buck & Van Nooten 2000, p.16
  29. ^ Goldman 1990, p.7 "These sons, are infused with varying portions of the essence of the great Lord Vishnu who has agreed to be born as a man in order to destroy a violent and otherwise invincible demon, the mighty rakshasa Ravana who has been oppressing the gods, for by the terms of a boon that he has received, the demon can be destroyed only by a mortal."
  30. ^ a b Goldman 1990, p.7
  31. ^ Bhattacharji 1998, p.73
  32. ^ William Buck & Van Nooten 2000, pp.60-61
  33. ^ Prabhavananda 1979, p.82
  34. ^ a b Goldman 1990, p.8
  35. ^ Brockington 2003, p.117
  36. ^ Keshavadas 1988, pp.69-70
  37. ^ a b c Prabhavananda 1979, p.83
  38. ^ a b Goldman 1990, p.9
  39. ^ William Buck & Van Nooten 2000, p.166-168
  40. ^ Keshavadas 1988, pp.112-115
  41. ^ Keshavadas 1988, pp.121-123
  42. ^ William Buck & Van Nooten 2000, p.183-184
  43. ^ a b c d Goldman 1990, p.10
  44. ^ William Buck & Van Nooten 2000, p.197
  45. ^ Goldman 1994, p.4
  46. ^ Goldman 1994, p.4
  47. ^ Kishore 1995, pp.84-88
  48. ^ Goldman 1996, p.3
  49. ^ Goldman 1996, p.4
  50. ^ a b Goldman 1990, pp. 11-12
  51. ^ a b Prabhavananda 1979, p.84
  52. ^ Rajagopal, Arvind (2001). Politics after television. Cambridge University Press. pp. 114–115. http://books.google.com/books?id=PbgW2jTESKEC&pg=PA114. 
  53. ^ a b Goldman 1990, p.13
  54. ^ Dutt 2002, "Aswa-Medha" p.146
  55. ^ a b c "A different song". The Hindu. 12 August 2005. http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/fr/2005/08/12/stories/2005081201210200.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-21. 
  56. ^ Fallon 2009
  57. ^ Effect Of Ramayana On Various Cultures And Civilisations p. ?
  58. ^ Sattar 1996, pp. lvi-lvii

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Rama

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This article is about the incarnation of Vishnu. For other uses, see Rama (disambiguation) and Ramachandra (disambiguation).
Rama
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Sanskrit TransliterationRāma
AffiliationAvatar of Vishnu
AbodeAyodhya (अयोध्या)
WeaponThe Bow (धनुष)
ConsortSita (सीता)

Rama (IAST: rāma, Devanāgarī: राम; Burmese: ရာမ; Khmer: ព្រះ​រាម; Lao: ພຣະຣາມ; Malay: Megat Seri Rama; Tagalog: Rajah Bantugan; Thai: พระราม) or Ramachandra रामचंद्र, రామచంద్ర [1] is the seventh avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism,[2] and a legendary king of Ayodhya in ancient Indian mythology.

Rama is one of the many popular figures and deities in Hinduism, specifically Vaishnavism and Vaishnava religious scriptures in South and Southeast Asia.[3] Most of the details of Rama's life come from the Ramayana, one of the two great epics of India.[4] Born as the eldest son of Kausalya and Dasharatha, king of Ayodhya, Rama is referred to within Hinduism as Maryada Purushottama,[5] literally the Perfect Man or Lord of Self-Control or Lord of Virtue. Rama is the husband of Sita, whom Hindus consider to be an avatar of Lakshmi and the embodiment of perfect womanhood.[5][6]

Rama's life and journey is one of perfect adherence to dharma despite harsh tests of life and time. He is pictured as the ideal man and the perfect human. For the sake of his father's honour, Rama abandons his claim to Kosala's throne to serve an exile of fourteen years in the forest.[7] His wife Sita and brother Lakshmana, being unable to live without Rama, decide to join him, and all three spend the fourteen years in exile together. This leads to the kidnapping of Sita by Ravana, the Rakshasa (Asura) monarch of Lanka. After a long and arduous search that tests his personal strength and virtue, Rama fights a colossal war against Ravana's armies. In a war of powerful and magical beings, greatly destructive weaponry and battles, Rama slays Ravana in battle and liberates his wife. Having completed his exile, Rama returns to be crowned king in Ayodhya (the capital of his kingdom) and eventually becomes emperor,[7] after which he reigns for eleven thousand years – an era of perfect happiness, peace, prosperity and justice known as Rama Rajya.

Rama's courage in searching for Sita and fighting a terrible war to rescue his wife and their honour is complemented by Sita's absolute devotion to her husband's love, and perfect chastity despite being Ravana's captive. Rama's younger brothers, namely Lakshmana, Shatrughna and Bharata strongly complement his piety, virtue and strength,[7] and they are believed by many to belong to the Maryada Purushottama and the Seventh Avatara, mainly embodied by Rama. Rama's piety and virtue attract powerful and devoted allies such as Hanuman and the Vanaras of Kishkindha, with whose help he rescues Sita.[7] The legend of Rama is deeply influential and popular in the societies of the Indian subcontinent and across South East Asia. Rama is revered for his unending compassion,[8] courage and devotion to religious values and duty.

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10.3.3cd Agni, far-spreading with conspicuous lustre, hath compassed Night [Rama] with whitely shining garments.

As a personal name it appears in RV 10.93.14:

10.93.14ab This to Duhsima Prthavana have I sung, to Vena, Rama, to the nobles [Asuras], and the King.

The feminine form of the adjective, rāmīˊ is an epitheton of the night (Ratri), as is kṛṣṇīˊ, the feminine of kṛṣṇa, viz. "the dark one; the black one". Two Ramas are mentioned in the Vedas, with the patronymics Mārgaveya and Aupatasvini; another Rama with the patronymic Jāmadagnya is the supposed author of a Rigvedic hymn. According to Monier-Williams, three Ramas were celebrated in post-Vedic times,

  1. Rāma-chandra ("Rama-moon"), son of Dasaratha, believed to have descended from Raghu. (The Rama of this article).
  2. Parashu-rāma ("Rama of the Battle-axe"), the Sixth Avatara of Vishnu, sometimes also referred to as Jāmadagnya, or as Bhārgava Rāma (descended from Bhrigu), a "Chiranjeevi" or Immortal.
  3. Bala-rāma ("the strong Rama"), also called Halāyudha (Wielder of the Plough as Weapon), the older brother and close companion of Krishna, the Eighth Avatara of Vishnu.

In the Vishnu sahasranama, Rama is the 394th name of Vishnu. In the interpretation of Adi Sankara's commentary, translated by Swami Tapasyananda of the Ramakrishna Mission, Rama has two meanings: the supreme Brahman who is the eternally blissful spiritual Self in whom yogis delight, or the One (i.e., Vishnu) who out of His own will assumed the enchanting form of Rama, the son of Dasaratha.

[edit] Literary sources

The primary source of the life and journey of Rama is the epic Ramayana as composed by the Rishi Valmiki. The Vishnu Purana also recounts Rama as Vishnu's seventh avatara, and in the Bhagavata Purana, ninth skandha, adhyayas 10 & 11, the story of the Ramayana is again recounted in brief up to an including the slaying of Ravana and Prince Rama's return to Ayodhya. Additionally, the tales of Rama are reverently spoken of in the epic Mahabharata.

The epic had many versions across India's regions. However, other scriptures in Sanskrit reflect the life of Ramayana. The followers of Sri Madhvacharya believe that an older version of the Ramayana, the mula-Ramayana, previously existed but is no longer extant. They consider it to be more authoritative than the version by Valmiki. Another important shortened version of the epic in Sanskrit is the Aadhyaatma Ramayana. The seventh century CE Sanskrit "Bhatti's Poem" Bhaṭṭikāvya of Bhaṭṭi who lived in Gujarat, is a retelling of the epic that simultaneously illustrates the grammatical examples for Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī as well as the major figures of speech and the Prakrit language.[9] Versions of the Ramayana exist in most major Indian languages; examples that elaborate on the life, deeds and divine philosophies of Rama include the epic poem Kambaramayanam by the 12th century poet Kamban in Tamil, and Ramacharitamanasa, a Hindi version of the Ramayana by the 16th century Saint Tulsidas. Contemporary versions of the Ramayana include Sri Ramayana Darshanam by Kuvempu in Kannada and Ramayana Kalpavrikshamu by Viswanatha Satyanarayana in Telugu, both of which have been awarded the Jnanpith Award. The epic has transformed across the diverse regions of India, which boast their own unique languages and cultural traditions.[10]

The essential tale of Rama has also spread across South East Asia, and evolved into unique renditions of the epic – incorporating local history, folktales, religious values as well as unique features from the languages and literary discourse. The Kakawin Ramayana of Java, Indonesia, the Ramakavaca of Bali, Hikayat Seri Rama of Malaysia, Maradia Lawana of the Philippines, Ramakien of Thailand (which calls him Phra Ram) are great works with many unique characteristics and differences in accounts and portrayals of the legend of Rama. The legends of Rama are witnessed in elaborate illustration at the Wat Phra Kaew temple in Bangkok. The national epic of Myanmar, Yama Zatdaw is essentially the Burmese Ramayana, where Rama is named Yama. In the Reamker of Cambodia, Rama is known as Preah Ream. In the Pra Lak Pra Lam of Laos, Buddha is regarded as an incarnation of Rama.

[edit] Avatara

Main article: Avatars of Vishnu
See also: Daśāvatāra

The Ramayana speaks of how the Goddess Earth (Bhumidevi), came to the Lord Creator, Brahma begging to be rescued from evil kings who were plundering her resources and destroying life through bloody wars and evil conduct. The Devas also came to Brahma fearful of the rule of Ravana, the ten-headed rakshasa emperor of Lanka. Ravana had overpowered the Devas and now ruled the heavens, the earth and the netherworlds. Although a powerful and noble monarch, he was also arrogant, destructive and a patron of evil doers. He had boons that gave him immense strength and was invulnerable to all living and celestial beings, except man and animals.[11]

Brahma, Bhumidevi and the Devas worshipped Vishnu, the Preserver, for deliverance from Ravana's tyrannical rule. Vishnu promised to kill Ravana by incarnating as a man – the eldest son of Kosala's king Dasaratha.[11] His eternal consort, Lakshmi took birth as Sita and was found by king Janaka of Mithila while he was ploughing a field. Vishnu's eternal companion, the Ananta Sesha is said to have incarnated as Lakshmana to stay at his Lord's side on earth. Throughout his life, no one, except himself and a few select sages (among which are included Vasishta, Sharabhanga, Agastya and Vishwamitra) know of his destiny. Rama is continually revered by the many sages he encounters through his life, but only the most learned and exalted know of his true identity. At the end of the war between Rama and Ravana, just as Sita passes her Agni pariskha, Lord Brahma, Indra and the Devas, the celestial sages and Lord Shiva appear out of the sky. They affirm Sita's purity and ask him to end this terrible test. Thanking the Avatara for delivering the universe from the grips of evil, they reveal Rama's divine identity upon the culmination of his mission.[12]

[edit] Prince of Ayodhya

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Birth of Rama

King Dasaratha performs a putrakameṣṭi yajña, a sacrifice to obtain offspring by pleasing the gods. He gives the sacred, sacrificial nectar to his three wives according to their seniority: Kousalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi. On the night of the ninth day after Amavasya, under the asterism of Punarvasu and the cardinal sign of the Crab, Rama was born in the city of Ayodhya, which is the capital of the ancient kingdom of Kosala. The city and the area are located in the central region of the modern state of Uttar Pradesh in India. Rama was the prince of the Suryavamsha (Sun Dynasty) House of Ikshvaku, descendant of great monarchs like Ikshvaku, Raghu and Bhagiratha. He is the eldest brother to Bharata, son of Kaikeyi, and the twin sons of Sumitra, Lakshmana and Shatrughna. Rama is dark-complexioned, mainly bluish – a symbol of divinity.[13] In Ramayana Rama is referred to as Aryaputra (son of an Aryan).

The Ramayana describes the relationship between the brothers as intensely loving and devotional, although Rama and Lakshmana share a special, inseparable bond, while Bharata is especially close to Shatrughna. The four brothers enjoy an undiscriminating love from Dasaratha and his three queens, but Dasaratha's main affections are affixed upon Rama. Rama and his brothers are trained by Rishi Vasishta in the Vedas, religion, philosophy and the sciences. They are described as taller than the tallest men of modern times, possessive of exceptional acumen and prowess in the military sciences and arts.[14]

[edit] Initiation of the Avatara

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Rama breaking the bow, Raja Ravi Varma (1848–1906)

Sage Vishwamitra takes the two princes, Rama and Lakshmana, to his ashram, as he needs Rama's help in slaying several Rakshasas that have been harassing him and several other sages living in the area. Rama's first encounter is with a Rakshasi named Taataka, who is a celestial nymph cursed to take the form of a demoness. Vishwamitra explains that she has polluted much of the habitat where the sages reside and there will not be any contentment until she is destroyed. Rama has some reservations about killing a woman, but since Taataka poses such a big threat to the rishis and he is expected to follow their word, he fights with Taataka and kills her with a poisoned arrow. After her death, the surrounding forest becomes greener and cleaner.

Vishwamitra presents Rama with several astras and sastras (divine weapons) that will be of use to him in the future, and Rama masters all the knowledge of the weapons and their uses. Vishwamitra then tells Rama and Lakshmana that soon, he along with some of his disciples, will perform a yagna for seven days and nights that will be of great benefit to the world, and the two princes must keep close watch for the two sons of Taataka, Mareecha and Subahu, who will try to defile the yagna at all costs. The princes therefore keep a strong vigil for all of the days, and on the seventh day they spot Mareecha and Subahu come with a whole host of Raakshasas ready to pour bones and blood into the fire. Rama points his bow at the two, and with one arrow kills Subahu, and with the other arrow flings Mareecha thousands of miles away into the ocean. Lakshmana deals with the rest of the demons. The yagna is completed successfully

Rama also frees Ahalya, the wife of sage Gautama, from a curse. She was cursed to turn into stone by her husband after a displeasing incident. However, the dust on Rama's feet touched the stone and turned it back into a woman again. Sage Gautama was gratified that everything was back to normal again.

Sage Vishwamitra then takes the two princes to the Swayamvara ceremony for Sita. The challenge is to string the bow of Shiva, and shoot an arrow with it. This task is considered impossible for any ordinary king or living being, as this is the personal weapon of Shiva, more powerful, holy and of divine creation than conceivable. While attempting to string the bow, Rama breaks it in two. This feat of strength spreads his fame across the worlds and seals his marriage to Sita.[15]

After Rama weds Sita and the entire royal family and the Ayodhya army begin their journey back, the great rishi Parashurama Bhargava appears before them, having descended from his mountainous hermitage. Parashurama is an extremely powerful rishi, responsible for killing all of the world's tyrannical and oppressive emperors and kings 21 times. He was the sixth Avatara of Vishnu, and finds it unbelievable that anybody could break the bow of Shiva. Considering himself to still be the most powerful warrior-rishi on earth, he brings with them the bow of Vishnu, and intends to challenge Rama to prove his strength by stringing it, and then fighting a battle with him to prove superiority.[16] Although the entire Ayodhya army is forestalled by his mystical power, Rama is himself angered. He respectfully bows to Parashurama, and within a twinkling of an eyelid snatches the bow of Vishnu, strings it, places an arrow and points it straight at the challenger's heart. Rama asks Parashurama what he will give as a target to the arrow in return for his life? At this point, Parashurama feels himself devoid of the tremendous mystical energy he possessed for so long. He realizes that Rama is Vishnu incarnate, his successor and definitely his superior. He accepts Rama's superiority, devotes his tapasya to him, pays homage to Rama and promises to return to his hermitage and leave the world of men.[17]

Rama then shoots the arrow up into the sky with Vishnu's bow, performing a feat true to his supreme, divine nature with his natural weapon. His overpowering of Parashurama and using the supreme weapon with incredible ease and perfection dazzle the spectators and his relatives, but no one save Parashurama and Vasishta associate this with his true identity. It is said that the Rama's arrow is still flying across space, across time and across all of the universe. The day it will return to earth, it is said, it will bring the end of the world. Others say that the flying arrow destroys all evil on earth to uphold dharma and righteousness.[17]

[edit] Dharma of exile

King Dasaratha announces to Ayodhya that he plans to crown Rama, his eldest child the Yuvaraja (crown prince). While the news is welcomed by everyone in the kingdom, the mind of queen Kaikeyi is poisoned by her wicked maid-servant, Manthara. Kaikeyi, who is initially pleased for Rama, is made to fear for the safety and future of her son Bharata. Fearing that Rama would ignore or possibly victimize his youngest brother for the sake of power, Kaikeyi demands that Dasaratha banish Rama to a forest exile for fourteen years, and that Bharata be crowned in Rama's place. She had been granted two boons by the king when she had saved his life a long time ago in battle, and the queen now used them to serve her purpose.[18] The king's court and the people are outraged at this turn of events. Dasaratha loved and cherished Rama dearly, and was in personal turmoil. Completely estranged now from his younger wife, he abhors the prospect of separation from Rama. But Rama realizes that the king must not break a solemn promise at any time, and neither should a son disobey his father's command. Sita joins her husband in exile despite his discouraging her, as it is her duty and out of love for Rama that she must be at his side at all times. His younger brother Lakshmana also immediately decides to join Rama rather than remain in the city.[19]

As he leaves for exile, the people of Ayodhya are deeply saddened and angered at Dasaratha and Kaikeyi. Dasaratha's heart is broken and he collapses and dies by the next day, unable to bear the agony of separation from Rama. Despite the reasoning of Vasishtha and the pleas of his brothers, Rama refuses to return. Although horrified at the news of his father's death, Rama finds it impossible that he should break his dead father's word. Rama does not bear any anger towards Kaikeyi, believing firmly in the power of destiny.[20] According to the explanation of the classic, this exile actually presents Rama the opportunity to confront Ravana and his evil empire.

[edit] Rama and Sita

See also: Sita
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Rama with Sita on the throne, their children Lava and Kusha on their laps. Behind the throne, Lakshamana, Bharata and Shatrughna stand. Hanuman bows to Rama before the throne. Valmiki to the left

Rama and Sita are the protagonists in one of the most famous love stories of all time. Described as being deeply in love, Sita and Rama are theologically understood as avatars of Lakshmi and Vishnu respectively. When Rama is banished from the kingdom, he attempts to convince Sita not to join him in a potentially dangerous and certainly arduous existence in the jungle, but Sita rejects this. When Rama orders her in his capacity as husband, Sita rejects it, asserting that it was an essential duty of a wife to be at her husband's side come good or ill.[19] Rama in turn is assiduously protective and caring for Sita throughout the exile.

When Sita is kidnapped by Ravana, both Sita and Rama undergo great personal hardships during their separation. Sita protects her chastity assiduously, and survives over a year in captivity on the strength of her love and attention to religious values and duty. She is completely unfettered in her resolve despite Ravana's courting, cajoling and threats. Meanwhile Rama, not knowing who had kidnapped Sita or where was she taken, often succumbs to despair and tears, denouncing himself for failing to defend her and agonizing over her safety and pain. Sita knows that it is in Rama's destiny to fight to rescue her (she refuses to be rescued thus by Hanuman, who discovers her), but is deeply anxious for his safety and fearful of Ravana's power.

[edit] Agni pariksha

Lord Rama sent a messenger to Ravana that said, "Come to me and I will forgive you," before he slays Ravana. After Rama slays Ravana and wins the war, Sita wants to come before him in the state which over a year's imprisonment had reduced her to, Rama arranges for Sita to be bathed and given beautiful garments before they are re-united. But even as Sita comes before him in great excitement and happiness, Rama does not look at her, staring fixedly at the ground. He tells her that he had fought the war only to avenge the dishonour that Ravana had inflicted on Raghuvamsa and Sita. At this sudden turn of events, all the vanaras, rakshasas, Sugriva, Hanuman and Lakshmana are deeply shocked.[21]

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The Agni pariksha

Sita begs Lakshmana to build her a pyre upon which she could end her life, as she could not live without Rama. At this point, Lakshmana is angered at Rama for the first time in his life, but following Rama's nod, he builds a pyre for Sita. At the great shock and sorrow of the watchers, Sita walks into the flames. But to their greater shock and wonder, she is completely unharmed. Instead, she glows radiantly from the centre of the pyre. Immediately Rama runs to Sita and embraces her. He had never doubted her purity for a second, but, as he explains to a dazzled Sita, the people of the world would not have accepted or honoured her as a queen or a woman if she had not passed this Agni pariksha before the eyes of millions, where Agni would destroy the impure and sinful, but not touch the pure and innocent.[22] There is a version of Tulsidas's Ramacharitamanasa, which is popular, which states that Rama hander Sita under the protection of Agni God. After Sita was released it was necessary to bring her out of security of Agni god.[23] Another version of this, used in Ramanand Sagar's Ramayan, was that Rama had known Sita was going to be abducted by Ravana ahead of time. So, he entrusted her to Agni Dev, or the God of Fire. Rama did this so that he, who in reality was Vishnu, could kill Ravana. Sita, in turn, left behind a "shadow", or twin-like version of herself behind. The "shadow" Sita had been abducted by Ravana. Therefore, the lila of Agni Pariksha was to retrieve the genuine Sita from the temporary care of Agni Dev. Rama explains this to Lakshmana before the "Pariksha" is done. This version has also been written in the Ram Charit Manas.

[edit] Sita's banishment

In the Uttara Kanda, Rama banishes his wife Sita, even as she is pregnant, asking Lakshmana to deliver her safely to Rishi Valmiki's ashram. He does so when it is reported to him that some subjects of his in Ayodhya believed that Sita was not fit due to her long captivity in Ravana's city. As a king is expected to uphold moral principles, Rama reluctantly banished Sita in order to uphold his duty as a king.

A legend by Rishi Agastya in the epic states that Vishnu in a previous age had been cursed by a rishi, whose wife had been killed by Vishnu for sheltering his enemies escaping from battle. The Rishi condemns Vishnu to be denied for a long age the companionship of his soul mate, just as Vishnu, by an inadvertent display of anger, had deprived the rishi of his loving wife. Thus Rama, Vishnu's incarnation, must live the rest of his life without Sita.[24]

Many Hindus, such as the followers of Sri Vaishnavism, consider this entire section of the Ramayana to be interpolated, and thus they do not accept the authenticity of this story claiming that Sita was banished.

[edit] Children

According to legend, Kusha and Lava are the twin sons of Lord Rama and Sita. Born in the forest after the banishment of Sita from Ayodhya, the twins were educated and trained in military skills as their mother took refuge in Sage Valmiki's ashram, located in a forest on the banks of the River Tamsa.

As Rama performed the Ashvamedha Yajna, a horse strayed into their forest, Rama sent Hanuman to retrieve the horses. Rama's sons Luv and Kush captured the horses. Hanuman, seeing Luv and Kush recognised that they were the son's of Rama. He let them capture him and tie him up. There Hanuman started meditating on the name Rama. Worried Rama sent his brothers to look for the horses. As his saw Hanuman tied up and two boys guarding him, they thought that the two boy had stolen the horses. So Ramas brothers started attacking Luv and Kush. In theory Rama's brothers should have won, but Luv and Kush defeated them all knocking them unconscious. Luv and Kush were protected by Hanuman. Then Rama himself went looking for the horses fearing that Hanuman and his brothers had been attacked. Rama found his brothers on the floor. He was enraged. He then started fiercely attacking Luv and Kush not knowing they were his children. Though his attacks had no effect on them he saw Hanuman meditating. At that moment he knew that Hanuman was protecting them. Rama then started attacking Hanuman. But none of his weapons had any effect on him either. The sage Valmiki then awoke the brothers and Hanuman, explaining to Rama that Luv and Kush were his sons.

When Devi Sita found out that Lava and Kusha had defeated Ayodhya's forces, she proudly revealed their/her identity. Once she had witnessed the acceptance of her children by Rama, Sita sought final refuge in the arms of her mother Bhumidevi, the Goddess Mother Earth.

[edit] Maryada Purushottama

As a person, Rama personifies the characteristics of an ideal person (purushottama) who is to be emulated. He had within him all the desirable virtues that any individual would seek to aspire, and he fulfils all his moral obligations (maryada). Rama's purity and piety in his intentions and actions inspires affection and devotion for him from a variety of characters from different backgrounds. For example, he gave up his rightful claim to the throne, and agreed to go into exile for fourteen years, to fulfill the vow that his father had given to Kaikeyi, one of King Dashratha's wives. This is in spite of the fact that Kaikeyi's son, Bharat, begged him to return back to Ayodhya and said that he did not want to rule in place of Rama. But Rama considered his dharma as a son above that of his own birthright and his life's ambition. For such supreme sacrifices, and many other qualities, Rama is considered a maryada purushottam. Some of his ideals are as follows:

1. At the time when it was normal for kings to have more than one wife, Rama gave ideal of having a single wife. After Sita was banished, he was doing penance with a gold statue of Sita. In Balakanda of Valmiki Ramayana it is written that Rama and Sita resided in each others heart.

2. Rama always followed his promise at any cost. In fact, he went to forest to make his father's promise to Kaikeyi true. Another instance was when, he had promised the Spirit of Time that during their conversation, if anyone was to intrude, Rama would have pronounce an instant death sentence upon the individual. They were intruded upon by his beloved younger brother Lakshmana, and to keep his part of the promise, pronounced the death sentence. There are many examples of Rama's promises which he kept. Most important are the promise to sages to save their lives from Rakshasas, getting back Sugreeva's kingdom, making Vibhishana the king of Lanka.

3. Excellent friend: Rama had very touching relations with his friends irrespective of their status. Some of his friends are Nishada-raja Guha, King of Nishaadas (a caste whose profession was hunting the birds), Sugreeva (the Vanar king) and Vibhishana a Rakshasa.

4. Even towards his enemies, Rama showed great nobility and virtue. To gather information about the enemy army's strengths and weaknesses, Ravana sent two of his spies, Suka and Sarana, to the Vanara camps. Disguised as Vanaras they blended into the enemy camp, but Vibhishana saw through their deceit and presented the two spies to Rama. Rama then asked them what their mission was and whether they fulfilled it. After listening to them, he sent for a Vanara to give them a proper tour of all the Vanara camps and give them all the information they desired about the major soldiers and their strengths. He then told the spies to give this message to Ravana. "Tomorrow morning, I will destroy all of Lanka. Keep all sides of your palace well defended and be ready will all of your men by sunrise." The spies were greatly astonished with Rama's charisma, courage, and adherence to the codes of war. After Rama gave them leave, they knew that their king was bound to lose against this virtuous and courageous man. When Ravana first fought with Rama, Rama defeated him to such an extent that Ravana lost his charioteer, horses, chariot, flag, weapons and armor. Though the situation was at his advantage, Rama instead praised Ravana for a great fight that day, and asked him to retire and take rest, as he must be quite tired. Ravana was greatly embarrassed at this, but he was also gratified that Rama saved his life, and this led him to consider for a moment whether to retreat and give Sita back.

[edit] Companions

Even as Rama is the ideal conception of manhood, he is often aided and complemented in different situations by the characteristics by those who accompany him. They serve Rama devotedly, at great personal risk and sacrifice.

[edit] Bharata and Lakshmana

Main articles: Bharata (Ramayana) and Lakshmana
See also: Shatrughna

Absent when Rama is exiled, upon his return Bharata is appalled to learn of the events. And even though Kaikeyi had done all this for his benefit, Bharata is angered at the suggestion that he should take Ayodhya's throne. Denouncing his mother, Bharata proclaims to the city that he would go to the forest to fetch Rama back, and would serve out his term of exile himself. Although initially resentful and suspicious, the people of Ayodhya hail Bharata's selfless nature and courageous act. Despite his fervent pleas to return, Rama asserts that he must stay in the forest to keep his father's word. He orders Bharata to perform his duty as king of Ayodhya, especially important after Dasaratha's death, and orders Shatrughna to support and serve him. Returning saddened to the city, Bharata refuses to wear the crown or sit on the throne. Instead, he places the slippers of Rama that he had taken back with him on the throne, and rules Ayodhya assiduously keeping Rama's beliefs and values in mind. When Rama finally returns, Bharata runs personally to welcome him back.

Bharata is hailed for his devotion to his elder brother and dharma, distinguished from Lakshmana as he is left on his own for fourteen years. But he unfailingly denies self-interest throughout this time, ruling the kingdom only in Rama's image.[25] Vasishtha proclaims that no one had better learnt dharma than Bharata,[26] and for this piety he forms an essential part of the conception of perfect manhood, of the Seventh Avatara of Vishnu. Shatrughna's role to Bharata is akin to that of Lakshmana to Rama. Believed to be one-quarter of Vishnu incarnated, or as the incarnation of his eternal companion, Ananta Sesha, Lakshmana is always at Rama's side.[27] Although unconstrained by Dasaratha's promise to Kaikeyi, Lakshmana resists Rama's arguments and accompanies him and Sita into the forest. During the years of exile, Lakshmana constantly serves Rama and Sita – building huts, standing guard and finding new routes. When Sita is kidnapped, Rama blazes with his divine power and in his immense rage, expresses the desire to destroy all creation. Lakshmana prays and pleads for Rama to calm himself, and despite the shock of the moment and the promise of travails to come, begin an arduous but systematic search for Sita. During times when the search is proving fruitless and Rama fears for Sita, and expresses despair in his grief and loneliness, Lakshmana encourages him, providing hope and solace.

When Rama in his despair fears that Sugriva has forgotten his promise to help him trace Sita, Lakshmana goes to Kishkindha to remind the complacent monarch of his promise to help. But Lakshmana kicks down the city gate and threatens to destroy Sugriva and the monkey kingdom with his own divine power. Lakshmana is unable to tolerate Sugriva breaking his vow to Rama while enjoying material and sensual pleasures while Rama suffers alone. It is only through the diplomatic intervention of Queen Tara, Sugriva's wife, that Lakshmana is pacified. Tara then scolds and galvanises Sugriva into honoring his promise to Rama. Sugriva and Rama are then reconciled with the help of Lakshmana and Tara. And finally Sugriva appoints Hanuman to find the location of Sita and lead the monkey army into battle against the demonic forces of Ravana.[28]

Lakshmana is uniquely responsible for slaying Indrajit, the invincible son of Ravana who had humiliated Indra and the Devas, and outwitted the brothers and the Vanaras on several occasions. Rishi Agastya later points out that this victory was the turning point of the conflict. Rama is often overcome with emotion and deep affection for Lakshmana, acknowledging how important and crucial Lakshmana's love and support was for him. He also trusts Lakshmana to carry out difficult orders – Lakshmana was asked to take Sita to the ashrama of Valmiki, where she was to spend her exile. Lakshmana's deep love for Rama, his unconditional service and sacrifice, as well as qualities of practical judgment and clear-headedness make him Rama's superior in certain situations and perspectives. Lakshmana symbolizes a man's duty to his family, brothers and friends, and forms an essential part of the conception of ideal manhood, that Rama primarily embodies.

[edit] Jatayu, Hanuman and Vibheeshana

When Rama and Lakshmana begin the desperate search to discover where Sita had been taken. After traversing a distance in many directions, they come across the magical eagle Jatayu, who is dying. They discover from Jatayu that a rakshasa was flying away with a crying, struggling Sita towards the south. Jatayu had flown to the rescue of Sita, but owing to his age and the rakshasa's power, had been defeated. With this, Jatayu dies in Rama's arms. Rama is overcome with love and affection for the bird which sacrificed its own life for Sita, and the rage of his death returns to him in the climactic battle with Ravana.

Rama's only allies in the struggle to find Sita are the Vanaras of Kishkindha. Finding a terrified Sugriva being hunted by his own brother, king Vali, Rama promises to kill Vali and free Sugriva of the terror and the unjust charge of plotting to murder Vali. The two swear everlasting friendship over sacred fire. Rama's natural piety and compassion, his sense of justice and duty, as well as his courage despite great personal suffering after Sita's kidnapping inspire devotion from the Vanaras and Sugriva, but especially Hanuman, Sugriva's minister. Devoted to Rama, Hanuman exerts himself greatly over the search for Sita. He is the first to discover that Sita was taken to Lanka, and volunteers to use his divine gifts in a dangerous reconnaissance of Lanka, where he is to verify Sita's presence. Hanuman hands Rama's ring to Sita, as a mark of Rama's love and his imminent intention of rescuing her. Though captured, he candidly delivers Rama's message to Ravana to immediately release Sita, and when his tail is burned, he flees and sets Lanka on fire. When Lakshmana is struck down and near death and Rama overcome with love and concern for his brother, Hanuman flies to the Himalayas on the urgent mission to fetch the sanjeevani medicinal herbs, bringing the entire mountain to Lanka so that no time is lost in saving Lakshmana.[29] The Vanaras fight the rakshasas, completely devoted to Rama's cause. They angrily dismiss Ravana's efforts to create divisions by suggesting that Rama considered them, monkeys, as mere animals. At the end of the war, Rama worships Brahma, who restores life to the millions of fallen Vanaras.[30]

Before the onset of war, rakshasa prince Vibheeshana, Ravana's youngest brother comes to join Rama. Although he loves his brother and Lanka, he fails in repeated efforts to make Ravana follow religious values and return Sita. Vibheeshana believes that Ravana's arrogance and callousness will cause the destruction of Lanka, which is a gross violation of a king's duty, and that Ravana's actions have only propagated evil. Vibheeshana refuses to defend the evil of Ravana's ways and inspired by Rama's compassion and piety, leaves Lanka to join the Vanara Army.[31] His knowledge of rakshasa ways and Ravana's mind help Rama and the Vanaras overcome black magic and mystical weapons. At the end of the war, Rama crowns Vibheeshana as the king of Lanka. Vibheeshana, and to a greater extent Hanuman, embody the perfect devotee in the wider conception of perfect manhood.

[edit] Rama in war

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The epic story of Ramayana was adopted by several cultures across Asia. Shown here is a Thai historic artwork depicting the battle which took place between Rama and Ravana.

When Rama is sixteen years old, he and his brother Lakshmana are taken by Vishwamitra to the forests, with the purpose of killing rakshasas who are wrecking the tapasya and sacrifices of brahmins. Rama and Lakshmana are taught the advanced military arts and given the knowledge of all celestial weapons by Vishwamitra. Rama proceeds to slay Tadaka, a cursed yaksha demoness. When asked to slay the demoness, Rama demurs, considering it sinful to kill a woman. But Vishwamitra explains that evil has no gender. The killing of Tadaka liberates the yaksha soul who was cursed for a sin, and had to adopt a rakshasi's body. It restores the purity of the sacrifices of the brahmins who live nearby, and protects the animals who live in the forest, and travelers. The main purpose of Vishwamitra's exursion is to conduct his yagna without interruption from two evil demons, Maricha and Subahu. Rama and Lakshmana guard the sacrifice, and when the two demons appear, Rama shoots an arrow that carries Maricha across the lands and into the ocean, but does not kill him. Rama and his brother then proceed to kill Subahu and accompanying demons. Rama explains to Lakshmana that leaving Maricha alive was an act of compassion, but the others did not heed the point and chose to attack.[32] During the forest exile, sages plead for protection and help against evil rakshasas who spoil their sacrifices and religious activities and terrorize them. Many rakshasas had even killed and eaten sages and innocent people. At Janasthana, Rama uses his exceptional prowess to single-handedly kill over fourteen thousand demon hordes led by the powerful Khara, who is a cousin of Ravana.

[edit] Sagara

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Raja Ravi Varma Painting – 'Rama Conquers Varuna'

Faced with the dilemma of how to cross the ocean, Rama performs a penance tapasya, fasting and meditating in perfect dhyana for three days and three nights to Varuna, the Lord of Oceans. The ocean god does not respond out of arrogance, and Rama on the fourth morning, pointed the brahmastra towards the ocean. The Vanaras are dazzled and fearful at witnessing the enraged Rama demolish the oceans, and Lakshmana prays to calm Rama's mind. Just as Rama invokes the brahmastra, considered the most powerful weapon capable of destroying all creation, Saagara arises out of the oceans. He bows to Rama, and begs for pardon. Since lord Rama had to use the weapon, he suggests Rama re-direct the weapon at a demonic race that lives in the heart of the ocean. Rama's arrows destroys the demons, and establishes a purer, liberated environment there. Saagara promises that he would keep the oceans still for all of Rama's army to pass, and Nala constructs a bridge (Rama's Bridge) across to Lanka. Rama justifies his angry assault on the oceans as he followed the correct process of petitioning and worshipping Saagara, but obtaining the result by force for the greater good.[33] In another version of the story, Lord Rama redirected his missile to the barren Island, and as a result huge volcanic eruption resulted. This volcano is the one which is found till today at the southern part of Indian peninsula .

[edit] Facing Ravana

See also: Ravana
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Ravana, Demon King of Lanka

Rama asserts his dedication to dharma when he undertakes to offer Ravana a final chance to make peace, despite his heinous actions and patronage of evil, by immediately returning Sita and apologizing to both Rama and Sita, but Ravana refuses. In the war, Rama slays the most powerful rakshasa commanders, including Prahasta, Atikaya and with Ravana's brother, Kumbhakarna along with hundreds of thousands of rakshasa soldiers. He outfights Ravana in their first battle, destroying his chariot and weapons, and severely injuring him, but due to this, he allows him to live and return to fight another day. But as a human being, Rama also proves vulnerable on occasion to his enemies. He is put to a deep sleep with Lakshmana by the nagapash of Indrajit, but they recover when Hanuman obtains the magical medicine according to Vibheesana's advice.

In the grand finale of the battle, Rama engages Ravana, who through the devastation of losing his sons, his brothers and friends and millions of his warriors, arouses his awesome and magical powers and makes full use of the boons of Siva and Brahma, and the magical knowledge of warfare possessed by the greatest of rakshasas. Rama and Ravana compete fiercely, inflicting severe injuries on one another with the most powerful weapons that could destroy the universe. After a long and arduous battle, Rama successfully decapitates Ravana's central head, but an ugly head, symbolic of all of Ravana's evil powers arises in its place. After another long battle, Rama decapitates it, only to find another growing in its place. This cycle continues, and as darkness approaches, Ravana's magical powers increase in force. Vibheeshana, seeing this then tells Rama something vital. Ravana had obtained amrita, the nectar of immortality, from the gods. Though he could not consume it, he nevertheless stored a vessel of it in his stomach. This amrit was causing his heads to regenerate as soon as they were cut off. Upon the advice of Agastya, Rama worships Lord Aditya, the Sun, with the famous Aditya Hridayam prayer and then invokes the most powerful weapon, the Brahmastra. Rama fires the great arrow that enters Ravana's chest/stomach and destroys the store of amrit, finally killing him.[34] Following Ravana's death, Rama is immediately compassionate. After investing Vibheeshana as the next king of Lanka, he asks the new king and the surviving rakshasas to properly cremate their dead king, who he acknowledges was a great being worthy of respect and admiration, despite his patronage of evil.[35]

[edit] Rama Rajya

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Coronation of Rama with Sita (center on the throne), surrounded by his brothers and other deities including Hanuman (bottom left)

The end of the war coincides with the end of Rama's tenure of exile. Flying home on the Pushpaka Vimana, Rama returns to a joyous Ayodhya. His mothers, brothers and the people joyously welcome him. Kaikeyi is repentant of her deeds, and Rama forgives her. The next day, Rama is invested as the King of Ayodhya, and Emperor of the World. Although he first asks Lakshmana to become the yuvaraja, upon the advice of Lakshmana he invests the position to Bharata, who has had fourteen years of experience as the ruler of Ayodhya. Rama performs the holy Ashwamedha sacrifice, purifying and establishing religion across earth.[36]

Beyond the Ramayana, the eleven thousand years of Rama's rule over the earth represent to millions of modern Indians a time and age when God as a man ruled the world. There was perfect justice and freedom, peace and prosperity. There are no natural disasters, diseases, ailments or ill-fortune of any nature for any living being. There are no sins committed in the world by any of his people. Always attentive and accessible to his people, Rama is worshipped and hailed by all – the very symbol of moksha, the ultimate goal and destination of all life, and the best example of perfect character and human conduct, inspiring human beings for countless succeeding ages.

Rama like other Indian kings went undercover every night to hear the pleas of his subjects and have a common man's perspective of his rule. During Rama's tenure as King, the people apparently had no locks on their doors as they feared no burglaries or other such misfortunes.

[edit] International Influence

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Deities of Sri Sri Sita (far right), Rama (center), Lakshmana (far left) and Hanuman (below seated) at Bhaktivedanta Manor, a temple in Watford England

Be it as a manifestation of God or simply as a legendary hero of myths and folktales, Rama is an immensely revered and inspirational figure to people across the Indian subcontinent and South East Asia, as well as increasingly across Western civilization, where the Hindu epics and values are gaining recognition and popularity. In Jainism, Rama is enumerated among the nine white Balas.

Rama is a great hero to the adherents of Agama Hindu Dharma and to the Muslims who practice Abangan, a syncretic form of Islam and Hinduism, in Indonesia. He is revered by the people throughout Indochina who otherwise adhere to different forms of Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism. His regal bearing and fighting prowess is emulated in various Indian martial arts which in turn influenced various Southeast Asian fighting systems such as Muay Thai and silat. The Rama Leela is performed across South East Asia in numerous local languages and the story has been the subject of art, architecture, music, folk dance and sculpture. The ancient city of Ayutthaya stands in Thailand, as the tribute of an ancient Thai kingdom to the great legend. Many ancient and medieval era kings of India and South East Asia have adopted Rama as their name.

A Buddhist version of the tale is found in the Jataka stories, in the Dasharatha Jataka (Jataka Atthakatha 461) in the Pali vernacular. Here Rama is represented as a former life of the Buddha as a Bodhisatva and supreme Dharma King of great wisdom. In the Buddhist tale, he is the king of Varanasi and not Ayodhya, which is traditionally the capital of Kosala.

Reviewers linked the imagery of the blue-skinned Na'vi in James Cameron's Avatar film to Rama as one of their possible conceptual prototypes.[37][38][39]

[edit] Festivals

Main article: Rama Navami

Rama's day and time of birth, as well as marriage to Sita are celebrated by Hindus across the world as Rama Navami. It falls on the ninth day of a Hindu lunar year, or Chaitra Masa Suklapaksha Navami. This day is observed as the marriage day of Rama and Sita as well as the birthday of Rama. People normally perform Kalyanotsavam (marriage celebration) for small statues of Rama and Sita in their houses and at the end of the day the idols are taken in a procession on the streets. This day also marks the end of nine day utsavam called Vasanthothsavam (Festival of Spring), that starts with Ugadi. Some highlights of this day are:

  1. Kalyanam (Ceremonial wedding performed by temple priests) at Bhadrachalam on the banks of the river Godavari in Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh.
  2. Panakam, a sweet drink prepared on this day with jaggery and pepper.
  3. Procession of idols in the evening that is accompanied with play of water and colours.
  4. For the occasion, Hindus are supposed to fast (or restrict themselves to a specific diet).
  5. Temples are decorated and readings of the Ramayana take place. Along with Rama, people also pray to Sita, Lakshmana and Hanumana.

The occasion of victory over Ravana and the rakshasas is celebrated as the 10-day Vijayadashami, also known as Dussehra. The Ram Leela is publicly performed in many villages, towns and cities in India. Rama's return to Ayodhya and his coronation are celebrated as Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights. The latter two are the most important and popular festivals in India and for Hindus across the world. In Malaysia, Diwali is known as Hari Deepavali, and is celebrated during the seventh month of the Hindu solar calendar. It is a federal public holiday. In many respects it resembles the traditions followed in the Indian subcontinent. In Nepal, Diwali is known as Tihar and celebrated during the October/November period. Here, though the festival is celebrated for five days, the traditions vary from those followed in India. On the first day, cows are worshipped and given offerings. On the second day, dogs are revered and offered special food. On the third day, celebrations follow the same pattern as in India, with lights and lamps and much social activity. On the fourth day Yama, the Lord of Death, is worshipped and appeased. On the fifth and final day, brothers sisters meet and exchange pleasantries. In Guyana, Diwali is marked as a special occasion and celebrated with a lot of fanfare. It is observed as a national holiday in this part of the world and some ministers of the Government also take part in the celebrations publicly.

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Gupta, S.M. (1993). Vishnu and His Incarnations. South Asia Books. 
  2. ^ Ganguly, S. (2003). "The Crisis of Indian Secularism". Journal of Democracy 14 (4): 11–25. doi:10.1353/jod.2003.0076. https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_democracy/v014/14.4ganguly.html. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  3. ^ Dimock Jr, E.C. (1963). "Doctrine and Practice among the Vaisnavas of Bengal". History of Religions 3 (1): 106–127. doi:10.1086/462474. http://www.jstor.org/pss/1062079. 
  4. ^ Rosen, S. (1994). Vaisnavism: Contemporary Scholars Discuss the Gaudiya Tradition. Motilal Banarsidass Publ.. 
  5. ^ a b Hess, L. (2001). "Rejecting Sita: Indian Responses to the Ideal Man's Cruel Treatment of His Ideal Wife*". Journal of the American Academy of Religion 67 (1): 1–32. doi:10.1093/jaarel/67.1.1 (inactive 2010-03-18). http://jaar.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/citation/67/1/1. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  6. ^ Kanungo, H.. "The Distinct Speciality of Lord Jagannath". Orissa Review. http://orissagov.nic.in/e-magazine/Orissareview/jul2005/engpdf/the_distinct_speciality_of_lord_jagannath.pdf. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  7. ^ a b c d Griffith, R.T.H. (1870–1874). The Rámáyan of Válmíki. London: Trübner & Co.; Benares: E. J. Lazarus and Co.. http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rama/index.htm. 
  8. ^ Goswami, S.D. (2001). Vaisnava Compassion. La Crosse, Florida: GN Press. 
  9. ^ Fallon, Oliver. 2009. Bhatti's Poem: The Death of Rávana (Bhaṭṭikāvya). New York: Clay Sanskrit Library[1]. ISBN 978-0-8147-2778-2 | ISBN 0-8147-2778-6 |
  10. ^ Regional Ramayanas
  11. ^ a b R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 10–11
  12. ^ R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 496–500
  13. ^ R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 12–13
  14. ^ R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 14
  15. ^ R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 50
  16. ^ R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 57
  17. ^ a b R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 59
  18. ^ R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 77
  19. ^ a b R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 91
  20. ^ R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 87–88
  21. ^ Menon, R. The Ramayana, pp. 494–496
  22. ^ Menon, R. The Ramayana, pp. 496–498
  23. ^ Tulsidas[2]
  24. ^ D. Pattanaik, Indian Mythology, pp. 111
  25. ^ R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 132
  26. ^ R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 130
  27. ^ R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 656
  28. ^ The Ramayana. R.K.Narayan. Vision Books. 1987. Chapter 7.
  29. ^ R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 447
  30. ^ R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 499
  31. ^ R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 369–72
  32. ^ R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 29
  33. ^ R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 376–81
  34. ^ R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 482–84
  35. ^ R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 488–89
  36. ^ R. Menon, The Ramayana, pp. 645
  37. ^ Wadhwani, Sita (December 24, 2009). "The religious backdrop to James Cameron's 'Avatar'". CNN Mumbai. Cable News Network Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. http://www.cnngo.com/mumbai/play/avatar-hindu-perspective-961455. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  38. ^ French, Zenaida B. (March 1, 2010). "Two Critiques: 'Avatar' vis-à-vis 'Cinema Paradiso'". The News Today. http://www.thenewstoday.info/2010/03/01/two.critiques.avatar.vis.a.vis.cinema.paradiso.html. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  39. ^ Hunt, Tam (January 16, 2010). "'Avatar,' blue skin and the ground of being". NoozHawk. http://www.noozhawk.com/local_news/article/011610_tam_hunt/. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  • [Valmiki http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/24869 Ramayana translated in English by Griffith]
  • Vyas, R.T. (ed.) Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, Text as Constituted in its Critical Edition, Oriental Institute, Vadodara, 1992.
  • Valmiki, Ramayana, Gita Press, Gorakhpur, India.
  • Ramesh Menon, The Ramayana: A Modern Retelling of the Great Indian Epic ISBN 0865476608
  • Devadutt Pattanaik, Indian Mythology: Tales, Symbols and Rituals from the Heart of the Subcontinent ISBN 0892818700
  • Jonah Blank, Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God: Retracing the Ramayana Through India ISBN 0802137334

[edit] External links

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