Showing posts with label Ramayan Ramayana all over world. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ramayan Ramayana all over world. Show all posts

Friday, March 4, 2016

Ramayana in world over

Ramayan stories spread all over world.
Depending on the methods of counting, as many as three hundred [1,2] versions of the Indian epic poem, the Ramayana, are known to exist. The oldest version is generally recognized to be the Sanskrit version attributed to the sage Valmiki. The story of Ramayana, particularly, travelled beyond our shores, and became highly indigenous with various elements of the tale changing suitably to match the local cultural ethos. A year-long exhibition in Singapore on the mythological-cum-historical text, ‘Ramayana Revisited – A tale of love & adventure', at the Peranakan Museum, ignited the exploration of the role the story plays as a cultural unifier for the Asian region.

The Ramayana has spread to many Asian countries outside of India, including Burma, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, China etc. The original Valmiki version has been adapted or translated into various regional languages, which have often been marked more or less by plot twists and thematic adaptations. 

The following are some of the versions of the Ramayana that have emerged outside India:
• Burma (Myanmar) - Yama Zatdaw
• Cambodia - Reamker
• Java, Indonesia - Kakawin Ramayana
• Kingdom of Lan Na - Phommachak
• Laos - Phra Lak Phra Lam
• Malaysia - Hikayat Seri Rama & Hikayat Maharaja Wana
• Nepal - The Nepal Bhasa version called Siddhi Ramayan was written by Mahakavi Siddhidas Mahaju Amatya during Nepal Bhasa renaissance era and the Khas language (later called "Nepali") version of Bhanubhaktako Ramayan by Bhanubhakta Acharya marked the first epic written in the language.
• Philippines - Maharadia Lawana & Darangen of Mindanao
• Tai Lü language - Langka Sip Hor
• Thailand - Ramakien

In Japan, with the spread of Buddhism it came to be known as Ramaenna or Ramaensho, in which the story/character of Hanuman was ignored. In one other variant, Suwa engi no koto written in the fourteenth century, the protagonist, Koga Saburo Yorikata, is the youngest son whose exile is caused by his brothers. In another variant called Bontenkoku, Tamawaka (Rama) is a flute player who escapes with his abducted wife Himegini (Sita) while her captor King Baramon (Ravana) is away for hunting. Other Ramayana-derived stories in Japan including Kifune no honji, Onzoshi shimawatari and Bukkigun, have also demonstrated a deep convergence between the characters of Rama and Ravana. [3,7]

In China, the earliest known telling of Ramayana is found in the Buddhist text, Liudu ji jing. Significantly, and unlike in Japan, the impact of Ramayana on Chinese society arguably was responsible for the creation of a popular fictional monkey king's character, Sun Wukong (Hanuman), in a sixteenth century novel Xiyou ji. We also find characters with the names of Dasharatha, Rama and Lakshmana in a fifth century Chinese text, Shishewang yuan. The Dai ethnic group of south-western Yunnan province also know the story as Lanka Xihe (Ten heads of Lanka). The epic also spread to Tibet and Mongolia through Buddhism, with a notable variant being that it is Bharata, and not Lakshmana, who accompanies Rama in exile. [3]

A Ramayanic scene found painted in ancient #Italian houses discovered in archaeological excavations. Kausalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra, wives of the aged king Dasharath sharing the divine fertility potion to beget illustrious sons. The Dasharath legend is also part of ancient Egyptian lore. All this shows that countries of Europe and Africa followed Vedic dharma in ancient times. [5] Rama-Seeta-Lakshmana walking through the forest in the order described in the Ramayana, a scene delineated in ancient Italian homes. Italian archaeologists express bewilderment at these paintings because they are unaware that ancient Europe including Italy practiced Hinduism. [6]

The Ramayana, as it is called “The Grand Epic of Vedic World”, imparts instruction in every aspect of life – in upright behaviour in the world by its code of conduct, in cultural refinement by its literary beauties, in spiritual endeavour by its undercurrent of Upanishadic affluence. A study of Ramayana cleanses the mind and heart of its impurities and sins and makes the earthly existence pleasant and peaceful and at the same time overcomes the obstacles that bar the progress towards attaining the Supreme Lord. It is rightly said in the opening of Ramayana Mahakavya “As long as the rivers and mountains continue in this world the story of Ramayana will last”. How else can anybody summarise the greatness of the epic?

Divided by Boundaries, United by Ramayana
[1] Camille Bulcke, Ramkatha: Utpatti aur Vikās (The Rāma story: Original and development), Prayāg: Hindī Pariṣad Prakāśan, 1950. 
[2] A. K. Ramanujan, "Three hundred Rāmāyaṇas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation", in Paula Richman (ed.), Many Rāmāyaṇas: The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia, Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1991, p. 48, note 3.

By Arjun kadya Balakrishna