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 byValmiki. Another important shortened version of the epic in Sanskrit is the Aadhyaatma Ramayana. The seventh century CE Sanskrit “Bhatti’s Poem” Bhaṭṭikāvyaof 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. 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.
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 ofThailand (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 ofCambodia, Rama is known as Preah Ream. In the Pra Lak Pra Lam of Laos, Buddha is regarded as an incarnation of Rama.
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.
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. 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 andVishwamitra) 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.
Prince of Ayodhya
This is interesting to note from the epics that spiritual avatar (incarnation)of Ram has a biological avatar where as Sita, the wife of Ram has,according to sources I have read,a geophysical birth,while her foster father Janaka found her cleaves of land while he was ploughing;place known as Mithula hence Sita Devi is also known Mythili. Sita was a foundling, discovered in a furrow in a ploughed field, and for that reason is regarded as a daughter of Bhudevi, the Goddess Mother Earth. She was found and adopted by Janaka, hence she was also called Janaki, king of Mithila in present day Nepal and his wife Sunayana.
Since she was the princess of Mithila, she was (and is also) known as Maithili. Upon her coming of age, a swayamwara was held to select a suitable husband for her, and she was wed to Rama, prince of Ayodhya, an avatara of Vishnu.
We all focus on Ram’s birth place in Ayodhya,and forget Mithula in Nepal, the birth place of goddess Sita,for whose abduction a great war was waged and she was rescued.
Sita’s birth place is almost in oblivion of sleep or slip of mind. Is it not obvious that waging war on the birth place of Ram is politically motivated and some vested interests are misguiding and exploiting for their vote banks?
Let us think of Patriotism first, I am first Indian by birth, and next Muslim by faith.
Why our country is in turmoil of multifaceted defects. 69 multi billionaires live in India,second place among all the countries,(China 64,Russia 62,Germany 59,UK 29,Japan 22,
Our literacy rate is only on consideration of one can read,write and understand. Not on graduation. 28% of people are under below poverty line, no single food for a day to eat, no shelter to live and no clothes to cover.Let us think how many farmers committed suicide. Those women farmers who committed suicide have not taken into accounts.
Let us think of an Indian woman not having more than one sari to clad;she washes the sari stands semi nude;one end of the sari tucked to a tree’s branch and other she holds her bosom half covered.
Let us not be reviled on matters that encourage crimes and deter our national integrity,amity and harmony while the vested interest are fighting kursi for an enhanced salary while becoming an MP barring a few remaining loyal to our country.
(Ram History:Source:wikipedia)Photo courtesy:Keralite.com