Who wrote Ramayana first

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The story of the Hindu god Rama

“Ramayana” (Rama’s curriculum vitae) is next to the “Mahabharata” the second great epic of Hinduism. It tells the story of Rama, a descent of the god Vishnu.

The art poem with twenty-four double verses, written in seven books, probably dating from the first century, is attributed to the legendary sage Valmiki. It is considered a model for the later courtly poetry in India. However, the work only gained widespread use at the end of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth centuries through the rewrite of the poet saint Tulsidas.

Tulsidas ’version, called“ Ramcharitmanas ”(Sea of ​​Rama's Deeds), is written in Hindi, while Valmiki's version was written in the priestly and scholarly language of Sanskrit. Describing Valmiki Rama mainly as a human hero, in the version of Tulsidas he is clearly a manifestation of the divine. In addition to the framework narrative, the epic consists of numerous intervening sagas, legends and treatises on morality and decency.

The story of Rama and Sita

Rama, Prince of Ayodhya, has to go into the woods as an ascetic due to intrigues, accompanied by his beloved wife Sita and his faithful brother Lakshmana. Sita is kidnapped by the demon king Ravana, who wants to make her one of his wives. Only after a long time does Rama manage to free Sita with the help of an army of monkeys under the leadership of the monkey general Hanuman.

But the people grumble against Sita, who had lived in another man's house for some years. Although she proves her innocence in a trial by fire, Rama sends her into exile, where she gives birth to his twin sons. After many years, Sita comes back to the court. But when she is about to undertake another trial by fire, she angrily calls on her mother, the earth from which she once came. She takes this back to herself in her lap.

Different versions in circulation

In the meantime, different versions of the Ramayana are known in all parts of the Indian subcontinent, which differ in details. Poets in Hindu-influenced countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia have also created their own versions of the story of Rama. Not only pictorial, but also dramatic, dance and pantomime adaptations of the Rama story are an integral part of popular cultures in India as well as in these countries.

Role model for men and women

Even today, many Hindus see this work as the ideal of a Hindu life, Rama and his virtuous wife Sita as models for men and women, the monkey general Hanuman as the embodiment of love and devotion to God. In all versions of the Rama story, the "Dharma", duty and legality, is at the center.

Various social groups, such as Indian women's movements, particularly protest against the version of the Tulsidas: In their opinion, the glorification of the self-sacrificing image of women legitimizes injustice and violence in today's families.

Review article on Hinduism

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