Ramayana

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The Ramayana (Sanskritरामायण, RāmāyaṇaIPA: [rɑːˈmɑːjəɳə] ?) is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed 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 Indonesian, Thai, Lao, Burmese and Malay versions of the tale.

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