How many Ramayanas?

Aniruddha Joshi “Shatayu”
Ramayanas are many. We may consider “Valmiki Ramayana” as the standard Ram Katha text and beside it we can also adore Tulsidasa’s “Ramcharitmanasa”, but there are many more versions of Ramayana.

Sri Ram Katha was first narrated by Shiva to Parvati. A crow overheard that story. He was reborn later as Kagbhushundi. Kagbhushundi had sustained the memory of that narrative to his new birth. He narrated it to his disciples. Thus the word starting to spread regarding this brilliant narrative. This particular Ram Katha is known as “Adhyatm Ramayana”.

As per another legend, Ram Katha was first carved by Hanumana on a rock-stone. This was even before the Valmilki wrote his original Ramayana. It goes by the name of “Hanumannataka.” It is said that later Hanumana had thrown this gigantic rock in to sea in front of Valmiki himself. Of all the Ram Kathas written after Vaidic Age, “Valmiki Ramayana” is of course considered the standard text. Valmiki had seen the events of Ramayana during his own lifetime, this too is an another reason of its deemed authenticity. However, “Valmiki Ramayana” had only six “Kands”. “UttarKand” was added later during Buddha Age and it had nothing to do with the original text.

“Adbhut Ramayana” is an epic in 27 chapters (Sarg). This text also said to have its advent in Valmilki, though its diction and style differ prominently from that of Valmiki and it is generally believed that it was composed much later. In past 2500 years, Ramayana has spread deep in South and South-East Asia and with time its influence has only increased. Ram Katha is being narrated in countless languages. Annami, Bali, Bengali, Cambodian, Chinese, Gujarati, Javanese, Kannada, Kashmiri, Khotani, Malaysian, Marathi, Odishi, Prakrit, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sinhlese, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Tibetan to name few. Numerous times it has been translated but the original content has remained more or less the same. But since its central narrative has been described in many ways, its variations are aplenty. Especially in South India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mali etc have narrated Ramayana far differently than that of Northern Indian versions.

A list of Ramayanas

Adhyatm Ramayana
2)   Valmiki Ramayana
3)   Anand Ramayana
4)   Adbhut Ramayana
5)   (Telugu)
6)   Molda Ramayana (Telugu)
7)   Ruipadkatenapadi Ramayana (Odishi)
8)   (Cambodian)
9)   (Avadhi)
10) (Tamil)
11) (Sanskrit)
12) Maleraj Kathav (Sinhalese)
13) Kavyadarsha by Kinras-Puns-Pa (Tibetan)
14) Kakavin Ramayana (Indonesia)
15) Hikayat Seriram (Malaysia)
16) Ramavatthu (Myanmar)
17) Ramkerti-Riamker (Cambodia Khmer)
18) Hobutsushu by Terrano Yasunori (Japanese)
19) Ramjataka (Laos)
20) Bhanubhakta’s Ramayana (Nepal)
21) Ramkiyen (Thailand)
22) Khotani Ramayana (Turkistan)
23) Jivak Jataka (Mongolia)
24) Masihi Ramayana (Persian)
25) Dastaan-e-Ram-o-Sita by Sheikh Sadi
26) Dashrath Kathanam
Widgets Magazine