Different Versions of Ramayana - General Knowledge Today

Different Versions of Ramayana

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Depending on the methods of counting, as many as three hundred 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 Ramayana has spread to many Asian countries outside of India, including Burma, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, and China. 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. Some of the important adaptations of the classic tale include the 12th century Tamil language Ramavataram, the Khmer Reamker, the Old Javanese Kakawin Ramayana, and the Thai Ramakien and the Laos Phra Lak Phra Lam.

Sanskrit Versions

Adhyatma Ramayana, Vasistha Ramayana (more commonly known as Yoga Vasistha), Laghu Yoga Vasishtha, Ananda Ramayana, Agastya Ramayana, Adbhuta Ramayana; The Ramayana story is also recounted within other Sanskrit texts, including: the Mahabharata (in the Ramokhyana Parva of the Vana Parva); Bhagavata Purana contains a concise account of Rama's story in its ninth skandha;brief versions also appear in the Vishnu Purana as well as in the Agni Purana.

Regional Versions

Some noteworthy examples of these additional renderings of the Ramayana tale include:

  • North India: The "Ramacharitamanasa" written by Tulsidas in the 16th century is the Ramayana version popular in North India.

  • Jammu and Kashmir - The Kashmiri "Ramavatara Charita" was written in 19th century.

  • Gujarat - The Tulsi-Krita Ramayana is a Gujarati adaptation of Tulisdas' Ramayana in 17th century by the poet Premanand Swami.

  • Maharashtra - The Marathi "Bhavartha Ramayana" written by Eknath in the 16th century. There is also reference of a Ramayana being translated into old Marathi during the 12th or 13th century.

  • Assam - The Assamese "Katha Ramayana" or "Kotha Ramayana" in 15th century by Madhava Kandali.

  • Bengal - The Bengali "Krittivasi Ramayan" written by poet Krittibas in 15th century.

  • Orissa - The Oriya Dandi Ramayana or Jagamohan Ramayana was adapted by Balaram Das in the 16th century.

  • Andhra Pradesh - The "Sri Ranganatha Ramayanamu" was adapted by Buddha Reddy and is the Telugu version of the Ramayana. The "Molla Ramayanamu" was adapted by poetess Molla.

  • Karnataka - The Kannada versions of the Ramayana – the "Kumudendu Ramayana" (a Jain version), written in 13th century and the "Kumara-Valmiki Torave Ramayana," written in the 16th century. There is another version titled "Ramachandra Charita Purana" written by Nagachandra during the 13th century.

  • Tamil Nadu - The Tamil "Kambaramayanam", a popular version, written by poet Kamban in the 12th century.

  • Kerala - The Malayalam language "Adhyatma Ramayanam Kilipattu" written by Thunchaththu Ezhuthachan in the 16th century.

  • Nepal - The Nepali language "Bhanubhakta Ramayan" written by Bhanubhakta Acharya in the 19th century. The Nepal Bhasa "Siddhi Ramayan" written by Siddhidas Mahaju in the 20th century.

  • Goa:Ramayanu written by Krishnadasa Shama in 15th century in Kardalipura, Goa in Konkani,manuscripts found in Portugal.

  • An Urdu language version is called the "Pothi Ramayana" and was written in 17th century.

  • Kannada - Two prose works by Nanadalike Lakshminarayana ('Muddanna') entitled Adbhuta Ramayana (1895) and Ramaswamedham (1898).

  • Champu ramayan,Anand rayaman,Mantra ramayan,Girdhar ramayan,Shree ramayan mangeri,Shree rang nath ramayan, Bhaskar ramayan,Gobind ramayan written by guru gobind shingh ji,in samvat 1655 radhey shyam ramayan

Versions Outside India

The following are among the versions of the Ramayana that have emerged outside India:

  • Cambodia - Reamker

  • Thailand - Ramakien

  • Laos - Phra Lak Phra Lam

  • Burma (Myanmar) - Yama Zatdaw

  • Malaysia - Hikayat Seri Rama

  • Java, Indonesia - Kakawin Ramayana

  • Philippines - Rajah Magandiri

  • 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.

  • Tibet — found in several manuscripts from Dunhuang

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Last Updated: December 7, 2011