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The Ramayana or Ramaya?a (/r??'m??j?n?/;[1] Sanskrit: ????????, Ramaya?

am, prono
unced [r??'m??j???m]) is one of the great Hindu epics. It is ascribed to the Hin
du sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu literature (sm?ti), con
sidered to be itihaasa.[2] The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of Hinduis
m, the other being the Mahabharata.[3] It depicts the duties of relationships, p
ortraying ideal characters like the ideal father, the ideal servant, the ideal b
rother, the ideal wife, and the ideal king. The name Ramayana is a tatpurusha co
mpound of Rama and ayana ("going, advancing"), translating to "Rama's Journey".
The Ramayana consists of 24,000 verses in seven books (ka??as) and 500 cantos (s
argas),[4] and tells the story of Rama (an avatar of the Hindu supreme-god Vishn
u), whose wife Sita is abducted by Ravana, the king of Lanka (current day Sri La
nka). Incidentally the first letter of every 1000 verses (total 24) make the Gay
atri mantra. Thematically, the Ramayana explores human values and the concept of
dharma.[5]
Verses in the Ramayana are written in a 32-syllable meter called anu??ubh. The R
amayana was an important influence on later Sanskrit poetry and Hindu life and c
ulture. Like the Mahabharata, the Ramayana is not just a story: it presents the
teachings of ancient Hindu sages (Vedas) in narrative allegory, interspersing ph
ilosophical and devotional elements. The characters Rama, Sita, Lakshman, Bharat
a, Hanuman, and Ravana are all fundamental to the cultural consciousness of Indi
a, Nepal, and many south-east Asian countries such as Thailand and Indonesia.
There are other versions of the Ramayana in Indian languages, besides Buddhist a
nd Jain adaptations; and also Cambodian, Indonesian, Filipino, Thai, Lao, Burmes
e, and Malaysian versions of the tale.
Contents [hide]
1 Textual history and structure
1.1 Period
1.2 The seven kandas (books)
2 Characters
3 Synopsis
3.1 Bal kanda
3.2 Ayodhya kanda
3.3 Aranya kanda
3.4 Kishkindha kanda
3.5 Sundara kanda
3.6 Lanka kanda
3.7 Uttara kanda
4 Influence on culture and art
5 Variant versions
5.1 India
5.2 Buddhist version
5.3 Sikh version
5.4 Jain version
5.5 In Nepal
5.6 Southeast Asian versions
6 Theological significance
7 Media
7.1 Stage
7.2 Movies
7.3 Plays
7.4 Serials (TV series)
8 Notes
9 References
10 Further reading
11 External links