HT Brunch Cover Story: 5 stories from the Ramayana you haven’t heard before – brunch feature

Valmiki composed the Ramayana a very long time in the past. We don’t know when. Archaeologists place the Vedic interval to roughly 1000 BCE within the Gangetic valley. However the Sanskrit paperwork retelling the story are solely 2,000 years outdated, suggesting a protracted interval of oral storytelling. Fifteen hundred years in the past, the Sanskrit epic got here to be related to kingship and we discover the royal retellings resembling Ramakien and Ramakirti so far as South East Asia the place the story travelled with sea retailers.

“Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana is predicated on the Awadhi retelling by Tulsidas, however it isn’t the ‘Nationwide’ Ramayana. ”

The composition of the Ramayana in regional languages started about 1,000 years in the past with a Tamil retelling by Kamban. Since then we have now had retellings in Telugu, Odiya, Assamese, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam and varied Hindi dialects. These established Ram as an icon for bhakti and Ram as type of God. The extraordinarily well-liked Ramayana of the 20th century on TV made by Ramanand Sagar is predicated totally on the Awadhi Ramayana of Tulsidas, however it isn’t the ‘nationwide’ Ramayana, simply as Hindi shouldn’t be the ‘nationwide’ language, politics however.

Most Indians, hear the Ramayana in local tongues, based on regional epics

Most Indians, hear the Ramayana in native tongues, based mostly on regional epics
Parth Garg

Listed here are 5 episodes from the Ramayana that you’ll have by no means heard earlier than, from the numerous variations of the epic present in Odiya literature between the 15th and 18th centuries. Keep in mind, most Indians, hear the Ramayana in native tongues, based mostly on regional epics. They remind us of the huge expanse of Ram in Indian artwork and tradition, unrestrained by ideology.

The heron, the crane and the rooster

How the rooster acquired its comb

The abduction of Sita as shown in the Odisha shadow puppetry known as Rabana Chaya

The kidnapping of Sita as proven within the Odisha shadow puppetry often known as Rabana Chaya

When a rooster cleared the air about The kidnapping of Sita by Ravana, Ram supplied him a golden crown 

When Ram returned from the deer hunt and located his home empty, he feared the worst and started to cry. A heron mentioned that maybe, bored with forest life, Sita had run away with somebody. Offended, Ram caught its neck fiercely, which is why the heron’s neck is bent. A crane then knowledgeable him that Sita had been kidnapped by Ravana. That her tears fell on the crane’s physique, which is why the hen is white in color. Relieved to listen to this, Ram mentioned that through the rains, the crane can loosen up and his spouse will feed him with the fish she catches. The crane didn’t like the concept. He mentioned he can’t eat his spouse’s jhoota, to which Ram retorted, ‘You haven’t any downside kissing her however you have got an issue consuming her jhoota. Why so?’ The crane apologised for this thoughtlessness. A rooster additionally confirmed that Ravana certainly was the offender. So Ram supplied him a golden crown. The rooster refused, saying that males already chased him for his meat; he didn’t need them to chase him for his golden crown. And so Ram gave him a pink crown of flesh as an alternative, often known as the rooster’s comb.

From Odiya folktales and Ramalila by Ananga Narendra (18th century)

Sampati’s Wings and the sighting of Sita

Sampati misplaced his son who noticed Sita in Lanka however regained his wings within the course of

Sampati’s son seen with vanaras during the Puri Sahi Jatra

Sampati’s son seen with vanaras through the Puri Sahi Jatra

By serving to the monkeys find Sita with the assistance of his son, Sampati’s wings began to develop once more

In Odisha, through the Puri temple’s carnival often known as Sahi Jatra, we discover the picture of an enormous hen with eight monkeys (ashta-malla, or eight warriors) on its wings. This hen is recognized as Sampati’s son carrying the vanaras (monkeys), together with Hanuman, excessive up within the sky to indicate them Lanka. Sampati was Jatayu’s elder brother who had burnt his wings whereas defending Jatayu from the solar’s fiery rays. He lived on the southern seashore, feeding on lifeless our bodies. He discovered the vanaras there, trying disenchanted and intent on ravenous to demise slightly than returning house as failures – for that they had failed to seek out Sita’s location. When he overheard the monkeys confer with Ram and Jatayu, he was excited. A sage had informed him that his wings can be restored if he helped Ram discover Sita. Sampati informed his son to hold the monkeys on his wings excessive into the sky till they might see Lanka in the course of the ocean. Sampati’s son did as he was informed, and the monkeys, seated on his wings, did see Lanka. However solely Sampati’s son might see Sita there for birds have higher eyesight than monkeys. By serving to the monkeys find Sita with the assistance of his son, Sampati’s wings began to develop once more.

From Sri Rama Bilasa by Dhananjaya Bhanja (17th century)

Sabari’s mangoes on the search for Sita

When Lord Ram reformed the principles of casteism

Wooden art from Jagannath chariot depicting Ram shooting an arrow

Wood artwork from Jagannath chariot depicting Ram capturing an arrow

Ram eats the mango with chunk marks, and never the one with out chunk marks, thus rejecting caste purity guidelines

The story of Ram consuming the jhoota ber (tasted berries) of Sabari is discovered not in Valmiki’s or Tulsi’s Ramayana however in Bhakti-ras-bodhini by Priyadas, a group of tales of Vaishnava saints, written in Braj-bhasa within the 18th century. Nonetheless, 200 years earlier than that, we discover a story in an Odiya Ramayana which will have impressed it. Whereas looking for Sita, Ram meets a tribal man (Sabara) and a tribal lady (Sabari) who wash his ft and supply him a mango. Ram notices she has a number of mangoes, all with chunk marks. However she gives him a ‘Sundari’ mango with no tooth mark. Ram says, ‘How have you learnt this one is pretty much as good because the others? You haven’t tasted it. Give me the one you realize is tasty.’ Thus Ram eats the mango with chunk marks, and never the one with out chunk marks, thus rejecting caste purity guidelines.

From Dandi Ramayana by ‘Matta’ Balarama Dasa (15th century)

What if Ravana repents?

Lord Ram retains his phrase in addition to his promise

Lakshman and the bears preparing Ram’s arrows as seen in an Odisha mural

Lakshman and the bears making ready Ram’s arrows as seen in an Odisha mural

“If Ravana returns Sita,” Ram says, “I’ll nonetheless preserve my promise and make Vibhishana king, however not of Ayodhya as an alternative of Lanka” 

When Ravana learns that Ram has reached the shores of the ocean, he arrogantly claims that Ram will likely be so pissed off by the ocean that he will certainly commit suicide. Vibhishana tries to cause together with his brother, however Ravana kicks him out as an alternative. So Vibhishana travels throughout the ocean and turns into Ram’s ally. Ram declares his intention (sankalpa): ‘I’ll kill Ravana and make Vibhishana the king of Lanka!’ However the ever-insecure Sugriva says, ‘What if Ravana repents, returns Sita and falls at your ft? What is going to you do then?’ Ram replies, ‘I’ll nonetheless preserve my promise and make Vibhishana king, however of Ayodhya as an alternative of Lanka. After which I’ll retire to the forest.’ Thus he reminds us all that Ram all the time retains his phrase.

From Raghaba Bilasa by ‘Utkala-Ghanta’ Jadumani Mahapatra (18th century)

Jellyfish and Ravana’s Umbrella…

….and the origin of mushrooms on earth!

Ram shooting down Ravana’s umbrella as seen in Odisha Temple art

Ram capturing down Ravana’s umbrella as seen in Odisha Temple artwork

Even in the present day, Odiya fishermen confer with jelly fish as Rabana-chatta, or Ravana’s umbrellas

On reaching Lanka, Ram and Sugreeva climb up Suvala mountain to see town. Ravana too rises up within the sky on his pushpak viman to see Ram and his military. Ravana appears to be like grand with a whole lot of royal umbrellas adorning his flying throne. Ram raises his bow and shoots an arrow, bringing down Ravana’s royal umbrellas that fall on earth and sea. Those that fall on earth turn into mushrooms. Those that fall within the sea turn into jelly fish. This episode known as ‘Chattra-katta,’ or the cuttingof the umbrellas. Even in the present day, Odiya fishermen confer with jelly fish as Rabana-chatta, or Ravana’s umbrellas.

From oral folks traditions of Odisha’s fisherfolk

Be part of the dialog utilizing #RamayanaRevisited

From HT Brunch, Could 24, 2020

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R- Laskar

I am Golam Kobir, admin and author of Kwick News. I write post on Kwick News regularly. You can contact me through my social site.

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