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Rama

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Out of all the characters mentioned in Hindu mythology, the character of Rama is one of the most famous ones. It would probably be a difficult task to find a Hindu who is not familiar with this hero or his exploits. He is the main protagonist of the Ramayana, still considered to be one of the greatest Indian epics of all times. Till date his story is taught in schools in India in the form of history and to instill morality in children. Standards set by him, though hard to attain, are ones that are laid out for men in the community to follow. There is no question amongst the minds of people today that he is divine. What is it about Rama that caused him to reach the status that he holds today?

Most of what we know about Rama comes from the Ramayana. Though numerous Ramayanas have been written, scholars agree that the earliest version seems to be that written by Valmiki. It is quite likely that Valmiki’s Ramayana underwent changes and was reconstructed at a particular time or has had alterations made at different times. Several portions of the original poem were removed and various new ones added. Scholars find it hard to determine which bits were part of the original and which ones are additions to it. These changes certainly brought about interesting consequences. The position that the heroic Rama holds within Pan-Indian tradition has gone through many paradigmatic structures as a result. The changing Ramayanas and notions of Rama reflect a changing cultural pattern amongst...
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