The Ramayana by Valmiki

Powerful Essays
The Ramayana by Valmiki has influenced and shaped all aspects of Indian society. The Ramayana was written at around 550 B.C. in Sanskrit. The story is composed of twenty-four thousand verses, divided into seven books. The books are called kanda (Mack 576). Every Indian person knows the story of Ramayana. The story is read to all young children in India. Children are told the ancient tale in Sanskrit and boys are told to act like Rama and girls are told to act like Sita (Nair). The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are regarded as the cornerstone of the classic Hindu religion we know today. These two ancient Sanskrit texts together compromise all Hinduism beliefs and teachings. The Hindu religion effects all aspects of the political and social norms that exist in India.

The first appearances of Hinduism appeared with the introduction of Sanskrit. Sanskrit is a sacred language and the first recorded writings of this language appeared in the ancient Vedas (scriptures). These ancient scripture appeared between 1500-1200 B.C.(Pandian 62). These writings were the beginnings of the Hindu religion and had great influence on Valmiki when he was writing the Ramayana. Pre-Hindu religion before the writing of the Ramayana involved several similarities to the Hindu religion. The most influential similarity that Valmiki kept in his text was the focus on the individual. David R. Kinsley in his book Hinduism says this about the Vedic (pre-Hindu) beliefs "The realization of…truth wins the adept liberation…from the shifting world of constant flux and the endless cycle of rebirth, which is…determined by all one's action."(13) The Ramayana kept this central idea, but also focused on political aspects

of the society at th...

... middle of paper ...

...s also caused political turmoil and social upheavals, but it continues to shape the culture of India and all Hindus everywhere. It is the cornerstone of the Hindu religion and shapes all aspects of the country, politically and socially. The heroes in this wonderful tale seem to be just as popular today as they were in 550 B.C. A quote from Jonah Blank in his book Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God describes the enduring theme that the Ramayana holds and why it has withstood the test of time:

The Ramayana is not a fact but an idea. That is why it will continue to dominate India in a way no objectively verifiable chronicle ever could. It is beyond corroboration. It can never be confirmed, so it can never be denied. (11)

The Ramayana will continue to influence Hindus and the world at large. Whether we believe it or not dharma exists in the form of the Ramayana.
Get Access