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The Ramayana as decrypted by the people of Kerala

The Ramayana is a Sanskrit epic originating in ancient India. The Ramayana is one of two major Hindu stories known collectively as the Itihasas, the other being the Mahabharata. The epic, which is traditionally attributed to Maharishi Valmiki, tells the story of Rama, a heroic prince of the Kosala dynasty from Ayodhya. Popularly renowned as one of the world’s largest epics, it consists of nearly 24,000 verses (in the Shloka/Anustubh meter), divided into seven Kandas, the first and seventh of which are subsequent additions. It corresponds to the Itihasa genre, which combines historical events with lessons on the purpose of human life. 

The poem portrays Rama's princely birth into the Kosala empire of Ayodhya, his guidance under the Rishi Vishvamitra, and his accomplishments in bending Shiva's powerful bow during the bridegroom wars in order to obtain Sita's hand in marriage, the daughter of King Janaka. Rama flees to the woods with his wife and half-brother, Lakshmana, to spend 14 years in seclusion after being deposed as the empire's successor due to political maneuvering. While her two custodians are busy chasing a golden deer sent to deceive them, Ravana, the evil ruler of Lanka, abducts Sita and takes her back to his kingdom, where she is held captive.  Sita rejects Ravana's advances, and Rama and his brother travel to Lanka to rescue her. After miles spent searching for a strategic way to retrieve Sita out of Ravana’s captivity, Rama and Lakshmana seek the help of Sugriva, the king of the monkeys. With his help, they form an army along with Hanuman, the monkey-general and Vibhishana, Ravana’s brother. They, then, set foot into Lanka and siege the kingdom, thereby successfully rescuing Sita. However, Rama is still suspicious of Sita’s innocence, which leads to the event where she walks through fire in order to prove her chastity. But, it does not end there. Upon arriving in Ayodhya, Rama soon finds out that the people of his kingdom were still doubtful of the queen’s purity, which leads to Sita’s banishment into the forests once again. There, she encounters the renowned sage Valmiki (the author of the Ramayana). In his monastery, she gives birth to Rama’s two sons, Lav and Kush. This is followed by Rama’s reconciliation with his sons and Sita’s return to Mother Earth. 

The Rama-charitra: Malayalam Depiction of the Ramayana

Recorded as the oldest extant of Malayalam literature, the Rama-charitram is one of the foundational literary pieces of Malayalam literature. Ramacharitham is a compilation of poems completed at the conclusion of the primitive phase. There are 1,814 poems in the collection. Ramacharitham is primarily made up of stories from the Ramayana's Yuddha Kanda. As per the poet Ulloor S Parameswara Iyer, it was authored by Sree Veerarama Varman, a king of southern Kerala, who assumed the name, Cheeramakavi. Recent findings, however, have deemed this claim to be obsolete. Ramacharitam's impact is most visible in modern works of literature from Northern Kerala. It is now broadly acknowledged that Ramacharitham finds its origins in North Malabar (probably close to the district, Kasaragod). Some scholars think it is a work of Tamil literature. Malayalam, according to A. R. Rajaraja Varma, evolved from primitive Tamil. Ramacharitham is regarded as a book written during Malayalam's formative stages. Ramacharitham, according to Rev. Dr. Hermann Gundert, who assembled the first Malayalam dictionary, demonstrates the antiquated style of the Malayalam language.


Q1. Rama is the incarnation of which God? 

Rama is an avatar of Vishnu, the Protector God. Vishnu is among the three most significant Hindu gods, the others being Brahma, the maker, and Shiva, the destroyer. Vishnu has nine manifestations that came to Earth as various life forms.

Q2. According to the Ramayana, why is it said that Sita returned to the Earth? 

Sita, as per the Hindu epic Ramayana, returned back to the Earth in its last chapters. Sita is thought to be the daughter of the Deity Earth. Sita pleaded with Mother Earth to take her back after Lav and Kush were reconciled with their father, Lord Rama. Soon after, the earth split in half, and Sita vanished inside.