Ramayana: My Personal Experience

Wooden Carving of Lord Rama and Sita
On the 5th of August 2020, the city of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh was glowing bright, fully decorated with lights. The city was in joy, celebrating the stone laying ceremony of Lord Shri Rama’s temple. Ayodhya, which is situated along the Sarayu river, is the birth place of Lord Rama. As composed in the ancient Sanskrit epic by sage Valmiki around the 5th century BC, Ayodhya is the sacred kingdom of the noble king Rama, son of king Dhasaratha There are 24000 verses in Ramayana and they have been produced not only in different regions in India but also out of India, especially around Asia. Among the well known verses penned outside of India are:
  • China, Tibet: found in several manuscripts from Dunhuang
  • Yunnan: Langka Sip Hor (Tai Lü language)
  • Japan: Ramaenna or Ramaensho
  • Cambodia: Reamker
  • Bali, Indonesia: Ramakavaca
  • Java, Indonesia: Kakawin Ramayana, Yogesvara Ramayana
  • Sumatera, Indonesia: Ramayana Swarnadwipa
  • Laos: Phra Lak Phra Lam, Gvay Dvorahbi
  • Malaysia: Hikayat Seri Rama, Hikayat Maharaja Wana
  • Myanmar/Burma: Yama Zatdaw (Yamayana)
  • Mindanao, Philippines: Maharadia Lawana, Darangen (Moro)
  • Thailand: Ramakien
  • Kingdom of Lan Na: Phommachak
  • Nepal: Siddhi Ramayan (Nepal language), Bhanubhaktako Ramayan (Khas language)
  • Sri Lanka: Janakiharan
Ramayana is considered one of the world’s most important literary works and has also been absorbed into historical and cultural contact between India and the rest of Asia. Lord Rama’s tale has been presented in various artwork such as paintings, sculptures, textiles and the epic has also been made into movies, cartoons and staged dramas, not only in India but all over the world. Both in India and Asia the tale of prince Rama and his devoted wife Sita has been told through cultural/traditional dances and plays such as the wayang kulit (in Asia). The legendary tale of Ramayana has always fascinated me since my childhood, even till the present day – thanks to my parents for being ardent devotees of Shri Ram. Around 2003 while I was pursuing my studies in Bali, Indonesia, I stumbled upon a beautiful carving made of wood. I immediately felt in love with the carving, which portrayed my favorite Lord Rama and Sita – and of course I purchased it with my monthly allowance sent by my parents 😉. Well at that time being a student and spending the allowance on this meant I practically had to ration my food and other needs for the rest of the month 😅. But, well, it was worth it. Bali, being the only province in Indonesia which practices Hinduism, is well known for its beautiful artwork, especially those from old epics and tales of the gods and kings. Ramayana in Bali, known as Ramakavaca, is strongly related to the Javanese version Kakawin Ramayana. The storylines are almost the same as the original composition by Valmiki, with some special characteristics being added according to the local culture. Many dance presentations and cultural shows in Bali represent some part of Ramayana till today. Now back to the carving I purchased, I gave it to my parents to keep it safely in their house for nearly 12 years, until recently I claimed it back to be presented at my own home. Dusted and polished, even now the intricate details mesmerize me. Rama and Sita are sculptured in my carving as in the Balinese/Java version of young prince Rama in love with his beautiful wife Princess Sita. They are surrounded with plants, flowers and trees in the Panchavathi forest. And not to miss in the carving is the enchanting golden dear which attracted Sita and eventually led to her abduction by King Ravana. Ramayana and the glory of Lord Rama and Sita passed through generations and till today the magnificence is being felt not only through worship and devotions but also through various literature and art such as the carving that I own and will cherish always ❤️❤️. To read more about Ramayana and also about its Asian versions: D.M. Sunardi., Ramayana, Balai Pustaka, Jakarta, 1992 https://www.ancient.eu/The_Ramayana/…. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rama https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hikayat_Seri_Rama

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