Regional Compositions of Sri Ramayana, Part Thirteen

BY: SUN STAFF - 16.2 2018

Serial presentation of the preeminent versions of Sri Ramayana.


Along with the many Sanskrit versions of Sri Ramayana, and other regional languages from India, there are many we haven't yet mentioned, such as the 17th Century Pothi Ramayana, written in Urdu. But there are also versions of Ramayana produced in the languages of other Dharmic religions.

Among the various Buddhist Sanskrit scripts, e.g., Pali and Siddham, the Dasarata Jataka was written in Pali. Because the Valmiki Ramayana is often dated to the 5th Century, Buddhists often claim that Dasarata Jataka was the earliest version of Ramayana, because the Jatakas are commonly attributed to the 4th Century.

Dasarata Jataka depicts Rama and Sita as siblings who marry -- common symbolic imagery in early Buddhist literature that denotes purity of a dynasty. As the Buddha is supposed to have come from the Ikshvaku clan (of Rama), this denoted his dynastic identification.

There is also a Jain version of Ramayana, the Paumachariyam. This one was written as a polemic against certain Sanskrit versions which suggest that all characters in the Ramayana were mere mortals who engaged in conflict over moral issues. In Paumachariyam, the only superhuman feat mentioned is Ravana's ability to fly through the clouds (meghavahana). All the characters are depicted as being Jains, and Sri Rama, Sita and Lakshmana visit Jain pilgrimage sites rather than the forest ashrams Valmiki presents in Sri Ramayana.

Ramayana Versions Outside India

Among the many versions of the Ramayana that have emerged outside India, they have appeared all over the Indian Subcontinent, from north to south, and throughout Asia and Southeast Asia. In Nepal, there is the Siddhi Ramayan (Nepal Bhasa) and the Bhanubhaktako Ramayan in Khas language. Sri Lanka has its Janakiharan.

Ramayana has also be authored in the following places:

East Asia:

China and Tibet – Ramayana has been found in several manuscripts from Dunhuang 
Yunnan - Langka Sip Hor (in Tai Lü language)
Japan - Ramaenna or Ramaensho

Southeast Asia:

Myanmar (Burma) - Yama Zatdaw (Yamayana)
Laos - Phra Lak Phra Lam, Gvay Dvorahbi
Thailand - Ramakien
Cambodia - Reamker
Malaysia - Hikayat Seri Rama, Hikayat Maharaja Wana
Sumatra - Ramayana Swarnadwipa
Bali - Ramakavaca
Java - Kakawin Ramayana, Yogesvara Ramayana
Mindanao - Maharadia Lawana, Darangen (Moro)
Kingdom of Lan Na – Phommachak

Middle East:

Iran (Persia) - Dastan-e-Ram O Sita

Ramayana mural paintings on walls of kings palace Bangkok, Thailand.