31 Must-Know Facts About Ramayana, The Epic About Lord Rama Tale

Aashita Dhingra
Oct 12, 2023 By Aashita Dhingra
Originally Published on Dec 21, 2021
Facts about Ramayana

Ramayana and Mahabharata are the two great Indian epics that profoundly impact the Hindu culture.

It is believed that Ramayana is not a work of fiction but a narrative of actual events that took place in India several thousand years ago. It is called an 'ithihasa,' meaning 'it thus happened.'

The story revolves around Lord Rama and Goddess Sita, who are believed to be reincarnations of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. Lord Vishnu is a powerful God mentioned in the Hindu epics of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

Ramayana is known for its rich story that tells us how an ideal person and leader should be.

The term of Ram Rajya, indicating the well-to-do, perfect kingdom established and led by Lord Rama, comes from the epic. It is a time of prosperity, happiness, and righteousness (Dharma) that remains relevant for many.

The Ramayana story is a widely read and narrated tale in many parts of the world like India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, China, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Philippines, Mongolia, and Japan. Apart from the book versions, Ramayana is retold to people via theater plays, dance and music performances, and TV series.

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Ramayana Origin

Sage Valmiki originally wrote Ramayana in Sanskrit. It is also called Valmiki's Ramayana to differentiate it from the several hundred versions that developed later. Each one slightly varies from the other, but the basic outline of good triumphing over evil remains the same in all the versions.

As per Valmiki Ramayan, Ram was not depicted as a God. Sage Valmiki lived during the Treta Yuga, the same period as Lord Rama. Sri Rama is just a mortal human and king who grows to be loved and, eventually, worshipped by people for his exemplary character and as a person who upholds Dharma.

Valmiki's Ramayana is divided into seven books or kandas. Bala Kanda is about Rama's childhood; Ayodhya Kanda is about Rama's exile; Aranya Kanda is about the last year of exile; Kishkindha Kanda focuses on meeting Hanuman and helping Sugriva.

The Sundara Kanda focuses on Hanuman's powers and locating Sita; Yuddha Kanda is about the war in Lanka, the Agni Pareeksha of Sita, and Rama's return to Ayodhya; and finally, the Uttara Kanda about Ram' rule and his sons Lava and Kusha. Saint Tulsidas's version called the Ramcharitmanas consists of seven kands too.

The names are similar except for Yuddha Kanda, which is Lanka Kand. The difference lies in the language and tone in which they are written.

The story of Lord Ram or Ramayan happened between the fourth and fifth century BC. It starts with the worship of Lord Vishnu, who incarnates as a human named Shri Rama on January 10, 5114 BC, which is celebrated as Rama Navami annually.

Ramayana Main Characters

The story of Ramayana revolves around several important characters like Shri Ram, Goddess Sita, Laxman, Lord Hanuman, and King Ravanan.

Shri Ram's parents are King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya. Lord Rama's siblings were Laxman, believed to be an incarnation of Sheshnag (the five-headed snake Lord Vishnu sleeps on), and Bharata and Shatrughna, believed to be incarnations of the Sudarshan-chakra and the conch-shell that Lord Vishnu holds in his hands.

Bharata was born to Queen Kaikeyi, whereas Laxman and Shatrughna were born to Queen Sumitra.

Lord Rama is also believed to have had an elder sister called Shanta. Born to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya much before Lord Rama, Shanta is given off to the king and queen of Rompad when they talk about not having a child of their own.

Similarly, Goddess Sita is said to be the child of Bhumi Devi. She was the adopted daughter of King Janak. Sita had lifted the Shiva Dhanush or Lord Shiva's bow in her childhood.

So, King Janaka kept it mandatory for Sita's suitor to lift and break Lord Shiva's bow. Therefore, King Janak held Sita Swayamvar, where Lord Rama attended and broke Lord Shiva's bow. Along with the wedding of Ram and Sita, King Janak's own daughter Urmila was also married to Laxman.

Ravana was Kaikeshi's son and the half-brother of Kuber, the God of Wealth and Riches. He captured Lanka from Kuber. He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva and did several penances and sang hymns to please Lord Shiva. Ravana had three wives and seven sons. He was also an exceptional veena player.

Ravana had two brothers, Kumbhakarna and Vibeshana. The three brothers performed penance and sought blessings from the Gods.

Lord Brahma once appeared before Kumbhakarna to grant him a wish. Indra feared that his position would be lost and requested Goddess Saraswati for help.

She sat on Kumbhakarna's tongue and, when he wanted to wish for Indrasan or the seat of Indra, changed it to Nindrasan or state of sleep. Due to this, he slept for six consecutive months, woke up one day to eat, and slept again for six months.

It is also believed that Nandi cursed Ravana when he tried to enter Mount Kailasa. Nandi stopped Ravana, who got offended and called Nandi a vanar or monkey. Hearing this, Nandi cursed Ravana, saying that vanars would destroy him, which came true when the Vanar Sena attacked and destroyed Lanka during Ravana's fight with Lord Rama.

Coming back to Lord Rama, he was supposed to be the crown prince of Ayodhya. But Manthara, a confidante of Queen Kaikeyi, convinces her that the crown should go to Kaikeyi's son Bharata.

Kaikeyi believed this and requested Dasharatha to fulfill the two boons he had promised her earlier. The boons exiled Lord Rama for 14 years and made Bharata the crown prince.

King Dasharatha was devastated by it but implemented the order nonetheless. While Lord Ram abandoned the throne and stepped out, Sita and Laxman followed suit as well.

It is said that Laxman requested Nidra Devi (the goddess of sleep) to bless him without sleep for 14 years to protect Ram and Sita as a dutiful brother. Nidra Devi accepted this request, and instead of Laxman, his wife Urmila slept for 14 years in Ayodhya and completed both their sleep.

So, Laxman didn't sleep for 14 years to guard Rama. This no-sleep boon came in handy when Laxman killed Ravana's son Indrajit.

Lakshman Rekha is not part of the Valmiki Ramayana. Ravana comes up with a plan to abduct Sita and requests the help of Marich, a demon who can shape-shift.

Sita sees a golden deer, Marich in disguise, and asks Lord Rama to catch it for her. Ram appointed Laxman to protect Sita in his absence and went after the golden deer.

After a long time of waiting for Shri Rama to return, Sita insists on Laxman searching for his brother. He reluctantly agrees on the condition that Sita doesn't cross the line or Lakshman Rekha that he draws around their cottage.

Eventually, Sita abandons the line and crosses it, which leads to her abduction by Ravana. Though the story doesn't feature in Valmiki's or Tulsidas' version of Ramayana, it appears in several tribal versions and short stories.

After Ravana's brothers heard about him kidnapping Lord Ram's wife, Sita, they requested him to surrender and apologize. But, Ravana refused, stating that he would win if Ram and Laxman were mortals or attain salvation in case they were Gods.

To reach Lanka and rescue Sita, the Vanar Sena, led by Sugriva and supported by Hanuman, built a bridge from India to Lanka called the Ram Setu. Lord Rama's army crossed the sea using this bridge and defeated Ravan in Lanka.

After 14 years in exile, Sri Ram returned to Ayodhya and was proclaimed King at 39. He ruled for 30 years and six months, but people believe it to be 11,000 years because a person who lives according to Dharma, a day equals a year.

There is another story where Yama Devta meets with Lord Rama. He requests not to be disturbed, with the death penalty being the punishment for anyone interrupting.

Ram appointed Laxman to guard the door, but Durvasa Rishi asked him to inform Lord Ram of his arrival. When Laxman tries to stop him from entering, the rishi gets angry and plans to curse Ayodhya. To save Ayodhya and its people, Laxman steps in and gets the death penalty.

Ramayana Importance In Hindu Religion In India

Gayatri Mantra is a powerful mantra in the Hindu religion. It has a deep connection with the Ramayana. Gayatri Mantra consists of 24 letters, and Valmiki's Ramayana consists of 24,000 verses. Gayatri Mantra is composed of the first letters of every 1000 verses of the Valmiki Ramayan. It symbolically carries the entire essence of the Ramayana.

Ram Setu is another important element of Ramayana that still is relevant today.

It is said that the 10 million vanars built the bridge in five days under the guidance of architects Neel and Nala. The bridge was built in a ratio of 10:1 and built using stones with Ram's name written on it that made it float on the water.

NASA pictures show the existence of an ancient bridge between Dhanushkodi (India) to Talaimannar (Sri Lanka), and a carbon-dating of it puts the age of the bridge to Ramayana time.

Ramayana Important Lessons/Message

Many important lessons and messages can be learned from the Ramayana story. The story shows us the importance of family and standing by them in times of trouble, like how Ram stood by his father and accepted the exile and Laxman stood by Ram joined his brother in the exile.

It tells us to be careful of temptations, as shown by the golden deer incident when Sita asks Ram to go after it, and through Ravana, we learn that he had everything, but in his desire for Sita, he lost everything.

Ramayana also shows that the smallest efforts matter through a squirrel and help while making Ram Setu. Lord Rama appreciated the squirrel by stroking its back which became three white strokes on the squirrel's back for generations.

The epic also tells us to respect everyone, even our enemy, which can be seen by Lord Rama asking Laxman to learn statecraft and spirituality from Ravana before his death and giving a proper funeral to Ravana even though he was the enemy.

There is also a message on worshipping Lord Hanuman. Here, the backstory is Hanuman asking Sita Mata the reason behind applying sindoor on her forehead.

It marked her love and respect for Shri Ram, as she was his wife and companion for life. Hearing this, Hanuman covers his whole self in sindoor to signify his devotion, love, and duty to keep Lord Rama safe. So, it is believed that worshipping Hanuman with sindoor will melt troubles away.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created many interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 31 must-know facts about Ramayana, the epic about Lord Rama tale, then why not take a look at 'why do dogs bark at other dogs?

Cool facts on dog behaviors revealed!' or 'Why do dogs bury bones? Curious behavior facts on your furry friend.'

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Written by Aashita Dhingra

Bachelors in Business Administration

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Aashita DhingraBachelors in Business Administration

Based in Lucknow, India, Aashita is a skilled content creator with experience crafting study guides for high school-aged kids. Her education includes a degree in Business Administration from St. Mary's Convent Inter College, which she leverages to bring a unique perspective to her work. Aashita's passion for writing and education is evident in her ability to craft engaging content.

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