True Ramayana By Prachi Gupta

Have you ever wondered on the question, how many Ramayanas? I didn’t. Being a fiction writer it never happened to me to write on mythology until I had a discussion with a Jain friend who said according to Jain Ramayana, it is Lakshmana who ultimately kills Ravana and not Rama as told in the Hindu version. In the end, Rama who leadsan upright life renounces his kingdom becomes a Jain monk and attains moksha. On the other hand, Lakshmana and Ravana go to hell. Also, It tells that Sita was the daughter of Mandodari! whereas Valmiki Ramayana (Srimad Bhagavatam) and other scriptures say Mata Sita appeared from the Earth and disappeared in the Earth.
This new story fascinated me and I did a small research on how many Ramayana’s were there and the true meaning behind them all.
Depending on the methods of counting, as many as three hundred versions of the Indian epic poem, the Ramayana, are known to exist. Sanskrit alone contains some 25 or more telling’s belonging to various narrative genres. The oldest version is generally recognized to be the Sanskrit version attributed to the sage Valmiki.
· Ramayana in Buddhism (Dasarath Jatak) says Ram was sent into exile by his father to protect him from his ambitious stepmother.
· The South-East Asian Ramayana says, Hanuman is like a guardian knight who helps Prince Ram find Sita. Many rakshasa women fall in love with Hanuman and Lakshman kills the bee that contains the life of Ravana. The relationship of deity and devotee so critical in Indian retellings is missing.
· The Ramayana of Laos is very clearly related to Buddhism but the Thai version Ramakien identifies itself as Hindu.
· All later poets keep referring to Valmiki as the fountainhead of Ram’s tale.

Now the main question arises is,
Is the Ramayana, a mere story or an allegory on the struggle between good and evil?
Or is it a chunk of history elaborated as a narrative of a nation?
The answer that I found was, Ramayana is all these, and perhaps more. It is history, a story, an allegory; more than anything it is a tradition of narratives. For every Rama, there is a Ramayana, each reflecting the age in which it is narrated. In the centuries when the Bhakti movement flourished across India, Valmiki’s Maryada Purusha Ram made way for the divine philosopher king of Kamban and Ezhuthachhan. For Kabir and Thyagaraja, who followed them, Rama was an abstract idea. So was it for Gandhi who wove in an ethical concept of Ramrajya into his narrative of a free India?
After Valmiki, the Itihasa kavya continues to live in many forms, many tongues; each actually narrating a new story. So, all Ramayana’s and Rams are the same. The meaning is to enlighten people through different stories. Finally, what matters is the story, not the teller. What matters is the knowledge, not the version.

Author Biography:

Prachi Gupta is a popular fiction author of 9 books, motivational speaker, founder of a literary startup and a Social Activist. She’s also the Editor-in-Chief of an Italian Magazine.
She is the first and youngest writer from India to get into the top 10 finalists list of ‘Author Elite Awards 2020 of U.S.A. earlier known as the ‘Author Academy Awards.’ Awarded as the ‘Most Inspiring Female Author of the Year’ 2021 by LMA, Nigeria. Its India’s 1st award in 9 years in literature.
She has studied film writing and journalism from Michigan State University, Michigan, USA. An active social worker, she is based out of Ghaziabad and connected with various NGO’s. She has also written a Bollywood movie which is to be released in the end of 2023. She’s passionate about literature and wants Indian writing to get recognition internationally for this she founded the startup named ‘Huddle Books’ in India which is helping novice writers get published easily. Her books are popular around the globe and have been converted to audio books also. She has numerous laurels to her name, holds many prominent positions, is politically active and a true humanitarian.
Awards and Achievements :
1. Delhi State President of arts & leadership council, WICCI (Women Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry).
2. State Women President of Uttar Pradesh for (YJP) Yuva Jankalyan Party.
3. Awarded the ‘most inspiring female author of the year’ 2021 award by LMA, Nigeria.
4. Top 10 finalist of Author Elite Awards, 2020 USA in YA category. Ist Indian nomination in
3 years.

You can reach to her with her tag @authorprachi

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