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16th century) both in Odia, sant Eknath's Bhavarth Ramayan (c.16th century) in Marathi, Tulsidas' Ramcharitamanas (c.Scholar Romesh Chunder Dutt writes that "the Ramayana, like the Mahabharata, is a growth of centuries, but the main story is more distinctly the creation of one mind." There has been discussion as to whether the first and the last volumes (Bala Kanda and Uttara Kanda) of Valmiki's Ramayana were composed by the original author.
Retellings include Kamban's Ramavataram in Tamil (c.
11th–12th century), Gona Budda Reddy's Ramayanam in Telugu (c.
16th century) in Awadhi (which is an eastern form of Hindi) and Thunchaththu Ezhuthachan's Adhyathmaramayanam in Malayalam.
In terms of narrative time, the action of the Ramayana predates the Mahabharata.
There are also Cambodian, Indonesian, Filipino, Thai, Lao, Burmese, and Malaysian versions of the tale.
According to Hindu tradition, and the Ramayana itself, the epic belongs to the genre of itihasa like Mahabharata.
His travels across forests in India with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana, the kidnapping of his wife by Ravana, the great king of Lanka, resulting in a war with him, and Rama's eventual return to Ayodhya to be crowned king is the crux of the epic.
There have been many attempts to unravel the epic's historical growth and compositional layers; various recent scholars' estimates for the earliest stage of the text range from the 7th to 4th centuries BCE, with later stages extending up to the 3rd century CE.
The epic, traditionally ascribed to the Rishi Valmiki, narrates the life of Rama, the legendary prince of the Kosala Kingdom.
It follows his fourteen-year exile to the forest by his father King Dasharatha, on request of his step-mother Kaikeyi.