Adhyatma Ramayana

Adhyatma Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit work extolling the spiritual virtues of the story of Ramayana. It comprises around 4200 verses, is embedded in Brahmānda Purana and is considered to be authored by Ved Vyasa.

Literally meaning Spiritual Ramayana, Adhyatma Ramayana is considered a treatise of Vedantic philosophy and study of Advait (non-dualistic) philosophy. It is supposed to have provided Tulsidas (1511-1637 AD), the inspiration to write his seminal work Ramcharitmanas. It also inspired several later versions of the story of Rama like in Oriya, Bengali and Malayalam.

Traditionally it is believed that Adhyathma Ramayan was narrated by Shiva to Parvati. The sacred verses are an extract from the latter portion of the Brahmanda Purana composed by the great Veda Vyasa. The verses are a dialogue between Lord Shankara (another name of Lord Shiva) and goddess and universal mother Parvati. This pious story was recited to the universal mother Parvathi by the Lord Shankara. This religious book contains the ideal characteristics of Lord Rama, the precept related to devotion, knowledge, dispassion, adoration and good conduct. The main context of the book based on spiritual and metaphysical knowledge. Mere reading of or listening to these verses enables one to attain self-realization.

ignificance

It also provides several valuable insights into the various seeming anomalies in the popular versions of Ramayana, like :-

The provocation of the Queen Kaikeyi by her maid Manthara, was not an evil act of her choice as presented in the Valmiki's version Ramayana, but mastered by the goddess of knowledge, Saraswati, thus Manthara appears only to be playing her character in the larger drama of destiny, which lead to the killing of Ravana, the sole reason Lord Vishnu had incarnated as Rama.

Similarly, according to this text, real Sita was never really abducted by Ravana. Rama being the all-knower in this version, has premonition about the abduction, and thus instructs Sita to invoke Agni, the God of Fire and creates an illusionary self, or Maya Sita, thus when Ravana finally appears, Sita plays along the character, and illusionary Sita is abducted, and is regained after the fire ordeal, once Ravana is killed. [http://content.cdlib.org/xtf/view?docId=ft6870073m&chunk.id=d0e947&toc.id=d0e792&brand=eschol]

It makes us aware of the larger than life aspects of Lord Ram and the fact he being the Brahman (Supreme Creator) incarnate, acts to instruct. Adhyatma Ramayana raises every mundane activity of Rama, to a spiritual or transcendent level, thus instructing the seeker to view his own life through the symbolic vision for his soul, where the external life is but a metaphor for eternal journey of the soul.

The book is aimed to be used as guide and ready source of instruction for a spiritual seeker as it presents Ramayana as a divine allegory, where an exiled king, a man out of his elements, gets beguiled by the lure of maya or the illusions, - maya mrigya, hence looses his Beloved - Sita, to the demon or dark forces - Ravana. Later when he repents and asks for divine grace, he is given the strength and friends (Hanuman) to help him reclaim his divinity - (his Beloved).

Overview

Adhyatma Ramayana are divided according to following themes:
1. Bal Kand - This opening part begins with the description of Brahmaswarup, that is, the cosmic and celestial appearance of Lord Rama, his avatar as a human being to remove the asuras (demons) like Ravana; Rama’s childhood; story of emancipation of Ahilya by Rama.
2. Ayodhya Kand - the episode at Ayodhya, describes, among other things, exile of Rama; death of his father, Dasarath.
3. Aranya Kand - the episode at the forest (Aranya), including the kidnapping of Sita by Ravana.
4. Kishkindha Kand, the episode of Kishkindha. This part describes killing of Bali, and initiation of active search for Sita.
5. Sundar Kand, it details entry of Hanuman in Lanka.
6. Lanka Kand, the episode of Lanka, it has details of the battles between the armies of Rama and Ravana, killing of Ravana, and coronation of Rama upon his return to Ayodhya from Lanka.
7. Uttar Kand - Epilogue - It has description of banishment of Sita, birth of Luva and Kusha, sons of Rama and Sita, and Rama’s departure from the earth to Vaikunth, the abode of Lord Vishnu. The fifth adhyaya of the Uttar Kanda, describes a conversation between Lord Rama and his brother, Lakshmana, and is usually referred to as the Rama Gita, it is essentially an Advaitic philosophical work. [http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/articles/adhyatma_ramayana.htm]

References

1. Williams, Joanna. The Two-Headed Deer: Illustrations of the Ramayana in Orissa. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1996
2. Richman, Paula, editor. Many Ramayanas: The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1991
3. P. C. Bagchi, Introduction to Adhyatmaramayanam , 76.
4. F. Whaling, The Rise of the Religious Significance of Rama , 113
5. J. L. Brockington, Righteous Rama: The Evolution of an Epic , 252-57 [http://content.cdlib.org/xtf/view?docId=ft6870073m&chunk.id=nsd0e225&toc.id=endnotes&toc.depth=1&brand=eschol&anchor.id=d0e961#X]

Translations

1. Swami Tapasyananda, Adhyatma Ramayana, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras .
2. B. L. Baij Nath, The Adhyatma Ramayana, New Delhi, Cosmo, 2005

ee also

* Adhyathmaramayanam
* Ramayana
* Ramcharitmanas by Tulsidas

External links

* [http://www.hinduism.co.za/ramayana.htm#Adhyatma%20Ramayana A study of Adhyatma Ramayana]
* [http://www.ramanuja.org/sv/bhakti/archives/feb2003/0001.html Maya Sita in Adhyatma Ramayana]
* [http://books.google.co.in/books?id=sQcmczcunygC&printsec=frontcover&dq=adhyatma+ramayana&sig=dzotvUXSXB9K5eSY6blNgAZ3lNw Concise Adhyatma Ramayana by Chandan Lal Dhody on Google Books]


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