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Hindu Epics. Southern Asia Institute 27 September, 2007 Presentation by Allison Busch. Two Major Indian Epics. Mahabharata The story of the great Bharata people (attributed to Vyasa) Ramayana The story of Rama (attributed to Valmiki). What is Sanskrit?. “perfect”

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hindu epics

Hindu Epics

Southern Asia Institute

27 September, 2007

Presentation by Allison Busch

two major indian epics
Two Major Indian Epics
  • Mahabharata

The story of the great Bharata people

(attributed to Vyasa)

  • Ramayana

The story of Rama

(attributed to Valmiki)

what is sanskrit
What is Sanskrit?
  • “perfect”
  • “language of the gods”
  • An ancient Indo-European language
  • Sample of writing:

बलसय परमण च   वभग च बलघस

historical timeline of india
Historical Timeline of India
  • Indus Valley c. 3300-1800 BCE
  • Vedic Culture c. 1500-600
  • Classical India c. 500 BCE-500 CE
    • Epic Period
  • Medieval Period c. 500-1500 CE
    • Regional cultures
    • Indo-Muslim Sultanates (especially from 1200)
  • Mughal Rule 1526-1857
  • Colonial Rule 1757-1947
  • Independence 1947
  • Global India 1990s-present
books of the ramayana
Books of the Ramayana
  • Bala Book of childhood
  • *Ayodhya Book of Ayodhya
  • *Aranya Book of the forest
  • Kishkindha Book of Kishkindha
  • Sundara “Beautiful book”
  • *Yuddha Book of the war
  • Uttara Final book
major characters of the ramayana
Major Characters of the Ramayana
  • Rama (Raghava)
  • Lakshmana (Saumitri)
  • Bharata
  • Kaikeyi
  • Dasharatha
  • Manthara
  • Sita
  • Ravana
alternate names patronymics
Alternate names & patronymics
  • Raghava, “of the Raghu clan”=Rama
  • Vaidehi, “from Videha”=Sita
  • Maithili, “from Mithila” = Sita
  • Kākutstha “descended from Kakutshta”
  • Saumitri, “son of Sumitra”= Lakshmana
10 avatars of vishnu
Matsya (Fish)

Kurma (Tortoise)

Varaha (Boar)

Narasimha (man-lion)

Vamana (dwarf

6. Parashurama (Rama with an ax)

7. Rama

8. Krishna

9. Buddha

10. Kalki (yet to come)

10 avatars of Vishnu
major tensions in the text
Major Tensions in the Text
  • Dharma versus Adharma
  • Asceticism and Desire
  • Righteous kingship (Ramrajya)
  • Concern with female chastity
many ramayanas
Many Ramayanas
  • Sitayana
  • Non-Sanskrit Ramayanas (e.g.Tulsidas)
  • Folk Ramayanas
  • Paintings

http://www.learnnc.org/lp/multimedia/2501

  • Dramas

http://www.flickr.com/photos/elishams/sets/1168301/

  • Dance
  • Political Uses
rama in modern indian politics
Rama in modern Indian politics
  • The destruction of the Babri Masjid (Dec. 1992) http://sasw.chass.ncsu.edu/fl/faculty/taj/hindi/babri.htm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/1843879.stm

  • Gujarat killings (February 2002)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/2802591.stm

  • Use in political campaigns

http://ramroti.org/photogallery.asp