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Ramayana Lecture 1

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David Roberts

The Ramayana, 2012-10-10  The Ramayana, popular epic of the Indian culture  Still told and retold in the Indian culture, o Dance, play, song, comic books, movies. Basically every medium  Ramayana Re-enactment, Dussehra Celebrations  Diwali Celebrations o About the return of Rama and Sita after their journey  All of the above is basically irrelevant in this class apparently The Ramayana’s antiquity  Many versions of the story, but they all seem to start with the Valmiki story  400-200 BCE (books 2-6) o Later than the Odyssey, before Aeneid  Many different versions for the culture that it was written in  A living story, extends throughout history Writing  Different status for writers  Most important way to tell a story was through memory o Text as a written document was only used really to make memorization easier  From one Guru to a disciple, and repeat Ramayana in a written text  The Ramayana was like this, with maybe a parallel written text  Page 4 o The scene with a hunter killed a songbird with an arrow. Valmiki cursed the Hunter. o The disciple’s are using the writing o Valmiki discovers the poetic meter  Valmiki is the first poet and creates the first poem of India  Interesting way because it creates a beginning to poetry  The reason why there aren’t as many texts for the Ramayana is because they didn’t know what durable materials were. Burch Bark, Palm Leaves  The truth to the story isn’t just in the written text itself, it’s different. It’s the re-enactment of the story, Dharma  The Banishment of Rama.  The recognition of a rule that orders the universe, a divine principle of order so your life can be more or less aligned. It manifests itself differently for different people at different times. That’s why the banishment is specific to Rama, because it was Rama’s purpose in life.  Rama’s stepmother has a boon, two wishes many years ago. o Make my son king instead of Rama o Banish Rama into the forest for fourteen years  The king didn’t want to, but he had to make a promise  Page 82. o Talked in a distant voice barley her own. o The girl is a total bitch  Dharma isn’t an ethical choice for the singular person, but for the whole of the universe. Think the idea to ‘yes-man’  Rama believes in Dharma, so he has no choice but to be okay with being sent to the forest instead of being king. 
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