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Accidental Discovery of Hindu Epic Ramayana’s ‘New’ version portrays Sita and Lord Rama more as humans

The manuscript was accidently founded by scholars at the Asiatic Society library where they were researching on Vanhi Purana of the 6th century

August 16, 2016: A different version of the integral Hindu epic Ramayana, written by Valmiki has been extracted from a Sanskrit library in Kolkata. As much as it has moved the scholars who found it, it might as well widen the readers’ horizon.

Last year in December, the manuscript was found by accident at the Asiatic Society Library by scholars who were researching on Vanhi Purana of the 6th century. The scholars were searching through a global informational storage known as Catalogus Catalogorum, where they found that a manuscript of the other version of Ramayana was tucked at the 100-year-old Samskrita Sahitya Parishad, Kolkata.

A painting from Bala Kanda, where Rama and Lakshmana go to meet Vishwamitra. Source: Wikimedia Commons
A painting from Bala Kanda, where Rama and Lakshmana go to meet Vishwamitra.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

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This version of Ramayana is different from the one widely read by people out of its difference that this manuscript talks more about the separation of Sita and Lord Rama as a husband and wife than the separation of father and son. Ram and Sita have also been portrayed more as humans than God and goddess, mentioned indiadivine.org report.

The scholars found the second manuscript of Vanhi Purana in the library’s archives, and analysed the slokas that they were different yet familiar to Ramayana, for the story revolves around Ram, Sita, and Ravana. This manuscript, the Dasa Griba Rakshash Charitram Vadha, was perhaps a result of various interpolations.

The newly discovered version is also divided into five sections, instead of seven of the generalised Ramayana. It has also omitted Uttarkanda i.e., the last chapter of Ramayana, and Balakanda— the description of Rama’s childhood. There is also no mention of the curse that fell upon King Dashrath to send Rama on an exile of 14 years. The epic ends with the end of Rama’s exile (or vanvaas) and his return to ‘Ram-nagari’ Ayodhya.

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According to the indiadivine.org, in this version of Ramayana, the epic begins with Goddess Laxmi being cursed by Shukracharya, for his wife was killed by Narayana. Also, another curse that gets on Narayana and Laxmi talks about both bearing the separation. Dharitri, for being unable to witness the battle between demons and gods, cursed both of them.

A painting of Lanka-naresh Ravana. Source: Wikimedia Commons
A painting of Lanka-naresh Ravana. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

“Ram here is more human than God, with follies like anger and failure. Some interesting details – like the ages of Sita and Rama at the time of marriage and the date when Sita was abducted by Ravana -are in this version,” said Manabendu Bandyopadhyay, Historical and Archaeological Secretary at The Asiatic Society, Kolkata to a news portal.

– prepared by Chetna Karnani, at NewsGram. Twitter: @karnani_chetna

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