Indian Literature: Ramayana and Mahabharata
- One of two great epics of Indian society.
- The ‘Ramayana of Valmiki‘ is the original Ramayana.
- It is called Adikavya and Maharishi Valmiki is known as Adi Kavi.
- It presents a picture of an ideal society.
- It was written by Ved Vyas.
- Originally, it was written in Sanskrit & contained 8800 verses and was called “Jaya” or the collection dealing with victory.
- These were raised to 24,000 and came to be known as Bharata, named after one of the earliest Vedic tribes.
- The final compilation brought the verses to 100,000, which came to be known as the Mahabharata or the Satasahasri Samhita.
- It contains narrative, descriptive and didactic material, relating to conflict between the Kauravas and the Pandavas.
- The Mahabharata contains the famous Bhagavad Gita which contains the essence of divine wisdom and is truly a universal gospel.
- Though it is a very ancient scripture, its fundamental teachings are in use even today.
- In the Bhagvad Gita, Krishna explains to Arjuna his duties as a warrior and prince and elaborates on different Yogic and Vedantic philosophies with examples and analogies.
- This makes Gita a concise guide to Hindu philosophy and a parochial, self-contained guide to life.
- In modern times Swami Vivekananda, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi and many others used the text to help inspire the Indian independence movement.
- This was mainly because the Bhagvad Gita spoke of positiveness in human actions.
- It also spoke of duty towards God and human beings alike forgetting about the results.
- The Gita has been translated nearly in all the main langauges of the world.
- The Puranas occupy a unique position in the sacred literature of the Hindus.
- They are regarded next in importance only to the Vedas and the Epics.
- There are said to be 18 Puranas and about the same number of Upapuranas.
Their origin can be traced as far back as the time when Buddhism was gaining importance and was a major opponent of the Brahmanic culture.