300 ramayanas - AKRamanujan

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300 ramayanas - AKRamanujan

Post by garam_kuta on Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:17 pm

Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation A. K. Ramanujan
How many Ramayanas ? Three hundred? Three thousand?
At the end of some Ramayanas , a question is sometimes asked: How many Ramayanas have there been? And there are stories that answer the question. Here is one.
One day when Rama was sitting on his throne, his ring fell off. When it touched the earth, it made a hole in the ground and disappeared into it. It was gone. His trusty henchman, Hanuman, was at his feet. Rama said to Hanuman, "Look, my ring is lost. Find it for me."
Now Hanuman can enter any hole, no matter how tiny. He had the power to become the smallest of the small and larger than the largest thing. So he took on a tiny form and went down the hole. He went and went and went and suddenly fell into the netherworld. There were women down there. "Look, a tiny monkey! It's fallen from above? Then they caught him and placed him on a platter (thali ).
The King of Spirits (bhut ), who lives in the netherworld, likes to eat animals. So Hanuman was sent to him as part of his dinner, along with his vegetables. Hanuman sat on the platter, wondering what to do. While this was going on in the netherworld, Rama sat on his throne on the earth above.
The sage Vasistha and the god Brahma came to see him. They said to Rama, "We want to talk privately with you. We don't want anyone to hear what we say or interrupt it. Do we agree?" "All right," said Rama, "we'll talk." Then they said, "Lay down a rule. If anyone comes in as we are talking, his head should be cut off." "It will be done," said Rama.
Who would be the most trustworthy person to guard the door? Hanuman had gone down to fetch the ring. Rama trusted no one more than Laksmana, so he asked Laksmana to stand by the door. "Don't allow anyone to enter," he ordered.
Laksmana was standing at the door when the sage Visvamitra appeared and said, "I need to see Rama at once. It's urgent. Tell me, where is Rama?" Laksmana said, "Don't go in now. He is talking to some people. It's important." "What is there that Rama would hide from me?" said Visvamitra. "I must go in, right now." Laksmana said, "I'll have to ask his permission before I can let you in." "Go in and ask then." "I can't go in till Rama comes out. You'll have to wait." "If you don't go in and announce my presence, I'll burn the entire kingdom of Ayodhya with a curse," said Visvamitra.
Laksmana thought, "If I go in now, I'll die. But if I don't go, this hotheaded man will burn down the kingdom. All the subjects, all things living in it, will die. It's better that I alone should die." So he went right in. Rama asked him, "What's the matter?" "Visvamitra is here." "Send him in." So Visvamitra went in. The private talk had already come to an end. Brahma and Vasistha had come to see Rama and say to him, "Your work in the world of human beings is over. Your incarnation as Rama must now he given up. Leave this body, come up, and rejoin the gods." That's all they wanted to say.
Laksmana said to Rama, "Brother, you should cut off my head!” Rama said, "Why? We had nothing more to say. Nothing was left. So why should I cut off your head?" Laksmana said, "You can't do that. You can't let me off because I'm your brother. There'll be a blot on Rama's name. You didn't spare your wife. You sent her to the jungle. I must be punished. I will leave."
Laksmana was an avatar of Sesa, the serpent on whom Visnu sleeps. His time was up too. He went directly to the river Sarayu and disappeared in the flowing waters. When Laksmana relinquished his body, Rama summoned all his followers, Vibhisana, Sugriva, and others, and arranged for the coronation of his twin sons, Lava and Kusa. Then Rama too entered the river Sarayu.
All this while, Hanuman was in the netherworld. When he was finally taken to the King of Spirits, he kept repeating the name of Rama. "Rama Rama Rama . . ." Then the King of Spirits asked, "Who are you?" "Hanuman." "Hanuman? Why have you come here?" "Rama's ring fell into a hole. I've come to fetch it." The king looked around and showed him a platter. On it were thousands of rings. They were all Rama's rings. The king brought the platter to Hanuman, set it down, and said, "Pick out your Rama's ring and take it." They were all exactly the same. "I don't know which one it is," said Hanuman, shaking his head.
The King of Spirits said, "There have been as many Ramas as there are rings on this platter. When you return to earth, you will not find Rama. This incarnation of Rama is now over. Whenever an incarnation of Rama is about to be over, his ring falls down. I collect them and keep them. Now you can go." So Hanuman left. This story is usually told to suggest that for every such Rama there is a Ramayana.

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Re: 300 ramayanas - AKRamanujan

Post by Seva Lamberdar on Sat Jun 10, 2017 8:26 am

The "ring hypothesis" mentioned in the above for justifying the fake 300+ Ramayanas after the original Valmiki version (based on sage Narada's  instructions to Valmiki) is nothing but fooling ignorant people that all versions of Ramayana and events mentioned in them are credible (which certainly is not true). 
Read more on this in the following,
A comment about the Uttarakanda or Uttara Ramayana:    http://such.forumotion.com/t9133-uttarakanda-uttara-ramayana-discussion-contd

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Re: 300 ramayanas - AKRamanujan

Post by MaxEntropy_Man on Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:31 am

By calling the Tulsi and Kamban versions fake, you are insulting probably a little more than half the world's population of Hindus. Want to rethink that statement?
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Re: 300 ramayanas - AKRamanujan

Post by MaxEntropy_Man on Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:34 am

This essay of AKR is a gem. In particular I learned when I read it many years ago that the Thai Ramakien is based on Kamban's version. And AKR walks us through the proof.
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Re: 300 ramayanas - AKRamanujan

Post by Vakavaka Pakapaka on Sat Jun 10, 2017 1:27 pm

MaxEntropy_Man wrote:By calling the Tulsi and Kamban versions fake, you are insulting probably a little more than half the world's population of Hindus. Want to rethink that statement?
Sentiments aside, Valmiki Ramayana is the original (if you set aside Shiva telling the story to Parvati, a bird taking the story to others, etc., and Narada telling Valmiki....). Kamba, Ranganatha, Tulasidas, etc., lived in a different era and the cultural aspects of their time clearly influenced how they wrote.......

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Re: 300 ramayanas - AKRamanujan

Post by MaxEntropy_Man on Sat Jun 10, 2017 2:03 pm

Vakavaka Pakapaka wrote:
MaxEntropy_Man wrote:By calling the Tulsi and Kamban versions fake, you are insulting probably a little more than half the world's population of Hindus. Want to rethink that statement?
Sentiments aside, Valmiki Ramayana is the original (if you set aside Shiva telling the story to Parvati, a bird taking the story to others, etc., and Narada telling Valmiki....). Kamba, Ranganatha, Tulasidas, etc., lived in a different era and the cultural aspects of their time clearly influenced how they wrote.......

I remember having the exact same conversation with you some time ago. Nobody disputes Valmiki as the original, least of all me. In fact Kamban pays tribute to him in the opening verse of his magnum opus. However, to dismiss an iconic literary and poetic work as fake (the correct term for it is retelling) is not only ignorant but insulting. I suspect Tulsi Ramayan holds a similar place in the hearts of Hindi speaking Hindus.

A rough analogy -- Shakespeare got his material from many Norse, Roman, and Celtic sources. But nobody would call his plays "fake".
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Re: 300 ramayanas - AKRamanujan

Post by Vakavaka Pakapaka on Sat Jun 10, 2017 3:48 pm

MaxEntropy_Man wrote:
Vakavaka Pakapaka wrote:
MaxEntropy_Man wrote:By calling the Tulsi and Kamban versions fake, you are insulting probably a little more than half the world's population of Hindus. Want to rethink that statement?
Sentiments aside, Valmiki Ramayana is the original (if you set aside Shiva telling the story to Parvati, a bird taking the story to others, etc., and Narada telling Valmiki....). Kamba, Ranganatha, Tulasidas, etc., lived in a different era and the cultural aspects of their time clearly influenced how they wrote.......

I remember having the exact same conversation with you some time ago. Nobody disputes Valmiki as the original, least of all me. In fact Kamban pays tribute to him in the opening verse of his magnum opus. However, to dismiss an iconic literary and poetic work as fake (the correct term for it is retelling) is not only ignorant but insulting. I suspect Tulsi Ramayan holds a similar place in the hearts of Hindi speaking Hindus.

A rough analogy -- Shakespeare got his material from many Norse, Roman, and Celtic sources. But nobody would call his plays "fake".
I didn't suggest that Kamba's was fake. In fact, his impact on Tamils was profound and positive. Similarly, Tulasidas was very influential on Bimaru bhaiyyas. I was only making a point that their contemporary traditions (12th century in the case of Kamba and 16th, in Tulasidas's) were reflected in how they wrote. For example, in Valmiki Ramayana, Sita was an assertive & confident person but in Tulasidas's, she was much less so (reflecting 16th C culture - Rashmun's Moghuls were spreading piece).

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Re: 300 ramayanas - AKRamanujan

Post by Seva Lamberdar on Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:57 pm

As the title ("300 ramayanas -- AKRamanujan") suggests there must be 300 ramayanas (story / stories of rama), finding justification / authenticity as the original one (by Valmiki) solely on the basis of a fictitious / mythical tale ("ring hypothesis") which, even though showing Rama and Brahma et al. taking part in it when Rama was still ruling Ayodhya, was probably cooked up and planted long after Valmiki and his version. Naturally, not all the 300+ versions of Ramayana could be in total agreement or as the true reflection of original Valmiki Ramayana inspired by Brahma.

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Re: 300 ramayanas - AKRamanujan

Post by MaxEntropy_Man on Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:21 pm

Seva Lamberdar wrote:As the title ("300 ramayanas -- AKRamanujan") suggests there must be 300 ramayanas (story / stories of rama), finding justification / authenticity as the original one (by Valmiki) solely on the basis of a fictitious / mythical tale ("ring hypothesis") which, even though showing Rama and Brahma et al. taking part in it when Rama was still ruling Ayodhya, was probably cooked up and planted long after Valmiki and his version. Naturally, not all the 300+ versions of Ramayana could be in total agreement or as the true reflection of original Valmiki Ramayana inspired by Brahma.

Please be a bit more circumspect and careful in your writing. In the past, I have agreed with you that portions of the Ramayana including the uttarakhAndA were spuriously added to the original Valmiki Ramayan. However, saying that is quite different from calling retellings of Ramayana based on Valmiki's original, fake. In fact there is no uttarakhAndA in the Kamba Ramayanam, a reflection of the fact that there probably was no uttarakhAndA in the original Valmiki version without the later additions.  In fact I assert that the fact that there was no uttarakhAndA in the version as written by Valmiki can be understood by examining Kamban who does not include the uttarakhAndA.

Kamban reproduces the narrative faithfully although he makes a few culturally appropriate changes which have no material effect on the narrative and denouements of the plot. He also imbues his retelling with great lyrical beauty.
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Re: 300 ramayanas - AKRamanujan

Post by Seva Lamberdar on Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:44 pm

MaxEntropy_Man wrote:
Seva Lamberdar wrote:As the title ("300 ramayanas -- AKRamanujan") suggests there must be 300 ramayanas (story / stories of rama), finding justification / authenticity as the original one (by Valmiki) solely on the basis of a fictitious / mythical tale ("ring hypothesis") which, even though showing Rama and Brahma et al. taking part in it when Rama was still ruling Ayodhya, was probably cooked up and planted long after Valmiki and his version. Naturally, not all the 300+ versions of Ramayana could be in total agreement or as the true reflection of original Valmiki Ramayana inspired by Brahma.

Please be a bit more circumspect and careful in your writing. In the past, I have agreed with you that portions of the Ramayana including the uttarakhAndA were spuriously added to the original Valmiki Ramayan. However, saying that is quite different from calling retellings of Ramayana based on Valmiki's original, fake. In fact there is no uttarakhAndA in the Kamba Ramayanam, a reflection of the fact that there probably was no uttarakhAndA in the original Valmiki version without the later additions.  In fact I assert that the fact that there was no uttarakhAndA in the version as written by Valmiki can be understood by examining Kamban who does not include the uttarakhAndA.

Kamban reproduces the narrative faithfully although he makes a few culturally appropriate changes which have no material effect on the narrative and denouements of the plot. He also imbues his retelling with great lyrical beauty.

Do you consider the story behind "ring", including Hanuman ending up in the netherworld in search of a ring, have any justification according to Valmiki (Valmiki Ramayana)? This whole thing is meant to hush-hush that no matter what is written in the name of Rama as the Ramayana (creating 300 or so versions of Rama story / stories) should find the same type of acceptance and reverence as the original (Valmiki version), which certainly was not the intent of sage Narada to advise Valmiki to create the original Ramayana for the good of all.

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Re: 300 ramayanas - AKRamanujan

Post by Seva Lamberdar on Mon Jun 12, 2017 1:38 pm

Seva Lamberdar wrote:
MaxEntropy_Man wrote:
Seva Lamberdar wrote:As the title ("300 ramayanas -- AKRamanujan") suggests there must be 300 ramayanas (story / stories of rama), finding justification / authenticity as the original one (by Valmiki) solely on the basis of a fictitious / mythical tale ("ring hypothesis") which, even though showing Rama and Brahma et al. taking part in it when Rama was still ruling Ayodhya, was probably cooked up and planted long after Valmiki and his version. Naturally, not all the 300+ versions of Ramayana could be in total agreement or as the true reflection of original Valmiki Ramayana inspired by Brahma.

Please be a bit more circumspect and careful in your writing. In the past, I have agreed with you that portions of the Ramayana including the uttarakhAndA were spuriously added to the original Valmiki Ramayan. However, saying that is quite different from calling retellings of Ramayana based on Valmiki's original, fake. In fact there is no uttarakhAndA in the Kamba Ramayanam, a reflection of the fact that there probably was no uttarakhAndA in the original Valmiki version without the later additions.  In fact I assert that the fact that there was no uttarakhAndA in the version as written by Valmiki can be understood by examining Kamban who does not include the uttarakhAndA.

Kamban reproduces the narrative faithfully although he makes a few culturally appropriate changes which have no material effect on the narrative and denouements of the plot. He also imbues his retelling with great lyrical beauty.

Do you consider the story behind "ring", including Hanuman ending up in the netherworld in search of a ring, have any justification according to Valmiki (Valmiki Ramayana)? This whole thing is meant to hush-hush that no matter what is written in the name of Rama as the Ramayana (creating 300 or so versions of Rama story / stories) should find the same type of acceptance and reverence as the original (Valmiki version), which certainly was not the intent of sage Narada to advise Valmiki to create the original Ramayana for the good of all.
The issue in the above incidentally is not about translations of original Valmiki Ramayana (as inspired by Brahma) into other languages (Tamil, Hindi or any other language), but whether these new translations (versions) retain the original spirit (i.e. the Valmiki Ramayana showing Rama as an example of ideal / model man and king, so that people basically can emulate him as a role model in their lives). Naturally, the idea of rings in the above, justifying each version / interpretation of Rama equally no matter what he might do (good or bad, especially not a good role model) in the corresponding version of Ramayana, makes no sense.

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