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The Ramayana (Skt. “vehicle or romance of Rama”) is, with the Mahabharata, one of the two great epics of ancient India. Tradition ascribes it to the poet Vālmīki. Written between the fourth century b.c. and the second century a.d., it contains some 40,000 couplets in Sanskrit, divided into seven books.

The older books (2–6) describe an important episode in the life of the king’s son Rama. Because of an intrigue on the part of his stepmother, who wanted to see her own son crowned, he was banished for 14 years into the wilderness, where his wi…

Cite this page
Söhnen-Thieme, Renate, “Ramayana”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 15 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_R.5>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512

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