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Originating in India and dating from at least the third century b.c., the Ramayana is an episodic epic story reflecting religious, political, and social beliefs and moral doctrines. Primarily of Hindu origin, the Ramayana also exists in other versions within some Buddhist and other Asian religious traditions…
It has remained a vital story through the present time in India, and is widely accepted as a religious text among Hindus.
The Ramayana is not a single text, but instead is comprised of many texts, as well as oral renditions. According to K. Watanabe, writing in 1907, the earliest record of the Ramayana is a Chinese Buddhist text of disputed date. The most authoritative text of the Ramayana is the Indian epic poem dated between the fourth and the second centuries b.c., and attributed to the Brahmin sage and poet Valmiki. Although Valmiki's historical existence is not firmly established, he is supposed to have written the Ramayana at the request of Rama's banished wife, Sita, as depicted in the Uttara Kanda, the seventh book of the Ramayana, for the benefit of Rama's children, Luv and Kush. Valmiki's text is the forerunner of innumerable written "tellings," a term coined by A. K. Ramajuna in order to convey the authority of every version. Notable among other Ramayana texts is the pre-Christian, Buddhist Dasaratha Jataka, a variant Hindu version attributed to Tulsidas, the Laotian Buddhist Phra Lak/Phra Lam, the twelfth century Cambodian Kampan, and the Thai Ramakirti. ...
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