01 October, 2020

The Lord Takes Many Forms

Even as an unlikely debate rages around the Ram Setu, right-wing student activists in a pocket of Delhi university took exception to a celebrated essay by an eminent scholar...

The Lord Takes Many Forms
Even as an unlikely debate rages around the Ram Setu--whether it was built by man, nature or divinity--in a pocket of the Delhi University, right-wing student activists have taken exception to this essay by the celebrated scholar A.K. Ramanujan, on the many Ramayanas living across languages and narrative genres, each different but no less legitimate than Valmiki's epic. Excerpts from the The Collected Essays of A.K. Ramanujan (OUP, 1999; copyright: Molly Daniels 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...


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