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The Ramayana is one of the great Hindu epics. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu literature , considered to be itihÄasa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of Hinduism, the other being the Mahabharata. It depicts the duties of relationships, portraying ideal characters like the ideal father, the ideal servant, the ideal brother, the ideal wife, and the ideal king. The name Ramayana is a tatpurusha compound of RÄma and ayana ("going, advancing"), translating to "Rama's Journey". The Ramayana consists of 24,000 verses in seven books and 500 cantos (sargas), and tells the story of Rama (an avatar of the Hindu supreme-god Vishnu), whose wife Sita is abducted by Ravana, the king of Lanka (current day Sri Lanka). Thematically, the Ramayana explores human values and the concept of dharma.
Verses in the Ramayana are written in a 32-syllable meter called anuá??á?ubh. The Ramayana was an important influence on later Sanskrit poetry and Hindu life and culture. Like the Mahabharata, the Ramayana is not just a story: it presents the teachings of ancient Hindu sages (Vedas) in narrative allegory, interspersing philosophical and devotional elements. The characters Rama, Sita, Lakshman, Bharata, Hanuman, and Ravana are all fundamental to the cultural consciousness of India, Nepal, and many south-east Asian countries such as Thailand and Indonesia.
Ralph Thomas Hotchkin Griffith (1826