The Epics of India

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)

In the period of the Epics which succeeded the period of the Upanisads, the Ramayana and the Mahabharat, philosophical doctrines were presented in the form of stories and parables.

The Avatars or the incarnations of Vishnu, assume a prominent place in the Epics and the Puranas.

The Ramayana is a Sanskrit epic by Valmiki, based on the story of Rama, son of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya. It has a profound effect on the spiritual progress and culture. When Rama was deprived by guile of the throne of Ayodhya and forced into a long exile with his wife, Sita, she was abducted by a demon. Rama allies himself with the king of the monkeys, Sugriva, and also Hanuman to fight a mighty battle in Lanka (Sri Lanka). Finally, Sita will be recovered with Rama being restored his kingdom.

The epic is made up of three elements such as the story, the genealogy and the instruction.

The epic of Mahabharata was written by the sage Vyasa. It depicts the tale of a quarrel between the Pandavas and the Kauravas which culminated in war. It comprises more than 90,000 couplets, usually of 32 syllables, is the longest single poem in world literature. It is the great source of classical Indian civilization and Hindu ideals. While there are many subplots and irrelevant tales, the Mahabharata is primarily the fabulous account of a dynastic struggle and great civil war in the kingdom of Kurukshetra. It also resulted in the creation of Bhagavad-Gita.

The philosophy of the epic emphasizes on social duty and ascetic principles.

 

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