A holy text and masterpiece of Indian literature

The Ramayana has always been seen as a holy text and as a major work of Indian literature.

The earliest version, attributed to Valmiki, comprises seven books and twenty-four thousand slokas or couplets, in other words forty-eight thousand lines of poetry.

Legend has it that the god Brahmā invited the ascetic Valmiki to write the story of Rama. This divine origin for the text heightens the religious dimension that forms the essence of the Ramayana, in which there is a constant exchange between men and gods.

Deriving from Vedic literature, this work contains all aspects of Brahmanism from which Hinduism stems.
The leading characters of the epic, Rama, Sita and Laksmana embody the noblest of virtues; they follow the dharma, in other words the body of rules and qualities needed to govern the world. Translated into many languages, their tale is told and hallowed throughout south Asia.

Agnipuruṣa rises from the sacred fire By Basawan and Husain Naqqash. Mughal school, 1588–1592. Gouache and gold on paper. Courtesy of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum Trust, The City Palace, Jaipur.

Agnipuruṣa rises from the sacred fire By Basawan and Husain Naqqash.
Mughal school, 1588–1592. Gouache and gold on paper. Courtesy of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum Trust, The City Palace,
Jaipur.