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Re: various versions of the Ramayana

From: Mani Varadarajan (
Date: Fri Jan 31 1997 - 10:21:07 PST

This is a very interesting question.  I like to think that
each poet experiences Rama and the Ramayana in his or her
own way, much in the same way each interpreter of the
aazhvaar paasurams experiences the beauty and meaning 
of the poems in his or her unique way. In fact, it would
be no exaggeration to say that each reader recreates the
poet's experience in some sense each time the work is read!

Earlier Srivaishnavas have used this notion of ``anubhavam''
to explain why different acharyas understood the paasurams
of the aazhvaars differently.  Thirukkudandhai Andavan 
(Kannan Swami), whenever he referred to Kamban in his 
Ramayanam discourses, used to preface them by saying,
``enna aaScaryamaana anubhavam paarangO!''  He would use
the same phrase in describing nammaazhvaar or kulasekhara
aazhvaar's aruLiccEyals.

I suppose the underlying question is, does it really matter
what the ``original'' or ``true'' Ramayanam is? Each poem
serves uniquely as a vehicle for experiencing the grandeur
of the Divine Lord Rama, sometimes in his descent as a
human, other times as the supreme Brahman.  As long as we
also derive a joyous anubhavam in reading and contemplating
upon the poet's words, I suppose it does not matter!