Effect Of Ramayana On Various Cultures And Civilisations
By Dr. Gauri Mahulikar, Ramayan Institute
Published in Sari 19 (2001), 3-33
Ramayana is the fountain source of a great tradition of literature, culture, religion; not only in India, but in the islands , regions and countries as far as in Pacific ocean as well. There are two main streams which flowed from India, the birth place of the Ramayana; one to the South East Asia (SEA) and the other to the western countries, representing the cultural and literary aspects respectively. This paper aims to highlight the cultural influence mainly and as such the SEA would be the chief point.
"Few works of literature produced in any place at any time have been as popular, influential, imitated and successful as the great and ancient Sanskrit epic poem, the Ramayana", says Robert Goldman.
Though India is the home land of the Ramayana, it now belongs to the entire world and is a unique, social, cultural, spiritual, philosophical and literary treasure of the mankind. Differences in the ideological, political and religious setup of the countries influenced by the Ramayana, have never been a hindrance in the progress and popularity of the epic. The regions that have come under the sway of this epic constitute mainly the SEA countries like Cambodia, Indonesia, Java, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. The effect is of two types: (a) Language and literature, (b) Art and Architecture.