KAMBA RAMAYANA

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Kamba Ramayana

There is no mistaking the value of this version of the great Indian epic. Written in classical Tamil and heralded since it was written as a masterpiece of Dravidian literature, the Kamba Ramayana is unique. It derives from the tradition of the Valmiki Ramayana, but fleshes out a differing plotline. Also, the spiritual ideas expounded within this version are different from those in its North Indian counterpart. The poetry is richly hued, chanted as prayers in Hindu homes and temples, and has great storytelling appeal.


FAQs


Q1. What is the difference between Ramayana and Kamba Ramayanam?


One main difference is that the Kamba Ramayanam, ends with the Yudhakandaam, i.e., Ram defeating and killing Ravan, and returning back to Ayodhya. The Uttarakandam which is there in Valmiki's Ramayana is not present in Kamba Ramayanam, it has no mention of the Luv Kusha story. Another difference is in the way the epics are structured. Kamba Ramayanam has a much defined grammatical structure, where each Kanda is divided into 123 sections called as Padalams, and together they contain around 12,000 verses. The Valmiki Ramayana on the other hand, has double the number of Shlokas compared to the Kamba Ramayana. Also due to difference in time period, some parts of the epic have been modified to suit the then social sensibilities. In Valmiki's Ramayan, Tara, the wife of Vali, marries Sugriva after her husband's death, while in Kamba Ramayan, she remains a widow forever.


Q2. How many Kandas are there in Kamba Ramayanam?


Kamba Ramayanam has a much defined grammatical structure, where each Kanda is divided into 123 sections called as Padalams, and together they contain around 12,000 verses.


Q3. What was the actual name of Kamba Ramayanam?


Ramavataram is the actual name of Ramayanam. It is a Tamil epic that was written by the Tamil poet Kambar in the 12th century. Built on Valmiki's Ramayana (which is in Sanskrit), the story describes the life of King Rama of Ayodhya. Even before Kambar wrote the Ramavataram in Tamil in the 12 century CE, there are many ancient references to the story of Ramayana, implying that the story was familiar in the Tamil lands even before the Common Era.


Q4. Who translated Kamba Ramayana into English?


P.S. Sundaram translated Kamba Ramayana into English.  The Tirukkural and other Tamil classics were translated into English by P. S. Sundaram, also known by his birth name Pazmarneri Subrahmanya Sundaram, an Indian professor of English. He earned English degrees from Oxford University and the University of Madras. He also translated the mystical poems of Andal and other Alwars in the Vaishnavite Bhakti tradition.