(Last Updated on : 06/12/2012)
The characters in Ramayana
are instrumental in narrating the entire epic. They are meaningfully related to each other helping to bring a significant conclusion. Each of the characters significantly adds to the narration at different times and places in the Sanskrit epic. Most of the characters like Lord Rama
, Hanuman and others are considered as deities according to Hindu mythology. Prince Rama is considered as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu; where as Hanuman is considered as the incarnation of Lord Shiva
. The antagonist in the Hindu epic, Ravana, is an iconic character in Hindu mythology and some religious sects regard Ravana as a deity as well. The character traits in Ramayana are catagorised into three parts according to the dynasties.
Characters in Ayodhya
One of the most prominent characters in Ramayana is the King of Ayodhya; Dasaratha
He was a noble king with three wives and four sons. The three queens were Kaushalya
, Kaikeyi and Sumitra. Dasharatha`s favourite queen forced him to enthrone her son Bharat and send Lord Rama
, the eldest, into exile. Dasharatha died broken hearted after Rama left with his wife and brother. Rama is the central character of the epic and the eldest son of the King with Kaushalya. He is considered as the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu. He was the upholder of Dharma
. He was the epitome of virtue, love and mercy.
Lakhsmana was Rama`s younger brother who went into exile along with Rama and Sita
. He is considered as an avatar of Shesa Naga. Lakhsmana and Shatrughna
were twins from Dasharatha and Sumitra. Bharata
was Kaikeyi`s son. When he heard of the true story of Rama`s exile, he insisted Rama to come back. However, when Rama refused he placed Rama`s sandals on the throne and ruled the kingdom as the agent of Rama. Sita
was Rama`s wife and one of the central characters of the epic. It is she for whom the duel between Rama and Ravana was fought. She was Rama`s life partner in its true sense. She followed her husband into exile and was abducted by Ravana. Sita gave birth to two sons, Lava and Kusha
Characters in Lanka
was the ten headed king of Lanka
who abducted Sita. He was a powerful Demon king disturbing the penances of the Rishis. He was the principal adversary of Lord Rama in the epic. His brother Vibhishana
served Rama during the war. Instead of belong to demon dynasty he was a noble character. He was exiled by Ravana and joined Rama`s army.
was Ravana`s favourite wife. She was a pious and always tried to bring her husband in the path of pity. Indrajit
was the son of Ravana and Mandodari. He was a courageous warrior and a great fighter giving Rama a tough rivalry.
Characters in Kishkindha
Hanuman was the leader of the monkey team belonging to the Kishkindha
kingdom. He was believed to be the eleventh incarnation of Lord Shiva
. He was the true `bhakta` of Rama and helped him throughout the whole journey to rescue Sita. Bali
was the emperor of Kishkindha, the kingdom of monkeys. Sugreeva
was the younger brother of Bali. He became the King of Kishkindha after defeating his brother, Sugreeva in a duel. He helped Rama in his quest of Sita.
Besides them Ramayana has many minor characters as well. Some of them are Kumbhakarna
etc. All of them contributed to make the epic complete.
Originally Ramayana was written in Sanskrit language
but in contemporary India this epic has been translated into various languages. Ramayana has a lot of theological significance too. This is the reason why certain characters in Ramayana are worshipped throughout the subcontinent. Ramayana tells the tale of the victory of good over evil. As the story gradually unfolded Lord Rama defeated and slayed Ravana
, the demon king of Lanka.
The characters in Ramayana symbolize the human virtues and vices. The entire tale represents family and life in a macrocosm. As a result the characters in Ramayana are very much drawn from the real life though the tale is told in a true epic style. This accounts for the acceptability of the characters in Ramayana and the epic as a whole even in contemporary India.