Lord Rama is considered as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu; whereas Lord 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.
Characters in Ramayana
Following are the different characters in Ramayana:
Lord Rama: He was the son of King Dasaratha and Queen Kausalya. He was the prince of Ayodya. He is an ‘avatara’ of Lord Vishnu and was married to Sita. Lord Rama had a strong relationship with his brother Lakshmana as well. He is known as ‘Maryada Purusottama’ and is the symbol of virtue.
Sita: She was the daughter of Mother Earth adopted by King Janaka. Sita married Lord Rama, and loved him so much that she followed him into the exile. She is celebrated for her virtue and beauty, and is also regarded as an ‘avatara’ of the Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Vishnu's consort. She was abducted by the demon king Ravana and was imprisoned on the island of Lanka, until Rama rescued her by defeating Ravana.
Ravana: Ravana was a devil who performed penance for a long time until Lord Brahma appeared before him and granted him a boon. He received a great blessing from the God that he cannot be killed by any mortal, evil spirit, or other divine being. His pride was combined with great intelligence and power which led him to rule over the earth by spreading horrible immorality everywhere. Vishnu incarnates as the human Rama to defeat him, thus circumventing the boon given by Brahma.
Lakshmana: He was the son of King Dasaratha and Queen Sumitra. He was the brother of Lord Rama and the twin brother of Shatrughna. Lakshmana was extremely dedicated to his brother and followed him throughout many adventures and hunts. He was married to Sita's younger sister, Urmila. He is ascribed as the incarnation of ‘Ananta Sesha’, the 1000 headed Naga.
King Dasaratha: Dasaratha was the emperor of Ayodhya, father of Lord Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata, and Shatrughna. He was a good king, kind and well-liked by his people. He was the scion of Raghuvamsa. He had 3 wives namely Kaushalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra.
Janaka: He was the king of Mithila and was the father of Sita, who found her in a furrow.
Sunayana: Wife of King Janaka and mother of Sita.
Mandavi: Bharata’s wife and daughter of King Janaka's brother Kushadhvaja.
Urmila: Lakshmana’s wife; daughter of King Janaka and sister of Sita.
Bharata: He is famous for his love and devotion towards his elder brother Lord Rama. He was the son of King Dasaratha and Queen Kaikeyi. Bharata was married to Mandavi, daughter of King Janaka's brother Kushadhvaja. They had two sons, Taksha and Pushkala.
Shatrughna: He was the son of King Dasaratha and Queen Sumitra. His twin brother is Lakshmana, and his half-brothers are Lord Rama and Bharata. He followed his brother Bharata all over the place. Shatrughna was married to Sita's sister Shrutakirthi.
Kaikeyi: She was the third and youngest wife of King Dasaratha, and mother of Bharata. She is celebrated for her beauty. After she saved the life of Dasaratha in fight, he was offered to grant anything she would ask of him. Kaikeyi later called in this favour to crown Bharata as a king and Lord Rama sent into the forest, stirred by the words of her maid, Manthara.
Sumitra: She was the second wife of Dasaratha and was the mother of Lakshmana and Shatrughna.
Kaushalya: She was the first queen of King Dasaratha and the mother of Lord Rama. She had a wonderful and liberal character. In her previous birth she was born as ‘Manushataroopa’ and had pleased Lord Vishnu with her self-punishment.
Sage Viswamitra: Viswamitra was a great sage and wise man who was once a king. Through a long meditation, he achieved a number of magical powers. He took Lord Rama on a chase to beat a demon and to lift the bow of Lord Shiva.
Lord Hanuman: He was the advisor of Sugriva. He was the son of Anjana and Kesari and he is believed to be an avatar of the supreme Lord Shiva. He is described as the monkey God. He was a guardian spirit, the offspring of a nymph and the Wind God.
Maricha: He was a demon, uncle of Lord Ravana. Lord Rama defeated him with a sanitizing magical weapon, and he left his immoral ways to become a Sage.
Surpanakha: She was the sister of Ravana who was a powerful demon. She tried to seduce Lord Rama and kill Sita, but Lakshmana attacked her. Then she tried to collect the demon army in opposition to Lord Rama.
Jatayu: Jatayu was a powerful golden eagle who spoke in the voice of a human being. He was loyal to King Dasaratha, and requested his service to Lord Rama. He died protecting Sita from Ravana.
Sugriva: He was the fair king of the ‘vanaras’, a race of supernatural monkeys. He was seized by his elder brother Bali, and pledged his service to Lord Rama and Lakshmana if they could re-establish him to his throne.
Bali: He was the king of ‘Kishkindha’. He was killed by Lord Rama and was the grandson of Prahlad and a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. He was also known as ‘Mahabali’. He imprisoned all the beautiful women for his enjoyment. Bali was the husband of Tara.
Angada: A ‘vanara’ youth, son of Bali and nephew of Sugriva. He was brave and intelligent. He helped Rama to search his wife Sita along with Sugriva and other monkeys. Sugriva sanctified Angada as the prince of ‘Kishkindha’.
Sampati: A vast golden eagle, brother of Jatayu. His wings were burned when he flew too close to the sun.
Subala: It was a mountain in the island of Lanka. Lord Hanuman perched the Subala Mountain, when he took a colossal spring, and by his extraordinary strength it leaped over the broad ocean.
Shravan Kumar: He was as a dedicated son who carried his blind parents on his shoulders for a pilgrimage tour. King Dasaratha went for hunting and his arrow mistakenly hit Shravan Kumar instead of hitting a deer. He died. King Dasaratha brought the jug of water to the parents of Shravan Kumar but his parents were not ready to accept the water without hearing the voice of their son.
Jambavan: He was the king of the Riksharaj (magical bears). He was a friend of Sugriva and Lord Rama. He is celebrated for his gentle wisdom and calm strength.
Kumbhakarna: He was Ravana's brother. He had a huge physique with unlimited strength. He used to sleep for six months at a time before waking up and eating everything he could see.
Meghanad: He was Ravana’s son, who made Lakshmana lifeless in the battlefield with his magical arrow.
Sushen: He was the Lankan doctor, who advised ‘Sanjivani’ herbs from Kailasa Mountain in order to make well Lakshmana.
Indrajit: He was the son of Ravana, and his most powerful soldier. He earned his name after he captured Lord Indra, the king of the Gods.
Prahasta: He was a powerful demon warrior who was a general in Ravana's army of Lanka. He reported to Ravana the arrival of Lord Rama. He is also referred as being the maternal uncle of Ravana and Kaikesi's brother.
Lava: Along with Kusha, Lava was one of the student to whom Valmikitaught the Ramayana which he received from Narada. He was one of the sons of Lord Rama. The twin brother of Lava is Kusha. Lava was the king of Sriwasti, in northern Kosala. He was the founder of the city of Lahore, which is named after him.
Kusha: Kusha was one of the twin sons of Lord Rama and Sita. The other son is the Lava. He was born in a forest after Sita had been banished from Ayodhya. Both the twin brothers Lava and Kusha were well-read and trained in military skills.