Is the Ramayana considered a holy story? Why do you say so?

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Jessica Pope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes, the Ramayana is considered a holy story. The Ramayana is an epic poem foundational to the Hindu literary canon. The work expounds upon critical theological concepts such as dharma, karma, suffering, and duty. It is an authoritative text on numerous Vedic pracices of ritual and piety. The Ramayana engages important cosmological questions, such as: the nature of time, human mortality, the nature of God, and the nature of the universe (or cosmos). In addition, the Ramayana shows how a devout person should behave in difficult situations, and describes important duties one should observe in various relationships. For these reasons, the Ramayana is considered among the most important and influential holy texts in the world. 

In addition to religious exposition, the Ramayana also functions as a source of inspiration and guidance in personal religious practice. When facing difficulties in life, or when unsure as to the proper course of action, one can go to the Ramayana for insight, solace, comfort, and truth. In this way, the Ramayana functions as a form of scripture, and is invoked in the same way as one would invoke say, a popular or beloved Bible passage. The Ramayana holds a critical position and is revered for its literary, theological, and devotional significance. 

poetrymfa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Ramayana is an Indian epic poem consisting of 24,000 verses. It follows the mission of Prince Rama to save Sita, his wife, from Ravana, a demon king who has kidnapped her.

The Ramayana is certainly a holy story, as it allegorically instructs its readers about the wisdom of Hinduism. It is categorized as a kind of itihāsa--a genre of literature which provides instruction about the meaning of life through the recounting of past events. The earliest copies of the text date back to the 11th century CE, although some scholars believe that it was actually written in the 4th century BCE. There are over 300 versions of the story available, with various religious divisions--Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, etc.--using different interpretations. 

More literally speaking, Rama serves as a deity in the Hindu religion, and the reading of the Ramayana is commonly believed to free Hindus from sin.