Since times immemorial Ramayana and Mahabharata have inspired, moulded
and impressed the psyche, personality and social relations of the Indians, belonging to
any state, any linguistic or ethnic group, following any sect or religion. These epics have
originated in ancient aryaland. People of different racial stocks, people speaking differ-
ent languages, people beleiving in diverse faiths and rituals resided here. Epics like
Ramayana and Mahabharata kept the intrinsic unity of India alive, inspite of the apparent
diversity. Starting from India, this epic reached China, Japan, Malaysia, Java, Sumatra,
Borneo Kambodia. It has also reached Iran, Arabian nations and Israel. This epic
Ramayana mingled easily in these diversed cultural backgrounds and at times assumed
a totally new form.
In India, Ramayana has influenced and moulded our
behaviour towards our parents, progeny, spouses and
friends, more than any other book, religious edifice, statuto-
ry laws, and the preaching of spiritualists. An Indian, wheth-
er he is a Muslim, Parsee, Christian or a Jew, is fully or
partly conversant with Ramayana. There might not be a sin-
gle person in India, who is ignorant about the noble life of
Rama. Some scholars believe that the stories of Rama exist-
ed in scattered forms, much before Valamiki Ramayana was
compiled. Besides the Valamiki Ramayana, mahakavi
Tulasidasa wrote Ramcaritamanasa in Vraja language, which
is held high in esteem by most of the hindi speaking North
Indians. Durgavar compiled Mita Ramayana in Bengali language. Divakara Bhatta wrote
Ramayana in Kashmiri language. Ekanatha wrote Bhavartha Ramayana in Marathi and
Mahakavi Kampana wrote the Pampa Ramayana in Kannada. Most of these versions are
loyal to the epic compiled by Valamiki, but they have a regional fervor of their own.
These writers using their muse and genius have at times made additions which are
very aesthetic and add to the beauty of the original Ramayana.
The Jain culture is an integral part of the Aryan cul-
ture. Contrary to the popular belief that lord Mahavira found-
ed Jainism, the Jains believe that their pantheon is ageold.
It existed much before the advent of Mahavira. Ahimsa, sa-
tya, asteya, brahmacarya and aparigraha are some of the
gifts of Jainism to the modern world. The Jain culture is ex-
tensively found in India and some of the nations, surround-
ing India. However, we must remember that these nations
were a part of the ancient undivided aryavrata.
Jain Ramayana : The Jain pantheon states that Lord
Munisuvrat Svami, a Tirthankara, was born more than
11,75,000 years ago. Suvrata Muni, the spiritual teacher and
master of Sri Rama, was a descendant of Munisuvrat Svami.
King Anaranya, the grand father of Rama, was born during his regime. The average life
span of a man at that time was much longer. Rama must have been born much later. The
Jain pantheon mentions that Lord Mahavira Svami learnt about Ramayana with his Kev-
alagyan and narrated it to his disciple Ganadhara Gautama, who compiled it in the form
of sutras. It reached Sri Vimalasuri through the oral tradition. About 1996 years ago, he
compiled the Ramayana in Magadhi language. This epic was called Paumacariyam.
Most of the people who follow other faiths, and to a certain extent even jain
children and youths are ignorant of the fact that there exists a jain version of Ramayana.
The hectic pace of modern life makes the pursuit of Sanskrta and Magadhi an impossible
contingency. The chances of their learning and mastering these nearly extinct languag-
es and then studying the original Ramayana are very remote. | therefore felt that Ramayana
should be presented to them in hindi, english and gujarati. What’s more, it should also be
translated in languages like marathi, kannada, tamil, telgu etc to acquaint the people of
other faiths with this epic.
Jain Ramayana attracts and enchants
the readers of any age group. The message
of renouncement that this book preaches el-
oquently appeals the serious readers. After
having experienced the bitter and sweet les-
sons from life, and after seeing many of the
near and dear ones willingly or unwillingly em-
brace the death, they too are shattered like
Rama. When Rama was in a state of delirium
because of Laksmana’s death, diety
Krtantavadana and diety Jatayu opened his
eyes. They acquainted him to the harsh and
yet essential reality that Laksmana was dead
and Rama too was going to follow him one
day. | am sure, what the celestial duo did for
Rama, this book would do for you.
The valour and detachment found in abundance in this book will definitely attract
the youth. Ravana commited a sinful act by kidnapping Sita. Rama and Laksmana did not
hesitate for a moment before him for his wrong action. Even today, we see a perpetual
battle between the good and evil in every walk of life and therefore, like Rama and
Laksmana, we too must not wince before taking restrictive measures against evil.
The complex relationship between the major characters in Ramayana is some-
thing unique. These relations have the background and bonds of previous lives. Love,
hatred, anger, replusion and other vista’s of emotions have deep roots in the past lives
and unseen fruits in the future. Rama, Laksmana Bharata and Satrughna are always
ready to put the ‘U’ before the ‘I’, together they are willing to lay their lives for the happi
ness of their parents. Rama abandons his luxurious life, without think-
ing twice, so that his father could renounce the world without any
Laksmana follows Rama during the exile, in order to serve
him. He too does not hesitate a moment before taking this major
decision. Bharata bears the burden of the crown and scepter only
when Rama orders him to do so. Sita too follows Rama, and leaves
the palace and cosy life without grumbling. Though Kaikeyi hatches
out the evil conspiracy of exiling Rama, he does not grudge. He
bows down to Kaikeyi before leaving the palace and also after he
returns. For him, Kaikeyi is not just a stepmother, but a true mother.
These relations might be utopian to be true to modern man, but they
too can set new ideals for themselves.
In Jain Ramayana, we find sati Sita fully dedicated to Rama.
While she was at Lanka, her mind was fully focused on Jinesvara
and Rama. This total surrenderance gave her the strength to endure
the enticements and threatenings of Ravana. She does not blame
Rama, when he abandons her or when he asks her to perform the
ordeal. She faces it with stoic courage. Mandodari, on the other hand,
loves her husband to such an extent that she is not only will-
ing to share her love, but becomes his envoy and pleads Sita
to accept his love.
KauSsalya’s heart aches while granting Rama the per-
mission to leave Ayodhya, but when the time comes to bid
goodbye to Sita, it bleeds profusely. She is an ideal mother-in-
law. Every character in Ramayana represents lofty ideals. Rama
is an ideal son, brother, husband, foe and a monk. Sita is an
ideal daughter, wife, daughter-in-law, mother and an ideal as-
The characters like, Sugriva, Hanumana,
vidhyadhars who can fly, Jatayu and other celestial beings who
can perform miracles, attract the children. Hanumana, who not only posseses enor-
mous strength but also intelligence and humble nature, enthrall the children. The plot of
Ramayana unfolds not only on the earth, but also in the different levels of the celestial
world and the under world. It also embodies the present, past, very remote past and
future, in the most fascinating way, and the plot changes these tracks in such a smooth
way that mind of the readers is not distracted.
There is a school of thought which believes that when the ksatriya kings accept-
ed Jainism as a way of life, they began to abhor violence in any form and became totally
submissive and docile. This gradually killed the patriotic fervour in their hearts and they
became puppets in the hands of destiny. This has brought the downfall of
India. Only those who ca