[Advaita-l] Ramopakhyana of Mahabharata vs. the Uttara Kanda of Ramayana

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu May 5 01:21:51 CDT 2016

On Wed, 4 May 2016, S Jayanarayanan via Advaita-l wrote:

> The verse that you've quoted above says, "षट् काण्डानि" -- i.e. SIX Kandas!
> Is the "uttaram" in the verse definitely a SEVENTH Kanda, or can it be construed of as simply an ending,
> say, of the likes of a Stotram to Vishnu or Phalashruti?

The tikakaras interpret it as as referring to the uttarakanda.

> There is nothing non-traditional about asking these questions:

No you are not the first person to wonder about this even in the "good old 

> (1) Ramopakhyana contains events from EVERY Kanda of the Valmiki 
> Ramayana, EXCEPTING the Uttara Kanda. Why omit a whole Kanda, if it's so 
> important?

Now for this one at least I can offer an explanation.  The Ramopakhyana in 
the Vanaparva of the Mahabharata.  The context is the that the Pandavas 
have been exiled to the forest.  Draupadi at one point is kidnapped by 
Jayadratha.  With effort the brothers rescue her but Yudhisthira is 
depressed by the low condition they have found themselves in.  It is in 
order to cheer him up that Rshi Markandeya tells the story of another 
great king who was exiled in the forest where he lost his wife but 
regained her and on hearing it, Yuddhisthira is consoled.  It would have 
defeated the purpose to add a downer to the happy ending.

There are other examples of this.  The samkshepa ramayana is commonly 
taught to children.  (My son is studying it right now as his introductory 
Sanskrit text.) so it makes sense to end it on a high note.  Or it is said 
that novices should start studying Raghuvamsha from the second sarga 
because the first end in Dasharatha dying in grief and Shri Rama being 
exiled to the forest.  Pandits feel that it is too sensitive for young 
ears or perhaps unlucky not that it or the uttarakanda are not integral 
parts of the story.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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