Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ramayana - 02 - Dating vis-a-vis Mahabharata

Traditionally, Ramayana is believed to have preceded Mahabharata. However, some scholars believe that Mahabharata preceded Ramayana.
a. Poetic Style: Ramayana has almost all the characteristics of a mahAkAvya, according to latter poetics tradition. It is also called AdikAvya or first poetic work. On the other hand, Mahabharata has characteristics of the older ballad style.
b. Polyandry: Mahabharata depicts Draupadi's polyandry which is believed to have been an ancient custom
c. Although MB Vana Parva (273-90) contains the story of Rama, it is not clear whether it was borrowed from Ramayana or the older Rama ballad.
d. Harivamsha refers to Ramayana events, but some scholars opine that Harivamsha was a later supplement to Mahabharata.

Based on these, the some people feel that the core events of the Mahabharata was earlier than Ramayana events. Another hypothesis is that the core events of Ramayana are older than Mahabharata, but may have been re-composed in a different era in a different geographic setting.

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