Adhyatma Ramayana (Devanāgarī: अध्यात्म रामायण, IAST: Adhyātma Rāmāyaṇa, lit. 'Spiritual Ramayana') is a 13th- to 15th-century Sanskrit text that allegorically interprets the story of Hindu epic Ramayana in the Advaita Vedanta framework. It is embedded in the latter portion of Brahmānda Purana. The Hindu tradition attributes the text to the Bhakti movement saint Ramananda.
The text consists of 7 books, 65 chapters and 4,500 verses in the form of a dialogue between Shiva and Parvati. Adhyatama Ramayana contains the ideal characteristics of Rama and the precepts related to devotion, knowledge, dispassion, adoration and good conduct. Rama is presented as the supreme Brahman in the text, while the struggles of Sita and him are re-interpreted in an abstract spiritual form. The allegory inspired several later versions of the Ramayana story in languages like Awadhi (Ramcharitmanas by Tulsidas), Odia, Bengali and Malayalam version by Thunchaththu Ezhuthachan.
Adhyatma Ramayana represents the story of Rama in a spiritual context. The text constitutes over 35% of the chapters of Brahmanda Purana, often circulated as an independent text in the Vaishnavism tradition, and is an Advaita Vedanta treatise of over 65 chapters and 4,500 verses.
The text represents Rama as the Brahman (metaphysical reality), mapping all saguna (attributes) of Rama to the nirguna nature (ultimate unchanging attributeless virtues and ideals). Adhyatma Ramayana raises every mundane activity of Rama to a spiritual or transcendent level, the story into symbolism, thus instructing the seeker to view his or her own life through the symbolic vision for his soul, where the external life is but a metaphor for the eternal journey of the soul in Advaita terminology.
The book is aimed to be used as a guide and a ready source of instruction for a spiritual seeker, as it presents the Ramayana as a divine allegory. The text influenced the popular Ramcharitmanas by Tulsidas.
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The Adhyatma Ramayana is organized into seven Kandas, or chapters:
1. Bal Kand - This chapter begins with the description of Brahmaswarup, the cosmic and celestial appearance of Lord Rama as an avatar of Vishnu, who descended to earth as a human being to remove rakshasas(demons) such as Ravana. It includes Rama's childhood and the story of Ahilya's deliverance by Rama.
2. Ayodhya Kand - Life in Ayodhya, including Rama's exile, the death of his father Dasarath, etc.
3. Aranya Kand - The forest (Aranya) chapter, which includes the kidnapping of Sita by Ravana.
4. Kishkindha Kand - the episode of Kishkindha. This chapter describes the killing of Bali, and the initiation of the active search for Sita.
5. Sundar Kand - details Hanuman's arrival and activities in Lanka.
6. Lanka Kand - corresponding to the Yuddha Kanda of the Valmiki Ramayana. It contains details of the battles between Rama's armies and Ravana, the killing of Ravana, and the coronation of Rama upon his return to Ayodhya from Lanka.
7. Uttar Kand - Epilogue. It includes the banishment of Sita, the birth of Lava and Kusha - the sons of Rama and Sita - and Rama's departure from the earth to Vaikuntha, the abode of Lord Vishnu. The fifth adhyaya (sub-chapter) of the Uttar Kanda describes a conversation between Lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana, often referred to as the Rama Gita (the song of Rama). It is essentially an Advaitic philosophical work.
- Bhanubhakta Acharya translated Ramayan from Sanskrit to Nepali.
- Swami Tapasyananda, Adhyatma Ramayana, Original Sanskrit, with English Translation, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras. 1985.
- Baij Nath Puri, Lala Baij Nath. The Adhyatma Ramayana, Cosmo Publications, 2005. ISBN 81-7755-895-1.
- Beladakere Suryanarayana Shastri, Adhyatma Ramayana, Kannada translation with Sanskrit original, Shri Jayachamaraja Granthamala, Series 47, Mysore, 1948.
- Subir Kumar Sen, Adhyatma Ramayanam from Sanskrit to English, Shastra Dharma Prachar Sabha, 2012. ISBN 978-81-920022-1-7
- Rocher 1986, pp. 157-159.
- Ramdas Lamb (2012). Rapt in the Name: The Ramnamis, Ramnam, and Untouchable Religion in Central India. State University of New York Press. pp. 28–33. ISBN 978-0-7914-8856-0.
- Paula Richman (2008). Ramayana Stories in Modern South India: An Anthology. Indiana University Press. pp. 17–18, 40. ISBN 0-253-21953-1.
- Rocher 1986, pp. 158-159 with footnotes, Quote: "Among the texts considered to be connected with the Brahmanda, the Adhyatma-ramayana is undoubtedly the most important one".
- Winternitz 1922, pp. 578-579.
- Rocher 1986, pp. 158-159.
- Adhyātma, Sanskrit-English Digital Lexicon, Koeln University, Germany (2011)
- John Nicol Farquhar (1920). An Outline of the Religious Literature of India. Oxford University Press. pp. 324–325.
- Winternitz 1922, p. 552.
- RC Prasad (1989). Tulasīdāsa's Sriramacharitmanasa. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. xiv–xv, 875–876. ISBN 978-81-208-0443-2.
- Adhyatma Ramayana advaita-vedanta.org
- Puri, Baij Nath. The Adhyatma Ramayana, Cosmo Publications, 2005. ISBN 81-7755-895-1.
- Williams, Joanna. The Two-Headed Deer: Illustrations of the Ramayana in Orissa. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1996.
- Richman, Paula, editor. Many Ramayanas: The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1991.
- Bagchi, P. C., Introduction to Adhyatmaramayanam, Page 76.
- F. Whaling, The Rise of the Religious Significance of Rama, Page 113.
- J. L. Brockington, Righteous Rama: The Evolution of an Epic, Page 252-57.
- Rocher, Ludo (1986). The Puranas. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 978-3447025225.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Wilson, H. H. (1864). The Vishnu Purana: A System of Hindu Mythology and Tradition (Volume 1: Introduction, Book I). Read Country Books (reprinted in 2006). ISBN 1-84664-664-2. Cite has empty unknown parameter:
- Winternitz, Maurice (1922). History of Indian Literature Vol 1 (Original in German, translated into English by VS Sarma, 1981). New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint 2010). ISBN 978-8120802643.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
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- The Adhyatma Ramayan from the Brahmanda Purana as included in the Upodhatapada section; English translation by G. V. Tagare [proofread] (includes glossary)
- Dr.Goli Sanskrit & Telugu audio
- Dr.Goli Sanskrit & Telugu audio
- A study of Adhyatma Ramayana
- Maya Sita in Adhyatma Ramayana
- Concise Adhyatma Ramayana by Chandan Lal Dhody on Google Books