Rama (Yama in the Burmese Epic; Javanese: Ramavijaya ; Khmer: ព្រះរាម Phreah Ream ; Lao: ພຣະຣາມ Phra
Indian Rama(left), (Right) Yama, the Burmese Rama
|Weapon||Bow and Arrow|
A Real Historical FigureEdit
The seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Rama is said to have taken birth on earth to annihilate the evil forces of the age. He is widely believed to be an actual historical figure - a "tribal hero of ancient India" - whose exploits form the great Hindu epic of Ramayana or The Romance of Rama.
When did Rama Live?Edit
Hindus believe that Rama lived in the Treta Yug. But according to historians, Rama was not particularly deified until the 11th century AD. Tulsidas ' outstanding retelling of the Sanskrit epic into the vernaculars as the 'Ramcharitmanas', greatly enhanced the popularity of Rama as a Hindu god, and gave rise to various devotional groups.
How to Identify RamaEdit
To many, Rama is hardly different in looks from Lord Vishnu or Krishna. He is most often represented as a standing figure, with an arrow in his right hand, a bow in his left and a quiver on his back. A Rama statue is also usually accompanied by those of his wife Sita, brother Lakshmana, and the legendary monkey attendant Hanuman . He is depicted in princely adornments with a 'tilak' or mark on the forehead, and as having a dark, almost bluish complexion, which shows his affinity with Vishnu and Krishna.
Comparison with Lord KrishnaEdit
Although Rama and Krishna, both incarnations of Vishnu, are almost equally popular among Hindu devotees, Rama is seen as an archetype of righteousness and the most sought-after virtues in life, in contrast to Krishna's dalliances and shenanigans.
Why "Shri" Rama?Edit
The prefix "Shri" to Rama indicates that Rama is always associated with "Shri" - the essence of four Vedas. Uttering his name ("Ram! Ram!") while greeting a friend, and invoking Rama at the time of death by chanting "Ram Naam Satya Hai!", show his popularity and admiration over Krishna. However, the shrines of Krishna in India slightly outnumber the temples of Rama and his monkey devotee Hanuman .