Characters in Ramayan – Ramayana is one of the two major epics of Ancient India. It narrates the life of Lord Rama, who follows a 14 years exile to the forests. This exile was ordered on Lord Rama by his father, King Dasaratha, on request of his wife Kaikeyi. The Ramayan then concludes Lord Rama’s travel across the forests with his wife, Sita, and his brother Lakshman. In this epic of Ramayan, Lord Rama returns back to Ayodhya after rescuing his wife from Ravan.
The characters in Ramayana symbolize the human virtues and vices. The entire tale represents family and life in a macrocosm. As a result the characters in Ramayana are very much drawn from the real life though the tale is told in a true epic style. This accounts for the acceptability of the characters in Ramayana and the epic as a whole even in contemporary India.
The characters in Ramayana are instrumental in narrating the entire epic. They are meaningfully related to each other helping to bring a significant conclusion. Each of the characters significantly adds to the narration at different times and places in the Sanskrit epic. Most of the characters like Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman and others are considered as deities according to Hindu mythology. Prince Rama is considered as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu; where as Hanuman is considered as the incarnation of Lord Shiva. Following are the different characters in Ramayana.
Ramayana Characters from Agastya to Vishwamitra
- Agastya: Agastya was a son of sage Pulastya and brother of sage Vishrava. He was an uncle of Ravana. Agastya and his wife Lopamudra met Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana during their exile and gives them a divine bow and arrow.
- Ahalya: Wife of sage Gautama, who was turned into a stone and later became free from curse by the touch of Rama
- Bharata: Brother of Rama and son of Kaikeyi
- Dasharatha: Dasaratha was the emperor of Ayodhya, father of Lord Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata, and Shatrughna.
- Garuda: The mighty mythical raptor; King of winged creatures
- Gautama: Sage/Rishi who cursed her wife Ahalya and turned her into a stone for her immoral conduct
- Hanuman: Son of Pavana — the wind God; Devout of Rama. He was the advisor of Sugriva. He was the son of Anjana and Kesari and he is believed to be an avatar of the supreme Lord Shiva. He was a guardian spirit, the offspring of a nymph and the Wind God.
- Indrajit: Ravana’s son who fought with Rama with magical powers
- Jamwant: Leader of bears who found Sita with his supernatural powers
- Janaka: King of Mithila; Father of Sita, who found her in a furrow
- Jatayu: Great bird who was killed by Ravana while rescuing Sita.
- Kaikeyi: Dashartha’s youngest queen and mother of Bharata who asked for Rama’s exile
- Kaushalya: She was the first queen of King Dasaratha and the mother of Lord Rama. She had a wonderful and liberal character
- Kevat: In the epic Ramayana, Kewat was a boatman who had crossed the river Rama, Sita and Lakshman in his boat and washed Rama’s feet
- Khar: Khar was a younger male cousin of Ravana and the son of Kaikesi’s sister Raka.
- Kumbhkarna: Ravan’s brother known for sleeping and eating
- Kush: Son of Rama and Sita
- Laxman or Lakshman: was the son of King Dasaratha and Queen Sumitra. He was dedicated to his brother and followed him throughout many adventures and hunts. He is ascribed as the incarnation of ‘Ananta Sesha’, the 1000 headed Naga. Queen Sumitra’s son and Rama’s brother aka Lakshmana
- Lava or Luv: Son of Rama and Sita; brother of Kush
- Mandavi: Bharat’s wife & King Janak’s daughter
- Manthara: Maid servant of Keikeyi who convinced her for Bharat’s thorn and exile of Rama
- Maricha or Mareech: Who assumed form of suvarna mriga or golden deer and help abduct Sita
- Meghanad: Ravana’s son, who made Laxman unconscious in the battlefield with his arrow
- Nala & Neer : Nal and Neer are the monkey sons of Vishwakarma, who helped Rama construct the famous bridge to Lanka
- Rama: The main protagonist of the Ramayana — an avatar of Lord Vishnu; prince of Ayodhya, son of King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya
- Ravana or Dashanan: Ten headed King of Lanka, who abducted Sita; brother of Vibhishana and Surpanakha; father of Indrajit; husband of Mandodari
- Sampati: Brother of Jatayu
- Shatrughna: Rama’s younger brother
- Shabri: Devotee of Rama who offered him berries
- Shatananda: Head Priest or kul Guru of Mithila
- Shiva: The Lord of Destruction — part of the Hindu Trinity of Gods, whose bow was lifted by Rama in the swayamvar of Sita
- Shravan: Son of blind parents; known as an idol of service to parents
- Shrutkirti: Shatrughna’s wife and King Janak’s daughter
- Shurpanakha: Ravan’s sister whose ears and nose were cut by Laxman
- Sita: Sita is the daughter of Mother Earth and King Janaka. Sita married Lord Rama, and she is also regarded as an ‘avatara’ of the Goddess Lakshmi.
- Sugriva: King of monkey tribe and King of Kiskindha
- Sumanta: Charioteer of King Dasharatha
- Sumitra: Wife of Dashratha; Mother of Laxman & Shatrughna
- Sunayana: Wife of King Janak; Mother of Sita
- Sushen: Lankan physician, who advised Sanjivani herbs from Kailas mountain in order to cure Laxman
- Tadka: Demoness or rakshasi killed by Rama; mother of Mareecha.
- Tulsidas: Sanskrit scholar and poet who created Ramacharitmanas, a version of Valmiki Ramayana in local Avadhi language.
- Urmila: Laxman’s wife; daughter of King Janak and sister of Sita.
- Vali or Bali: The mighty ape, cousin of Sugriva, who occupied Kiskindha and was killed by Rama.
- Valmiki: The great poet and creator of Ramayana; Sage who helped Sita and her two sons Lava-Kush stay at her ashrama.
- Vanara: Monkey; The army led by Hanuman. A hill tribe of Southern India – according to the Ramayana.
- Vasistha: Head priest or kul Guru of Ayodhya
- Vibhishana: Ravana’s brother who leaves Lanka to join Rama and later becomes the king of Lanka.
- Vishnu: Lord of Preservation – part of the Hindu Trinity of Gods; Rama is considered the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
- Vishwamitra: Sage or rishi, who used Rama to kill troubling demons.
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