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John Wallinger
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/12/21

Sir John Arnold Wallinger KPM (25 October 1869 – 7 January 1931) was a British Indian intelligence officer who led the prototype Indian Political Intelligence Office from 1909 to 1916. He was also the literary prototype of the spymaster of a number of Somerset Maugham's short stories. Wallinger is credited with leading the Indian intelligence missions outside India, notably against the Indian Anarchist movement in England, and later against the Berlin Committee and the Hindu–German Conspiracy during World War I. Among his more famous agents was Somerset Maugham, whom he recruited in London and sent as a secret agent to Switzerland.[1][2]


1. Popplewell 1995, p. 230: "Wallinger tried to re-establish his network [in Switzerland], recruiting among others, the writer Somerset Maugham."
2. Morgan, Ted (1980). Somerset Maugham. London: Jonathan Cape. p. 199. ISBN 0-224-01813-2.


• Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Wallinger, Sir John Arnold (1869–1931), intelligence officer and literary prototype, was born on 25 October 1869 at Poona, India, the son of William H. Arnold Wallinger, deputy conservator of forests in the Indian forest service, and his wife, Anne Jane. He had two brothers and two sisters....

• International Institute for Asian Studies: Indian Political Intelligence Files Released for Research
• Popplewell, Richard J (1995), Intelligence and Imperial Defence: British Intelligence and the Defence of the Indian Empire 1904-1924, Routledge, ISBN 0-7146-4580-X.

Chapter 9: British Intelligence and the Indian Revolutionary Movement in Europe, 1914-19
Excerpt from Intelligence and Imperial Defence: British Intelligence and the Defence of the Indian Empire 1904-1924
by Richard J. Popplewell
©  1995

Chapter 9: British Intelligence and the Indian Revolutionary Movement in Europe, 1914-19

With the outbreak of the First World War the Indian intelligence network set up by Superintendent Wallinger as described earlier might have been expected to play an important role within the general structure of British intelligence in Europe. In scale it was not much smaller than the European intelligence operations of the Secret Service Bureau, let alone those of the War Office.1 Moreover, John Wallinger already controlled agents operating in Switzerland, which was to become an important centre of German intrigue, and was an obvious point of entry for Allied agents into Germany. There were few, if any, secret service officers in 1914 whose experience of the Continent could match that of Wallinger, or who, like he, had cultivated friendly relations with the Paris political police, the Surete.

Soon after the outbreak of war Wallinger proceeded to France, and at some time in 1914 he was made a temporary Major on the Imperial General Staff, as a member of which he performed both 'his own duties and those connected with the war'.2 He was at first largely concerned with preventing Indian nationalists residing in France from contacting the large number of Indian troops who began to arrive in the country from September 1914 onwards.

Wallinger's activities on the Continent, however, were soon no longer confined to Indian agitators. John Wallinger had a younger brother named Ernest who, after being severely wounded in France in September 1914, was appointed to a senior position on the Intelligence Section of the General Staff at British General Headquarters in France. In March 1915 Ernest Wallinger suggested that John Wallinger should run one of two intelligence systems in Switzerland, which the Army Intelligence Section were setting up.3 By December 1915 John Wallinger had set up his headquarters in Paris.4

Though John Wallinger was officially a part of the network of British Military Intelligence he remained primarily an officer of the Indian Department of Criminal Intelligence. According to the Indian Civil List his services had been 'placed at the disposal of the War Office'.5 In 1916 the head of the Special Branch still referred to him as 'the Indian secret service officer'.6 At the end of 1915 Sir Charles Cleveland wrote that

'W' works in Europe partly under the India Office and partly under myself, and the cost of his Agency, including his pay and travelling allowance, is defrayed by the India Office.7

Surprisingly, Cleveland did not mention the control which the War Office exercised over Wallinger. Without doubt his duties were confined to purely Indian intelligence only in the very early stages of the war. But even if J.A. Wallinger's field of action had been so limited it would still have been placed under the general authority of Military Intelligence, because this decreased the problems of overlapping jurisdictions. Army intelligence already ran one network in Switzerland which operated alongside another set up by Mansfield Cumming's Secret Service.8

The DCI were pleased with John Wallinger's work at the end of the first six months of the war. On 20 January 1915 Sir Charles Cleveland informed the Home Department that his work had 'continued to be most satisfactory and valuable'.9 Had it not been for the war, Wallinger would have returned to his post on the CID of the Bombay Presidency, but in August 1915 Cleveland decided that a change of personnel in the DCI's European agency was undesirable.10 By this time Wallinger had requested the DCI to send him help. Cleveland decided that because the 'scope of Wallinger's work' had 'been so greatly widened by the war' he should have 'a second officer of the Indian Police Department to work with him'. This officer did not arrive in Europe until October 1915.11

Though the DCI were able to spare only one officer for work in Europe, they wanted this to the best man they had . David Petrie had had to return to Britain to get rid of fever which he had contracted after his wounding in the Budge Budge affray. However, Petrie turned down the post. Instead the DCI selected P.C. Vickery, an Assistant Superintendent, on the recommendation of both the Inspector-General of Police and the Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab. Vickery was at that time working in the non-political crime section of the DCI and before that had spent three years as Personal Assistant to the Deputy-Inspector General of the Punjab CID. He was suited for the post because he had 'a fair knowledge' of French and spoke German well. Vickery's relatively high rank is obscured in documents relating to his work in Europe which he signed using the temporary rank of Lieutenant which he held within British Military Intelligence.12

If by the beginning of 1915 John Wallinger had ceased to he concerned only with Indian 'sedition' in Europe, so too Indian 'sedition' in Europe became no longer the sole preserve of John Wallinger. Indian revolutionary activity around the world had become so widespread that the resources of the Indian police proved inadequate to control it. At some time between December 1914 and January 1915 an interdepartmental committee was formed in London on which all the departments of the British government concerned with the Indian revolutionary problem sat. The Foreign Office was represented by Rowland Sperling, the head of its American Department, because North America was by this time the main centre of the Indian revolutionary movement abroad. The India Office was represented by Malcolm (after 1919 Sir Malcolm) Seton, the head of the Judicial and Public Department, who for the previous five years had worked closely with Wallinger. The Political and Secret Department of the India Office also participated on the committee.13 Throughout the war John Wallinger himself was also an important member, representing the India Office. At the beginning of 1916 the representatives of MI5 were Vernon Kell , its head, and two ex-Indian officers, Nathan and Stephenson. MI1(a) , which carried out 'the distribution and registration of intelligence' and which served as a liaison office for the various intelligence departments, naturally played an important role on the committee. MI1(a)'s chief, Colonel C.N. French, seems to have had a particularly influential voice in its deliberations. The Admiralty was represented by Rayment, an officer of its Intelligence Division. It had a particular interest in the Indian problem because its vessels, in the last resort, kept Indian and German gun-runners away from the coasts of India. The Colonial Office, like the Admiralty, was particularly interested in Indian activities in the Pacific. There is no evidence that the Secret Service participated on the committee. This is surprising, since from the end of 1915 Cumming came to have general control over the operations of British intelligence in North America as well as running a network in Switzerland. Possibly Cumming's interests were represented by the Foreign Office.14

Of the departments other than the India Office which were represented on the Committee, Britain's domestic counter-intelligence agency, MI5, was the most directly concerned with the control of the Indian revolutionary movement in Europe. MIS was known as Section MO5g of the War Office in August 1914, acquiring its modern designation in January 1916. Upon the outbreak of war, the department's head, Vernon Kell, had a total staff of only 19. In November 1918, when the war ended, MI5 was 844-strong." From early in the war the department had Indian experts on its staff. Gradually it came to see itself as responsible for counter-espionage at an Imperial level and this was recognized in September 1916 when a special section -- MI5(d) was formed to co-ordinate counter-espionage measures throughout the British Empire. Another section, MI5(b), was formed in January 1917 'to deal with questions affecting natives of India and other Oriental races'. The official title of the department dealing with the Indian problem in Europe during its most serious phase from 1915 to mid-1916 was MO5(g)A, and it had the general duty of investigating 'espionage and cases of suspected persons'. In 1916 it became known more simply as MI5(g).16

MI5 was reinforced over the course of the war by an influx of officers from India. In February 1917, out of 27 officers working on the staff of MI5(g) alone, eight had served in India. It is not known how long they had worked for MIS. This concentration of Indian intelligence officers is remarkable, particularly at a time when there was a chronic shortage of officers to perform intelligence duties in India and the Far East upon which the security of the Indian empire depended. Within the general scheme of British intelligence in the First World War, overriding priority in the allocation of men and money was given to the main European theatre of the war. A will be seen in Chapter 11, the protection of the Empire in the East was conducted with very scanty resources.

In the early years of the war Robert Nathan was the most important of the Indian officers who served under Kell. He was the former Chief Commissioner of the Dacca District who had helped track down the Dacca Anusilan Samiti in 1907.17 In 1915 he had retired from the Indian Civil Service after 26 years' service. In India he enjoyed a reputation for efficiency and had just been appointed Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University when, at the end of January 1914 he was forced to return home through ill-health.18 By October 1914 at the latest he was the leading Indian officer working in MI5.

The Special Branch acted as the covert executive arm of MI5 but became involved in MI5 cases only wen surveillance was necessary. Relations between MI5 and the Special Branch were often fraught. MI5 resented the way in which Basil Thomson, the head of the Special Branch, publicly took the credit for actions for which they were responsible yet, being officially non-existent, could not avow.19 Robert Nathan was the only officer of MI5 whose assistance Thomson recognized in his memoirs, The Scene Changes.20 He acknowledged Nathan's close involvement in all his dealings with Indians who came to him for interrogation. However helpful Thomson may have been in interrogating and in changing the loyalties of Germany's Indian agents, the real work of counter-espionage was conducted by Nathan and MO5(g)/MI5(g) in concert with John Wallinger who, at this time, operated mainly abroad. Basil Thomson had had no experience of India and Indians in his career before he became head of the Special Branch in 1913. Significantly, he did not sit on the interdepartmental committee.

In the first year of the war the main concern of Indian intelligence in Europe was not with the Indian revolutionary movement, which was thought to have gone into hibernation for the duration of the conflict, but with the Indian soldiers who came to France to fight for the Empire. The first Indian division left India on 8 August 1914 and arrived at Marseilles seven weeks later. Altogether 138,000 Indian troops served on the Western Front in the course of the war. By the end of 1915, after 14 months' service in Flanders, the bulk of the Indian contingent left to fight the Turks.21

'Sedition', in the sense of support for the revolutionary movement, gained no hold whatsoever on the minds of the Indian troops in France. Their morale had deteriorated by the end of 1915, by which time the British censor was worried that the men had started to write poetry, which he considered to be 'an ominous sign of mental disquietude.'22 But Indian morale was not significantly worse than that of English soldiers. Equally, the censor at Boulogne intercepted only a very small quantity of anti-British propaganda sent to the troops by Indian nationalists overseas. None the less fears of an outbreak of unrest among the Indian Army contingent preoccupied the British, despite the increased supervision of Indian revolutionaries by the French authorities. As late as January 1916 the Indian government feared that Indian agitators might get in touch with native troops at the front and at Marseilles, where they disembarked.

The assistance rendered by the French authorities was complete. In Autumn 1914 the Department of Criminal Intelligence supplied the French military authorities with a list of Indians who might attempt to go to the front to subvert the loyalty of the Indian troops.23 Many but by no means all the prominent Indian nationalists fled the Allied countries on the outbreak of war. Madame Cama an old Parsi lady who had figured prominently in the DCl's reports since 1907. Though Wallinger regarded her as 'brainless', the DCI seems to have had some admiration for her tenacity. After war broke out, she lost no time in attempting to persuade the Indian troops of the error of their ways in fighting for the Empire.24 On 27 October 1914 she was ordered to leave Marseilles." The Surete Generale warned her of unpleasant consequences if she did not stop her nationalist activities during the war.'" A worse fate overtook S.R. Rana, the other old leader of the Paris Indian group. The French expelled him, his German wife and his dying son to Martinique. The British feared the effect that such aged revolutionaries might have on the troops, and uncompromisingly opposed the Ranas' return to France, even when the French government itself pleaded with them to permit on humanitarian ground the return of Mrs Rana to France for a cancer operation.27

By October 1914 the Surete was watching Indian nationalist propaganda 'with the greatest care'.28 But this did not the British. In January 1916 they put forward far-reaching measures, which the French Ministry of the Interior and the Surete approved. These gave the British military authorities the power to deport not only Indian agitators who had penetrated into the camps, but also any British subjects whose presence the military authorities considered a danger to the army.29

These measures coincided with the introduction of a greater degree of Indian police control over the Indian troop. In August 1915 the War Office asked that a few officers of the 'Indian Criminal Investigation Department' be placed at the of the Base Commandant at Marseilles. The Government of India agreed to send a staff of three or four Indian police officers together with a British officer, whom they judged necessary for the supervision of the Indian staff. For the senior position they chose Superintendent R.H. Hirst of the Bihar and Orissa police. He left for France on 7 November 1915, with the task of determining the number and class of Indian police officers required.

Despite the growth of Indian police activity in Europe in 1915, the Department of Criminal Intelligence did not have the ready possibility of expanding its network abroad. The war did not remove past restraints which prevented the DCl's growth overseas as well as at home. Its expansion was blocked by its relationship with the Indian Local Governments, upon whom it was dependent for experienced personnel, and by the enduring aversion of the British government to the operation of an Indian imperial secret police, particularly in Europe and America, where a strong 'liberal conscience' continued to exist, despite the rigours of the war.

Wallinger had not prepared for a war with Germany, since he had not expected any increase in the activities of Indian revolutionaries in Europe. In June 1914 the Department of Criminal Intelligence reported on 'The future of Indian nationalist agitation in Europe'. They concluded that terrorism had lost ground while constitutional nationalism had gained in strength.30 In August 1914 Wallinger reported to the DCI that the war had practically put a stop to 'extremist' propaganda and had temporarily rendered Indian malcontents on the Continent innocuous.31 Wallinger realized that 'the sympathies of Indian nationalists, among whom almost all Indian students are to be classed, are with the Germans so far as the war in Europe is concerned . . .'32 Though the British were apprehensive of Indian nationalists contacting the troops, they were far less worried about Indian terrorism in Europe than they had been in 1910, when Savarkar roamed free. However, Germany now took up the cause of the Indian revolutionaries on an international scale.

Wallinger was aware that in September 1914 a prominent Indian revolutionary, Chempakaraman Pillai, approached the German Consul in Zurich and gave him an outline of the strength and plans of the Indian revolutionary movement.33 He also knew that Pillai had left Zurich not long afterwards for Berlin where he was to work under the German Foreign Office.34 However, before the war Wallinger's network had been devoted to the needs of the Indian government. He had not set up a network of agents inside Germany, where the Indian nationalist movement had barely existed before September 1914, when the Indians and the Germans established an Indian revolutionary committee, attached to the German General Staff in Berlin. British intelligence only learned that this had happened in May 1915.35

The four leading members of the committee upon its foundation were Chempakaraman Pillai, Virendranath Chattopadhyaya, Dr Prabhakar and Dr Abdul Hafiz. They were later joined by other prominent pre-war revolutionaries including Har Dayal and Tarak Nath Das. One important Punjabi nationalist, Ajit Singh, made his escape from right under the noses of John Wallinger and the Paris Surete. At the beginning of September 1914 he left Paris without even informing his landlady which, as the DCl pointed out, was 'considered a low trick by agents of the secret service in any country'.36

But there was nothing that Wallinger could have done to prevent the majority of the Indians who reached Berlin getting through since they came from two neutral states, the USA or Switzerland. Wallinger's sources of information about Indian activities in Switzerland were good. He was aware that Chattopadhyaya visited Switzerland in the middle of May 1915 and established agencies at Geneva and Zurich and also that he went to Lucerne where he met the Egyptian nationalist Farid Bey.37

The DCI had been concerned about the danger of a combined effort by the Indian and Egyptian nationalist groups since 1910. By July 1915 it had received information that the German Foreign Office had recruited a number of Egyptians who were helping the 'Indian National Party' to distribute anti-British propaganda. Among them was a medical student named Ali Eloui, whom the DCI already knew to be on particularly intimate terms with Virendranath Chattopadhyaya.38

There is no evidence that the Egyptian intelligence was running any network of agents in Europe at this time. The surveillance of Egyptian nationalists abroad fell largely to John Wallinger. But even in 1917 he seems not to have been working in close association with Egyptian intelligence. In January 1917 Wallinger requested that Egypt provide him with 'the names of suspicious Egyptians going to America from Egypt'. It is remarkable that he was not already in receipt of this information.39

The British received early information that the Germans and the Indians were plotting assassination from Switzerland. Dr Parodi, the Director of the Egyptian School at Geneva, had worked for the British since before the war.40 Leading Egyptian nationalists trusted him. In Autumn 1914 Dr Mansur Rifaat, the former editor of the leading Egyptian nationalist journal abroad, La Patrie Egyptienne, left Switzerland for America in a hurry. The Swiss police seized some of his papers which , however, they allowed Parodi to read, though they denied access to the British authorities. These papers revealed what the British at Berne saw at this time as 'a somewhat vague and wild scheme of action against British India including the assassination of officials and extensive propaganda'. The papers also gave the British an early indication that 'an intelligence bureau' had been formed at Berlin , namely Oppenheim's organization, which was discussed in Chapter 7.41

Parodi's information did not arouse any interest among the British. On the part of the Indian authorities this was understandable. Earlier fears that Egyptians and Indians might collaborate in an assassination plot had proved unfounded. In September 1911 Wallinger had received information from both Paris and London that an attempt was to be made on the life of Lord Kitchener, who was 'evidently extremely unpopular with the Egyptian nationalists and the Indian conspirators [were] at one with them in desiring his removal'." But this plot never materialized.

On 20 March 1915 Gobind Behari Lal, Har Dayal's right-hand man, arrived in Liverpool from New York. The British authorities were worried lest he try to contact Indian soldiers and he was closely watched. But they allowed him to return to America unmolested in April 1915. They did not realize their mistake until two months later, when the US secret service suggested that Behari Lal had intended to cause explosions at the docks.43 Nathan and Thom on only learned at the end of the year that Behari Lal had come to England in connection with a plot to murder Lord Kitchener. The DCI claimed that he failed in his mission because he was unable to find anyone willing to commit the murder.44

It was not until Autumn 1915 that the British had an idea of the full scale of the European plot which the Germans and Indians had evolved. After the obliteration of their spy network in the first days of the war by MO5, the Indians provided the Germans with potential agents in England. The Germans realized that an even more promising field for the use of Indian nationalists lay in Italy, where high-caste Indians were not always distinctive because of their skin-colour.

Though Behari Lal's mission failed, the Germans had managed to establish a small revolutionary cell in England. Soon after the Indian National Party in Berlin was constituted, Virendranath Chattopadhyaya attempted to get in touch with some of the remaining members of the old 'India House'. The existence of the English branch of the European conspiracy was revealed by the British censor.45 The first arrest was only made on 15 June 1915. Examination of Chattopadhyaya's correspondence led British counter-intelligence to a Swiss girl named Meta Brunner, who acted as the messenger between Switzerland and the English group. The small band of conspirators whom Brunner revealed included an Indian named Vishna Dube and his common-law German wife, Anna Brandt. Hilda Howsin, the daughter of a Yorkshire doctor, was known to have knowledge of their plans.46 They were arrested and interned until the end of the war.47 That they were not executed proves that they had supplied no information of any worth to the Germans.

The main strength of the German-Indian plot did not lie in the imprisoned English group. The existence of a large-scale assassination conspiracy was only confirmed late in August 1915, when, once again, the censor seized certain incriminating documents. Thomson wrote:

The plan was to bring about the assassination of the leading men in the Entente countries. These included the King of Italy, the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Grey, and the War Minister, Lord Kitchener, the French President, Poincare, and Prime Minister, Viviani, as well as the Italian Prime Minister, Salandra. The bombs had been manufactured in Italy and were tested by the German military authorities at a military testing ground near Berlin.

It was not clear whether the plot was devised by the Germans or by the Indians themselves.48

In their Weekly Report for 29 June 1915 the Department of Criminal Intelligence reported that they had received information 'from a trustworthy source' that German agents in Switzerland, including Dr Abdul Hafiz, one of the leaders of the 'Indian National Party', were plotting to assassinate Italian government ministers.49 By August the DCI was in possession of full details of the plot. On 22 July Hafiz had come to Zurich and arranged for ten time-bombs to be sent to the German Consul there. Ali Eloui and an Italian anarchist named Bertoni were to take charge of the bombs. The Germans expected Bertoni and other Italian anarchists in their pay to be useful in smuggling the bombs over the Italian border. However, the plot 'miscarried as it was not kept sufficiently secret'. Hafiz was thrown out of Switzerland by the local police.50

Despite these alarming reports it was only on 29 November 1915 that Robert Nathan sent a request through the Foreign Office to the Italian government for all Indians to be stopped from crossing from Italy to Switzerland and, if possible, deported to England. If the German assassination plot was handled ineptly by the conspirators, Italian security measures appear to have been hardly more competent. Nathan noted that 'it would seem to be greatly to the interest of the Italian government to stop any such [Indian) traffic, since, as they know, one of the plots in which the Indian party in Berlin and Switzerland is concerned has been directed against high personages in Italy'. Nathan himself was by this time very impressed with the destructive capabilities of the Indo-German plotters. In a letter dated 4 December 1915 he informed Rowland Sperling of the Foreign Office that recent attempts to blow up the Turin arsenal and the railway tunnel of the Turin-Paris line were probably connected with their activity.51

On 1 December 1915 Sir Rennell Rodd, the British Ambassador at Rome, reported that 'an informer paid by India' had produced evidence which resulted in the arrest in Italy of 'three British subjects'.52 This is the first reference to direct British secret service activity in Italy in connection with the Indian plot. A senior Indian officer was only stationed in Italy in January 1916. On 31 January 1916 Nathan wrote that Major Gabriel , an officer of the Indian Civil Service who was home on leave, had been appointed to the British Military Mission in Rome.53 Gabriel advised the Italian government on the security measures which it finally undertook at this time against Indian suspects.54

At the same time that the plot in Italy was developing, in March 1915, the German and Indian plotters sent out a mission to the Suez Canal with the task of distributing seditious leaflets among Indian soldiers there. The mission included Tarak Nath Das and Tirumal Acharya. The British knew, after the event, that Das reached Constantinople at the end of 1915, and that by March 1916 he was back in Zurich.55 Yet the plan to subvert the loyalty of Indian troops in Egypt never materialized. At the beginning of September 1915 the Intelligence Department of the Egyptian War Office found copies of 'various Indian proclamations' in the Canal, which they assumed had been left by 'enemy individuals coming across the Sinai Peninsula'. No more than this was discovered about the German-Indian plot in Egypt. There was little more to learn, since the Indians called off their propaganda campaign almost as soon as it started. They had soon lost spirit when they realized that the call for the establishment of an Islamic state in India contained in their pamphlets was likely to have little appeal to the largely Hindu garrison of Egypt.56

Basil Thomson admitted that the British only came into possession of 'very definite evidence ... of the extent of the German- Indian conspiracy' in October 1915.57 In that month the London Special Branch arrested an Indian named Harish Chandra who had recently returned from America. Thomson recorded that on 23 October 1915 his 'long investigations' with Nathan into the Indian assassination plot culminated with Harish Chandra's confession , which took four hours to record in shorthand.58 Harish Chandra gave full details of the formation of the 'Indian National Party' in Berlin. The Indians' initial plans had been to subvert the loyalty of Indian POWs and to conduct a propaganda campaign from Berlin. The Germans looked down on them until the arrival of Mahendra Pratap together with his secretary, Harish Chandra. The details of Mahendra Pratap's mission have been given in Chapter 7. Were it not for Harish Chandra's confession the British might not even have known its existence. Though a failure, it was potentially the most dangerous of the German-Indian plots based in Europe. Harish Chandra gave further reliable information that at least two other missions had been sent off -- one to Japan and one to Singapore and also gave some information about the activities of the Ghadr Party in California.59

Despite his impeccable revolutionary credentials -- his father was the founder of a school devoted to educate the youth of India on purely Hindu lines -- Thomson and Nathan persuaded Harish Chandra to work for them as a secret agent.60 In December 1915 he arrived in Switzerland posing as the secretary to a (genuine) Prince who had recently been in England. The revolutionaries freely gave him details of German-Indian plots which Nathan and Thomson found that other sources confirmed.

In January 1916 Harish Chandra's mission in Switzerland was complete and he was examined by Major Wallinger. Chandra provided numerous addresses of Indians sympathetic to, or aiding Germany; the British were already familiar with some of them.61 Chandra provided a list of members of the Indian revolutionary committee at Berlin and gave details of the German secret service in French Switzerland. The importance of the link between Switzerland and unrest in the British Empire in the minds of the Germans was obvious. According to Harish Chandra, two of the most important German agents there were primarily concerned with Eastern affairs. The man 'in charge of the espionage arrangements in French Switzerland', Jacoby, had been in Persia for some years and had been ordered to watch Orientals visiting Switzerland, particularly Persians and Egyptians. Harish Chandra claimed that the Germans were 'anxious to find some person of rank who will proclaim a revolution in India'. In dealing with Egyptians Jacoby employed an Irishman married to a German who had served in the British Army in Egypt.62 On leaving Switzerland Harish Chandra received from the German Consul at Geneva a typewritten plan for a military rising in India led by German officers.63

In May 1916 Harish Chandra carried out a second mission in Switzerland. By this date not only had the German-Indian plans for assassination in Europe and for a rising in Afghanistan failed, but also ambitious schemes to cause mutiny in Burma and to supply arms to the revolutionaries of Bengal had fallen through completely. But Harish Chandra provided evidence that the Indian Committee in Berlin still had some support from the German government. The Indian revolutionaries in Switzerland gave him two glass tubes which he was to carry into India. The first tube contained a letter from the Kaiser to the Indian Princes; and the second contained a summary of the Berlin Indian Committee's aims. This document showed that the Germans were now concentrating on a vain project of inciting the Indian Buddhists. By the end of 1916 at the latest the London interdepartmental committee which dealt with German-Indian plots had concluded that it would be rash to disregard these schemes altogether, and that the best policy was to encourage the Germans to waste as much money as possible upon them for , given a minimum degree of vigilance, they now had no chance whatsoever of success.64

Harish Chandra was not the only Indian agent whom the British successfully used in Switzerland in 1916. In correspondence relating to the assassination plot of 1915 seized by the British censor there were many references to an Indian named Thakur Jessrajsinghji Sessodia. He had already come to the notice of the DCI in 1911 when he started a short-lived nationalist paper, The Rajput Herald in London. He had never been influential with Indian nationalists, who, none the less had propitiated him because he was related to Rajput noble families.65 When, at the beginning of October 1915, Nathan and Thomson interrogated Sessodia about the assassination plot, they found him to be 'a good-humoured-looking person with easy manners'. But on searching his room the police found 'letters addressed to notorious rebels and fomenters of assassination'. Sessodia admitted that his sympathies lay with the Indian nationalists; but that he was only 'coquetting' with the revolutionaries. He truthfully pointed out to Thomson that he had already given some details of the Indian plot to the India Office; Thomson encouraged him to become a British agent and released him.66 According to Thomson he soon 'succumbed' and was put 'on our regular pay list'.67

On 3 August 1916 Sessodia was sent to Switzerland, styling himself, to his great satisfaction, 'His Highness Prince Jessrajsinghji Sessodia of Jodhpur, Marwar' in order to attract the Germans.68 He returned from Switzerland at the end of October 1916 with information which confirmed the impression created by Harish Chandra's second mission that the German-Indian plots were no longer dangerous. The Germans instructed Sessodia to arrange by now fantastic plans for a native rising involving the landing of German armies on the west coast of India.69

Despite the success of his mission Sessodia's career in British intelligence was short. On 16 November 1916 Thomson entered in his diary that he had finished with him because he had shown himself to be 'leaky' by asking the Indian Member of the Viceroy's Executive Council for letters of introduction to Indian Rajahs in order to carry out the tasks which the Germans had set him.70

Not all the operations of Indian intelligence in Switzerland were successful. At the end of 1915 Thomson and Nathan encouraged a plan the boldness of which was matched only by that of the Indian conspirators themselves. Donald Gullick was a 24-year-old marine engineer suffering from a serious illness which led him to believe that he had only a few months to live. He had met Anna Brandt, the German mistress of the Indian nationalist Dube, in a sanatorium and had fallen in love with her. He proposed to Thomson 'a daring scheme for the capture of Chattopadhyaya by luring him into France, on the understanding that, if he was captured, Anna would be set at liberty'. Gullick impressed Thomson, as being 'resolute and powerful'. He was therefore allowed to proceed with his plan.71 Gullick succeeded in getting Chattopadbyaya to come to Berne. Anna Brandt had mentioned Gullick in her correspondence with Chattopadhyaya who, according to Gullick, trusted him. Thomson claimed that 'Chattopadhya was quite ready to cross the French frontier, but just as they came to details, Swiss detectives ran up and arrested them both on a charge of espionage.'72

Despite their early failure to keep pace with Indian plots in Europe, Nathan and J.A. Wallinger succeeded remarkably well in their surveillance of Indian revolutionaries in Europe during the critical period between late 1915 and early 1916. However, by the middle of 1915 John Wallinger's work for Military Intelligence was in disarray after the arrest of most of his European agents by the Swiss police. The Secret Service had fared little better in Switzerland. Wallinger tried to re-establish his network, recruiting among others, the writer Somerset Maugham. However, at the end of May 1916 his Swiss operations were again, according to Kirke, the head of the Intelligence Section at GHQ, close to collapse. Kirke concluded that 'JAW's show so far as we are concerned is a waste of money...' John Wallinger later tried to develop contacts with Germany through Denmark and Holland, which Kirke dismissed in turn as respectively a total failure and 'poaching' on his younger brother Ernest's territory. On 28 July 1916 Kirke recorded in his diary the 'parting of the ways with Wallinger.'73

Yet there is no evidence that Wallinger ever lost the respect of the Indian DCI and Home Department. There is little doubt that he operated primarily as an Indian officer. He continued to be seen as the mouthpiece of the DCI on the interdepartmental committee throughout the war. The main successes of Indian intelligence in Europe during the First World War -- the capture of Harish Chandra and of Sessodia -- owed something to chance, but far more to the knowledge of the Indian revolutionary movement and of its activities in Switzerland, which Indian intelligence had acquired since John Wallinger first arrived in Europe at the beginning of 1910.

It remains unclear whether J.A. Wallinger's failed agent networks in Switzerland, which he ran for Kirke, constituted the main part of his work. It is probable that they did not, and that John Wallinger was largely responsible for Indian operations in Switzerland. This would account for the presence of three British networks in Switzerland.74 There is no evidence that any Asian agent in british employ was ever captured by the Swiss or by the enemy. Dr. Parodi was still working for the British at the end of the war, while in 1917 Harish Chandra was sent on a successful mission to the United States, where he was put in charge of an enquiry into the revolutionary party's finances. In January 1917 Wallinger claimed that the British had also had recent success in sending agents into Germany from America.75

Wallinger did not cease to perform the duties of military intelligence after his 'parting of ways' with Kirke in Juyly 1916. His operations seem to have been placed under the control of Mansfield Cumming and the Secret Service on 1 August 1916. He was still working in Cumming's office at the end of 1917, training an officer to go into Switzerland.76

In 1917 and 1918 Austen Chamberlain, the Secretary of State for India, sent John Wallinger letters of thanks and appreciation. His operations in Switzerland continued to be important, since the activities of Egyptian nationalists there grew in importance in 1919, when serious civil unrest broke out in Egypt and when Switzerland became the scene of the negotiations which ended the Ottoman Empire. In 1919 Wallinger was placed on special duty in connection with the Egyptian political situation in addition to his own duties. Even then he did not have direct contact with all the agencies dedicated to the control of Egyptian unrest.77 By 1919 Wallinger had so much experience of Eastern nationalism in Europe that the Government of India no longer thought of replacing him. He remained the head of Indian intelligence in Europe until he retired in 1926.78



1. See, generally, C.M. Andrew, Secret Service (London: Heinemann, 1985), Ch 2.

2. Curriculum vitae of Sir John Wallinger kindly given to me by his great-nephew, Mr J.D.A. Wallinger.

3. See Andrew, op. cit., pp. 146-7. The Wallingers' sister's diary shows that 25 meetings took place between them in the first eight months of 1915. This information was kindly supplied by Mr J.D.A. Wallinger.

4. In December 1915 John Wallinger's address was 'Intelligence anglaise, 31 Boulevard des Invalides, Paris'. In 1916 it was c/o Cassia, 282 Boulevard St Germain.

5. Note signed 'A.L.', dated 25 May 1916, in Correspondence on the subject of Hector R. Kothavala, Deputy Superintendent, Bombay Presidency, to the Straits Settlements Government. HDB: Nov. 1916, nos. 389-406, in IOLR IOR.POS.10511.

6. Basil Thomson, The Scene Changes, (London: Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1939), p. 260.

7. Letter from C.R. Cleveland to Home Department, dated 29 October 1915, in Sedition in the Far East. Proposed deputation of Mr Petrie, Superintendent of Police, Punjab and Criminal Investigation Department, as Indian Intelligence Officer in the Far East. HDA: Feb. 1916, nos. 496-514, in IOLR IOR.POS.7296.

8. Likewise, when an Indian intelligence system was re-established in North America in 1916 it officially formed part of Mansfield Cumming's operations, although all concerned  recognized that its operations were directed by the India Office.

9. Demi-official letter from M.C. Seton to Sir Charles Cleveland, dated 6 November 1914, in Extension of the deputation of Mr. Wallinger in Europe for one year from 1st April 1915, and decision that he shall be paid a fixed salary during that period instead of pay according to the next below rule. HDA: March 1915, nos. 14-16, IOLR IOR.POS.7151.

10. On the termination of his mission to London, the Government of India had hoped to send Wallinger 'abroad to examine the position and to draw up considered proposals for the future'. Note by C.R. Cleveland, dated 2 June 1915. HDA: Nov. 1915, nos. 88-92, in IOLR IOR.POS.7295.

11. Ibid. Telegram from Secretary of State to Viceroy, 19 Aug. 1915.

12. Ibid. Note by C.R. Cleveland dated 11 Oct. 1915.

13. The Judicial and Public: Department was the India Office's department which corresponded to the Home Department of the Government of India. It was, therefore, concerned with the Indian police and with the domestic and foreign intelligence operations of the DCI. The designation of the Political and Secret Department has misled historians into believing that it was India's secret service. In fact it dealt with the Government of India's foreign affairs and corresponded to the Foreign and Political Department of the Government of India. It was largely concerned with the Indian Princes and with the Persian Gulf, since India's relations with most parts of the world were handled by the Foreign and Colonial Offices.

14. Note by Secretary, Judicial and Public Department, on Interdepartmental Conference held at the India Office on 10 March 1916. Deputation of Mr. D. Petrie as Intelligece Officer for the Far East in connection with Indian sedition. HDA: June 1916, nos. 285-95, IOLR IOR.POS.7297. Much of the information at the disposal of the interdepartmental committee has been preserved in Foreign Office Series 371, 'Hindu Agitations'. Reports from the Secret Service in this compilation are notably absent.

15. Andrew, op. cit., p. 174.

16. PRO WO9944 A-3.

17. See Ch. 4.

18. Letter from Harcourt Butler to Hardinge, dated 30 January 1914 in CUL Hardinge Papers, India: Original Correspondence, VII i, Vol. 60.

19. Andrew, op. cit., p. 193. However, the events related by Thomson in The Scene Changes and Queer People (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1922) are all confirmed by Foreign Office and Indian sources.

20. By 1939, when Thomson printed his war diary in The Scene Changes, Nathan had been dead for over ten years. This may have encouraged Thomson to refer to a man who had served not only in M15, but also as head of the political branch of the Secret Service.

21. The cavalry divisions remained. serving on the Western Front throughout the war. Boris Mollo, The Indian Army, (Poole: Blandford Press, 1981), Ch. 5, 'Kitchener's Army, 1903- 1922'.

22. Rozina Visram, Ayahs, Lascars and Princes (London: Pluto Press, 1986), quoting E.B. Howell's report dated 23 January 1915, L/Mil/5/825, part I, ff. 1-185, extracts from censored mails.

23. Weekly Report of the Director of Criminal Intelligence (henceforth 'Weekly Report.' ), 3 Nov. 1914. HDB: Dec. 1914, nos. 223-6, in IOLR IOR.POS.

24. Ibid. Weekly Report, 17 Nov. 1914.

25. Weekly Report, 1 Dec. 1914. HDB: Dec. 1914, nos. 227- 9, IORL IOR.POS.9837.

26. Ibid. Weekly Report, 8 Dec. 1914.

27. Letter from Bertie to Grey, 31 July 1915, in PRO F0371 2494 (104416). Minute Paper on letter from India Office, 5Aug. 1915, in PRO FO371 2494 (107584).

28. Letter from Bertie to Foreign Office, 28 Oct. 1914. in FO115 1907, no. 2.

29. Suspects were to be handed over to the local French civil authorities, who, in turn, were to hand over the suspect to the British military authorities for deportation. Letter from Cambon to Bertie, 28 Jan. 1916, in PRO FO371 2784 (20898).

30. Weekly Report, 15 Sept. 1914. HDB: Dec. 1914, nos. 216-17 in IOLR IOR.POS.9837.

31. Weekly Report, 29 Sept. 1914. HDA: Dec. 1914 in IOLR IOR.POS.9837.

32. Weekly Report, 20 Oct. 1914. HDB: Dec. 1914, nos. 218- 22. IOLR IOR.POS.9837.

33. This meeting with the German Consul was reported in the Weekly Report, 20 Oct. 1914. HDB: Dec. 1914, nos. 218-22 in IOLR IOR.POS.9837. 

34. James Campbell Ker, Political Trouble In India, 1907- 1917 (Reprint, Calcutta: Editions Indian, 1973), p.241.

35. Ibid., pp. 265-6.

36. Ibid., p. 244. Weekly Report, June 1915. HDB: June 549-52,in IOLR IOR.POS.9840.

37. Ibid., Weekly Report, 22 June 1915.

38.Weekly Report, 27 July 1915. HDB: July1915, nos. 516-17 in IOLR IOR.POS.9840.

39. Letter from Seton to Sperling, 24 January 1917. PRO FO371/3064 (19618).

40. Parodi reported to the Consul at Geneva, who in turn reported to Berne. The British Embassy then sent on Parodi's reports to the Foreign Office. It is not clear whether Parodi had been recruited by John Wallinger or whether he had been sent out from Cairo by the Arab Bureau.

41. Letter from Evelyn Grant Duff, Berne, to Foreign Office, 28 Nov. 1914, in PRO FO115/1908, no. 3.

42. Weekly Report, 26 Sept. 1911. HDB: Oct. 1911, nos. 46-9 in IOLR IOR.POS.8972.

43. Telegram from Spring Rice to Foreign Office, dated 29 July 1915, in PRO FO371 2494 (103905).

44. Weekly Report, 21 Dec. 1915. HDB: Dec. 1915, nos. 709-11 in IOLR IOR.POS.9841.

45; Weekly Report, 2 Nov. 1915.

46. Thomson, Queer People, (op. cit.), pp. 98-9. The Scene Changes, op. cit., pp. 250-2.

47. Queer People, op. cit., p. 99.

48. Ibid., p.98-9.

49. Weekly Report, 29 June 1915. HDB: July 1915, no. 520 in IOLR IOR.POS. 9840.

50. Ker, op. cit., p. 247. Weekly Report, 17 Aug. 1915. HDB: Aug. 1915, nos. 552-6 in IOLR IOR.POS.9840.

51. Letters from Nathan, MO5g/2, to Sperling, 29 Nov. and 4 Dec. 1915, in PRO FO371/ 2497 (181824).

52. Telegram from Sir Rennell Rodd, Rome, to Foreign Office, 1 Dec; 1915, in FO371/ 2497 (182672).

53. Letter from Nathan to Lyons, 31 Jan. 1916, in PRO FO371 2784 (17918).

54. He was still working in Rome at the end of the year. Letter from Rodd, Rome, to Foreign Office, in PRO FO371 2789 (191539). The Italian government only gave instructions for the careful examination of all Indians landing in Italy in January 1916. They excused their lack of action by referring to the state of Italian law, which did not allow police measures to be taken against whole categories of people, only against individuals. For this reason no round-up of Austrian and German citizens took place in Italy at the start of the war. 'Indians landing in Italy. Intimation, that the Foreign Office have asked the Ambassador at Rome to deport to England all Indians landing in Italy, or failing that to intimate their names, keep them under observation, and prevent them crossing to Switzerland'. HD(A): Feb. 1916 ,nos.430-8 in IOLR IOR.POS.9841

55. Ker, op. cit., p. 247. Weekly Report, 21 Dec. 1915. HDB: Dec. 1915, nos. 709-11 in IOLR IOR.POS.9841.

56. Intelligence in the Arab world was not a major concern of the Department of Criminal Intelligence. However, the Political and Secret Department noted that Private Cholmeley had sailed on 10 September to Jeddah where he was to serve as Criminal Investigation Department Officer, watching Indian pilgrims. There he served under Lieutenant Colonel C.E. Wilson, who reported to the Arab Bureau in Cairo. Telegram from the Viceroy, Foreign Department, to Cairo, 21 Sept. 1916, in PRO FO371 2789 (192896). In November 1916 Sub-Inspector Shaikh of the Bombay CID was working for Wilson in Mecca. Letter from C.R Wilson, Jeddah, to the Director, Arab Bureau, 11 Nov. 1916, in PRO FO371 2790 (242004).

57. Queer People, op. cit., p.100.

58. The Scene Changes, op. cit., pp. 250-1.

59. Ibid., pp. 250-2.

60. Ker, op. cit., p. 245.

61. Most notably Vincent Kraft, Germany's chief secret agent in the Far East, who was now working for the Singapore authorities.

62. Gifford is the model for the traitor Grantley Caypor in Somerset Maugham's Ashenden Stories.

63. The Scene Changes, op. cit. pp. 260-1. 'Memorandum of information obtained by an Indian during a recent visit to Switzerland', Jan. 1916, in Straits Settlements Correspondence, PRO CO273 450.

64. Letter from Wallinger to Cleveland, dated 29 June 1918. Wallinger wrote that 'the policy of allowing German schemes to develop in channels over which the British can exercise a surveillance in preference to forcing them by preventive action into unknown channels has been generally accepted here by experts with the most intimate knowledge of German workings. If we stop the Germans from spending thousands of pounds on wild-cat schemes for stirring up trouble in India which are so hare-brained as to be almost impossible of success, and can in any case be supervised by us, the time, energy and money which they undoubtedly do spend at present in this fashion will be diverted onto schemes and into channels of which we would be completely in ignorance, and which might ultimately prove a far greater danger to the Empire as a whole than all their present machinations can ever be'.

65. Weekly Report, 26 May 1914. HDB: June 1914, nos. 142-5 in IOLR IOR.POS.9837.

66. The Scene Changes, op. cit., pp. 248-9, p. 305.

67. Scotland Yard gave him the codename 'Mr Jones' by Scotland Yard. Ibid., pp. 248-9, 304-5.

68. Ibid., p. 305. The first person whose attention he attracted was the British Military Attache at Berne, who placed an informant with him. Telegram from Lieutenant Colonel W. Wyndham, Military Attache, to Sir Horace Rumbold, Berne, 10 Oct. 1916, in PRO FO371 2789 (206530).

69. The Scene Changes, op. cit., pp.309-10.

70. The Scene Changes, op. cit., p. 310.

71. The Scene Changes, op. cit., pp. 257-8, Thomson did not reveal how Gullick proposed to entice Virendranath Chattopadhyaya onto French soil. In his short story Giulia Lazzari Somerset Maugham tells how Ashenden tried to get a fictitious Indian revolutionary leader named Chandra Lal into France, by using the latter's ex-mistress as the bait. There is no evidence that Gullick brought Hilda Howsin, the daughter of the Yorkshire doctor, with him to Switzerland, though it seems that she had been one of Chattopadhyaya's many lovers. Giulia Lazzari itself is a combination of the Mata Hari story with that of Gullick.

72. The Scene Changes, op. cit., pp. 257-8. Weekly Report, 23 Jan. 1916. Gullick's plan apparently did not lack inspiration for in May 1916 Thomson urged him to return to Switzerland, in another effort to capture Chattopadhyaya, even though the latter informed the Daily Mail that Thomson made him go to Germany against his will. The Scene Changes, op. cit., p. 288.

73. Andrew, op. cit., pp. 148-53.

74. Admittedly a similar overlapping of the jurisdictions of British intelligence networks existed in the Low Countries, where there was no Indian revolutionary activity. Interestingly of the four surviving Ashenden Stories which relate to events in Western Europe during the War, three deal either in their subject matter or in their source material, with Eastern nationalists. Miss King is about the Egyptians; the character Chandra Lal in Giulia Lazzari is clearly Virendranath Chattopadhyaya; and The Traitor is based on the life of Gifford, the Germans' Egyptian expert at Lausanne.

75. Copy of a note by Major J.A. Wallinger, 2 Jan. 1917, in PRO FO371 3063 (263555/A/16).

76. This paragraph is based on references from the Kirke Diary given to me by Dr Nicholas Hiley of New Hall College, Cambridge.

77. On 24 July 1919 Wallinger sent Cleveland a long memorandum entitled 'The Nearer East and the British Empire'. He was not sure who the author was, though he believed him to be 'an officer specially deputed by General Headquarters, Constantinople, to report on the situation in Switzerland.' Defensive Measures Proposed for Dealing with Bolshevism, HDA: Dec. 1919, nos. 1-7, IOR.POS.8622.

Curriculum Vitae of Sir John Wallinger, op. cit. Vickery left on an important mission to America in 1919 and was replaced by Major Pritchard, a Superintendent of the Indian Police Employment of Mr Newby vice Mr Vickery, pending Major P.A.R. Pritchard's assumption of the office. HDB: July 1919, nos. 122-32 & K.W., IOLR IOR.POS.10516.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Wed May 12, 2021 9:02 am

Mansfield Smith-Cumming
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/12/21

Sir Mansfield Smith-Cumming
Born: Mansfield George Smith, 1 April 1859, Lee, Kent, England
Died: 14 June 1923 (aged 64), Kensington, London, England[1]
Nationality: British
Spouse(s): Leslie Valiant-Cumming ​(m. 1889)​
Awards: Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George; Companion of the Order of the Bath; Order of St Stanislas (Russia); India General Service Medal (with Perak clasp)[2]; Egypt Medal; British War Medal; Officer of the Legion of Honour (France); Khedive's Star; Order of St Vladimir (Russia)
Espionage activity
Allegiance: United Kingdom
Service branch: Royal Navy; SIS (MI6)
Service years: 1878–1909 (Royal Navy); 1909–1923 (SIS)
Rank: Captain
Head: of the SIS
Operations: World War I

Sir Mansfield George Smith-Cumming KCMG CB (1 April 1859[3] – 14 June 1923) was a British naval officer and the first director of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS).


He was a great-great grandson of the prominent merchant John Smith, a director of both the South Sea Company and the East India Company, the second son of Abel Smith (d. 1756), the Nottingham banker who founded a banking dynasty and whose business much later became National Westminster Bank, now one of the largest banks in the UK.[4]

Early naval career

Smith joined the Royal Navy and underwent training at Dartmouth from the age of twelve and was appointed acting sub-lieutenant in 1878. He was posted to HMS Bellerophon in 1877, and for the next seven years served in operations against Malay pirates (during 1875–6) and in Egypt in 1883. However, he increasingly suffered from seasickness, and in 1885 was placed on the retired list as "unfit for service". Prior to being appointed to run the Secret Service Bureau (SSB), he was working on boom defences in Bursledon on the River Hamble.[5]

He added the surname Cumming after his marriage in 1889 to Leslie Marian Valiant-Cumming, heiress of Logie near Forres in the County of Moray.[6]

Head of the SIS


In 1909, Major (later Colonel Sir) Vernon Kell became director of the new Secret Intelligence Bureau (SIB) and created as a response to growing public opinion that all Germans living in England were spies. In 1911, the various security organizations were re-organised under the SIB, Kell's division becoming the Home Section, and Cumming's becoming the new Foreign Section (Secret Service Bureau), responsible for all operations outside Britain. Over the next few years he became known as 'C', after his habit of sometimes signing himself with a C eventually written in green ink. That habit became a custom for later directors, although the C now stands for "Chief". Ian Fleming took these aspects for his "M" from the James Bond novels.[7]

In 1914, he was involved in a serious road accident in France in which his son was killed. Legend has it that to escape the car wreck he was forced to amputate his own leg using a pen knife. Hospital records have shown, however, that while both his legs were broken, his left foot was amputated only the day after the accident. Later he often told all sorts of fantastic stories as to how he lost his leg and would shock people by interrupting meetings in his office by suddenly stabbing his artificial leg with a knife, letter opener or fountain pen.[8]

Budgets were severely limited prior to World War I, and Cumming came to rely heavily on Sidney Reilly (aka the Ace of Spies), a secret agent of dubious veracity based in Saint Petersburg.[9]

World War I

At the outbreak of war he was able to work with Vernon Kell and Sir Basil Thomson of the Special Branch to arrest twenty-two German spies in England. Eleven were executed, as was Sir Roger Casement, found guilty of treason in 1916. During the war, the offices were renamed. The Home Section became MI5 or Security Service, while Cumming's Foreign Section became MI6 or the Secret Intelligence Service. Agents who worked for MI6 during the war included Augustus Agar, Paul Dukes, John Buchan, Compton Mackenzie and W. Somerset Maugham.[10]

When SSB discovered that semen made a good invisible ink, his agents adopted the motto "Every man his own stylo". However, the use of semen as invisible ink was ceased because of the smell it produced for the eventual receiver. It also raised questions over the masturbatory habits of the agents.[7][11]


See also: Irish War of Independence

The Government Committee on Intelligence decided to slash Kell's budget and staff and to subordinate MI5 under a new Home Office Civil Intelligence Directorate led by Special Branch's Sir Basil Thomson in January 1919. The powerful partnership of MI5 and Special Branch had managed counterintelligence and subversives during the war, but that was suddenly thrown into disarray. These bureaucratic intrigues happened at the very moment when the Irish abstentionist party Sinn Féin and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) were launching their own independence campaign.[12]

Cumming and SIS (then MI1(c)) organized a new espionage unit in Ireland in mid-1920 called the Dublin District Special Branch. It consisted of some 20 line officers drawn from the regular army and trained by Cumming's department in London. Cumming also began importing some of his own veteran case officers into Ireland from Egypt, Palestine, and India, while Basil Thomson organized a special unit consisting of 60 Irish street agents managed by communications from Scotland Yard in London.[13]

On Sunday, 21 November 1920, the Headquarters Intelligence Staff of the IRA and its special Counterintelligence Branch under the leadership of Michael Collins assassinated 14 of Cumming's case officers. Many agents appear to have escaped the IRA execution squads that morning, but Whitehall feared that more of its professional agents would be identified and suffer the same fate; this prompted the hasty withdrawal of most of the remaining SIS agents from Ireland in the days that followed.[14] A blue plaque was unveiled on 30 March 2015 in Cumming's name at the SIS headquarters at 2 Whitehall Court.[15]

English Heritage Blue Plaque at 2 Whitehall Court, London SW1A 2EJ

Portrayal in popular culture

• Cumming was the basis for the fictional head of the SIS, named Control, in the John le Carré espionage novel The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and other novels. In the movie version of le Carré's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Control signs his name as 'C' using green ink, as Cumming did in real life.[16]
• Cumming was also the basis for the fictional head of SIS in the original James Bond novels by Ian Fleming. Fleming chose to name his chief 'M' from Cumming's first name, Mansfield.[7]
• In the television series Reilly, Ace of Spies, he was portrayed by Norman Rodway.[17]
• He was portrayed by Joss Ackland in the BBC1 TV series Ashenden in 1991.[18]
• He was mentioned in the Comedy Central television satire-newscast, Colbert Report 11 October 2010.[19]

See also

• Vernon Kell
• Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart
• Sidney Reilly
• Boris Savinkov
• William Melville
• Charles Cumming


1. "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
2. "The Perak War 1875–1876". Retrieved 23 December 2016.
3. Judd, Alan (1999). The quest for C : Sir Mansfield Cumming and the founding of the British Secret Service. London: HarperCollins. p. 3. ISBN 0-00-255901-3. OCLC 42215120.
4. J. Leighton Boyce, Smith's the Bankers 1658–1958 (1958).
5. West 2006, p. 312
6. "Dictionary of National Biography". Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press. 1995. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
7. Piers Brendon. "The spymaster who was stranger than fiction". The Independent. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
8. QI, BBC One, Season 3, episode 10
9. Spence 2002, pp. 172-173, 185-186.
10. Popplewell 1995, p. 230.
11. Kristie Macrakis (2014). Prisoners, Lovers, and Spies: The Story of Invisible Ink from Herodotus to Al-Qaeda. Yale University Press. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-300-17925-5.
12. Cottrell, p. 28.
13. McMahon, p.39
14. Dolan, pp. 798-802
15. Norton-Taylor, Richard (31 March 2015). "Sir Mansfield Cumming, first MI6 chief, commemorated with blue plaque". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
16. "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: John Le Carre and reality". BBC. 11 September 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
17. Reilly: Ace of Spies at IMDb
18. Ashenden at IMDb
19. "The Colbert Report - Series | Comedy Central Official Site |". 14 March 2017. Retrieved 23 May 2017.


• Andrew, C: Secret service: the making of the British intelligence community; 1985
• Cottrell, Peter, The Anglo-Irish War The Troubles of 1913-1922, London: Osprey, 2006
• Dolan, Anne: Killing and Bloody Sunday, 1920, The Historical Journal, September 2006, Volume 49, Issue 3.
• Ferguson, Harry : Operation Kronstadt: The True Story of Honor, Espionage, and the Rescue of Britain's Greatest Spy, the Man with a Hundred Faces ; 2010
• Hiley, N: The failure of British espionage against Germany, 1907–1914, HJ, 26 (1983), 867–89
• Jeffery, Keith: The Secret History of MI6, Penguin Press, 2010
• Judd, Alan: The Quest For C – Mansfield Cumming and the Founding of the Secret Service, HarperCollinsPublishers, 1999, ISBN 0-00-255901-3
• McMahon, Paul (2011). British Spies and Irish Rebels: British Intelligence and Ireland, 1916-1945. Boydell Press. ISBN 978-1843836568.
• Milton, Giles: Russian Roulette: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot, Sceptre, 2013. ISBN 978 1 444 73702 8
• Popplewell, Richard J. (1995). Intelligence and Imperial Defence: British Intelligence and the Defence of the Indian Empire 1904–1924. Routledge. ISBN 0-7146-4580-X..
• Smith, Michael: SIX: The Real James Bonds, 1909–1939, Biteback, 2011. ISBN 978-1-84954-097-1
• Spence, Richard B. (2002). Trust No One: The Secret World of Sidney Reilly. Feral House. ISBN 978-0-922915-79-8.
• West, N: MI5 London: Prendeville Publishers, 1972.
• West, N: Historical Dictionary of International Intelligence, Scarecrow, 2006, ISBN 978-0810855786
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Fri May 14, 2021 12:07 am

Part 1 of 2

Shivaji [Chhatrapati Shivaji ]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/13/21

Shivaji I
Haindava Dharmodhhaarak[2]
Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire
Shivaji's portrait (1680s) in the British Library
1st Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire
Reign: 1674–1680
Coronation: 6 June 1674 (first); 24 September 1674 (second)
Successor: Sambhaji
Born: 19 February 1630, Shivneri Fort, Shivneri, Ahmadnagar Sultanate (present-day Maharashtra, India)
Died: 3 April 1680 (aged 50), Raigad Fort, Raigad, Maratha Empire (present-day Maharashtra, India)
Spouse: Sai Bhonsale; Soyarabai; Putalabai; Sakvarbai; Kashibai Jadhav[3]
Issue: Sakhubai Nimbalkar[4]; Ranubai Jadhav; Ambikabai Mahadik; Sambhaji; Rajaram; Rajkumaribai Shirke
House: Bhonsle
Father: Shahaji
Mother: Jijabai
Religion: Hinduism

Shivaji Bhonsale I (Marathi: शिवाजी भोसले; Marathi pronunciation: [ʃiʋaˑɟiˑ bʱoˑs(ə)leˑ]; c. 1627 / February 19, 1630 – April 3, 1680[5]), also referred to as Chhatrapati Shivaji, was an Indian ruler and a member of the Bhonsle Maratha clan. Shivaji carved out an enclave from the declining Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur that formed the genesis of the Maratha Empire. In 1674, he was formally crowned the Chhatrapati (emperor) of his realm at Raigad.

Over the course of his life, Shivaji engaged in both alliances and hostilities with the Mughal Empire, the Sultanate of Golkonda and the Sultanate of Bijapur, as well as with European colonial powers. Shivaji's military forces expanded the Maratha sphere of influence, capturing and building forts, and forming a Maratha navy. Shivaji established a competent and progressive civil rule with well-structured administrative organisations. He revived ancient Hindu political traditions and court conventions and promoted the usage of the Marathi language.

Shivaji's legacy was to vary by observer and time, but nearly two centuries after his death, he began to take on increased importance with the emergence of the Indian independence movement, as many Indian nationalists elevated him as a proto-nationalist and hero of the Hindus.[6]


See also: Bhonsle § origin

Shivaji was born in family of Bhonsle, a Maratha clan.[7] Shivaji's paternal grandfather Maloji (1552–1597) was an influential general of Ahmadnagar Sultanate, and was awarded the epithet of "Raja".

The Ahmadnagar Sultanate was a late medieval Indian kingdom located in the northwestern Deccan, between the sultanates of Gujarat and Bijapur. Malik Ahmad, the Bahmani governor of Junnar after defeating the Bahmani army led by general Jahangir Khan on 28 May 1490 declared independence and established the Nizam Shahi dynasty rule over the sultanate of Ahmednagar. Initially his capital was in the town of Junnar with its fort, later renamed Shivneri. In 1494, the foundation was laid for the new capital Ahmadnagar. In 1636 Aurangzeb, then Mugal viceroy of Deccan, finally annexed the sultanate to the Mughal Empire.

-- Ahmadnagar Sultanate, by Wikipedia

He was given deshmukhi rights of Pune, Supe, Chakan and Indapur for military expenses.

Deshmukh (Dēśamukh), (Marathi: देशमुख, Kannada: ದೇಶ್ಮುಖ್, Telugu: దేశముఖ్) is a historical title conferred to the rulers of a Dēśamukhi. It is used as a surname in certain regions of India, specifically in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh whose family received it as a title.

In Sanskrit, Desh means land, country and mukh means head or chief; thus, deshmukh means "the head" of a district.

Deshmukh was a historical title given to a person who was granted a territory of land, in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The granted territory was usually referred to as the Dēśamukhi. The Deshmukh was in effect the ruler of the territory, as he was entitled to a portion of the collected taxes. It was also his duty to maintain the basic services in the territory, such as police and judicial duties. It was typically a hereditary system. The title of Deshmukh provided the titled family with revenues from the area and the responsibilities to keep the orders...

It was similar in many respects to the Zamindar and Jagir systems in India, and can be considered as a feudal system. Typically taxes collected were to be distributed fairly, and occasionally Deshmukhs participated in Vedic rituals in which they redistributed all material possessions to the people. However, the title Deshmukh should not be associated to a particular religion or caste. Deshmukhis were granted by the Deccan sultanates, Mughal emperors, Nizams of Hyderabad and other Muslim rulers and by Maratha emperors (Chhatrapatis) to Deshastha Brahmins, Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhus, Chitpavan Brahmins, Marathas, Lingayats, Reddys, Jains and Muslims.

-- Deshmukh, by Wikipedia

He was also given Fort Shivneri for his family's residence (c. 1590).[/b][8][9]

Early life

Main article: Early life of Shivaji

Shivneri Fort

Shivaji was born in the hill-fort of Shivneri, near the city of Junnar in what is now Pune district. Scholars disagree on his date of birth. The Government of Maharashtra lists 19 February as a holiday commemorating Shivaji's birth (Shivaji Jayanti).[a][16][17] Shivaji was named after a local deity, the goddess Shivai.[18] Shivaji's father Shahaji Bhonsle was a Maratha general who served the Deccan Sultanates.[19] His mother was Jijabai, the daughter of Lakhuji Jadhavrao of Sindhkhed, a Mughal-aligned sardar claiming descent from a Yadav royal family of Devagiri.[20][21]

At the time of Shivaji's birth, power in Deccan was shared by three Islamic sultanates: Bijapur, Ahmednagar, and Golkonda. Shahaji often changed his loyalty between the Nizamshahi of Ahmadnagar, the Adilshah of Bijapur and the Mughals, but always kept his jagir (fiefdom) at Pune and his small army.[19]

A statue of young Shivaji with Jijabai installed at the fort of Shivneri in 1960s


Shivaji was devoted to his mother Jijabai, who was deeply religious. His studies of the Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, also influenced his lifelong defence of Hindu values.[22] He was deeply interested in religious teachings, and regularly sought the company of Hindu saints.[23] Shahaji, meanwhile had married a second wife, Tuka Bai from the Mohite family. Having made peace with the Mughals, ceding them six forts, he went to serve the Sultanate of Bijapur. He moved Shivaji and Jijabai from Shivneri to Pune and left them in the care of his jagir administrator, Dadoji Konddeo, who has been credited with overseeing the education and training of young Shivaji.[24]

Many of Shivaji's comrades, and later a number of his soldiers, came from the Maval region, including Yesaji Kank, Suryaji Kakade, Baji Pasalkar, Baji Prabhu Deshpande and Tanaji Malusare.[25] Shivaji traveled the hills and forests of the Sahyadri range with his Maval friends, gaining skills and familiarity with the land that would prove useful in his military career.[26] Shivaji's independent spirit and his association with the Maval youths did not sit well with Dadoji, who complained without success to Shahaji.[27]

In 1639, Shahaji was stationed at Bangalore, which was conquered from the Nayaks who had taken control after the demise of the Vijayanagara Empire. He was asked to hold and settle the area.[28] Shivaji was taken to Bangalore where he, his elder brother Sambhaji, and his half brother Ekoji I were further formally trained. He married Saibai from the prominent Nimbalkar family in 1640.[29] As early as 1645, the teenage Shivaji expressed his concept for Hindavi Swarajya (Indian self-rule), in a letter. [30][ b]

Conflict with Bijapur

In 1645, the 15-year-old Shivaji bribed or persuaded Inayat Khan, the Bijapuri commander of the Torna Fort, to hand over possession of the fort to him.[34] The Maratha Firangoji Narsala, who held the Chakan fort, professed his loyalty to Shivaji, and the fort of Kondana was acquired by bribing the Bijapuri governor.[35] On 25 July 1648, Shahaji was imprisoned by Baji Ghorpade under the orders of Bijapuri ruler Mohammed Adilshah, in a bid to contain Shivaji.[36]

According to Sarkar, Shahaji was released in 1649 after the capture of Jinji secured Adilshah's position in Karnataka. During these developments, from 1649–1655 Shivaji paused in his conquests and quietly consolidated his gains.[37] After his release, Shahaji retired from public life, and died around 1664–1665 in a hunting accident. Following his father's release, Shivaji resumed raiding, and in 1656, under controversial circumstances, killed Chandrarao More, a fellow Maratha feudatory of Bijapur, and seized the valley of Javali, near present-day Mahabaleshwar, from him.[38][39]In addition to the Bhonsale and the More families, many others including Sawant of Sawantwadi, Ghorpade of Mudhol, Nimbalkar of Phaltan, Shirke, Mane and Mohite also served Adilshahi of Bijapur, many with Deshmukhi rights. Shivaji adopted different strategies to subdue these powerful families such as marrying their daughters, dealing directly with village Patil to bypass the Deshmukhs, or fighting them. [40]

Combat with Afzal Khan

An early-20th-century painting by Sawlaram Haldankar of Shivaji fighting the Bijapuri general Afzal Khan

Adilshah was displeased at his losses to Shivaji's forces, which his vassal Shahaji disavowed. Having ended his conflict with the Mughals and having a greater ability to respond, in 1657 Adilshah sent Afzal Khan, a veteran general, to arrest Shivaji. Before engaging him, the Bijapuri forces desecrated the Tulja Bhavani Temple, holy to Shivaji's family, and the Vithoba temple at Pandharpur, a major pilgrimage site for the Hindus.[41][42][43]

Pursued by Bijapuri forces, Shivaji retreated to Pratapgad fort, where many of his colleagues pressed him to surrender.[44] The two forces found themselves at a stalemate, with Shivaji unable to break the siege, while Afzal Khan, having a powerful cavalry but lacking siege equipment, was unable to take the fort. After two months, Afzal Khan sent an envoy to Shivaji suggesting the two leaders meet in private outside the fort to parley.[45][46]

The two met in a hut at the foothills of Pratapgad fort on 10 November 1659. The arrangements had dictated that each come armed only with a sword, and attended by one follower. Shivaji, either suspecting Afzal Khan would arrest or attack him,[47][48] or secretly planning to attack himself,[49] wore armour beneath his clothes, concealed a bagh nakh (metal "tiger claw") on his left arm, and had a dagger in his right hand.[50]

Accounts vary on whether Shivaji or Afzal Khan struck the first blow:[48] Maratha chronicles accuse Afzal Khan of treachery, while Persian-language records attribute the treachery to Shivaji.[51][52] In the fight, Afzal Khan's dagger was stopped by Shivaji's armour, and Shivaji's weapons inflicted mortal wounds on the general; Shivaji then fired a cannon to signal his hidden troops to attack the Bijapuri army.[53] In the ensuing Battle of Pratapgarh fought on 10 November 1659, Shivaji's forces decisively defeated the Bijapur Sultanate's forces.[citation needed] More than 3,000 soldiers of the Bijapur army were killed and one sardar of high rank, two sons of Afzal Khan and two Maratha chiefs were taken prisoner.[54]

After the victory, a grand review was held by Shivaji below Pratapgarh. The captured enemy, both officers and men, were set free and sent back to their homes with money, food and other gifts. Marathas were rewarded accordingly.[54]

Pratapgad fort

Siege of Panhala

Having defeated the Bijapuri forces sent against him, Shivaji's army marched towards the Konkan and Kolhapur, seizing Panhala fort, and defeating Bijapuri forces sent against them under Rustam Zaman and Fazl Khan in 1659.[55] In 1660, Adilshah sent his general Siddi Jauhar to attack Shivaji's southern border, in alliance with the Mughals who planned to attack from the north. At that time, Shivaji was encamped at Panhala fort with his forces. Siddi Jauhar's army besieged Panhala in mid-1660, cutting off supply routes to the fort. During the bombardment of Panhala, Siddi Jauhar purchased grenades from the English at Rajapur to increase his efficacy, and also hired some English artillerymen to assist in his bombardment of the fort, conspicuously flying a flag used by the English. This perceived betrayal angered Shivaji, who in December would retaliate by plundering the English factory at Rajapur and capturing four of the factors, imprisoning them until mid-1663.[56]

After months of siege, Shivaji negotiated with Siddi Jauhar and handed over the fort on 22 September 1660, withdrawing to Vishalgad;[57] Shivaji retook Panhala in 1673.[citation needed]

Battle of Pavan Khind

There is some dispute over the circumstances of Shivaji's withdrawal (treaty or escape) and his destination (Ragna or Vishalgad), but the popular story details his night movement to Vishalgad and a sacrificial rear-guard action to allow him to escape.[citation needed] Per these accounts, Shivaji withdrew from Panhala by cover of night, and as he was pursued by the enemy cavalry, his Maratha sardar Baji Prabhu Deshpande of Bandal Deshmukh, along with 300 soldiers, volunteered to fight to the death to hold back the enemy at Ghod Khind ("horse ravine") to give Shivaji and the rest of the army a chance to reach the safety of the Vishalgad fort.[58][page needed]

In the ensuing Battle of Pavan Khind, the smaller Maratha force held back the larger enemy to buy time for Shivaji to escape. Baji Prabhu Deshpande was wounded but continued to fight until he heard the sound of cannon fire from Vishalgad,[7] signalling Shivaji had safely reached the fort, on the evening of 13 July 1660.[59] Ghod Khind (khind meaning "a narrow mountain pass") was later renamed Paavan Khind ("sacred pass") in honour of Bajiprabhu Deshpande, Shibosingh Jadhav, Fuloji, and all other soldiers who fought in there.[59]

Conflict with the Mughals

Shivaji and Subedar's Daughter M. V. Dhurandhar

Until 1657, Shivaji maintained peaceful relations with the Mughal Empire. Shivaji offered his assistance to Aurangzeb who then, was the Mughal viceroy of the Deccan and son of the Mughal emperor, in conquering Bijapur in return for formal recognition of his right to the Bijapuri forts and villages under his possession. Dissatisfied with the Mughal response, and receiving a better offer from Bijapur, he launched a raid into the Mughal Deccan.[60] Shivaji's confrontations with the Mughals began in March 1657, when two of Shivaji's officers raided the Mughal territory near Ahmednagar.[61] This was followed by raids in Junnar, with Shivaji carrying off 300,000 hun in cash and 200 horses.[62] Aurangzeb responded to the raids by sending Nasiri Khan, who defeated the forces of Shivaji at Ahmednagar. However, Aurangzeb's countermeasures against Shivaji were interrupted by the rainy season and his battle of succession with his brothers for the Mughal throne following the illness of the emperor Shah Jahan.[63]

Attacks on Shaista Khan and Surat

Main articles: Battle of Chakan and Battle of Surat

Shaistekhan Surprised

Upon the request of Badi Begum of Bijapur, Aurangzeb, now the Mughal emperor, sent his maternal uncle Shaista Khan, with an army numbering over 150,000 along with a powerful artillery division in January 1660 to attack Shivaji in conjunction with Bijapur's army led by Siddi Jauhar. Shaista Khan, with his better–equipped and –provisioned army of 80,000 seized Pune. He also took the nearby fort of Chakan, besieging it for a month and a half before breaching the walls.[64] Shaista Khan pressed his advantage of having a larger, better provisioned and heavily armed Mughal army and made inroads into some of the Maratha territory, seizing the city of Pune and establishing his residence at Shivaji's palace of Lal Mahal.[65]

In April 1663, Shivaji launched a surprise attack on Shaista Khan in Pune, along with a small group of men. After gaining access to Khan's compound, the raiders were able to kill some of his wives; Shaista Khan escaped, losing a finger in the melee.[66] The Khan took refuge with the Mughal forces outside of Pune, and Aurangzeb punished him for this embarrassment with a transfer to Bengal.[67]

In retaliation for Shaista Khan's attacks, and to replenish his now-depleted treasury, in 1664 Shivaji sacked the port city of Surat, a wealthy Mughal trading centre.[68]

Treaty of Purandar

Raja Jai Singh of Amber receiving Shivaji a day before concluding the Treaty of Purandar

Main article: Treaty of Purandar (1665)

A 20th century depiction of Shivaji on the way to Purandar by M.V. Dhurandhar

The attacks on Shaista Khan and Surat enraged Aurangzeb. In response he sent the Rajput Mirza Raja Jai Singh I with an army numbering around 15,000 to defeat Shivaji.[69] Throughout 1665, Jai Singh's forces pressed Shivaji, with their cavalry razing the countryside, and their siege forces investing Shivaji's forts. The Mughal commander succeeded in luring away several of Shivaji's key commanders, and many of his cavalrymen, into Mughal service. By mid-1665, with the fortress at Purandar besieged and near capture, Shivaji was forced to come to terms with Jai Singh.[69]

In the Treaty of Purandar, signed between Shivaji and Jai Singh on 11 June 1665, Shivaji agreed to give up 23 of his forts, keeping 12 for himself, and pay compensation of 400,000 gold hun to the Mughals.[70] Shivaji agreed to become a vassal of the Mughal empire, and to send his son Sambhaji, along with 5,000 horsemen, to fight for the Mughals in the Deccan as a mansabdar.[71][72]

Arrest in Agra and escape

Raja Shivaji at Aurangzeb's Darbar- M V Dhurandhar

In 1666, Aurangzeb summoned Shivaji to Agra (though some sources instead state Delhi), along with his nine-year-old son Sambhaji. Aurangzeb's plan was to send Shivaji to Kandahar, now in Afghanistan, to consolidate the Mughal empire's northwestern frontier. However, in the court, on 12 May 1666, Aurangzeb made Shivaji stand behind mansabdārs (military commanders) of his court. Shivaji took offence and stormed out of court,[73] and was promptly placed under house arrest under the watch of Faulad Khan, Kotwal of Agra.

Shivaji's position under house arrest was perilous, as Aurangzeb's court debated whether to kill him or continue to employ him, and Shivaji used his dwindling funds to bribe courtiers to support his case. Orders came from the emperor to station Shivaji in Kabul, which Shivaji refused. Instead he asked for his forts to be returned and to serve the Mughals as a mansabdar; Aurangzeb rebutted that he must surrender his remaining forts before returning to Mughal service. Shivaji managed to escape from Agra, likely by bribing the guards, though the emperor was never able to ascertain how he escaped despite an investigation.[74] Popular legend says that Shivaji smuggled himself and his son out of the house in large baskets, claimed to be sweets to be gifted to religious figures in the city.[citation needed]

Peace with the Mughals

After Shivaji's escape, hostilities with the Mughals ebbed, with Mughal sardar Jaswant Singh acting as intermediary between Shivaji and Aurangzeb for new peace proposals.[75] During the period between 1666 and 1668, Aurangzeb conferred the title of raja on Shivaji. Sambhaji was also restored as a Mughal mansabdar with 5,000 horses. Shivaji at that time sent Sambhaji with general Prataprao Gujar to serve with the Mughal viceroy in Aurangabad, Prince Mu'azzam. Sambhaji was also granted territory in Berar for revenue collection.[76] Aurangzeb also permitted Shivaji to attack the decaying Adil Shahi; the weakened Sultan Ali Adil Shah II sued for peace and granted the rights of sardeshmukhi and chauthai to Shivaji.[citation needed]


Statue of Shivaji opposite Gateway of India in South Mumbai

The peace between Shivaji and the Mughals lasted until 1670. At that time Aurangzeb became suspicious of the close ties between Shivaji and Mu'azzam, who he thought might usurp his throne, and may even have been receiving bribes from Shivaji.[77][78] Also at that time, Aurangzeb, occupied in fighting the Afghans, greatly reduced his army in the Deccan; many of the disbanded soldiers quickly joined Maratha service.[79] The Mughals also took away the jagir of Berar from Shivaji to recover the money lent to him a few years earlier.[80] In response, Shivaji launched an offensive against the Mughals and recovered a major portion of the territories surrendered to them in a span of four months.[81]

Shivaji sacked Surat for second time in 1670; the English and Dutch factories were able to repel his attack, but he managed to sack the city itself, including plundering the goods of a Muslim prince from Mawara-un-Nahr who was returning from Mecca.[citation needed] Angered by the renewed attacks, the Mughals resumed hostilities with the Marathas, sending a force under Daud Khan to intercept Shivaji on his return home from Surat, but were defeated in the Battle of Vani-Dindori near present-day Nashik.[82]

In October 1670, Shivaji sent his forces to harass the English at Bombay; as they had refused to sell him war materiel, his forces blocked English woodcutting parties from leaving Bombay. In September 1671, Shivaji sent an ambassador to Bombay, again seeking materiel, this time for the fight against Danda-Rajpuri. The English had misgivings of the advantages Shivaji would gain from this conquest, but also did not want to lose any chance of receiving compensation for his looting their factories at Rajapur. The English sent Lieutenant Stephen Ustick to treat with Shivaji, but negotiations failed over the issue of the Rajapur indemnity. Numerous exchanges of envoys followed over the coming years, with some agreement as to the arms issues in 1674, but Shivaji was never to pay the Rajapur indemnity before his death, and the factory there dissolved at the end of 1682.[83]

Battles of Umrani and Nesari

In 1674, Prataprao Gujar, the commander-in-chief of the Maratha forces, was sent to push back the invading force led by the Bijapuri general, Bahlol Khan. Prataprao's forces defeated and captured the opposing general in the battle, after cutting-off their water supply by encircling a strategic lake, which prompted Bahlol Khan to sue for peace. In spite of Shivaji's specific warnings against doing so, Prataprao released Bahlol Khan, who started preparing for a fresh invasion.[84]

Shivaji sent a displeased letter to Prataprao, refusing him audience until Bahlol Khan was re-captured. Upset by his commander's rebuke, Prataprao found Bahlol Khan and charged his position with only six other horsemen, leaving his main force behind. Prataprao was killed in combat; Shivaji was deeply grieved on hearing of Prataprao's death, and arranged for the marriage of his second son, Rajaram, to Prataprao's daughter. Anandrao Mohite became Hambirrao Mohite, the new sarnaubat (commander-in-chief of the Maratha forces). Raigad Fort was newly built by Hiroji Indulkar as a capital of nascent Maratha kingdom.[85]


The Coronation Durbar with over 100 characters depicted in attendance

Shivaji had acquired extensive lands and wealth through his campaigns, but lacking a formal title he was still technically a Mughal zamindar or the son of a Bijapuri jagirdar, with no legal basis to rule his de facto domain. A kingly title could address this and also prevent any challenges by other Maratha leaders, to whom he was technically equal.[c] it would also provide the Hindu Marathas with a fellow Hindu sovereign in a region otherwise ruled by Muslims.[86]

Controversy erupted amongst the Brahmins of Shivaji's court: they refused to crown Shivaji as a king because that status was reserved for those of the kshatriya (warrior) varna in Hindu society.[87] Shivaji was descended from a line of headmen of farming villages, and the Brahmins accordingly categorised him as being of the shudra (cultivator) varna.[88][89] They noted that Shivaji had never had a sacred thread ceremony, and did not wear the thread, which a kshatriya would.[88] Shivaji summoned Gaga Bhatt, a pandit of Varanasi, who stated that he had found a genealogy proving that Shivaji was descended from the Sisodia Rajputs, and thus indeed a kshatriya, albeit one in need of the ceremonies befitting his rank.[90]:7– To enforce this status, Shivaji was given a sacred thread ceremony, and remarried his spouses under the Vedic rites expected of a kshatriya.[91][92] However, following historical evidence, Shivaji's claim to Rajput, and specifically Sisodia ancestry may be interpreted as being anything from tenuous at best, to inventive in a more extreme reading.[93]

On 28 May Shivaji performed penance for not observing Kshatriya rites by his ancestors' and himself for so long. Then he was invested by Gaga Bhatta with the sacred thread.[94] On insistence of other Brahmins, Gaga Bhatta dropped the Vedic chant and initiated Shivaji in a modified form of the life of the twice-born, instead of putting him on a par with the Brahmans. Next day, Shivaji made atonement for the sins which he committed in his own lifetime. [95]Two learned Brahmans pointed out that Shivaji, while conducting his raids, had burnt cities which resulted in the death of Brahmans, cows, women and children, and now could be cleansed of this sin for a price of only Rs. 8,000, and Shivaji paid this amount.[95] Total expenditure made for feeding the assemblage, general alms giving, throne and ornaments approached 5 million Rupees.[96]

Shivaji was crowned king of Maratha Swaraj in a lavish ceremony on 6 June 1674 at Raigad fort.[97][98] In the Hindu calendar it was on the 13th day (trayodashi) of the first fortnight of the month of Jyeshtha in the year 1596.[99] Gaga Bhatt officiated, holding a gold vessel filled with the seven sacred waters of the rivers Yamuna, Indus, Ganges, Godavari, Narmada, Krishna and Kaveri over Shivaji's head, and chanted the Vedic coronation mantras. After the ablution, Shivaji bowed before Jijabai and touched her feet. Nearly fifty thousand people gathered at Raigad for the ceremonies.[100][101] Shivaji was entitled Shakakarta ("founder of an era")[1] and Chhatrapati ("paramount sovereign"). He also took the title of Haindava Dharmodhhaarak (protector of the Hindu faith).[2]

Shivaji's mother Jijabai died on 18 June 1674. The Marathas summoned Bengali Tantrik goswami Nischal Puri, who declared that the original coronation had been held under inauspicious stars, and a second coronation was needed. This second coronation on 24 September 1674 had a dual use, mollifying those who still believed that Shivaji was not qualified for the Vedic rites of his first coronation, by performing a less-contestable additional ceremony.[102][103][104]

Conquest of southern India

Maratha Empire in year 1680

Beginning in 1674, the Marathas undertook an aggressive campaign, raiding Khandesh (October), capturing Bijapuri Ponda (April 1675), Karwar (mid-year), and Kolhapur (July).[105] In November the Maratha navy skirmished with the Siddis of Janjira, but failed to dislodge them.[106]:23 Having recovered from an illness, and taking advantage of a conflict between the Afghans and Bijapur, Shivaji raided Athani in April 1676.[107]

In the run-up to his expedition Shivaji appealed to a sense of Deccani patriotism, that Southern India was a homeland that should be protected from outsiders.[108][109] His appeal was somewhat successful, and in 1677 Shivaji visited Hyderabad for a month and entered into a treaty with the Qutubshah of the Golkonda sultanate, agreeing to reject his alliance with Bijapur and jointly oppose the Mughals. In 1677, Shivaji invaded Karnataka with 30,000 cavalry and 40,000 infantry, backed by Golkonda artillery and funding.[110] Proceeding south, Shivaji seized the forts of Vellore and Gingee;[111] the latter would later serve as a capital of the Marathas during the reign of his son Rajaram I.[112]

Shivaji intended to reconcile with his half-brother Venkoji (Ekoji I), Shahaji's son by his second wife, Tukabai (née Mohite), who ruled Thanjavur (Tanjore) after Shahaji. The initially promising negotiations were unsuccessful, so whilst returning to Raigad, Shivaji defeated his half-brother's army on 26 November 1677 and seized most of his possessions in the Mysore plateau. Venkoji's wife Dipa Bai, whom Shivaji deeply respected, took up new negotiations with Shivaji and also convinced her husband to distance himself from Muslim advisors. In the end, Shivaji consented to turn over to her and her female descendants many of the properties he had seized, with Venkoji consenting to a number of conditions for the proper administration of the territories and maintenance of Shivaji's future memorial (samadhi).[113][114]

Death and succession

Sambhaji, Shivaji's elder son who succeeded him

The question of Shivaji's heir-apparent was complicated by the misbehaviour of his eldest son, Sambhaji, who was irresponsible. Unable to curb this, Shivaji confined his son to Panhala in 1678, only to have the prince escape with his wife and defect to the Mughals for a year. Sambhaji then returned home, unrepentant, and was again confined to Panhala.[115]

In late March 1680, Shivaji fell ill with fever and dysentery,[116] dying around 3–5 April 1680 at the age of 52,[117] on the eve of Hanuman Jayanti. Putalabai, the childless eldest of the surviving wives of Shivaji committed sati by jumping into his funeral pyre. Another surviving spouse, Sakwarbai, was not allowed to follow suit because she had a young daughter.[115] There were also allegations, though doubted by later scholars, that his second wife Soyarabai had poisoned him in order to put her 10-year-old son Rajaram on the throne.[118]

After Shivaji's death, Soyarabai made plans with various ministers of the administration to crown her son Rajaram rather than her stepson Sambhaji. On 21 April 1680, ten-year-old Rajaram was installed on the throne. However, Sambhaji took possession of Raigad Fort after killing the commander, and on 18 June acquired control of Raigad, and formally ascended the throne on 20 July.[119] Rajaram, his wife Janki Bai, and mother Soyrabai were imprisoned, and Soyrabai executed on charges of conspiracy that October.[120]

The Marathas after Shivaji

See also: Mughal–Maratha Wars

Statue of Bajirao I
The Maratha Empire reached its zenith under the reign of Peshwa Bajirao I.

Shivaji left behind a state always at odds with the Mughals. Soon after his death, in 1681, Aurangzeb launched an offensive in the South to capture territories held by the Marathas, the Bijapur based Adilshahi and Qutb Shahi of Golkonda respectively. He was successful in obliterating the Sultanates but could not subdue the Marathas after spending 27 years in the Deccan.The period saw the capture, torture, and execution of Sambhaji in 1689, and the Marathas offering strong resistance under the leadership of Sambhaji's successor, Rajaram and then Rajaram's widow Tarabai. Territories changed hands repeatedly between the Mughals and the Marathas; the conflict ended in defeat for the Mughals in 1707.[121]

Shahu, a grandson of Shivaji and son of Sambhaji, was kept prisoner by Aurangzeb during the 27-year period conflict. After the latter's death, his successor released Shahu. After a brief power struggle over succession with his aunt Tarabai, Shahu ruled the Maratha Empire from 1707 to 1749. Early in his reign, he appointed Balaji Vishwanath and later his descendants, as Peshwas (prime ministers) of the Maratha Empire. The empire expanded greatly under the leadership of Balaji's son, Peshwa Bajirao I and grandson, Peshwa Balaji Bajirao. At its peak, the Maratha empire stretched from Tamil Nadu[122] in the south, to Peshawar (modern-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) in the north, and Bengal. In 1761, the Maratha army lost the Third Battle of Panipat to Ahmed Shah Abdali of the Afghan Durrani Empire, which halted their imperial expansion in northwestern India. Ten years after Panipat, Marathas regained influence in North India during the rule of Madhavrao Peshwa.[123]

In a bid to effectively manage the large empire, Shahu and the Peshwas gave semi-autonomy to the strongest of the knights, creating the Maratha Confederacy.[citation needed] They became known as Gaekwads of Baroda, the Holkars of Indore and Malwa, the Scindias of Gwalior and Bhonsales of Nagpur. In 1775, the East India Company intervened in a succession struggle in Pune, which became the First Anglo-Maratha War. The Marathas remained the pre-eminent power in India until their defeat by the British in the Second and Third Anglo-Maratha wars (1805–1818), which left the Company the dominant power in most of India.[124][125]


Council of Eight Ministers (Ashta Pradhan Mandal)

Main article: Ashta Pradhan

The Council of Eight Ministers, or Ashta Pradhan Mandal, was an administrative and advisory council set up by Shivaji.[126] It consisted of eight ministers who regularly advised Shivaji on political and administrative matters.

Promotion of Marathi

In his court, Shivaji replaced Persian, the common courtly language in the region, with Marathi, and emphasised Hindu political and courtly traditions.[127] He gave his forts names such as Sindhudurg, Prachandgarh, and Suvarndurg. He named the Ashta Pradhan (council of ministers) according to Sanskrit nomenclature, with terms such as nyaayaadheesha, and senaapati, and commissioned the political treatise Raajya Vyavahaara Kosha. His Rajpurohit, Keshav Pandit, was himself a Sanskrit scholar and poet.[128][need quotation to verify]
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Religious policy

Sajjangad, where Samarth Ramdas was invited by Shivaji to reside, now a place of pilgrimage
Though Shivaji was a proud Hindu and never compromised on his religion,[129] he is also known for his liberal and tolerant religious policy. While Hindus were relieved to practice their religion freely under a Hindu ruler, Shivaji not only allowed Muslims to practice without harassment, but supported their ministries with endowments.[130] When Aurangzeb imposed the Jizya tax on non-Muslims on 3 April 1679, Shivaji wrote a strict letter to Aurangzeb criticising his tax policy. He wrote:

In strict justice, the Jizya is not at all lawful. If you imagine piety in oppressing and terrorising the Hindus, you ought to first levy the tax on Jai Singh I. But to oppress ants and flies is not at all valour nor spirit. If you believe in Quran, God is the lord of all men and not just of Muslims only. Verily, Islam and Hinduism are terms of contrast. They are used by the true Divine Painter for blending the colours and filling in the outlines. If it is a mosque, the call to prayer is chanted in remembrance of God. If it is a temple, the bells are rung in yearning for God alone. To show bigotry to any man's religion and practices is to alter the words of the Holy Book.[131]

Noting that Shivaji had stemmed the spread of the neighbouring Muslim states, his contemporary, the poet Kavi Bhushan stated:

Had not there been Shivaji, Kashi would have lost its culture, Mathura would have been turned into a mosque and all would have been circumcised.[132]

In 1667, the Portuguese Christians started to forcefully convert Hindus in Bardez. Shivaji quickly raided Bardez in which three Portuguese Catholic priests and a few Christians were killed and stopped the forceful conversion of Hindus.[133][134] However, during the sack of Surat in 1664, Shivaji was approached by Ambrose, a Capuchin monk who asked him to spare the city's Christians. Shivaji left the Christians untouched, saying "the Frankish Padrys are good men."[135]


Shivaji demonstrated great skill in creating his military organisation, which lasted until the demise of the Maratha empire. His strategy rested on leveraging his ground forces, naval forces, and series of forts across his territory. The Maval infantry served as the core of his ground forces (reinforced with Telangi musketeers from Karnataka), supported by Maratha cavalry. His artillery was relatively underdeveloped and reliant on European suppliers, further inclining him to a very mobile form of warfare.[136]

Shivaji was contemptuously called a "Mountain Rat" by Aurangzeb and his generals because of his guerilla tactics of attacking enemy forces and then retreating into his mountain forts.[137][138][139]

Hill forts

Suvela Machi, view of southern sub-plateaux, as seen from Ballekilla, Rajgad

Main article: Shivaji's forts

Hill forts played a key role in Shivaji's strategy. He captured important forts at Murambdev (Rajgad), Torna, Kondhana (Sinhagad) and Purandar. He also rebuilt or repaired many forts in advantageous locations.[140] In addition, Shivaji built a number of forts; the number "111" is reported in some accounts, but it is likely the actual number "did not exceed 18."[141] The historian Jadunath Sarkar assessed that Shivaji owned some 240–280 forts at the time of his death.[142] Each was placed under three officers of equal status, lest a single traitor be bribed or tempted to deliver it to the enemy. The officers acted jointly and provided mutual checks and balance.[143]


Sindudurg Fort provided anchorages for Shivaji's Navy

Aware of the need for naval power to maintain control along the Konkan coast, Shivaji began to build his navy in 1657 or 1659, with the purchase of twenty galivats from the Portuguese shipyards of Bassein.[144] Marathi chronicles state that at its height his fleet counted some 400 warships, though contemporary English chronicles counter that the number never exceeded 160.[145]

With the Marathas being accustomed to a land-based military, Shivaji widened his search for qualified crews for his ships, taking on lower-caste Hindus of the coast who were long familiar with naval operations (the famed "Malabar pirates") as well as Muslim mercenaries.[145] Noting the power of the Portuguese navy, Shivaji hired a number of Portuguese sailors and Goan Christian converts, and made Rui Leitao Viegas commander of his fleet. Viegas was later to defect back to the Portuguese, taking 300 sailors with him.[146]

Shivaji fortified his coastline by seizing coastal forts and refurbishing them, and built his first marine fort at Sindhudurg, which was to become the headquarters of the Maratha navy.[147] The navy itself was a coastal navy, focused on travel and combat in the littoral areas, and not intended to go far out to sea.[148]


Further information: Shivaji in popular culture

An early-20th-century painting by M. V. Dhurandhar of Shivaji and Baji Prabhu at Pawan Khind

Shivaji was well known for his strong religious and warrior code of ethics and exemplary character. He was recognized as a great national hero during the Indian Independence Movement.[149] While some accounts of Shivaji state that he was greatly influenced by the Brahmin guru Samarth Ramdas, others have said that Ramdas' role has been over-emphasised by later Brahmin commentators to enhance their position.[150][151]

Early depictions

Shivaji was admired for his heroic exploits and clever stratagems in the contemporary accounts of English, French, Dutch, Portuguese and Italian writers.[152] Contemporary English writers compared him with Alexander, Hannibal and Julius Caesar.[153] Mughal depictions of Shivaji were largely negative, referring to him simply as "Shiva" without the honorific "-ji". One Mughal writer in the early 1700s described Shivaji's death as kafir bi jahannum raft ("the infidel went to Hell").[154]


In the mid-19th century, Maharashtrian social reformer Jyotirao Phule wrote his interpretation of the Shivaji legend, portraying him as a hero of the shudras and Dalits. Phule sought to use the Shivaji myths to undermine the Brahmins he accused of hijacking the narrative, and uplift the lower classes; his 1869 ballad-form story of Shivaji was met with great hostility by the Brahmin-dominated media.[155] At the end of the 19th century, Shivaji's memory was leveraged by the non-Brahmin intellectuals of Bombay, who identified as his descendants and through him claimed the kshatriya varna. While some Brahmins rebutted this identity, defining them as of the lower shudra varna, other Brahmins recognised the Marathas' utility to the Indian independence movement, and endorsed this kshatriya legacy and the significance of Shivaji.[156]

In 1895, Indian nationalist leader Lokmanya Tilak organised what was to be an annual festival to mark the birthday of Shivaji.[157] He portrayed Shivaji as the "opponent of the oppressor", with possible negative implications concerning the colonial government.[158] Tilak denied any suggestion that his festival was anti-Muslim or disloyal to the government, but simply a celebration of a hero.[90]:106– These celebrations prompted a British commentator in 1906 to note: "Cannot the annals of the Hindu race point to a single hero whom even the tongue of slander will not dare call a chief of dacoits ...?"[159]

One of the first commentators to reappraise the critical British view of Shivaji was M. G. Ranade, whose Rise of the Maratha Power (1900) declared Shivaji's achievements as the beginning of modern nation-building. Ranade criticised earlier British portrayals of Shivaji's state as "a freebooting Power, which thrived by plunder and adventure, and succeeded only because it was the most cunning and adventurous ... This is a very common feeling with the readers, who derive their knowledge of these events solely from the works of English historians."[160]

In 1919, Sarkar published the seminal Shivaji and His Times, hailed as the most authoritative biography of the king since James Grant Duff's 1826 A History of the Mahrattas. A respected scholar, Sarkar was able to read primary sources in Persian, Marathi, and Arabic, but was challenged for his criticism of the "chauvinism" of Marathi historians' views of Shivaji.[161] Likewise, though supporters cheered his depiction of the killing of Afzal Khan as justified, they decried Sarkar's terming as "murder" the killing of the Hindu raja Chandrao More and his clan.[162]


Statue of Shivaji at Raigad Fort

As political tensions rose in India in the early 20th century, some Indian leaders came to re-work their earlier stances on Shivaji's role. Jawaharlal Nehru had in 1934 noted "Some of the Shivaji's deeds, like the treacherous killing of the Bijapur general, lower him greatly in our estimation." Following public outcry from Pune intellectuals, Congress leader T. R. Deogirikar noted that Nehru had admitted he was wrong regarding Shivaji, and now endorsed Shivaji as great nationalist.[163]

In 1966, the Shiv Sena (Army of Shivaji) party formed to promote the interests of Marathi speaking people in the face of migration to Maharashtra from other parts of India, and the accompanying loss of power for locals. His image adorns literature, propaganda and icons of the party.[164]

In modern times, Shivaji is considered as a national hero in India, especially in the state of Maharashtra, where he remains arguably the greatest figure in the state's history. Stories of his life form an integral part of the upbringing and identity of the Marathi people. Further, he is also recognised as a warrior legend, who sowed the seeds of Indian independence.[165] Shivaji is upheld as an example by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, and also of the Maratha caste dominated Congress parties in Maharashtra, such as the Indira Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party.[166] Past Congress party leaders in the state, such as Yashwantrao Chavan, were considered political descendants of Shivaji.[167]

In the late 20th century, Babasaheb Purandare became one of the most significant artists in portraying Shivaji in his writings, leading him to be declared in 1964 as the Shiv-Shahir ("Bard of Shivaji").[168][169] However, Purandare, a Brahmin, was also accused of over-emphasising the influence of Brahmin gurus on Shivaji,[166] and his Maharashtra Bhushan award ceremony in 2015 was protested by those claiming he had defamed Shivaji.[170]


In 1993, the Illustrated Weekly published an article suggesting that Shivaji was not opposed to Muslims per se, and that his style of governance was influenced by that of the Mughal Empire. Congress Party members called for legal actions against the publisher and writer, Marathi newspapers accused them of "imperial prejudice" and Shiv Sena called for the writer's public flogging. Maharashtra brought legal action against the publisher under regulations prohibiting enmity between religious and cultural groups, but a High Court found the Illustrated Weekly had operated within the bounds of freedom of expression.[171][172]

In 2003, American academic James W. Laine published his book Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India, which was followed by heavy criticism including threats of arrest.[173] As a result of this publication, the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune where Laine had researched was attacked by a group of Maratha activists calling itself the Sambhaji Brigade.[174][175] The book was banned in Maharashtra in January 2004, but the ban was lifted by the Bombay High Court in 2007, and in July 2010 the Supreme Court of India upheld the lifting of ban.[176] This lifting was followed by public demonstrations against the author and the decision of the Supreme Court.[177][178]


Commemorations of Shivaji are found throughout India, most notably in Maharashtra. Shivaji's statues and monuments are found almost in every town and city in Maharashtra as well as in different places across India.[179][180][181] Other commemorations include the Indian Navy's station INS Shivaji,[182] numerous postage stamps,[183] and the main airport and railway headquarters in Mumbai.[184][185] In Maharashtra, there has been a long tradition of children building a replica fort with toy soldiers and other figures during the festival of Diwali in memory of Shivaji.[186]

A proposal to build a giant memorial called Shiv Smarak was approved in 2016 to be located near Mumbai on a small island in the Arabian Sea. It will be 210 meters tall making it the world's largest statue when completed in possibly 2021.[187]


1. Based on multiple committees of historians and experts, the Government of Maharashtra accepts 19 February 1630 as his birthdate. This Julian calendar date of that period (1 March 1630 of today's Gregorian calendar) corresponds[10] to the Hindu calendar birth date from contemporary records.[11][12][13] Other suggested dates include 6 April 1627 or dates near this day.[14][15]
2. Some scholars interpret Hindavi Swarajya as meaning self-rule of Hindu people,[31] while others state that Shivaji's struggle was for gaining "religious freedom" for Hindus.[32] However the term hindavi was in use by both Hindus and Muslims in the time period concerned.[33]
3. Most of the great Maratha Jahagirdar families in the service of Adilshahi strongly opposed Shivaji in his early years. These included families such as the Ghadge, More, Mohite, Ghorpade, Shirke, and Nimbalkar


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4. James Laine (1996). Anne Feldhaus (ed.). Images of women in Maharashtrian literature and religion. Albany: State University of New York Press. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-7914-2837-5.
5. Dates are given according to the Julian calendar, see Mohan Apte, Porag Mahajani, M. N. Vahia. Possible errors in historical dates: Error in correction from Julian to Gregorian Calendars.
6. Wolpert 1962, p. 79-81.
7. V. B. Kulkarni (1963). Shivaji: The Portrait of a Patriot. Orient Longman.
8. Marathi book Shivkaal (Times of Shivaji) by Dr V G Khobrekar, Publisher: Maharashtra State Board for Literature and Culture, First edition 2006. Chapter 1
9. Salma Ahmed Farooqui (2011). A Comprehensive History of Medieval India: From Twelfth to the Mid-Eighteenth Century. Dorling Kindersley India. pp. 314–. ISBN 978-81-317-3202-1.
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35. Sarkar, Shivaji and His Times 1920, p. 34.
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102. Ashirbadi Lal Srivastava (1964). The History of India, 1000 A.D.-1707 A.D. Shiva Lal Agarwala. p. 701. Shivaji was obliged to undergo a second coronation ceremony on 4th October, 1674, on the suggestion of a well-known Tantrik priest, named Nishchal Puri Goswami, who said that Gaga Bhatta had performed the ceremony at an inauspicious hour and neglected to propitiate the spirits adored in the Tantra. That was why, he said, the queen mother Jija Bai had died within twelve days of the ceremony and similar other mishaps had occurred.
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132. American Oriental Society (1963). Journal of the American Oriental Society. American Oriental Society. p. 476. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
133. Prof. A. R. Kulkarni (1 July 2008). Medieval Maratha Country. Diamond Publications. pp. 120–. ISBN 978-81-8483-072-9.
134. Deshmukh, Vijayrao. Shakkarte Shivray. 2. Chatrapati Seva Pratisthan. pp. 150, 154.
135. Panduronga S. S. Pissurlencar (1975). The Portuguese and the Marathas: Translation of Articles of the Late Dr. Pandurang S. Pissurlenkar's Portugueses E Maratas in Portuguese Language. State Board for Literature and Culture, Government of Maharashtra. p. 152.
136. Kantak, M. R. (1993). The First Anglo-Maratha War, 1774–1783: A Military Study of Major Battles. Popular Prakashan. p. 9. ISBN 978-81-7154-696-1.
137. Bhave, Y. G. (2000). From the Death of Shivaji to the Death of Aurangzeb: The Critical Years. Northern Book Centre. p. 7. ISBN 978-81-7211-100-7.
138. Stanley A. Wolpert (1994). An Introduction to India. Penguin Books India. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-14-016870-9.
139. Hugh Tinker (1990). South Asia: A Short History. University of Hawaii Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-8248-1287-4.
140. Pagadi 1983, p. 21.
141. M. S. Naravane (1 January 1995). Forts of Maharashtra. APH Publishing Corporation. p. 14. ISBN 978-81-7024-696-1.
142. Sarkar, Shivaji and His Times 1920, p. 408.
143. Sarkar, History of Aurangzib 1920, p. 414.
144. Kaushik Roy (30 March 2011). War, Culture and Society in Early Modern South Asia, 1740–1849. Taylor & Francis. pp. 17–. ISBN 978-1-136-79087-4.
145. Sarkar, History of Aurangzib 1920, p. 59.
146. Bhagamandala Seetharama Shastry (1981). Studies in Indo-Portuguese History. IBH Prakashana.
147. Kaushik Roy; Peter Lorge (17 December 2014). Chinese and Indian Warfare – From the Classical Age to 1870. Routledge. pp. 183–. ISBN 978-1-317-58710-1.
148. Raj Narain Misra (1986). Indian Ocean and India's Security. Mittal Publications. pp. 13–. GGKEY:CCJCT3CW16S.
149. Bipan Chandra; Mridula Mukherjee; Aditya Mukherjee; K N Panikkar; Sucheta Mahajan (9 August 2016). India's Struggle for Independence. Penguin Random House India Private Limited. pp. 107–. ISBN 978-81-8475-183-3.
150. Dossal, Mariam; Maloni, Ruby (1999). State Intervention and Popular Response: Western India in the Nineteenth Century. Popular Prakashan. p. 8. ISBN 978-81-7154-855-2.
151. Laine 2011, p. 158.
152. Sen, Surendra (1928). Foreign Biographies of Shivaji. II. London, K. Paul, Trench, Trubner & co. ltd. pp. xiii.
153. Krishna, Bal (1940). Shivaji The Great. The Arya Book Depot Kolhapur. pp. 11–12.
154. Truschke 2017, p. 54.
155. Uma Chakravarti (27 October 2014). Rewriting History: The Life and Times of Pandita Ramabai. Zubaan. pp. 79–. ISBN 978-93-83074-63-1.
156. Donald V. Kurtz (1993). Contradictions and Conflict: A Dialectical Political Anthropology of a University in Western India. BRILL. pp. 63–. ISBN 978-90-04-09828-2.
157. Wolpert 1962, pp. 79–81.
158. Biswamoy Pati (2011). Bal Gangadhar Tilak: Popular Readings. Primus Books. p. 101. ISBN 978-93-80607-18-4.
159. Indo-British Review. Indo-British Historical Society. p. 75.
160. McLain, Karline (2009). India's Immortal Comic Books: Gods, Kings, and Other Heroes. Indiana University Press. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-253-22052-3.
161. Prachi Deshpande (2007). Creative Pasts: Historical Memory and Identity in Western India, 1700–1960. Columbia University Press. pp. 136–. ISBN 978-0-231-12486-7. Shivaji and His Times, was widely regarded as the authoritative follow-up to Grant Duff. An erudite, painstaking Rankean scholar, Sarkar was also able to access a wide variety of sources through his mastery of Persian, Marathi, and Arabic, but as explained in the last chapter, he earned considerable hostility from the Poona [Pune] school for his sharp criticism of the “chauvinism” he saw in Marathi historians' appraisals of the Marathas
162. C. A. Bayly (10 November 2011). Recovering Liberties: Indian Thought in the Age of Liberalism and Empire. Cambridge University Press. pp. 282–. ISBN 978-1-139-50518-5.
163. Girja Kumar (1997). The Book on Trial: Fundamentalism and Censorship in India. Har-Anand Publications. p. 431. ISBN 978-81-241-0525-2.
164. Naipaul, V. S. (2011). India: A Wounded Civilization. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-307-78934-1.
165. McLain, Karline (2009). India's Immortal Comic Books: Gods, Kings, and Other Heroes. Indiana University Press. p. 137. ISBN 978-0-253-22052-3.
166. Laine 2011, p. 164.
167. Pradhan, R. D.; Godbole, Madhav (1999). Debacle to Revival: Y.B. Chavan as Defence Minister, 1962–65. Orient Blackswan. p. 46. ISBN 978-81-250-1477-5.
168. Lok Sabha Debates. Lok Sabha Secretariat. 1952. p. 121. Will the Minister of EDUCATION, SOCIAL WELFARE AND CULTURE be pleased to state: (a) whether Shri Shivshahir Bawa Saheb Purandare of Maharashtra has sought the permission of Central Government ...
169. The Indian P.E.N. P.E.N. All-India Centre. 1964. p. 32. Sumitra Raje Bhonsale of Satara honoured Shri Purandare with the title of "Shiva-shahir" and donated Rs. 301 for the proposed publication.
170. Krishna Kumar (20 August 2015). "Writer Babasaheb Purandare receives 'Maharashtra Bhushan' despite protests" – via The Economic Times.
171. Hansen, Thomas Blom (2001). Wages of Violence: Naming and Identity in Postcolonial Bombay. Princeton University Press. p. 22. ISBN 0-691-08840-3.
172. Kaur, Raminder; Mazzarella, William (2009). Censorship in South Asia: Cultural Regulation from Sedition to Seduction. Indiana University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-253-35335-1.
173. "India seeks to arrest US scholar". BBC News. 23 March 2004. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
174. "'Maratha' activists vandalise Bhandarkar Institute". The Times of India. 6 January 2004. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
175. "Where The Stream Of Reason Lost Its Way..." Financial Express. 12 January 2004. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
176. "Supreme Court lifts ban on James Laine's book on Shivaji". The Times of India. 9 July 2010. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
177. "Protests over James Laine's book across Mumbai". 10 July 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
178. Rahul Chandawarkar (10 July 2010). "Hard-liners slam state, Supreme Court decision on Laine's Shivaji book". DNA India. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
179. "comments : Modi unveils Shivaji statue at Limbayat". The Indian Express. Archived from the original on 6 November 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
180. "New Shivaji statue faces protests". Pune Mirror. 16 May 2012. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
181. "Kalam unveils Shivaji statue". The Hindu. 29 April 2003. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
182. "INS Shivaji (Engineering Training Establishment) : Training". Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
183. "Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj". 21 April 1980. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
184. "Politics over Shivaji statue delays Mumbai airport expansion". Business Standard. 25 June 2011. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
185. Times, Maharashtra (2017). "Mumbai Railway station renamed to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus". Times of India (30 June). Retrieved 14 January 2018.
186. "Shivaji killas express pure reverence". The Times of India. 29 October 2010. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012.
187. Nina Golgowski (31 October 2018). "India Now Boasts The World's Tallest Statue, And It's Twice Lady Liberty's Size". Huffington Post. Retrieved 31 October 2018 – via Yahoo! News.


• Eaton, Richard Maxwell (2015), The Sufis of Bijapur, 1300-1700: Social Roles of Sufis in Medieval India, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-1-4008-6815-5
• Eraly, Abraham (2000), Emperors of the Peacock Throne: The Saga of the Great Mughals, Penguin Books India, ISBN 978-0-14-100143-2
• Farooqui, Salma Ahmed (2011), A Comprehensive History of Medieval India: Twelfth to the Mid-Eighteenth Century, Pearson Education India, ISBN 978-81-317-3202-1
• Gier, Nicholas F. (2014), The Origins of Religious Violence: An Asian Perspective, Lexington Books, ISBN 978-0-7391-9223-8
• Gordon, Stewart (1993), The Marathas 1600–1818, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-26883-7
• Haig, Wolseley; Burn, Richard (1960) [first published 1937], The Cambridge History of India, Volume IV: The Mughal Period, Cambridge University Press
• Laine, James W. (2011), "Resisting My Attackers; Resisting My Defenders", in Schmalz, Matthew N.; Gottschalk, Peter (eds.), Engaging South Asian Religions: Boundaries, Appropriations, and Resistances, Albany: SUNY Press, pp. 153–172, ISBN 978-1-4384-3323-3
• Mehta, Jaswant Lal (2009) [1984], Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India, Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd, ISBN 978-81-207-1015-3
• Mehta, Jaswant Lal (2005), Advanced Study in the History of Modern India: Volume One: 1707–1813, Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd, ISBN 978-1-932705-54-6
• Pagadi, Setumadhava Rao (1983), Shivaji, National Book Trust, India
• Sarkar, Jadunath (1920) [1919], Shivaji and His Times (Second ed.), London: Longmans, Green and Co.
• Sarkar, Jadunath (1920), History of Aurangzib: Based on Original Sources, Longmans, Green and Company
• Sardesai, Govind Sakharam (1957) [1946], New History of the Marathas: Shivaji and his line (1600–1707), Phoenix Publications
• Truschke, Audrey (2017), Aurangzeb: The Life and Legacy of India's Most Controversial King, Stanford University Press, ISBN 978-1-5036-0259-5
• Wolpert, Stanley A. (1962), Tilak and Gokhale: Revolution and Reform in the Making of Modern India, University of California Press
• Zakaria, Rafiq (2002), Communal Rage In Secular India, Popular Prakashan, ISBN 978-81-7991-070-2

Further reading

• Daniel Jasper (2003). "Commemorating the 'golden age' of Shivaji in Maharashtra, India and the development of Maharashtrian public politics." Journal of Political and Military Sociology 31.2 : 215.
• B. K. Apte (editor) (1974–75). Chhatrapati Shivaji: Coronation Tercentenary Commemoration Volume. Bombay: University of Bombay.
• James W. Laine (2003). Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 978-0-19-514126-9.

External links

• Shivaji at the Encyclopædia Britannica
• Shivaji at Curlie
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sat May 15, 2021 5:02 am

by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/14/21

The court of Akbar, an illustration from a manuscript of the Akbarnama

The Ain-i-Akbari (Persian: آئینِ اکبری‎) or the "Administration of Akbar", is a 16th-century detailed document recording the administration of the Mughal Empire under Emperor Akbar, written by his court historian, Abu'l Fazl in the Persian language.[1] It forms Volume III and the final part of the much larger document, the Akbarnama (Account of Akbar), also by Abu'l-Fazl, and is itself in three volumes.[2]

It is now in the Hazarduari Palace, India.


The Ain-i-Akbari is the third volume of the Akbarnama containing information on Akbar's reign in the form of administrative reports, similar to a gazetteer. In Blochmann's explanation, "it contains the 'āīn' (i.e. mode of governing) of Emperor Akbar, and is in fact the administrative report and statistical return of his government as it was about 1590."[3][4]

The Ain-i-Akbari is divided into five books. The first book called manzil-abadi deals with the imperial household and its maintenance, and the second called sipah-abadi, with the servants of the emperor, military and civil services. The third deals with imperial administration, containing regulations for the judiciary and the executive. The fourth contains information on Hindu philosophy, science, social customs and literature. The fifth contains sayings of Akbar,[3] along with an account of the ancestry and biography of the author.


Volume 1: manzil-abadi

The volume has a total of 90 'Ain' or Regulations dealing and describing the different segments of administration and occupations at that time. The various ains include the one on the imperial mint, its workmen and their process of refining and extracting gold and silver, the dirham and the dinar etc. There are also portions dedicated to the Imperial Harem (Ain 15), the royal seals (Ain 20), the imperial kitchen (Ain 23) and its recipes and the rules relating to the days of abstinence (Ain 26). The volume contains a detailed description of the trade/business of items such as fruits, vegetables, perfumes, carpets etc. and also of art and painting. Ain-i-Akbari is an excellent resource of information on the maintenance of the Mughal army during Akbar's reign. Ain 35 onwards deals with the use and maintenance of artillery, upkeep and branding of royal horses, camels, mules and elephants, describing even the detail of the food given to animals. The volume also has regulations pertaining to the wages of labourers, estimates of house building etc.[5]

Volume 2: sipah-abadi

The second book treats of the servants of the throne, the military and civil services, and the attendants at court whose literary genius or musical skill received a great deal of encouragement from the emperor, and who similarly commend the high value of their work.

Volume 3: mulk-abadi

The third book is entirely devoted to regulations for the judicial and executive departments, the establishment of a new and more practical era, the survey of the land, the tribal divisions, and the rent-roll of the finance minister.

Volume 4:

The fourth book treats of the social condition and literary activity, especially in philosophy and law, of the Hindus, who form the bulk of the population, and in whose political advancement the emperor saw the guarantee of the stability of his realm. There are also a few chapters on the foreign invaders of India, on distinguished travellers, and on Muslim saints and the sects to which they belong.

Volume 5

The fifth book contains moral sentences and epigrammatical sayings, observations, and rules of wisdom of the emperor collected by Abu'l Fazl.

Ain-i-Akbari by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan

In 1855, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan finished his scholarly, well researched and illustrated edition of Abul Fazl's Ai'n-e Akbari, itself an extraordinarily difficult book. Having finished the work to his satisfaction, the work was brought to Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib believing that he would appreciate his labours. He approached the great Ghalib to write a taqriz (in the convention of the times, a laudatory foreword) for it. Ghalib obliged, but what he did produce was a short Persian poem castigating the Ai'n-e Akbari, and by implication, the imperial, sumptuous, literate and learned Mughal culture of which it was a product. The least that could be said against it was that the book had little value even as an antique document. Ghalib practically reprimanded Syed Ahmad Khan for wasting his talents and time on dead things. Worse, he praised sky-high the "sahibs of England" who at that time held all the keys to all the a’ins in this world.

The poem was unexpected, but it came at the time when Syed Ahmad Khan's thought and feelings themselves were inclining toward change. Ghalib seemed to be acutely aware of a European [English]-sponsored change in world polity, especially Indian polity. Syed Ahmad might well have been piqued at Ghalib's admonitions, but he would also have realized that Ghalib's reading of the situation, though not nuanced enough, was basically accurate. Syed Ahmad Khan may also have felt that he, being better informed about the English and the outside world, should have himself seen the change that now seemed to be just round the corner.

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan never again wrote a word in praise of the Ai'n-e Akbari and in fact gave up taking an active interest in history and archaeology. He did edit another two historical texts over the next few years, but neither of them was anything like the Ai'n: a vast and triumphalist document on the governance of Akbar.

Notable Ains

The Mustard of Man (Ain 76 Book 1)

The business which Akbar Majesty transacts is multifarious. A large number of men were appointed on the days assembly of expenditure was announced. Their merits are inquired into and the coin of knowledge passes the current. Some pray his majesty to remove religious doubt; other again seek his advice for settling a worldly matter; other want medicines for their cure. Like these many other requests were made. The salaries of large number of men from Iran, Turkey, Europe, Hindustan and Kashmir are fixed in a manner described below, and the men themselves are taken before His Majesty by the paymasters. Formerly it had been custom for man to come with horses and accoutrements; but now only men appointed to the post of Ahadi were allowed to bring horses. The salary is proposed by the officer who bring them, which is then increased or decreased, though it is generally increased; for the market of His Majesty is never dull. The number of men brought before His Majesty depends on number of men available. Every Monday all such horsemen are mustered as were left from the preceding week. With the view of increasing army and zeal of officers, His Majesty gives to each who brings horsemen, a present of two dams for each horsemen.

Regulation regarding education (Ain 25 Book 2)

His Majesty orders that every school boy must learn to write the letters of the alphabet first and then learn to trace their several forms. he ought to learn the shape and name of each letter, which may be done on two days, after which the boy should proceed to write joined letter. They may be practiced for a week after which boy should learn some prose and poetry by heart, and then commit to memory some verses to the praise of God, or moral sentences, each written separately. Care is to be taken that he learns everything by himself but the teacher must assist him a little.


The original Persian text was translated into English in three volumes. The first volume, translated by Heinrich Blochmann (1873) consisted of Books I and II. The second volume, translated by Col. Henry Sullivan Jarrett (1891), contained Book III, and the remaining volume, also translated by Jarrett (1896), Books IV and V. These three volumes were published by the Asiatic Society of Calcutta as a part of their Bibliotheca Indica series.[3][6][7]

See also

Mughal Karkhanas
Mughal Empire


1. Majumdar, R.C. (2007). The Mughul Empire, Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, p.5
2. Introduction to Akbaranama and Ain-e-Akbari Columbia University
3. Blochmann, H. (tr.) (1927, reprint 1993). The Ain-I Akbari by Abu'l-Fazl Allami, Vol. I, Calcutta: The Asiatic Society, preface (first edition)
4. "Preface". Archived from the original on 2018-07-14. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
5. [1]
6. Jarrett, H.S. (tr.) (1949, reprint 1993). The Ain-I Akbari by Abu'l-Fazl Allami, Vol. II, Calcutta: The Asiatic Society, editor's introduction
7. Jarrett, H.S. (tr.) (1948, reprint 1993). The Ain-I Akbari by Abu'l-Fazl Allami, Vol. III, Calcutta: The Asiatic Society, editor's introduction

External links

• Ayeen Akbery (1684)
• The Ain i Akbari, Volume 3 (1894)
• Supplement to the first volume of Gladwin's Ayeen Akberi (1918)
• Ayeen Akbery, Or, The Institutes of the Emperor Akber, Volume 1
• Ain-e-Akbari, English translation, by H. Blochmann and Colonel H. S. Jarrett, 1873 – 1907. The Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta. at Packard Humanities Institute
• Ain-e-Akbari, English tr. by Colonel H. S. Jarrett. The Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta. 1948
• Aeene Akbari Part I at Digital Library of India
Persian text of the A'in-i Akbari in three parts: ... l1Part1of2 ... l1Part2of2 ... iHindustan
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Mon May 17, 2021 12:03 am

Part 1 of 2

Hanuman [Hanumat] [Anuman] [Hanumantha] [Hanumathudu]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/16/21

Origin legend of the Tibetan people

Gods love to change to other forms, not just the classical legends of ancient Greece, the Native American tales, and the cosmic chaos household of Hinduism.

As in the Tibetan founding legend: Behind the two wild creatures of the monkey and the demon hide namely the bashful Chenrezig, Bodhisattva of compassion (in his Sanskrit form also called Avalokiteshvara) and his - even - better half Jetsün Dölma. Dölma is also known as Tara and is worshiped by Buddhists in all its 21 expressions, colors and powers.

Chenrezig, or Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion.

When not in the guise of a demon wrapped in raging wispy clouds and raving on mountain peaks, Dölma is a rather reserved, practical deity, merciful, full of love for her loved ones and proud of her femininity: As a mocking monk once advises her, the next To be born again as a man, for only in this way can one obtain the last enlightenment, does she swear from then on to reincarnate only as a female being.

When the Buddha of Compassion and the Goddess of Goodness meet on the Tibetan Plateau, both are already high spirits, yet unredeemed. A threefold rainbow is formed between their bodies and they look deeply into each other's eyes. And so that they do not need to be ashamed of each other in their exemplary purity as holy beings, one lets out the monkey and the other the demoness. We know the feeling.

Incarnation of feminine intuition: the green tara (thangka from the 13th century, Tibet).

Since it can still take until Nirvana, they not only agree to play heavenly love games and have six children with each other, but also to beget a whole people. However, although the monkey and the demon take care of their offspring, this one denies both monkey and demon food. Even that is not unknown to today's human parents.

Only when suddenly a field full of highland barley sprouts from the raw earth and the ears change into tsampa flour, the hunger of the children can be satisfied. From now on, the children of the monkey and the demon are true Tibetans.

-- Coocoola [Kukula] of Sikkim: Lacham Kusho, That's Going with the Gods, by Simon Schreyer

God of Wisdom, Strength, Courage, Devotion and Self-Discipline[1]
Hanuman tearing up his chest to show Sita-Rama in his heart
Devanagari: हनुमान
Sanskrit transliteration: Hanumān
Affiliation: Devotee of Rama, Deva, Vanara,[2] Rudra avatar
Mantra: ॐ हनुमते नमः (Om Hanumate Namah)
Weapon: Gada (mace)
Texts: Ramayana and its other versions, Hanuman Chalisa [3]
Festivals: Hanuman Jayanti
Personal information
Born: Anjeyanadri Hill, Koppal district, Karnataka
Parents: Vayu (celestial father); Kesari (father)[2][5]; Añjanā (mother)[2]
Siblings: Bhima (spiritual brother)[4]

Hanuman (/ˈhʌnʊˌmɑːn/; Sanskrit: हनुमान्, IAST: Hanumān)[6] is a Hindu god and divine vanara companion of the god Rama. Hanuman is one of the central characters of the Hindu epic Ramayana. He is an ardent devotee of Rama and one of the chiranjivis. Hanuman is also son of the wind-god Vayu, who in several stories played a direct role in Hanuman's birth.[5][7] Hanuman is mentioned in several other texts, such as the epic Mahabharata and the various Puranas.

Evidence of devotional worship to Hanuman is largely absent in these texts, as well as in most archeological sites. According to Philip Lutgendorf, an American Indologist, the theological significance of Hanuman and devotional dedication to him emerged about 1,000 years after the composition of the Ramayana, in the 2nd millennium CE, after the arrival of Islamic rule in the Indian subcontinent.[8] Lutgendorf also writes that the skills in Hanuman's resume also seem to derive in part from his windy patrimony, reflecting Vayu's role in both body and cosmos.[9] Bhakti movement saints such as Samarth Ramdas have positioned Hanuman as a symbol of nationalism and resistance to persecution.[10] The Vaishnava saint Madhva said that whenever Vishnu incarnates on earth, Vayu accompanies him and aids his work of preserving dharma.[11] In the modern era, Hanuman's iconography and temples have been increasingly common.[12] He is viewed as the ideal combination of "strength, heroic initiative and assertive excellence" and "loving, emotional devotion to his personal god Rama", as Shakti and Bhakti.[13] In later literature, he is sometimes portrayed as the patron god of martial arts such as wrestling and acrobatics, as well as activities such as meditation and diligent scholarship.[2] He symbolizes the human excellences of inner self-control, faith, and service to a cause, hidden behind the first impressions of a being who looks like an Ape-Man Vanara.[12][14][15] Hanuman is considered a bachelor and exemplary celibate.[16]

Some scholars have identified Hanuman as one potential inspiration for Sun Wukong, the Monkey King character in the Chinese epic adventure Journey to the West.[17][18]


Hanuman with a Namaste (Anjali Mudra) posture

The meaning or origin of the word "Hanuman" is unclear. In the Hindu pantheon, deities typically have many synonymous names, each based on some noble characteristic, attribute, or reminder of a mythical deed achieved by that deity.[19] One interpretation of "Hanuman" is "one having a disfigured jaw". This version is supported by a Puranic legend wherein infant Hanuman mistakes the Sun for a fruit, heroically attempts to reach it, and is wounded in the jaw for his attempt.[19]

Hanuman combines two of the most cherished traits in the Hindu bhakti-shakti worship traditions: "heroic, strong, assertive excellence" and "loving, emotional devotion to personal God".[19]

Linguistic variations of "Hanuman" include Hanumat, Anuman (Tamil), Hanumantha (Kannada), Hanumanthudu (Telugu). Other names include:

• Anjaneya,[20] Anjaniputra (Kannada), Anjaneyar (Tamil), Anjaneyudu (Telugu), Anjanisuta all meaning "the son of Anjana"
• Kesari Nandana or Kesarisuta, based on his father, which means "son of Kesari"
• Vayuputra/ Pavanputra : the son of the Vayu deva-Wind god[21]
Vajrang Bali/Bajrang Bali, "the strong one (bali), who had limbs (anga) as hard or as tough as vajra (diamond)"; this name is widely used in rural North India[19]
• Sankata Mochana, "the remover of dangers, hardships, or hurdles" (sankata)[19]
• Māruti, "son of Maruta" (another name of Vayu deva)
• Kapeeshwara, "lord of monkeys"
• Rama Doota, "the messenger (doota) of Lord Rama"
• Mahakaya, gigantic"
• Vira, Mahavira, "most valiant"
• Mahabala/Mahabali, "the strongest one"
• Panchavaktra, "five-faced"
• Mukhya Prana Devaru, "Primordial Life Giver" (more prominent amongst followers of Dvaita, such as Madhwas)

Historical development

Standing Hanuman, Chola Dynasty, 11th century, Tamil Nadu, India

Vedic roots

The earliest mention of a divine monkey, interpreted by some scholars as the proto-Hanuman, is in hymn 10.86 of the Rigveda [???!!!], dated to between 1500 and 1200 BCE. The twenty-three verses of the hymn are a metaphorical and riddle-filled legend. It is presented as a dialogue between multiple characters: the god Indra, his wife Indrani and an energetic monkey it refers to as Vrisakapi and his wife Kapi.[22][23][24] The hymn opens with Indrani complaining to Indra that some of the soma offerings for Indra have been allocated to the energetic and strong monkey, and the people are forgetting Indra. The king of the gods, Indra, responds by telling his wife that the living being (monkey) that bothers her is to be seen as a friend, and that they should make an effort to coexist peacefully. The hymn closes with all agreeing that they should come together in Indra's house and share the wealth of the offerings.

1. MEN have abstained from pouring juice they count not Indra as a God.
Where at the votary's store my friend Vrsakapi hath drunk his fill. Supreme is Indra over all.
2 Thou, Indra, heedless passest by the ill Vrsakapi hath wrought;
Yet nowhere else thou findest place wherein to drink the Soma juice. Supreme is Indra over all.
3 What hath he done to injure thee, this tawny beast Vrsakapi,
With whom thou art so angry now? What is the votary's foodful store? Supreme is Indra over all.
4 Soon may the hound who hunts the boar seize him and bite him in the car,
O Indra, that Vrsakapi whom thou protectest as a friend, Supreme is Indra over all.
5 Kapi hath marred the beauteous things, all deftly wrought, that were my joy.
In pieces will I rend his head; the sinner's portion shall he woo. Supreme is Indra over all.
6 No Dame hath ampler charms than I, or greater wealth of love's delights.
None with more ardour offers all her beauty to her lord's embrace. Supreme is Indra over all.
7 Mother whose love is quickly won, I say what verily will be.
My, breast, O Mother, and my head and both my hips seem quivering. Supreme is Indra over all.
8 Dame with the lovely hands and arms, with broad hair-plaits add ample hips,
Why, O thou Hero's wife, art thou angry with our Vrsakapi? Supreme is Indra over all.
9 This noxious creature looks on me as one bereft of hero's love,
Yet Heroes for my sons have I, the Maruts’ Friend and Indra's Queen. Supreme is Indra over all.
10 From olden time the matron goes to feast and general sacrifice.
Mother of Heroes, Indra's Queen, the rite's ordainer is extolled. Supreme is Indra over all.
11 So have I heard Indrāṇī called most fortunate among these Dames,
For never shall her Consort die in future time through length of days. Supreme is Indra overall.
12 Never, Indralni, have I joyed without my friend Vrsakapi,
Whose welcome offering here, made pure with water, goeth to the Gods. Supreme is Indra over all.
13 Wealthy Vrsakapayi, blest with sons and consorts of thy sons,
Indra will eat thy bulls, thy dear oblation that effecteth much. Supreme is Indra over all.
14 Fifteen in number, then, for me a score of bullocks they prepare,
And I devour the fat thereof: they fill my belly full with food. Supreme is Indra over all.
15 Like as a bull with pointed horn, loud bellowing amid the herds,
Sweet to thine heart, O Indra, is the brew which she who tends thee pours. Supreme is Indra over all.
18 O Indra this Vrsakapi hath found a slain wild animal,
Dresser, and new-made pan, and knife, and wagon with a load of wood. Supreme is Indra over all.
19 Distinguishing the Dāsa and the Ārya, viewing all, I go.
I look upon the wise, and drink the simple votary's Soma juice. Supreme is Indra over all.
20 The desert plains and steep descents, how many leagues in length they spread!
Go to the nearest houses, go unto thine home, Vrsakapi. Supreme is Indra over all.
21 Turn thee again Vrsakapi: we twain will bring thee happiness.
Thou goest homeward on thy way along this path which leads to sleep. Supreme is Indra over all.
22 When, Indra and Vrsakapi, ye travelled upward to your home,
Where was that noisome beast, to whom went it, the beast that troubles man? Supreme is Indra over all.

23 Daughter of Manu, Parsu bare a score of children at a birth.
Her portion verily was bliss although her burthen caused her grief.

-- The Rig Veda, translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith

Proto Dravidian roots

The orientalist F. E. Pargiter (1852–1927) theorized that Hanuman was a proto-Dravidian deity.[25] According to this theory, the name "Hanuman" derives from Tamil word for male monkey (ana-mandi), first transformed to "Anumant" – a name which remains in use. "Anumant", according to this hypothesis, was later Sanskritized to "Hanuman" because the ancient Aryans confronted with a popular monkey deity of ancient Dravidians coopted the concept and then Sanskritized it.[24][26] According to Murray Emeneau, known for his Tamil linguistic studies, this theory does not make sense because the Old Tamil word mandi in Caṅkam literature can only mean "female monkey", and Hanuman is male. Further, adds Emeneau, the compound ana-mandi makes no semantic sense in Tamil, which has well developed and sophisticated grammar and semantic rules. The "prominent jaw" etymology, according to Emeneau, is therefore plausible.[24]

Epics and Puranas

Sita's scepticism

Vanaranam naranam ca
kathamasit samagamah

How can there be a
relationship between men and monkeys?

—Valmiki's Ramayana'
Sita's first meeting with Hanuman
(Translator: Philip Lutgendorf)[27]

Hanuman is mentioned in both the Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata.[28] A twentieth-century Jesuit missionary Camille Bulcke, in his Ramkatha: Utpatti Aur Vikas ("The tale of Rama: its origin and development"), proposed that Hanuman's worship had its basis in the cults of aboriginal tribes of Central India.[29]

Hanuman is mentioned in the Puranas.[30] A medieval legend posited Hanuman as an avatar of the god Shiva by the 10th century CE, but at first we find only a mere mention of the fact that Hanuman is Rudravatara according to most of the puranas.[29][31] Hanuman is mentioned as an avatar of Rudra in the medieval era Sanskrit texts like the Bhagavata Purana, the Skanda Purana, the Brhaddharma Purana and the Mahanataka among others.

Rudra (/ˈrʊdrə/; Sanskrit: रुद्र) is a Rigvedic deity associated with wind or storm, Vayu and the hunt. One translation of the name is 'the roarer'. In the Rigveda, Rudra is praised as the 'mightiest of the mighty'. Rudra means "who eradicates problems from their roots". Depending upon the periodic situation, Rudra can mean 'the most severe roarer/howler' (could be a hurricane or tempest) or 'the most frightening one'. Rudra is described as the lord who does total destruction at the time of great dissolution. The Shri Rudram hymn from the Yajurveda is dedicated to Rudra and is important in the Saivism sect.

-- Rudra, by Wikipedia

Rudra (Tib. རུ་དྲ་, Wyl. ru dra) is a demon who embodies egohood.

-- Rudra, by

Only Shiva Purana mentions Hanuman as an avatar of Shiva; all other puranas clearly mention that he is an avatar of Rudra (which is also another name of Vayu[32]).[29] Indologist Philip Lutgendorf writes, "The later identification of Hanuman as one of the eleven rudras may reflect a Shaiva sectarian claim on an increasing popular god, it also suggests his kinship with, and hence potential control over, a class of awesome and ambivalent deities". Lutgendorf also writes, "Other skills in Hanuman's resume also seem to derive in part from his windy patrimony, reflecting Vayu's role in both body and cosmos".[9]

Other mythologies, such as those found in South India, present Hanuman as a being who is the union of Shiva and Vishnu, or associated with the origin of Ayyappa.[2] The 17th century Odia work Rasavinoda by Dinakrishnadasa goes on to mention that the three gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva – combined to take to the form of Hanuman.[33]

Late medieval and modern era

Numerous 14th-century and later Hanuman images are found in the ruins of the Hindu Vijayanagara Empire.[34]

In Valmiki's Ramayana, estimated to have been composed before or in about the 3rd century BCE, Hanuman is an important, creative character as a simian helper and messenger for Rama. The character evolved over time, reflecting regional cultural values. It is, however, in the late medieval era that his profile evolves into more central role and dominance as the exemplary spiritual devotee, particularly with the popular vernacular text Ramcharitmanas by Tulsidas (~ 1575 CE).[21][35] According to scholars such as Patrick Peebles and others, during a period of religious turmoil and Islamic rule of the Indian subcontinent, the Bhakti movement and devotionalism-oriented Bhakti yoga had emerged as a major trend in Hindu culture by the 16th-century, and the Ramcharitmanas presented Rama as a Vishnu avatar, supreme being and a personal god worthy of devotion, with Hanuman as the ideal loving devotee with legendary courage, strength and powers.[10][36]

During this era, Hanuman evolved and emerged as the ideal combination of shakti and bhakti.[13] Stories and folk traditions in and after the 17th century, began to reformulate and present Hanuman as a divine being, as a descendant of deities, and as an avatar of Shiva.[36] He emerged as a champion of those religiously persecuted, expressing resistance, a yogi,[37] an inspiration for martial artists and warriors,[38] a character with less fur and increasingly human, symbolizing cherished virtues and internal values, and worthy of devotion in his own right.[10][39] As Hindu monks morphed into soldiers, they often named their organizations after Hanuman.[40][41] This evolution of Hanuman's character, his religious status, and his cultural role as well as his iconography, continued through the colonial era and into post-colonial times.[42]



According to Hindu legends, Hanuman was born to mother Anjana and father Kesari.[2][43] Hanuman is also called the son of the deity Vayu (Wind god) because of legends associated with Vayu's role in Hanuman's birth. One story mentioned in Eknath's Bhavartha Ramayana (16th century CE) states that when Anjana was worshiping Vayu, the King Dasharatha of Ayodhya was also performing the ritual of Putrakameshti yagna in order to have children. As a result, he received some sacred pudding (payasam) to be shared by his three wives, leading to the births of Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna. By divine ordinance, a kite snatched a fragment of that pudding and dropped it while flying over the forest where Anjana was engaged in worship. Vayu, the Hindu deity of the wind, delivered the falling pudding to the outstretched hands of Anjana, who consumed it, leading to the birth of Hanuman.[43]

The Ramayana locates the birthplace of Hanuman in Kishkinda. Anjaneri in Nasik, Maharashtra[44][45][46] along with Anjeneri Anjanadri (Near Hampi) in Gangavathi Taluk Koppal District, Karnataka is one of a number of places that claim to be the location of Kishkinda.[47][48][49]


Child Hanuman reaches for the Sun thinking it is a fruit by BSP Pratinidhi

According to Valmiki's Ramayana, one morning in his childhood, Hanuman was hungry and saw the rising red-colored sun. Mistaking it for a ripe fruit, he leapt up to eat it. In one version of the Hindu legend, the king of gods Indra intervened and struck Hanuman with his thunderbolt. It hit Hanuman on his jaw, and he fell to the earth dead with a broken jaw. According to the Ramayana (section 4.65), Hanuman's father Vayu (air) became upset and withdrew all the air on Earth. The lack of air created immense suffering to all living beings. This led lord Shiva to intervene and resuscitate Hanuman, which in turn prompted Vayu to return to the living beings. As the mistake was done by the god Indra, he grants Hanuman a wish that his body would be as strong as Indra's Vajra, and that his Vajra can also not harm him. Along with Indra other gods have also granted him wishes: the God Agni granted Hanuman a wish that fire won't harm him; God Varuna granted a wish for Hanuman that water won't harm him; God Vayu granted a wish for Hanuman that he will be as fast as wind and the wind won't harm him. Lord Brahma also granted Hanuman a wish that he can move to any place where he cannot be stopped; Lord Vishnu also grants Hanuman a weapon named "Gada". Hence these wishes make Hanuman an immortal, who has unique powers and strength.[50]

In another Hindu version of his childhood legend, which Lutgendorf states is likely older and also found in Jain texts such as the 8th-century Dhurtakhyana, Hanuman's Icarus-like leap for the sun proves to be fatal and he is burnt to ashes from the sun's heat. His ashes fall onto the earth and oceans.[51] Gods then gather the ashes and his bones from land and, with the help of fishes, re-assemble him. They find everything except one fragment of his jawbone. His great-grandfather on his mother's side then asks Surya to restore the child to life. Surya returns him to life, but Hanuman is left with a disfigured jaw.[51] Hanuman is said to have spent his childhood in Kishkindha.

Some time after this event, Hanuman begins using his supernatural powers on innocent bystanders as simple pranks, until one day he pranks a meditating sage. In fury, the sage curses Hanuman to forget the vast majority of his powers. The curse remains into effect, until he is reminded of his powers in his adulthood.



The giant leap of Hanuman to Lanka

There is quite a lot of variation between what happens between his childhood and the events of the Ramayana, but his story becomes much more solid in the events of the Ramayana. After Rama and his brother Lakshmana, searching for Rama's kidnapped wife, Sita, arrive in Kishkindha, the new king, and Rama's newfound ally the monkey king Sugriva, agree to send scouts in all four directions to search for Rama's missing wife. To the south, Sugriva sends Hanuman and some others, including the great bear Jambavan. This group travels all the way to the southernmost tip of India, where they encounter the ocean with the island of Lanka (modern day Sri Lanka) visible in the horizon. The group wishes to investigate the island, but none can swim or jump so far (it was common for such supernatural powers to be common amongst characters in these epics). However, Jambavan knows from prior events that Hanuman used to be able to do such a feat with ease, and lifts his curse.[52]

Ravana burns Hanuman's tail.

The curse lifted, Hanuman now remembers all of his dynamic divine powers. He is said to have transformed into the size of mountain, and flew across the narrow channel to Lanka. Upon landing, he discovers a city populated by the Lanka king Ravana and his demon followers, so he shrinks down to the size of an ant and sneaks into the city. After searching the city, he discovers Sita in a grove, guarded by demon warriors. When they all fall asleep, he meets with Sita and discusses how he came to find her. She reveals that Ravana kidnapped her and is forcing her to marry him soon. He offers to rescue her but Sita refuses, stating that her husband must do it (a belief from the time of ancient India).[52][53]

What happens next differs by account, but a common tale is that after visiting Sita, he starts destroying the grove, prompting his capture. Regardless of the tale, he ends up captured in the court of Ravana himself, who laughs when Hanuman tells him that Rama is coming to take back Sita. Ravana orders his servants to light Hanuman's tail on fire as torture for threatening his safety. However, every time they put on an oil-soaked cloth to burn, he grows his tail longer so that more clothes need to be added. This continues until Ravana has had enough and orders the lighting to begin. However, when his tail is lit, he shrinks his tail back and breaks free of his bonds with his superhuman strength. He jumps out a window and jumps from rooftop to rooftop, burning down building after building, until much of the city is ablaze. Seeing this triumph, Hanuman leaves back for India.[52][53]

Upon returning, he tells his scouting party what had occurred, and they rush back to Kishkindha, where Rama had been waiting all along for news. Upon hearing that Sita was safe and was awaiting him, Rama gathered the support of Sugriva's army and marched for Lanka. Thus begins the legendary Battle of Lanka.[52]

Throughout the long battle, Hanuman played a role as a general in the army. During one intense fight, Lakshmana, Rama's brother, was fatally wounded; it was thought that he would die without the aid of an herb from a Himalayan mountain. Hanuman was the only one who could make the journey so quickly, and was thus sent to the mountain.

Upon arriving, he discovered that there were many herbs along the mountainside, and did not want to take the wrong herb back. So instead, he grew to the size of a mountain, ripped the mountain from the Earth, and flew it back to the battle. This act is perhaps his most legendary among Hindus.[53] A chunk of this mountain was said to be fallen down while carrying and the present day “Mount Roomassala” is believed to be the fallen piece.

In the end, Rama revealed his divine powers as the incarnation of the God Vishnu, and slew Ravana and the rest of the demon army. Finally finished, Rama returned to his home of Ayodhya to return to his place as king. After blessing all those who aided him in the battle with gifts, Rama gave Hanuman his gift, who threw it away. Many court officials, perplexed, were angered by this act. Hanuman replied that rather than needing a gift to remember Rama, he would always be in his heart. Some court officials, still upset, asked him for proof, and Hanuman tore open his chest, which had an image of Rama and Sita on his heart. Now proven as a true devotee, Rama cured him and blessed him with immortality, but Hanuman refused this and asked only for a place at Rama's feet to worship him. Touched, Rama blessed him with immortality anyway. Like Shesha Nag, Hanuman would live on after the Kalpa (destruction of the universe).

Shesha (Sanskrit: Śeṣa), also known as Sheshanaga (Śeṣanāga) or Adishesha (Ādi Śeṣa), is the nagaraja or King of all Nāgas and one of the primal beings of creation. In the Puranas, Shesha is said to hold all the planets of the universe on his hoods and to constantly sing the glories of the God Vishnu from all his mouths. He is sometimes referred to as Ananta Shesha, which translates as endless-Shesha or Adishesha "first Shesha". It is said that when Adishesa uncoils, time moves forward and creation takes place; when he coils back, the universe ceases to exist.

Vishnu is often depicted as resting on Shesha. Shesha is considered a devotee or bhakt of Vishnu. He is said to have descended to Earth in the human forms or avatars: Lakshmana, brother of Vishnu's avatar Rama during Treta Yuga, and as Balarama, brother of Vishnu's avatar Krishna during Dvapara Yuga. According to the Mahabharata (Adi Parva), his father was Kashyapa and his mother Kadru.

"Shesha" in Sanskrit texts, especially those relating to mathematical calculation, implies the "remainder"—that which remains when all else ceases to exist.

-- Shesha, by Wikipedia


Bhima tries to lift Hanuman's tail.

Centuries after the events of the Ramayana, and during the events of the Mahabharata, Hanuman is now a nearly forgotten demigod living his life in a forest. After some time, his spiritual brother through the god Vayu, Bhima, passes through looking for flowers for his wife. Hanuman senses this and decides to teach him a lesson, as Bhima had been known to be boastful of his superhuman strength (at this point in time supernatural powers were much rarer than in the Ramayana but still seen in the Hindu epics). Bhima encountered Hanuman lying on the ground in the shape of a feeble old monkey. He asked Hanuman to move, but he would not. As stepping over an individual was considered extremely disrespectful in this time, Hanuman suggested lifting his tail up to create a passage. Bhima heartily accepted, but could not lift the tail to any avail.[54]

Bhima, humbled, realized that the frail monkey was some sort of deity, and asked him to reveal himself. Hanuman revealed himself, much to Bhima's surprise, and the brothers embraced. Hanuman prophesied that Bhima would soon be a part of a terrible war, and promised Bhima that he would sit on the flag of his brother Arjuna's chariot and shout a battle cry for Bhima that would weaken the hearts of his enemies. Content, Hanuman left his brother to his search, and after that prophesied war, would not be seen again until early 1600s.


Hanuman fetches the herb-bearing mountain, in a print from the Ravi Varma Press, 1910s

Hanuman has many attributes, including:

• Chiranjivi (immortal): various versions of Ramayana and Rama Katha state towards their end, just before Rama and Lakshmana die, that Hanuman is blessed to be immortal. He will be a part of humanity forever, while the story of Rama lives on and the story will go on as the gods recite the story always. Thus, he will live forever.[55]
• Brahmachari (self-controlled): one who control their lust from all materialistic things of material world.
• Kurūp and Sundar: he is described in Hindu texts as kurūp (ugly) on the outside, but divinely sundar (beautiful inside).[51] The Hanuman Chalisa describes him as handsome with a complexion of molten gold (kanchana barana birāja subesā).[56]
• Kama-rupin: He can shapeshift, become smaller than the smallest, larger than the largest adversary at will.[57] He uses this attribute to shrink and enter Lanka, as he searches for the kidnapped Sita imprisoned in Lanka. Later on, he takes on the size of a mountain, blazing with radiance, to show his true power to Sita.[58]
• Strength: Hanuman is extraordinarily strong, one capable of lifting and carrying any burden for a cause. He is called Vira, Mahavira, Mahabala and other names signifying this attribute of his. During the epic war between Rama and Ravana, Rama's brother Lakshmana is wounded. He can only be healed and his death prevented by a herb found in a particular Himalayan mountain. Hanuman leaps and finds the mountain. There, states Ramayana, Hanuman finds the mountain is full of many herbs. He doesn't know which one to take. So, he lifts the entire Himalayan mountain and carries it across India to Lanka for Lakshmana. His immense strength thus helps Lakshmana recover from his wound.[59] This legend is the popular basis for the iconography where he is shown flying and carrying a mountain on his palm.[60]
• Innovative: Hanuman is described as someone who constantly faces very difficult odds, where the adversary or circumstances threaten his mission with certain defeat and his very existence. Yet he finds an innovative way to turn the odds. For example, after he finds Sita, delivers Rama's message, and persuades her that he is indeed Rama's true messenger, he is discovered by the prison guards. They arrest Hanuman, and under Ravana's orders take him to a public execution. There, the Ravana's guards begin his torture, tie his tail with oiled cloth and put it on fire. Hanuman then leaps, jumps from one palace rooftop to another, thus burning everything down.[61]
• Bhakti: Hanuman is presented as the exemplary devotee (bhakta) of Rama and Sita. The Hindu texts such as the Bhagavata Purana, the Bhakta Mala, the Ananda Ramayana and the Ramacharitmanas present him as someone who is talented, strong, brave and spiritually devoted to Rama.[62] The Rama stories such as the Ramayana and the Ramacharitmanas, in turn themselves, present the Hindu dharmic concept of the ideal, virtuous and compassionate man (Rama) and woman (Sita) thereby providing the context for attributes assigned therein for Hanuman.[63][64]
• Learned Yogi: In the late medieval texts and thereafter, such as those by Tulasidas, attributes of Hanuman include learned in Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism, the Vedas, a poet, a polymath, a grammarian, a singer and musician par excellence.[62][2]
• Remover of obstacles: in devotional literature, Hanuman is the remover of difficulties.[62]
• Bestower of eight Siddhis and nine Nidhis to his devotees: Hanuman is described as the bestower of eight classical Siddhis and nine Nidhis, a boon granted to him by Sita, and also famously described by Goswami Tulsidas in his devotional hymn named Hanuman Chalisa - "अष्ट सिद्धि नौ निधि के दाता। अस बर दीन्ह जानकी माता॥ ३१ ॥".
• Healer of diseases, pains and sorrows: Heals all kinds of diseases, pains and sorrows of devotees.
• Slayer of demons, evil and negative energies: Keeps away ghosts, evil spirits, demons, Brahmarakshasa, devils, Sakini, Dakini, and prevents effects of the planets in the sky, evil created by thalismans, thanthra done by others and evil chants. The following names of Hanuman describe some of these qualities, Rakshovidhwansakaraka, Akshahantre, Dashagreevakulantaka, Lankineebhanjana, Simhikaprana Bhanjana, Maharavanamardana, Kalanemi Pramathana.
• Protector and saviour of devotees of Shri Ram and himself: The doorkeeper and protector of the door to Rama's court, and protector and saviour of devotees.
• Five-faced or Panchmukha when he assumes his fierce form: East facing Hanuman face (Anjaneya) that grants purity of mind and success. South facing man-lion face (Karala Ugraveera Narasimha) that grants victory and fearlessness. West facing Garuda face (Mahaveera Garuda) that grants protection from black magic and poisons. North facing Boar face (Lakshmi Varaha) that grants prosperity and wealth. Horse face (Hayagriva) facing towards the sky (upwards) that grants knowledge and good children.

A wall painting of Hanuman from the fort of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

It is the Panchamukhi form of Lord Anjaneya that Sri Raghavendra Tirtha had a vision of. Hence Madhva Brahmins who follow Dvaita Siddhanta, believe that Hanuman in the Panchamukhi form is Mukhya Prana Devaru (The Primordial Life-Giving deity) and is worshipped as son of Vayu. Sri Madhvacharya is worshipped as an incarnation of Lord Vayu. In Dvaita Siddhanta, the soul (Jivatma) may aspire to attain Vayu / Anjaneya / Panchamukha form, but Hari is Sarvottama (God). It is paraphrased as "Hari Sarvottama, Vayu Jeevottama". Thus Lord Anjaneya in the Panchamukha form occupies a place of prime importance and significance in Dvaita Siddhanta which has been propagated by Sri Madhwacharya, Sri Raghavendra Tirtha, Sri Vyasaraja Tirtha amongst others.




Hanuman finds Sita in the Ashoka grove, and delivers her Rama's ring.

The Sundara Kanda, the fifth book in the Ramayana, focuses on Hanuman. Hanuman meets Rama in the last year of the latter's 14-year exile, after the demon king Ravana had kidnapped Sita. With his brother Lakshmana, Rama is searching for his wife Sita. This, and related Rama legends are the most extensive stories about Hanuman.[65][66]

Numerous versions of the Ramayana exist within India. These present variant legends of Hanuman, Rama, Sita, Lakshamana and Ravana. The characters and their descriptions vary, in some cases quite significantly.[67]


Roadside Hanuman shrine south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

The Mahabharata is another major epic which has a short mention of Hanuman. In Book 3, the Vana Parva of the Mahabharata, he is presented as a half brother of Bhima, who meets him accidentally on his way to Mount Kailasha. A man of extraordinary strength, Bhima is unable to move Hanuman's tail, making him realize and acknowledge the strength of Hanuman. This story attests to the ancient chronology of the Hanuman character. It is also a part of artwork and reliefs such as those at the Vijayanagara ruins.[68][69]

Other literature

Apart from Ramayana and Mahabharata, Hanuman is mentioned in several other texts. Some of these stories add to his adventures mentioned in the earlier epics, while others tell alternative stories of his life. The Skanda Purana mentions Hanuman in Rameswaram.[70]

In a South Indian version of Shiva Purana, Hanuman is described as the son of Shiva and Mohini (the female avatar of Vishnu), or alternatively his mythology has been linked to or merged with the origin of Swami Ayyappa who is popular in parts of South India.[2]

Hanuman Chalisa

The 16th-century Indian poet Tulsidas wrote Hanuman Chalisa, a devotional song dedicated to Hanuman. He claimed to have visions where he met face to face with Hanuman. Based on these meetings, he wrote Ramcharitmanas, an Awadhi language version of Ramayana.[71]

Relation with Devi or Shakti

The relation between Hanuman and Goddess Kali finds mention in the Krittivasi Ramayana.

Kṛttivāsī Rāmāyaṇ, composed by the fifteenth-century Bengali poet Krittibas Ojha, from whom it takes its name, is a rendition of the Rāmāyaṇa into Bengali. Written in the traditional Rāmāyaṇa Pā̃cālī form of Middle Bengali literature, the Kṛttivāsī Rāmāyaṇ is not just a rewording of the original Indian epic, but also a vivid reflection of the society and culture of Bengal across the period of its circulation, from the Middle Ages into the modern period. It was characterised by Dinesh Chandra Sen in 1911 as 'by far the most popular book in Bengal' and 'the Bible of the people of the Gangetic Valley'.

-- Krittivasi Ramayan, by Wikipedia

Their meeting takes place in the Yuddha Kanda of Ramayana in the legend of Mahiravana. Mahiravana was a trusted friend/brother of Ravana. After his son, Meghanatha was killed, Ravana sought Mahiravana, the King of Patalaloka's help to kill Rama and Lakshmana. One night, Mahiravana, using his maya, took Vibhishana's form and entered Rama's camp. There he cast the nidra mantra on the Vanar Sena, kidnapped Rama and Lakshmana and took them to Patala Loka. He was an adherent devotee of Devi and Ravana convinced him to sacrifice the valiant fighters of Ayodhya to the goddess, to which Mahiravana agreed. Hanuman, upon understanding the way to Patala from Vibhishana made haste to rescue his lords. On his journey, he met Makardhwaja who claimed of being Hanuman's son, being born from his sweat which was consumed by a Makara (crocodile). Hanuman defeated and tied him and went inside the palace. There he met Chandrasena who told about the sacrifice and the way to kill Ahiravana. Hanuman then shrunk his size to that of a bee and went towards the huge idol of Maha-Kali. He asked her to let him save Rama, and the fierce mother goddess agreed as Hanuman took her place while she slipped below. When Mahiravana asked the prince-sages to bow, they refused as they were of royal lineage and didn't know how to bow. So as Mahiravana was about to show them how to bow, Hanuman took his Pancha-mukha form (with the head of Garuda, Narasimha, Varaha, Hayagreeva and himself: each head signifying a particular trait. Hanuman courage and strength, Narasimha fearlessness, Garuda magical skills and the power to cure snake bites, Varaha health and exorcism and Hayagriva victory over enemies), blew the 5 oil lamps in 5 directions and severed the head of Mahiravana, thus killing him. He later took Shri Rama and Lakshmana on his shoulders and as he flew outside Shri Rama saw Makardhwaja tied with his tail. He immediately ordered Hanuman to crown him the King of Patala. The story of Ahiravan finds its place in the Ramayanas of the East. It can be found in the Bengali version of the Ramayana, written by Krittibash. The passage which talks about this incident is known as ‘Mahirabonerpala’. It is also believed that after being pleased with Hanuman, Goddess Kali blessed him to be her dwara-paal or gate-keeper and hence one finds Bhairava and Hanuman on either sides of the temple entrance of the Goddess' shrine. [72]


Hanuman appears with a Buddhist gloss in Tibetan (southwest China) and Khotanese (west China, central Asia and northern Iran) versions of Ramayana. The Khotanese versions have a Jātaka tales-like theme, but are generally similar to the Hindu texts in the storyline and character of Hanuman. The Tibetan version is more embellished, and without attempts to include a Jātaka gloss. Also, in the Tibetan version, novel elements appear such as Hanuman carrying love letters between Rama and Sita, in addition to the Hindu version wherein Rama sends the wedding ring with him as a message to Sita. Further, in the Tibetan version, Rama chides Hanuman for not corresponding with him through letters more often, implying that the monkey-messenger and warrior is a learned being who can read and write.[73][74]

In Japan, icons of the divine monkey (Saruta Biko), guards temples such as Saru-gami at Hie Shrine.[75][76]

In the Sri Lankan versions of Ramayana, which are titled after Ravana, the story is less melodramatic than the Indian stories. Many of the legends recounting Hanuman's bravery and innovative ability are found in the Sinhala versions. The stories in which the characters are involved have Buddhist themes, and lack the embedded ethics and values structure according to Hindu dharma.[77] According to Hera Walker, some Sinhalese communities seek the aid of Hanuman through prayers to his mother.[78] In Chinese Buddhist texts, states Arthur Cotterall, myths mention the meeting of the Buddha with Hanuman, as well as Hanuman's great triumphs.[79] According to Rosalind Lefeber, the arrival of Hanuman in East Asian Buddhist texts may trace its roots to the translation of the Ramayana into Chinese and Tibetan in the 6th-century CE.[80]

In both China and Japan, according to Lutgendorf, much like in India, there is a lack of a radical divide between humans and animals, with all living beings and nature assumed to be related to humans. There is no exaltation of humans over animals or nature, unlike the Western traditions. A divine monkey has been a part of the historic literature and culture of China and Japan, possibly influenced by the close cultural contact through Buddhist monks and pilgrimage to India over two millennia.[75] For example, the Japanese text Keiranshuyoshu, while presenting its mythology about a divine monkey, that is the theriomorphic Shinto emblem of Hie shrines, describes a flying white monkey that carries a mountain from India to China, then from China to Japan.[81] This story is based on a passage in the Ramayana where the wounded hero asks Hanuman to bring a certain herbal medicine from the Himalayas. As Hanuman does not know the herb he brings the entire mountain for the hero to choose from. By that time a learned medicine man from Lanka discovered the cure and Hanuman brings the mountain back to where it came from. Many Japanese shinto shrines and village boundaries, dated from the 8th to the 14th centuries, feature a monkey deity as guardian or intermediary between humans and gods (kami).[75][76]

The Jātaka tales contain Hanuman-like stories.[82] For example, the Buddha is described as a monkey-king in one of his earlier births in the Mahakapi Jātaka, wherein he as a compassionate monkey suffers and is abused, but who nevertheless continues to follow dharma in helping a human being who is lost and in danger.[83][84]

The Mahakapi Jataka is one of the Jataka tales or stories of the former lives of the Buddha, when he was still a Bodhisattva, as a king of the monkeys[2] [Jataka Stories Or Birth-Legends Were Widely Known In The Third Century Bc. The Pail Work, Entitled The Jataka Contains 537 Birth-Stories Of The Buddha's Former Births. Each Story, Narrated By The Buddha, Opens With A Preface Relating The Particular Circumstance In The Buddha's Life, Revealing Some Events In The Long Series Of His Previous Existences As A Bodhisattva. At The End The Buddha Identifies The Different Actors In The Story In Their Present Births. These Stories Magnify The Glory Of The Buddha And Illustrate Buddhist Doctrines And Precepts By Appropriate Examples. The Foremost Interest Of These Legends Lies In Their Relation To Folklore Giving A Vivid Picture Of The Social Life And Customs Of Ancient India. E. B. Cowell, Translator. Edward Byles Cowell, FBA (1826-1903)was a noted translator of Persian poetry and the first professor of Sanskrit at Cambridge University. Cowell was born in Ipswich, the son of Charles Cowell and Marianne Byles. Elizabeth "Beth" Cowell, the painter, was his sister. -- Jataka Or Stories of the Buddha's Former Birth, Volumes 1-2, by E. B. Cowell 2000]

The story runs that the Bodhisattva was born as a monkey, ruler over 80,000 monkeys. They lived at a spot near the Ganges and ate of the fruit of a great mango tree. King Brahmadatta of Benares, desiring to possess the mangoes, surrounded the tree with his soldiers, in order to kill the animals, but the Bodhisattva formed a bridge over the stream with his own body and by this means enabled the whole tribe to escape into safety.

Devadatta, the jealous and wicked cousin of the Buddha, was in that life one of the monkeys and, thinking it a good chance to destroy his enemy, jumped on the Bodhisattva’s back and broke his heart.

The king, seeing the good deed of the Bodhisattva and repenting of his own attempt to kill him, tended him with great care when he was dying and afterwards gave him royal obsequies.

-- Mahakapi Jataka, by Wikipedia


Main articles: Rama in Jainism and Salakapurusa

Paumacariya (also known as Pauma Chariu or Padmacharit), the Jain version of Ramayana written by Vimalasuri, mentions Hanuman not as a divine monkey, but as a Vidyadhara (a supernatural being, demigod in Jain cosmology). He is the son of Pavangati (wind deity) and Anjana Sundari. Anjana gives birth to Hanuman in a forest cave, after being banished by her in-laws. Her maternal uncle rescues her from the forest; while boarding his vimana, Anjana accidentally drops her baby on a rock. However, the baby remains uninjured while the rock is shattered. The baby is raised in Hanuruha.

Vimalasuri's Version

Vimalasuri's version is one of the most important and influential Jain story of Rama. Vimala Suri claims that the Ramayana of Valmiki is filled with illogical and false stories.[9] In his version, Kaikeyi is shown to be a generous and affectionate mother who wanted to stop Bharata from becoming a monk. For this, she wanted to give him the responsibility of a king. When Rama knew about it, he willingly went into exile.[10] Ravana was also called Dasamukha (ten-headed one) because when he was young, his mother gave him a necklace made of nine pearls. She could see his face reflected ninefold. Hence, he was named thus.[11] In Vimalsuri's Paumachariya, Rama married thrice when he was in exile. Lakshmana, his brother married eleven times. Ravana, was well known for his abilities in meditation and ascetic practices.[12] He was the king of Rakshasa, a kingdom of civilized and vegetarian people.[9] Sugriva was appointed by his brother Vali to become the king before Vali renounces the world and becomes a Jain monk.[9] Shambuka was accidentally killed by Lakshmana.[9] Ravana had passionate feelings for Sita. He said to have suffered in the end due to the effects of karma which was because of this vice. Lakshmana, Rama's brother kills Ravana. Both Ravana and Lakshmana go to hell for their actions where as Rama attains moksha(liberation). The vanaras were humans, belonging to a dynasty or clan which has a monkey as their emblem.[11] There are many arguments to which variant is actually authentic.

-- Rama in Jainism, by Wikipedia

There are major differences from the Hindu text: Hanuman is a supernatural being in Jain texts, (Rama is a pious Jaina who never kills anyone, and it is Lakshamana who kills Ravana.) Hanuman becomes a supporter of Rama after meeting him and learning about Sita's kidnapping by Ravana. He goes to Lanka on Rama's behalf, but is unable to convince Ravana to give up Sita. Ultimately, he joins Rama in the war against Ravana and performs several heroic deeds. Later Jain texts, such as Uttarapurana (9th century CE) by Gunabhadra and Anjana-Pavananjaya (12th century CE), tell the same story.

(In several versions of the Jain Ramayana story, there are passages that explain to Hanuman, and Rama (called Pauma in Jainism),(Hanuman, in these versions, ultimately renounces all social life become a Jain ascetic).
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In Sikhism, the Hindu god Rama has been referred to as Sri Ram Chandar, and the story of Hanuman as a siddha has been influential. After the birth of the martial Sikh Khalsa movement in 1699, during the 18th and 19th centuries, Hanuman was an inspiration and object of reverence by the Khalsa. Some Khalsa regiments brought along the Hanuman image to the battleground. The Sikh texts such as Hanuman Natak composed by Hirda Ram Bhalla, and Das Gur Katha by Kavi Kankan describe the heroic deeds of Hanuman.[85] According to Louis Fenech, the Sikh tradition states that Guru Gobind Singh was a fond reader of the Hanuman Natak text.

During the colonial era, in Sikh seminaries in what is now Pakistan, Sikh teachers were called bhai, and they were required to study the Hanuman Natak, the Hanuman story containing Ramcharitmanas and other texts, all of which were available in Gurmukhi script.[86]

Bhagat Kabir, a prominent writer of the scripture explicitly states that the being like Hanuman does not know the full glory of the divine. This statement is in the context of the Divine as being unlimited and ever expanding. Ananta is therefore a name of the divine. In sanskrit language anta means end. The prefix An is added to create the word Ananta (without end or unlimited).

ਹਨੂਮਾਨ ਸਰਿ ਗਰੁੜ ਸਮਾਨਾਂ

Hanūmān sar garuṛ samānāʼn.

Beings like Hanumaan, Garura,

ਸੁਰਪਤਿ ਨਰਪਤਿ ਨਹੀ ਗੁਨ ਜਾਨਾਂ Surpaṯ narpaṯ nahī gun jānāʼn.

Indra the King of the gods and the rulers of humans – none of them know Your Glories, Lord.

— Sri Guru Granth Sahib page 691 Full Shabad

Southeast Asian texts

There exist non-Indian versions of the Ramayana, such as the Thai Ramakien. According to these versions of the Ramayana, Macchanu is the son of Hanuman borne by Suvannamaccha, when "Hanuman fly over Lanka after firing Ravana palace, his body with extreme heat & a drop of his sweat fall into sea it eaten by a mighty fish when he bathing and she birth to macchanu" daughter of Ravana.

Another legend says that a demigod named Matsyaraja (also known as Makardhwaja or Matsyagarbha) claimed to be his son. Matsyaraja's birth is explained as follows: a fish (matsya) was impregnated by the drops of Hanuman's sweat, while he was bathing in the ocean.[29]

Hanuman in southeast Asian texts differs from the north Indian Hindu version in various ways in the Burmese Ramayana, such as Rama Yagan, Alaung Rama Thagyin (in the Arakanese dialect), Rama Vatthu and Rama Thagyin, the Malay Ramayana, such as Hikayat Sri Rama and Hikayat Maharaja Ravana, and the Thai Ramayana, such as Ramakien. However, in some cases, the aspects of the story are similar to Hindu versions and Buddhist versions of Ramayana found elsewhere on the Indian subcontinent. Valmiki Ramayana is the original holy text; others are edited versions by the poets for performing Arts like folk dances, the true story of Ramayana is Valmikis, Sage Valmiki known as the Adikavi "the first poet".

Significance and influence

Hanuman murti seated in meditation in lotus asana

Hanuman became more important in the medieval period and came to be portrayed as the ideal devotee (bhakta) of Rama.[29] Hanuman's life, devotion, and strength inspired wrestlers in India.[87]

According to Philip Lutgendorf, devotionalism to Hanuman and his theological significance emerged long after the composition of the Ramayana, in the 2nd millennium CE. His prominence grew after the arrival of Islamic rule in the Indian subcontinent.[8] He is viewed as the ideal combination of shakti ("strength, heroic initiative and assertive excellence") and bhakti ("loving, emotional devotion to his personal god Rama").[13] Beyond wrestlers, he has been the patron god of other martial arts. He is stated to be a gifted grammarian, meditating yogi and diligent scholar. He exemplifies the human excellences of temperance, faith and service to a cause.[12][14][15]

"Greater than Ram is Ram's servant."
– Tulsidas, Ramcharitmanas 7.120.14[88]

In 17th-century north and western regions of India, Hanuman emerged as an expression of resistance and dedication against Islamic persecution. For example, the bhakti poet-saint Ramdas presented Hanuman as a symbol of Marathi nationalism and resistance to Mughal Empire.[10]

Hanuman in the colonial and post-colonial era has been a cultural icon, as a symbolic ideal combination of shakti and bhakti, as a right of Hindu people to express and pursue their forms of spirituality and religious beliefs (dharma).[13][89] Political and religious organizations have named themselves after him or his synonyms such as Bajrang.[90][40][41] Political parades or religious processions have featured men dressed up as Hanuman, along with women dressed up as gopis (milkmaids) of god Krishna, as an expression of their pride and right to their heritage, culture and religious beliefs.[91][92] According to some scholars, the Hanuman-linked youth organizations have tended to have a paramilitary wing and have opposed other religions, with a mission of resisting the "evil eyes of Islam, Christianity and Communism", or as a symbol of Hindu nationalism.[93][94]

In Hindu astrology, Saturn or Shani is a dreaded planet whose transit in the constellation before the natal moon, over the natal moon and in the constellation subsequent to the natal moon is considered to be a very tough period for a person, referred to as Sadesati. It is believed that Hanuman and Ganesha are the two deities whose worship leads to a reduction in the malefic influence of planets. People worship Hanuman as an astrological remedy to pacify the disastrous effects of a badly placed Saturn. This is done by preparing offerings made of urad dal, peppered with sugar, called jalebi or peppered with salt and pepper, called vadai, stringing it and offering this as an edible garland of sorts to Hanuman on Saturdays (South India) or Tuesdays (North India). Offerings of sesame oil are also made to Hanuman. The same goes for offerings of butter. The origins of offering butter to Hanuman are found in the Ramayana where, it is said that Rama applied butter as a balm on Hanuman's wounds to help heal from the wounds of the war with Ravana.

The offering of sesame oil has its origins from the Saturnian quality of extreme hard work with no expectations of any results for foreseeable time, such as the tenacity exhibited by a mountain goat and which tenacity is also needed to extract oil from sesame seeds. In the old days, this oil extraction was done by hand and was considered akin to the kind of effort one needs to put in one's tasks and day to day life, to get through the malefic phases of Saturn.


A five-headed panchamukha Hanuman icon. It is found in esoteric tantric traditions that weave Vaishvana and Shaiva ideas, and is relatively uncommon.[95][96]

Hanuman's iconography shows him either with other central characters of the Ramayana or by himself. If with Rama and Sita, he is shown to the right of Rama, as a devotee bowing or kneeling before them with a Namaste (Anjali Hasta) posture. If alone, he carries weapons such as a big Gada (mace) and thunderbolt (vajra), sometimes in a scene reminiscent of his life.[2][97]

His iconography and temples are common today. He is typically shown with Rama, Sita and Lakshmana, near or in Vaishnavism temples, as well as by himself usually opening his chest to symbolically show images of Rama and Sita near his heart. He is also popular among the followers of Shaivism.[12]

In north India, aniconic representation of Hanuman such as a round stone has been in use by yogi, as a means to help focus on the abstract aspects of him.[98]

He is also shown carrying a saffron flag in service of the Goddess Durga along with Bhairav

Temples and shrines

41 meters (135 ft) high Hanuman monument at Paritala, Andhra Pradesh

Panchmukhi Hanuman Temple in Karachi, Pakistan is the only temple in the world which has a natural statue of Hanuman

Hanuman is often worshipped along with Rama and Sita of Vaishnavism, and sometimes independently of them.[21] There are numerous statues to celebrate or temples to worship Hanuman all over India. Author Vanamali says, "Vaishnavites or followers of Vishnu, believe that the wind god Vayu underwent three incarnations to help Lord Vishnu. As Hanuman he helped Rama, as Bhima, he assisted Krishna, and as Madhvacharya (1238 - 1317) he founded the Vaishnava sect called Dvaita".[99] Shivites claim him as an avatar of Shiva.[21] Indologist Philip Lutgendorf writes, "The later identification of Hanuman as one of the eleven rudras may reflect a Shaiva sectarian claim on an increasing popular god, it also suggests his kinship with, and hence potential control over, a class of awesome and ambivalent deities". Lutgendorf also writes, "Other skills in Hanuman's resume also seem to derive in part from his windy patrimony, reflecting Vayu's role in both body and cosmos".[11] According to a review by Lutgendorf, some scholars state that the earliest Hanuman murtis appeared in the 8th century, but verifiable evidence of Hanuman images and inscriptions appear in the 10th century in Indian monasteries in central and north India.[100]

Wall carvings depicting the worship of Hanuman at Undavalli Caves in Guntur District.

Tuesday and Saturday of every week are particularly popular days at Hanuman temples. Some people keep a partial or full fast on either of those two days and remember Hanuman and the theology he represents to them.[101]

Major temples and shrines of Hanuman include:

• The oldest known independent Hanuman temple and statue is at Khajuraho, dated to about 922 CE from the Khajuraho Hanuman inscription.[102][103]
• Mahavir Mandir is one of the holiest Hindu temples dedicated to Hanuman, located in Patna, Bihar, India.
• Bajrang bali Hanuman temple - Lakdikapool, Hyderabad.
• Hanumangarhi, Ayodhya, is a 10th century temple dedicated to Hanuman.[104]
• Shri Panchmukhi Hanuman Mandir is a 1,500-year-old temple in Pakistan. It is located in Soldier Bazaar in Karachi, Pakistan.The temple is highly venerated by Pakistani Hindus as it is the only temple in the world which has a natural statue of Hanuman that is not man-made(Swayambhu).[105][106]
• Jakhu temple in Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh. A monumental 108-foot (33-metre) statue of Hanuman marks his temple and is the highest point in Shimla.[107]
• The tallest Hanuman statue is the Veera Abhaya Anjaneya Swami, standing 135 feet tall at Paritala, 32 km from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, installed in 2003.[108]
• Chitrakoot in Madhya Pradesh features the Hanuman Dhara temple, which features a panchmukhi statue of Hanuman. It is located inside a forest, and it along with Ramghat that is a few kilometers away, are significant Hindu pilgrimage sites.[109]
• The Peshwa era rulers in 18th century city of Pune provided endowments to more Maruti temples than to temples of other deities such as Shiva, Ganesh or Vitthal.Even in present time there are more Maruti temples in the city and the district than of other deities.[110]
• Other monumental statues of Hanuman are found all over India, such as at the Sholinghur Sri Yoga Narasimha swami temple and Sri Yoga Anjaneyar temple, located in Vellore District. In Maharashtra, a monumental statue is at Nerul, Navi Mumbai. In Bangalore, a major Hanuman statue is at the Ragigudda Anjaneya temple. Similarly, a 32 feet (10 m) idol with a temple exists at Nanganallur in Chennai. At the Hanuman Vatika in Rourkela, Odisha there is 75-foot (23 m) statue of Hanuman.[111]

In India, the annual autumn season Ramlila play features Hanuman, enacted during Navratri by rural artists (above).

• Outside India, a major Hanuman statue has been built by Tamil Hindus near the Batu caves in Malaysia, and an 85-foot (26 m) Karya Siddhi Hanuman statue by colonial era Hindu indentured workers' descendants at Carapichaima in Trinidad and Tobago. Another Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple has been built in Frisco, Texas in the United States.[112]
• Panchamukhi is a very famous place near Mantralayam in Andhrapradesh where famous Dvaita saint Sri Raghavendra swamy spent for many years. Here Hanuman statue will be depicted with five faces primarily face of hanuman himself, Garuda, Varaha, Narasimha, Hayagreeva
• 732 Hanuman deities were installed by Sri Vyasa raya Teertha 15th century philosopher and Dvaita saint, Guru of Sri Purandra dasa, Sri Kanaka Dasa and Sri krishna Devaraya.

Festivals and celebrations

Hanuman is a central character in the annual Ramlila celebrations in India, and seasonal dramatic arts in southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand; and Bali and Java, Indonesia. Ramlila is a dramatic folk re-enactment of the life of Rama according to the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana or secondary literature based on it such as the Ramcharitmanas.[113] It particularly refers to the thousands[114] of dramatic plays and dance events that are staged during the annual autumn festival of Navratri in India.[115] Hanuman is featured in many parts of the folk-enacted play of the legendary war between Good and Evil, with the celebrations climaxing in the Dussehra (Dasara, Vijayadashami) night festivities where the giant grotesque effigies of Evil such as of demon Ravana are burnt, typically with fireworks.[116][117]

The Ramlila festivities were declared by UNESCO as one of the "Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity" in 2008. Ramlila is particularly notable in the historically important Hindu cities of Ayodhya, Varanasi, Vrindavan, Almora, Satna and Madhubani – cities in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.[116]

Hanuman's birthday is observed by some Hindus as Hanuman Jayanti. It falls in much of India in the traditional month of Chaitra in the lunisolar Hindu calendar, which overlaps with March and April. However, in parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Hanuman Jayanthi is observed in the regional Hindu month of Margazhi, which overlaps with December and January. The festive day is observed with devotees gathering at Hanuman temples before sunrise, and day long spiritual recitations and story reading about the victory of good over evil.[7]

Hanuman in Southeast Asia


Cambodian depiction of Hanuman at Angkor Wat. Rama is standing on top of Hanuman in the middle of the mural.

Hanuman is a revered heroic figure in Khmer history in southeast Asia. He features predominantly in the Reamker, a Cambodian epic poem, based on the Sanskrit Itihasa Ramayana epic.[118] Intricate carvings on the walls of Angkor Wat depict scenes from the Ramayana including those of Hanuman.[119]

Hanuman statue at Bali, Indonesia

In Cambodia and many other parts of southeast Asia, mask dance and shadow theatre arts celebrate Hanuman with Ream (same as Rama of India). Hanuman is represented by a white mask.[120][121] Particularly popular in southeast Asian theatre are Hanuman's accomplishments as a martial artist Ramayana.[122]


Hanuman is the central character in many of the historic dance and drama art works such as Wayang Wong found in Javanese culture, Indonesia. These performance arts can be traced to at least the 10th century.[123] He has been popular, along with the local versions of Ramayana in other islands of Indonesia such as Java.[124][125]

In major medieval era Hindu temples, archeological sites and manuscripts discovered in Indonesian and Malay islands, Hanuman features prominently along with Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Vishvamitra and Sugriva.[126][127] The most studied and detailed relief artworks are found in the Candis Panataran and Prambanan.[128][129]

Hanuman, along with other characters of the Ramayana, are an important source of plays and dance theatre repertoire at Odalan celebrations and other festivals in Bali.[130]


Thai iconography of Hanuman. He is one of the most popular characters in the Ramakien.[131]

Hanuman plays a significantly more prominent role in the Ramakien.[132] In contrast to the strict devoted lifestyle to Lord Rama of his Indian counterpart, Hanuman is known in Thailand as a promiscuous and flirtatious character.[133] One famous episode of the Ramakien has him fall in love with the mermaid Suvannamaccha and fathering Macchanu with her. In another, Hanuman takes on the form of Ravana and sleeps with Mandodari, Ravana's consort, thus destroying her chastity, which was the last protection for Ravana's life.[134]

As in the Indian tradition, Hanuman is the patron of martial arts and an example of courage, fortitude and excellence in Thailand.[135] He is depicted as wearing a crown on his head and armor. He is depicted as an albino white, strong character with open mouth in action, sometimes shown carrying a trident.


Though Hanuman is described to be celibate in the Ramayana and most of the Puranas, according to some regional sources, Hanuman married Suvarchala, the daughter of Surya (Sun-God).[136]

However, once Hanuman was flying above the seas to go to Lanka, a drop of his sweat fell in the mouth of a crocodile, which eventually turned into a baby. The monkey baby was delivered by the crocodile, who was soon retrieved by Ahiravana, and raised by him, named Makardhwaja, and made the guard of the gates of Patala, the former's kingdom. One day, Hanuman, when going to save Rama and Lakshmana from Ahiravana, faced Makardhwaja and defeated him combat. Later, after knowing the reality and after saving both, he made his son, the king of Patala.

The Jethwa clan claims to be a descendant of Makardhwaja, and, according to them, he had a son named Modh-dhwaja, who in turn had a son named Jeth-dhwaja, hence the name of the clan.

In pop culture

While Hanuman is a quintessential character of any movie on Ramayana, Hanuman centric movies have also been produced with Hanuman as the central character. In 1976 the first biopic movie on Hanuman was released with legendary wrestler Dara Singh playing the role of Hanuman. He again reprised the character in Ramanand Sagar's television series Ramayan and B. R. Chopra's Mahabharat.[137]

In 2005 an animated movie of the same name was released and was extremely popular among children. Actor Mukesh Khanna voiced the character of Hanuman in the film.[138] Following this several series of movies featuring the legendary God were produced though all of them were animated, prominent ones being the Bal Hanuman series 2006–2012. Another movie Maruti Mera dost (2009) was a contemporary adaptation of Hanuman in modern times.[139]

The 2015 Bollywood movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan had Salman Khan playing the role of Pawan Kumar Chaturvedi who is an ardent Hanuman devotee and regularly invokes him for his protection, courage, and strength.[140]

US president Barack Obama had a habit of carrying with him a few small items given to him by people he had met. The items included a small figurine of Hanuman.[141][142]

Hanuman was referenced in the 2018 Marvel Cinematic Universe film, Black Panther, which is set in the fictional African nation of Wakanda; the "Hanuman" reference was removed from the film in screenings in India.[143][144]

The Mexican acoustic-metal duo, Rodrigo Y Gabriela released a hit single named "Hanuman" from their album 11:11. Each song on the album was made to pay tribute to a different musician that inspired the band, and the song Hanuman is dedicated to Carlos Santana. Why the band used the name Hanuman is unclear, but the artists have stated that Santana "was a role model for musicians back in Mexico that it was possible to do great music and be an international musician."[145]

See also

• Hanuman temples
• Vayu Stuti
• Hanuman Chalisa
• Hanuman Jayanti
• Hanumanasana, an asana named after Hanuman
• Sun Wukong, a Chinese literary character in Wu Cheng'en's masterpiece Journey to the West
• The 6 Ultra Brothers vs. the Monster Army
• Hanuman and the Five Riders
• Gray langur, also known as the Hanuman langur


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• Claus, Peter J.; Sarah Diamond; Margaret Ann Mills (2003). "Hanuman". South Asian folklore. Taylor & Francis. pp. 280–281. ISBN 978-0-415-93919-5.
• Lutgendorf, Philip (2007). Hanuman's Tale: The Messages of a Divine Monkey. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-530921-8. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
• Vanamali, V (2010). Hanuman: The Devotion and Power of the Monkey God. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-59477-914-5.
• Sri Ramakrishna Math (1985): Hanuman Chalisa. Chennai (India): Sri Ramakrishna Math. ISBN 81-7120-086-9.
• Mahabharata (1992). Gorakhpur (India): Gitapress.
• Anand Ramayan (1999). Bareily (India): Rashtriya Sanskriti Sansthan.
• Swami Satyananda Sarawati: Hanuman Puja. India: Devi Mandir. ISBN 1-887472-91-6.
• The Ramayana Smt. Kamala Subramaniam. Published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (1995). ISBN 81-7276-406-5
• Hanuman – In Art, Culture, Thought and Literature by Shanti Lal Nagar (1995). ISBN 81-7076-075-5
Further reading
• Catherine Ludvik (1994). Hanumān in the Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki and the Rāmacaritamānasa of Tulasī Dāsa. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-1122-5.
• Helen M. Johnson (1931). Hanumat's birth and Varuṇa's subjection (Chapter III of the Jain Ramayana by Hemachandra). Baroda Oriental Institute.
• Lutgendorf, Philip (2007). Hanuman's Tale: The Messages of a Divine Monkey. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-530921-8.
• Robert Goldman; Sally Goldman (2006). The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki: An Epic of Ancient India. Volume V: Sundarakāṇḍa. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-3166-7.
• Vanamali, Mataji Devi (2010). Hanuman: The Devotion and Power of the Monkey God Inner Traditions, USA. ISBN 1-59477-337-8.

External links

• Hanuman at Encyclopædia Britannica
• Popular Temples Of Lord Hanuman In India
• Hanuman Aarti in Hindi and English. Hindi). Viewed on 2020-07-22 .
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Mon May 17, 2021 1:00 am

by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/16/21

V. 12. That there is a perverse criticism of the work, because of its unprecedented character, from one who is mean and malicious -- itself testifies to its absolute purity. What can we do in this matter?

Another meaning which is suggested on the basis of Slesa is this:—

The word "khalikara" is derived from that word "khala" (by the grammatical change in form) in the sense of making up what it was not before by nature. (Thus the word implies making something "khala" or of inferior character, which it was not before by nature). Therefore this (grammatical form itself) is the obvious proof of its superior character. We have nothing to do in this matter.

V. 13. Let there remain a traducer in whoso constant criticism there is an advertisement of literary works by a worthy one— this being done, its transmission among the populace is seen to yield beneficial results— just as a threshing floor is desired to be there for those who are busily engaged in their work (of cultivation) — in treading round which (viz. the threshing floor) the movement by the bullock not tied by a rope is found to be of good result, the corn being threshed and heaped up.


V. 14. The person who desires to shade (lit. make low) the moon shining so high by placing his hands up is a veritable blind man, for (by that action) he darkens his own self.

V. 15. On apprehending the dull and senseless people as bottomless sin itself in hiding, in this and that place, this poem (Ramacaritam) as a stream of Rasa, formed compactly of many inherent beauties, was kept carefully concealed (i.e. unpublished),— just as on the apprehension that a pool of water is nothing but quagmire, deep unfathomably and covered (completely under water) in this and that place, the mild cow streaming with sweet milk is kept carefully tied up with a mass of ropes.

V. 16. Speech— the fair one— passing from lip to lip (lit. through tongue) came out, with the picturesquely formed lines having symmetrical arrangement of words. Good men in their hundreds are here voluntarily to rescue her (from vile attacks);—(the meaning suggested--) even as the cow, with the rope with which she was tied down, came out step by step with the beautiful chain on her legs; and good men in their hundreds are here voluntarily to rescue her from the quagmire.

V. 17. Praise only the worthy ones who defend from heartless (attackers) this sacred poem. (Those) wise men shed nectar even from (what is more) sound through (a process of) refinement using only their tongue as the (necessary) appliance (for it).

-- -- The Ramacaritam of Sandhyakaranandin, by Dr. R. C. Majumdar, M.A., Ph.D., Dr. Radhagovinda Basak, M.A., Ph.D., Pandit Nanigopal Banerji

The Ramacharitam is a Sanskrit epic poem written in Arya metre by Sandhyakar Nandi during Pala Empire, between approximately 1050 and 1150 CE. This work simultaneously narrates the story of the Ramayana and the Pala king Ramapala. The work is biased in favour of Ramapala, but remains an important historical source for the Pala history.[1]

The Ramacarita is a unique composition in many respects. It gives an historical account of the successful revolution in Northern Bengal which cost the Pala king Mahipala his life and throne, and of the restoration of the paternal kingdom by Ramapala, his youngest brother. This great revolution, and specially the restoration, form the main theme of the work, and we know of no other Indian text which deals with an important contemporary historical episode with such wealth of details. The technique of composition is equally unique. Each verse of the poem has two meanings, one applicable to the story of the Ramayana, and the other to the history of the Pala kings. The common element in the names Ramacandra and Ramapala no doubt suggested the peculiar nature of the composition, and it was facilitated by the story of loss and recovery of Varendri, which was the name of the fatherland (janaka-bhu) of Ramapala; both these words being also applicable as an epithet to Sita, the beloved wife of Ramacandra, who was stolen by Ravana and recovered by him. Round this central imagery the poet, by his wonderful command of the Sanskrit language, has woven a masterly epic poem which, taken in one sense, gives the well-known story of the Ramayana and, in another sense, a detailed account of the life and reign of Ramapala.

The necessity of keeping to this double meaning obliged the author to use obscure words and unfamiliar expressions, and in particular to present personal and proper names in abbreviated and occasionally very twisted forms. Although the poem, as a literary composition, showed, therefore, technical skill of a high order, it was not likely to be fully intelligible to one not well acquainted with the history of the times. Fortunately this difficulty was realised before it was too late, and some one wrote a commentary for the elucidation of the subject-matter of the poem and thereby earned the gratitude of the posterity.

-- The Ramacaritam of Sandhyakaranandin, by Dr. R. C. Majumdar, M.A., Ph.D., Dr. Radhagovinda Basak, M.A., Ph.D., Pandit Nanigopal Banerji

The text details the historical events in Bengal from the assassination of the Pala emperor Mahipala II by Divya, a rebel Kaivarta officer up to the reign of Madanapala in 215 verses, by using a figure of speech, the Shlesha (double-meaning words) in each verse.[2]

A palm-leaf manuscript of the Ramacharitam discovered by Haraprasad Shastri is preserved in the museum of the Asiatic Society, Kolkata.


1. Susan L. Huntington (1 January 1984). The "Påala-Sena" Schools of Sculpture. Brill Archive. p. 32. ISBN 90-04-06856-2.
2. Roy N. (1993). Bangalir Itihas: Adiparba, Dey's Publishing, Calcutta, ISBN 81-7079-270-3, p.583

External links

• The Ramacharitam at Banglapedia
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Mon May 17, 2021 7:28 am

Part 1 of 2

by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/17/21

Rama with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana during exile in forest, manuscript, ca. 1780
Religion Hinduism
Author Valmiki
Language Sanskrit
Verses 24,000

Rāmāyana (/rɑːˈmɑːjənə/;[1][2] Sanskrit: रामायणम्,[3] IAST: Rāmāyaṇam pronounced [ɽaːˈmaːjɐɳɐm]) is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Mahābhārata. Along with the Mahābhārata, it forms the Hindu Itihasa.[4]

The epic, traditionally ascribed to the Maharishi Valmiki, narrates the life of Rama, a legendary prince of Ayodhya city in the kingdom of Kosala. The epic follows his fourteen-year exile to the forest urged by his father King Dasharatha, on the request of Rama's stepmother Kaikeyi; his travels across forests in the Indian subcontinent with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana, the kidnapping of Sita by Ravana – the king of Lanka, that resulted in war; and Rama's eventual return to Ayodhya to be crowned king amidst jubilation and celebration.

The Ramayana is one of the largest ancient epics in world literature. It consists of nearly 24,000 verses (mostly set in the Shloka/Anustubh meter), divided into seven kāṇḍas, the first and the seventh being later additions.[5] It belongs to the genre of Itihasa, narratives of past events (purāvṛtta), interspersed with teachings on the goals of human life. Scholars' estimates for the earliest stage of the text range from the 7th to 4th centuries BCE,[6][7][unreliable source?] with later stages extending up to the 3rd century CE.[8]

More recent suggestions about dating include Grintser's suggestion that the period of formation for both epics is approximately from the 4th century B.C. to the 3rd century A.D., Ananda Guruge's placing of the Ramayana somewhere before 300 B.C., P.L. Bhargava's dating of 600 B.C., Goldman's suggestion of a date for the oldest parts no later than the middle of the 6th century B.C. but not before the beginning of the 7th century (then defined as 'sometime between 750 and 500 B.C.'), and Gregory Alles's arguments for a Sunga dating for the core (by which, however, he means basically the whole of the Ayodhya to Yuddha kandas) and a location for its author in the Northeast.69 [See Grintser 1974: 136-152, Guruge 199: 38; Bhargava 1965, Ramayana 1984: I, 22-23, Alles 1988-89] My own statement was that the first stage belongs to the period from about the 5th to the 4th century B.C. and this remains my view, even after taking into account the recent strong arguments for a later dating for the Buddha; in relative terms, therefore, this dating represents a limited upward revision.

The Balakanda has generally been recognised as being, equally with the Uttarakanda, a later addition to the original epic, although there have been attempts to argue that it is essential to the narrative or that some part of it is as old as the rest.70 [An example of the sfirst trend is that Ramashraya Sharma (1971: 6-7) finds references to the Balakanda at 2.110.36-50 (Sita's account of Rama bending Siva's bow) and 3.36.3-16 (Marica's account of his previous encounter with Rama), and to the Uttarakanda at 5.2.19-20 (Lanka built by Visvakarman and formerly occupied by Kubera), 8.14 (Ravana scarred by Visnu's cakra), 44.7-8 (Ravana's conquest of the gods), 49.24-26 (Rama is human and Sugriva a monkey -- implying Ravana's boon) and 1031* 2-3 (the shaking of Kailasa). Similarly, Goldman (Ramayana 1984:I, 64) asserts that 'the "genuine" books contain at least two references to the events of Book One', citing the same two passages and noting their close similarities with the relevant Balakanda passages; however, by declaring that these passages are summarising the Balakanda material he prejudges the issue of the direction of borrowing. More probably, the Bala and Uttara kanda passages are expanding on the hints in the other books.] Less attention has been drawn to the fact that parts of its narrative are totally unsupported elsewhere. For example, there is no evidence outside 1.15-17 that Rama and his brothers were born more or less simultaneouslky or that Laksmana and Satrughna are twins, which contrasts with Kusa and Lava being emphatically called yamajata in the Uttarakanda and Laksmana and Satrughna themselves being explicitly called twins by Kalidasa (Raghuvamsa 10.71). Nor is there any reference elsewhere in ...

-- The Sanskrit Epics, by John Brockington

There are many versions of Ramayana in Indian languages, besides Buddhist, Sikh, and Jain adaptations. There are also Cambodian (Reamker), Indonesian, Filipino, Thai (Ramakien), Lao, Burmese and Malay versions of the tale. Retellings include Kamban's Ramavataram in Tamil (c. 11th–12th century),...


Kambar is generally dated after the vaishnavite philosopher, Ramanuja, as the poet refers to the latter in his work, the Sadagopar Andhadhi.

-- Kambar (poet), by Wikipedia


A number of traditional biographies of Ramanuja are known, some written in 12th century, but some written centuries later such as the 17th or 18th century, particularly after the split of the Śrīvaiṣṇava community into the Vadakalais and Teṉkalais, where each community created its own version of Ramanuja's hagiography. The Muvāyirappaṭi Guruparamparāprabhāva by Brahmatantra Svatantra Jīyar represents the earliest Vadakalai biography, and reflects the Vadakalai view of the succession following Ramanuja. Ārāyirappaṭi Guruparamparāprabhāva, on the other hand, represents the Tenkalai biography. Other late biographies include the Yatirajavaibhavam by Andhrapurna.

Modern scholarship has questioned the reliability of these hagiographies. Scholars question their reliability because of claims which are impossible to verify, or whose historical basis is difficult to trace with claims such as Ramanuja learned the Vedas when he was an eight-day-old baby, he communicated with God as an adult, that he won philosophical debates with Buddhists, Advaitins and others because of supernatural means such as turning himself into "his divine self Sesha" to defeat the Buddhists, or God appearing in his dream when he prayed for arguments to answer Advaita scholars. According to J. A. B. van Buitenen, the hagiographies are "legendary biographies about him, in which a pious imagination has embroidered historical details".

-- Ramanuja, by Wikipedia

Gona Budda Reddy's Ranganatha Ramayanam in Telugu (c. 13th century), Madhava Kandali's Saptakanda Ramayana in Assamese (c. 14th century), Krittibas Ojha's Krittivasi Ramayan (also known as Shri Ram Panchali) in Bengali (c. 15th century), Sarala Das' Vilanka Ramayana (c. 15th century)[9][10][11][12] and Balarama Dasa's Jagamohana Ramayana (also known as the Dandi Ramayana) (c. 16th century) both in Odia, sant Eknath's Bhavarth Ramayan (c. 16th century) in Marathi, Tulsidas' Ramcharitamanas (c. 16th century) in Awadhi (which is an eastern form of Hindi) and Thunchaththu Ezhuthachan's Adhyathmaramayanam in Malayalam(c. 17th century).

The Ramayana was an important influence on later Sanskrit poetry and Hindu life and culture. The characters Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Bharata, Hanuman, and Ravana are all fundamental to the cultural consciousness of the South Asian nations of India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the South-East Asian countries of Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Its most important moral influence was the importance of virtue, in the life of a citizen and in the ideals of the formation of a state or of a functioning society.


The name Rāmāyaṇa is composed of two words, Rāma and ayaṇa. Rāma, the name of the central figure of the epic, has two contextual meanings. In the Atharvaveda, it means "dark, dark-coloured, black" and is related to the word rātri which means "darkness or stillness of night". The other meaning, which can be found in the Mahabharata, is "pleasing, pleasant, charming, lovely, beautiful".[13][14] The word ayana means travel or journey. Thus, Ramayana means Rama's progress. But there is a minor catch. While ayana means travel or journey, ayaṇa is a meaningless word. This transformation of ayana into ayaṇa occurs because of a Sanskrit grammar rule known as internal sandhi.[15][16]

Textual characteristics

An artist's impression of sage Valmiki composing the Ramayana


The Ramayana belongs to the genre of Itihasa, narratives of past events (purāvṛtta), which includes the Mahabharata, the Puranas and the Ramayana. The genre also includes teachings on the goals of human life. It depicts the duties of relationships, portraying ideal characters like the ideal father, the ideal servant, the ideal brother, the ideal husband and the ideal king. Like the Mahabharata, Ramayana presents the teachings of ancient Hindu sages in narrative allegory, interspersing philosophical and ethical elements.


In its extant form, Valmiki's Ramayana is an epic poem of some 24,000 verses, divided into seven kāṇḍas (Bālakāṇḍa, Ayodhyakāṇḍa, Araṇyakāṇḍa, Kiṣkindakāṇḍa, Sundarākāṇḍa, Yuddhakāṇḍa, Uttarakāṇḍa), and about 500 sargas (chapters).[5][17]


Rama (left third from top) depicted in the Dashavatara, the ten avatars of Vishnu. Painting from Jaipur, now at the Victoria and Albert Museum

According to Hindu tradition, the narrative of the Ramayana takes place during a period of time known as Treta Yuga (2,163,102 BCE - 867,102 BCE).[18]

According to Robert P. Goldman, the oldest parts of the Ramayana date to between the mid-7th century BCE and the mid-6th century BCE. This is due to the narrative not mentioning Buddhism nor the prominence of Magadha. The text also mentions Ayodhya as the capital of Kosala, rather than its later name of Saketa or the successor capital of Shravasti.[6] In terms of narrative time, the action of the Ramayana predates the Mahabharata. However, it is felt that the general cultural background of the Ramayana is one of the post-urbanization periods of the eastern part of north India, while the Mahabharata reflects the Kuru areas west of this, from the Rigvedic to the late Vedic period. Scholarly estimates for the earliest stage of the text range from the 7th to 4th centuries BCE,[6][7][unreliable source?] with later stages extending up to the 3rd century CE.[8]

The names of the characters (Rama, Sita, Dasharatha, Janaka, Vashista, Vishwamitra) are all known only in the late Vedic literature. For instance, a king named Janaka appears in a lengthy dialogue in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad with no reference to Rama or the Ramayana.[19] However, nowhere in the surviving Vedic poetry is there a story similar to the Ramayana of Valmiki. According to the modern academic view, Vishnu, who, according to Bala Kanda, was incarnated as Rama, first came into prominence with the epics themselves and further, during the Puranic period of the later 1st millennium CE. Also, in the epic Mahabharata, there is a version of the Ramayana known as Ramopakhyana. This version is depicted as a narration to Yudhishthira.

Books two to six are the oldest portion of the epic, while the first and last books (Bala Kand and Uttara Kand, respectively) seem to be later additions. Style differences and narrative contradictions between these two volumes and the rest of the epic have led scholars since Hermann Jacobi to the present toward this consensus.[20]


The Ramayana text has several regional renderings, recensions and sub recensions. Textual scholar Robert P. Goldman differentiates two major regional revisions: the northern (n) and the southern (s). Scholar Romesh Chunder Dutt writes that "the Ramayana, like the Mahabharata, is a growth of centuries, but the main story is more distinctly the creation of one mind."

A Times of India report dated 18 December 2015 informs about the discovery of a 6th-century manuscript of the Ramayana at the Asiatic Society library, Kolkata.[21]

There has been discussion as to whether the first and the last volumes (Bala Kand and Uttara Kand) of Valmiki's Ramayana were composed by the original author. The uttarākāṇḍa, the bālakāṇḍa, although frequently counted among the main ones, is not a part of the original epic. Though Balakanda is sometimes considered in the main epic, according to many Uttarakanda is certainly a later interpolation and thus is not attributed to the work of Maharshi Valmiki.[5] This fact is reaffirmed by the absence of these two Kāndas in the oldest manuscript.[21] Many Hindus don't believe they are integral parts of the scripture because of some style differences and narrative contradictions between these two volumes and the rest.[citation needed]


Rama seated with Sita, fanned by Lakshmana, while Hanuman pays his respects

Statue of Ravana at Koneswaram Hindu Temple, Sri Lanka.

Main article: List of characters in Ramayana

Ikshvaku Dynasty

• Dasharatha is king of Ayodhya and father of Rama. He has three queens, Kausalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra, and four sons: Bharata, twins Lakshmana and Shatrughna, and Rama. Once, Kaikeyi saved Dasharatha in a war and as a reward, she got the privilege from Dasaratha to fulfill two of her wishes at any time in her lifetime. She made use of the opportunity and forced Dasharatha to make their son Bharata crown prince and send Rama into exile for 14 years. Dasharatha dies heartbroken after Rama goes into exile.
• Rama is the main character of the tale. Portrayed as the seventh avatar of god Vishnu, he is the eldest and favorite son of Dasharatha, the king of Ayodhya and his Chief Queen, Kausalya. He is portrayed as the epitome of virtue. Dasharatha is forced by Kaikeyi to command Rama to relinquish his right to the throne for fourteen years and go into exile. Rama kills the evil demon Ravana, who abducted his wife Sita, and later returns to Ayodhya to form an ideal state.

Rama and the Vanara chiefs

• Sita (Vaidehi) is another of the tale's protagonists. She was the blood of sages who sacrificed their lives to develop the powerful force to get rid of earth from demons. This blood was collected in a pot and was buried in Earth, so she is called the daughter of Mother Earth, adopted by King Janaka and Rama's beloved wife. Rama went to Mithila and got a chance to marry her by breaking the Shiv Dhanush (bow) while trying to tie a knot to it in a competition organized by King Janaka of Mithila. The competition was to find the most suitable husband for Sita and many princes from different states competed to win her. Sita is the avatar of goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu. Sita is portrayed as the epitome of female purity and virtue. She follows her husband into exile and is abducted by the Lanka's king Ravana. She is imprisoned on the island of Lanka, until Rama rescues her by defeating Ravana. Later, she gives birth to twin boys Lava and Kusha.
• Bharata is the son of Dasharatha and Queen Kaikeyi. when he learns that his mother Kaikeyi has forced Rama into exile and caused Dasharatha to die brokenhearted, he storms out of the palace and goes in search of Rama in the forest. When Rama refuses to return from his exile to assume the throne, Bharata obtains Rama's sandals and places them on the throne as a gesture that Rama is the true king. Bharata then rules Ayodhya as the regent of Rama for the next fourteen years, staying outside the city of Ayodhya. He was married to Mandavi.
• Lakshmana (Saumitra) is a younger brother of Rama, who chose to go into exile with him. He is the son of King Dasharatha and Queen Sumitra and twin of Shatrughna. Lakshmana is portrayed as an avatar of Shesha, the nāga associated with the god Vishnu. He spends his time protecting Sita and Rama, during which time he fights the demoness Shurpanakha. He is forced to leave Sita, who was deceived by the demon Maricha into believing that Rama was in trouble. Sita is abducted by Ravana upon his leaving her. He was married to Sita's younger sister Urmila.
• Shatrughna (Shatrughna means Ripudaman: Killer of enemies) is a son of Dasharatha and his third wife Queen Sumitra. He is the youngest brother of Rama and also the twin brother of Lakshmana. He was married to Shrutakirti.

Allies of Rama

The vanaras constructing the Rama Setu Bridge to Lanka, makaras and fish also aid the construction. A 9th century Prambanan bas-relief, Central Java, Indonesia.


• Hanuman is a vanara belonging to the kingdom of Kishkindha. He is an ideal bhakta of Rama. He is born as son of Kesari, a Vanara king in Sumeru region and his wife Añjanā. He plays an important part in locating Sita and in the ensuing battle. Hanuman is incarnation of Lord Shiva.
• Sugriva, a vanara king who helped Rama regain Sita from Ravana. He had an agreement with Rama through which Vali – Sugriva's brother and king of Kishkindha – would be killed by Rama in exchange for Sugriva's help in finding Sita. Sugriva ultimately ascends the throne of Kishkindha after the slaying of Vali and fulfills his promise by putting the Vanara forces at Rama's disposal. He was son of God Surya and was married to Rumā.
• Angada is a vanara and the son of Vali (vanar king of Kishkindha before Sugriva) who helped Rama find his wife Sita and fight her abductor, Ravana, in Ramayana. He was son of Vali and Tara and nephew of Sugriva. Angada and Tara are instrumental in reconciling Rama and his brother, Lakshmana, with Sugriva after Sugriva fails to fulfill his promise to help Rama find and rescue his wife. Together they are able to convince Sugriva to honour his pledge to Rama instead of spending his time carousing and drinking.


• Jambavan/Jamvanta is known as Riksharaj (King of the Rikshas). He is son of Lord Brahma. Rikshas are bears. In the epic Ramayana, Jambavantha helped Rama find his wife Sita and fight her abductor, Ravana. It is he who makes Hanuman realize his immense capabilities and encourages him to fly across the ocean to search for Sita in Lanka.


• Jatayu, son of Aruṇa and nephew of Garuda. A demi-god who has the form of a vulture that tries to rescue Sita from Ravana. Jatayu fought valiantly with Ravana, but as Jatayu was very old, Ravana soon got the better of him. As Rama and Lakshmana chanced upon the stricken and dying Jatayu in their search for Sita, he informs them of the direction in which Ravana had gone.
• Sampati, son of Aruna, brother of Jatayu. Sampati's role proved to be instrumental in the search for Sita.


• Vibhishana, youngest brother of Ravana. He was against the abduction of Sita and joined the forces of Rama when Ravana refused to return her. His intricate knowledge of Lanka was vital in the war and he was crowned king of Lanka by Rama after the fall of Ravana.

Foes Of Rama


• Ravana, a Rakshasa, is the king of Lanka. He was the son of a sage named Vishrava and daitya princess Kaikesi. After performing severe penance for ten thousand years he received a boon from the creator-god Brahma: he could henceforth not be killed by gods, demons, or spirits. He is portrayed as a powerful demon king who disturbs the penances of rishis. Vishnu incarnates as the human Rama to defeat him, thus circumventing the boon given by Brahma.
• Indrajit or Meghnadha, the eldest son of Ravana who twice defeated Rama and Lakshmana in battle, before succumbing to Lakshmana. An adept of the magical arts, he coupled his supreme fighting skills with various stratagems to inflict heavy losses on Vanara army before his death.
• Kumbhakarna, brother of Ravana, famous for his eating and sleeping. He would sleep for months at a time and would be extremely ravenous upon waking up, consuming anything set before him. His monstrous size and loyalty made him an important part of Ravana's army. During the war, he decimated the Vanara army before Rama cut off his limbs and head.
• Shurpanakha, Ravana's demoness sister who fell in love with Rama and had the magical power to take any form she wanted. Lakshmana cut off Shurpanakha's nose when she tried to hurt Sita angered by Rama's refusal of her proposal of marriage. It is she who asked Ravana to abduct Sita as revenge for her insult.
• Subahu (Sanskrit: सुबाहु Subāhu, Tamil: சுபாகு Cupāku, Kannada: ಸುಬಾಹು, Thai: Sawahu), is a rakshasa character in the Ramayana. He and his mother, Tataka, took immense pleasure in harassing the munis of the jungle, especially Vishvamitra, by disrupting their yajnas with rains of flesh and blood.[22] Vishvamitra approached Dasharatha for help in getting rid of these pestilences. Dasharatha obliged by sending two of his sons, Rama and Lakshmana, to the forest with Vishvamitra, charging them to protect both the sage and his sacrificial fires.[citation needed] When Subahu and Maricha again attempted to rain flesh and blood on the sage's yajna, Subahu was killed by Rama.[23] Maricha escaped to Lanka. He was later killed by Rama when he took the form of a deer.



• Vali, was king of Kishkindha, husband of Tara, a son of Indra, elder brother of Sugriva and father of Angada. Bali was famous for the boon that he had received, according to which anyone who fought him in single-combat lost half his strength to Vali, thereby making Vali invulnerable to any enemy. He was killed by Rama, an Avatar of Vishnu. However, he was not an enemy of Rama. He was killed by Rama because Vali had fought with his brother Sugriva after some misunderstanding, who was a loyal ally of Rama.


• Viswashrava, was the son of Pulastya and the grandson of Brahma, the Creator, and a powerful Rishi as described in the great Hindu scripture epic Ramayana of Ancient India. A scholar par excellence, he earned great powers through Tapasya, which in turn, earned him great name and fame amongst his fellow Rishis. Bharadwaja, in particular, was so impressed with Viswashrava that he gave him his daughter, Ilavida, in marriage. Ilavida bore Viswashrava a son, Kubera, the Lord of Wealth and the original ruler of Lanka.[24] In addition to Ravana, Viswashrava fathered Vibhishana, Kumbakarna and a daughter, Shurpanakha, through Kaikesi. He is said to have disowned his demonic family after witnessing Ravana's disrespectful treatment of his older brother, Kubera and returned to his first wife, Ilavida.[citation needed] According to the Mahabharata, however, Viswashrava's younger children were born as a result of a falling-out with his eldest: Kubera tried to placate his father by giving him three Rakshasis (two of whom, Raka and Pushpotkata/Pushpotata, seem to be Kaikesi's paternal half-sisters) and in due course Viswashrava impregnated all three of them. Pushpotata gave birth to Ravana and later to Kumbhakarna, Malini bore Vibhishana, and Raka had the unpleasant and unsociable twins Khara and Shurpanakha.[25]


Bala Kanda

Main article: Bala Kanda

The marriage of the four sons of Dasharatha with the four daughters of Siradhvaja Janaka and Kushadhvaja. Rama and Sita, Lakshmana and Urmila, Bharata and Mandavi and Shatrughna with Shrutakirti.

This Sarga (section) details the stories of Rama's childhood and events related to the time-frame. Dasharatha was the King of Ayodhya. He had three wives: Kaushalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra. He was childless for a long time and anxious to have an heir, so he performs a fire sacrifice known as Putra-kameshti Yajna. As a consequence, Rama was first born to Kaushalya, Bharata was born to Kaikeyi, Lakshmana and Shatrughna were born to Sumitra. These sons are endowed, to various degrees, with the essence of the Supreme Trinity Entity Vishnu; Vishnu had opted to be born into mortality to combat the demon Ravana, who was oppressing the gods, and who could only be destroyed by a mortal. The boys were reared as the princes of the realm, receiving instructions from the scriptures and in warfare from Vashistha. When Rama was 16 years old, sage Vishwamitra comes to the court of Dasharatha in search of help against demons who were disturbing sacrificial rites. He chooses Rama, who is followed by Lakshmana, his constant companion throughout the story. Rama and Lakshmana receive instructions and supernatural weapons from Vishwamitra and proceed to destroy Tataka and many other demons.

Janaka was the King of Mithila. One day, a female child was found in the field by the King in the deep furrow dug by his plough. Overwhelmed with joy, the King regarded the child as a "miraculous gift of God". The child was named Sita, the Sanskrit word for furrow. Sita grew up to be a girl of unparalleled beauty and charm. The King had decided that who ever could lift and wield a heavy bow, presented to his ancestors by Shiva, could marry Sita. Sage Vishwamitra takes Rama and Lakshmana to Mithila to show the bow. Then Rama desires to lift it and goes on to wield the bow and when he draws the string, it broke.[26] Marriages were arranged between the sons of Dasharatha and daughters of Janaka. Rama marries Sita, Lakshmana to Urmila, Bharata to Mandavi and Shatrughna to Shrutakirti. The weddings were celebrated with great festivity in Mithila and the marriage party returns to Ayodhya.

Ayodhya Kanda

Gold carving depiction of the legendary Ayodhya at the Ajmer Jain temple.

After Rama and Sita have been married, an elderly Dasharatha expresses his desire to crown Rama, to which the Kosala assembly and his subjects express their support. On the eve of the great event, Kaikeyi – her jealousy aroused by Manthara, a wicked maidservant – claims two boons that Dasharatha had long ago granted her. Kaikeyi demands Rama to be exiled into the wilderness for fourteen years, while the succession passes to her son Bharata. The heartbroken king, constrained by his rigid devotion to his given word, accedes to Kaikeyi's demands. Rama accepts his father's reluctant decree with absolute submission and calm self-control which characterizes him throughout the story. He is joined by Sita and Lakshmana. When he asks Sita not to follow him, she says, "the forest where you dwell is Ayodhya for me and Ayodhya without you is a veritable hell for me." After Rama's departure, King Dasharatha, unable to bear the grief, passes away. Meanwhile, Bharata, who was on a visit to his maternal uncle, learns about the events in Ayodhya. Bharata refuses to profit from his mother's wicked scheming and visits Rama in the forest. He requests Rama to return and rule. But Rama, determined to carry out his father's orders to the letter, refuses to return before the period of exile.

Rama leaving for fourteen years of exile from Ayodhya.

Aranya Kanda

Main article: Aranya Kanda

Ravana fights Jatayu as he carries off the kidnapped Sita. Painting by Raja Ravi Varma

After thirteen years of exile, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana journey southward along the banks of river Godavari, where they build cottages and live off the land. At the Panchavati forest they are visited by a rakshasi named Shurpanakha, sister of Ravana. She tries to seduce the brothers and, after failing, attempts to kill Sita. Lakshmana stops her by cutting off her nose and ears. Hearing of this, her brothers Khara and Dushan organise an attack against the princes. Rama defeats Khara and his raskshasas.

When the news of these events reach Ravana, he resolves to destroy Rama by capturing Sita with the aid of the rakshasa Maricha. Maricha, assuming the form of a golden deer, captivates Sita's attention. Entranced by the beauty of the deer, Sita pleads with Rama to capture it. Rama, aware that this is the ploy of the demons, cannot dissuade Sita from her desire and chases the deer into the forest, leaving Sita under Lakshmana's guard.

After some time, Sita hears Rama calling out to her; afraid for his life, she insists that Lakshmana rush to his aid. Lakshmana tries to assure her that Rama cannot be hurt that easily and that it is best if he continues to follow Rama's orders to protect her. On the verge of hysterics, Sita insists that it is not she but Rama who needs Lakshman's help. He obeys her wish but stipulates that she is not to leave the cottage or entertain any stranger. He draws a chalk outline, the Lakshmana rekha, around the cottage and casts a spell on it that prevents anyone from entering the boundary but allows people to exit. With the coast finally clear, Ravana appears in the guise of an ascetic requesting Sita's hospitality. Unaware of her guest's plan, Sita is tricked into leaving the rekha and is then forcibly carried away by Ravana.[27]

Jatayu, a vulture, tries to rescue Sita, but is mortally wounded. At Lanka, Sita is kept under the guard of rakshasis. Ravana asks Sita to marry him, but she refuses, being eternally devoted to Rama. Meanwhile, Rama and Lakshmana learn about Sita's abduction from Jatayu and immediately set out to save her. During their search, they meet Kabandha and the ascetic Shabari, who direct them towards Sugriva and Hanuman.

Kishkindha Kanda

A stone bas-relief at Banteay Srei in Cambodia depicts the combat between Vali and Sugriva (middle). To the right, Rama fires his bow. To the left, Vali lies dying.

Kishkindha Kanda is set in the ape (Vanara) citadel Kishkindha. Rama and Lakshmana meet Hanuman, the biggest devotee of Rama, greatest of ape heroes and an adherent of Sugriva, the banished pretender to the throne of Kishkindha. Rama befriends Sugriva and helps him by killing his elder brother Vali thus regaining the kingdom of Kishkindha, in exchange for helping Rama to recover Sita.

However Sugriva soon forgets his promise and spends his time enjoying his newly gained power. The clever former ape queen Tara (wife of Vali) calmly intervenes to prevent an enraged Lakshmana from destroying the ape citadel. She then eloquently convinces Sugriva to honour his pledge. Sugriva then sends search parties to the four corners of the earth, only to return without success from north, east and west. The southern search party under the leadership of Angada and Hanuman learns from a vulture named Sampati (elder brother of Jatayu), that Sita was taken to Lanka.

Sundara Kanda

Main article: Sundara Kanda

Ravana is meeting Sita at Ashokavana. Hanuman is seen on the tree.

Sundara Kanda forms the heart of Valmiki's Ramayana and consists of a detailed, vivid account of Hanuman's adventures. After learning about Sita, Hanuman assumes a gargantuan form and makes a colossal leap across the sea to Lanka. On the way he meets with many challenges like facing a Gandharva kanya who comes in the form of a demon to test his abilities. He encounters a mountain named Mainakudu who offers Hanuman assistance and offers him rest. Hanuman refuses because there is little time remaining to complete the search for Sita.

After entering into Lanka, he finds a demon, Lankini, who protects all of Lanka. Hanuman fights with her and subjugates her in order to get into Lanka. In the process Lankini, who had an earlier vision/warning from the gods therefore knows that the end of Lanka nears if someone defeats Lankini. Here, Hanuman explores the demons' kingdom and spies on Ravana. He locates Sita in Ashoka grove, where she is being wooed and threatened by Ravana and his rakshasis to marry Ravana. Hanuman reassures Sita, giving Rama's signet ring as a sign of good faith. He offers to carry Sita back to Rama; however, she refuses and says that it is not the dharma, stating that Ramyana will not have significance if Hanuman carries her to Rama – "When Rama is not there Ravana carried Sita forcibly and when Ravana was not there, Hanuman carried Sita back to Rama". She says that Rama himself must come and avenge the insult of her abduction.

Hanuman then wreaks havoc in Lanka by destroying trees and buildings and killing Ravana's warriors. He allows himself to be captured and delivered to Ravana. He gives a bold lecture to Ravana to release Sita. He is condemned and his tail is set on fire, but he escapes his bonds and leaping from roof to roof, sets fire to Ravana's citadel and makes the giant leap back from the island. The joyous search party returns to Kishkindha with the news.

Yuddha Kanda

The Battle at Lanka, Ramyana by Sahibdin. It depicts the monkey army of the protagonist Rama (top left, blue figure) fighting Ravana—the demon-king of the Lanka—to save Rama's kidnapped wife, Sita. The painting depicts multiple events in the battle against the three-headed demon general Trishira, in bottom left. Trishira is beheaded by Hanuman, the monkey-companion of Rama.

Also known as Lanka Kanda, this book describes the war between the army of Rama and the army of Ravana. Having received Hanuman's report on Sita, Rama and Lakshmana proceed with their allies towards the shore of the southern sea. There they are joined by Ravana's renegade brother Vibhishana. The apes named Nala and Nila construct a floating bridge (known as Rama Setu)[28] across the sea, using stones that floated on water because they had Rama's name written on them. The princes and their army cross over to Lanka. A lengthy war ensues. During a battle, Ravana's son Indrajit hurls a powerful weapon at Lakshmana, who is badly wounded. So Hanuman assumes a gigantic form and flies from Lanka to the Himalayas. Upon reaching Mount Sumeru, Hanuman was unable to identify the herb that could cure Lakshmana and so decided to bring the entire mountain back to Lanka. Eventually, the war ends when Rama kills Ravana. Rama then installs Vibhishana on the throne of Lanka.

On meeting Sita, Rama agrees to Sita's request[29] to undergo an Agni Pariksha (test of fire) to prove her chastity, as he wants to get rid of the rumors surrounding her purity. When Sita plunges into the sacrificial fire, Agni, lord of fire raises Sita, unharmed, to the throne, attesting to her innocence. The episode of Agni Pariksha varies in the versions of Ramayana by Valmiki and Tulsidas. In Tulsidas's Ramacharitamanas, Sita was under the protection of Agni (see Maya Sita) so it was necessary to bring her out before reuniting with Rama.

Uttara Kanda

Sita with Lava and Kusha

It conjectures Rama's reign of Ayodhya, the birth of Lava and Kusha, the Ashvamedha yajna and last days of Rama. At the expiration of his term of exile, Rama returns to Ayodhya with Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman, where the coronation is performed. On being asked to prove his devotion to Rama, Hanuman tears his chest open and to everyone's surprise, there is an image of Rama and Sita inside his chest. Rama rules Ayodhya and the reign is called Ram-Rajya (a place where the common folk is happy, fulfilled, and satisfied).

This book (kanda) is not considered to be a part of the original epic but instead a later addition to the earliest layers of the Valmiki Ramayana and is considered to be highly interpolated. In this book, as time passes in the reign of Rama, spies start getting rumours that people are questioning Sita's purity as she stayed in the home of another man for almost a year without her husband. The common folk start gossiping about Sita and question Rama's decision to make her Queen. Rama is extremely distraught on hearing the news, but finally tells Lakshmana that the purity of the Queen of Ayodhya has to be above any gossip and rumour. Ram instructs him to take Sita to a forest outside Ayodhya and leave her there with a heavy heart. Lakshmana reluctantly drops Sita in a forest for another exile.

Sita finds refuge in Sage Valmiki's ashram, where she gives birth to twin boys, Lava and Kusha. Meanwhile, Rama conducts an Ashwamedha yajna (A holy declaration of the authority of the king) and in absence of Sita places a golden statue of Sita. Lava and Kusha capture the horse (sign of the yajna) and defeat the whole army of Ayodhya which come to protect the horse. Later on, both the brothers defeat Lakshmana, Bharata (Ramayana), Shatrughan and other warriors and take Hanuman as prisoner. Finally Rama himself arrives and defeats the two mighty brothers. Valmiki updates Sita about this development and advises both the brothers to go to Ayodhya and tell the story of Sita's sacrifice to the common folk. Both brothers arrive at Ayodhya but face many difficulties while convincing the people. Hanuman helps both the brothers in this task. At one point, Valmiki brings Sita forward. Seeing Sita, Rama is teary eyed and realises that Lava and Kusha are his own sons. Again complicit Nagarsen (one of the primaries who instigated the hatred towards Sita) challenges Sita's character and asks her to prove her purity. Sita is overflown with emotions and decides to go back to Mother Earth from where she emerged. She says that, "If I am pure, this earth will open and swallow me whole." At that very moment, the earth opens up and swallows Sita. Rama rules Ayodhya for many years and finally takes Samadhi into Sarayu river along with his three brothers and leaves the world. He goes back to Vaikuntha in his Vishnu form (Lakshman as Shesh Naga, Bharat as his conch and Shatrughan as the Sudarshan Chakra) and meets Sita there who by then assumed the form of Lakshmi.


See also: Versions of Ramayana

The epic story of Ramyana was adopted by several cultures across Asia. Shown here is a Thai historic artwork depicting the battle which took place between Rama and Ravana.

Relief with part of the Ramayana epic, shows Rama killed the golden deer that turn out to be the demon Maricha in disguise. Prambanan Trimurti temple near Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia.

As in many oral epics, multiple versions of the Ramayana survive. In particular, the Ramayana related in north India differs in important respects from that preserved in south India and the rest of southeast Asia. There is an extensive tradition of oral storytelling based on Ramayana in Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam and Maldives.


There are diverse regional versions of the Ramayana written by various authors in India. Some of them differ significantly from each other. A West Bengal manuscript from the 6th century presents the epic without two of its kandas. During the 12th century, Kamban wrote Ramavataram, known popularly as Kambaramayanam in Tamil, but references to Ramayana story appear in Tamil literature as early as 3rd century CE. A Telugu version, Ranganatha Ramayanam, was written by Gona Budda Reddy in the 14th century. The earliest translation to a regional Indo-Aryan language is the early 14th century Saptakanda Ramayana in Assamese by Madhava Kandali. Valmiki's Ramayana inspired Sri Ramacharit Manas by Tulsidas in 1576, an epic Awadhi (a dialect of Hindi) version with a slant more grounded in a different realm of Hindu literature, that of bhakti; it is an acknowledged masterpiece of India, popularly known as Tulsi-krita Ramayana. Gujarati poet Premanand wrote a version of the Ramayana in the 17th century. Other versions include Krittivasi Ramayan, a Bengali version by Krittibas Ojha in the 15th century; Vilanka Ramayana by 15th century poet Sarala Dasa[30] and Jagamohana Ramayana (also known as Dandi Ramayana) by 16th century poet Balarama Dasa, both in Odia; a Torave Ramayana in Kannada by 16th-century poet Narahari; Adhyathmaramayanam, a Malayalam version by Thunchaththu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan in the 16th century; in Marathi by Sridhara in the 18th century; in Maithili by Chanda Jha in the 19th century; and in the 20th century, Rashtrakavi Kuvempu's Sri Ramayana Darshanam in Kannada and Srimad Ramayana Kalpavrikshamu in Telugu by Viswanatha Satyanarayana who received Jnanapeeth award for this work.

There is a sub-plot to the Ramayana, prevalent in some parts of India, relating the adventures of Ahiravan and Mahi Ravana, evil brother of Ravana, which enhances the role of Hanuman in the story. Hanuman rescues Rama and Lakshmana after they are kidnapped by the Ahi-Mahi Ravana at the behest of Ravana and held prisoner in a cave, to be sacrificed to the goddess Kali. Adbhuta Ramayana is a version that is obscure but also attributed to Valmiki – intended as a supplementary to the original Valmiki Ramayana. In this variant of the narrative, Sita is accorded far more prominence, such as elaboration of the events surrounding her birth – in this case to Ravana's wife, Mandodari as well as her conquest of Ravana's older brother in the Mahakali form.t
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Early medieval recension from Bengal

Chance discovery of a 6th century manuscript reveals insights into the evolution of the narrative. Importantly, the ‘Daśagrīvā Rākṣasa Charitrām Vadham’ (Slaying of the Ten-Headed Giant) manuscript contains only five kandas (chapters), and ends with the trio’s triumphant return to Ayodhya.[31][32]

Missing from this particular recension are the ‘Balakanda’ dealing with Rama’s childhood, and the ‘Uttarakanda’ – which narrates (a) Rama’s divinity as an avatar of Vishnu, (b) the events leading up to the exile of Sita, (c) the death of Rama’s devoted brother, Lakshmana. These are also the only two books where the Sage Valmiki appears as a character.[33]

The manuscript was discovered in 2015, from an archive compiled by the German Indologist Theodor Aufrecht.

Early references in Tamil literature

Main article: Ramayana in Tamil literature

Even before Kambar wrote the Ramavataram in Tamil in the 12th century AD, there are many ancient references to the story of Ramayana, implying that the story was familiar in the Tamil lands even before the Common Era. References to the story can be found in the Sangam literature of Akanaṉūṟu,(dated 1st century BCE)[34] and Purananuru (dated 300 BC),[35][36] the twin epics of Silappatikaram (dated 2nd Century CE)[37] and Manimekalai (cantos 5, 17 and 18),[38][39][40] and the Alvar literature of Kulasekhara Alvar, Thirumangai Alvar, Andal and Nammalvar (dated between 5th and 10th Centuries CE).[41] Even the songs of the Nayanmars have references to Ravana and his devotion to Lord Siva.

Buddhist version

Main article: Dasaratha Jataka

In the Buddhist variant of the Ramayana (Dasaratha Jataka), Dasharatha was king of Benares and not Ayodhya. Rama (called Rāmapaṇḍita in this version) was the son of Kaushalya, first wife of Dasharatha. Lakṣmaṇa (Lakkhaṇa) was a sibling of Rama and son of Sumitra, the second wife of Dasharatha. Sita was the wife of Rama. To protect his children from his wife Kaikeyi, who wished to promote her son Bharata, Dasharatha sent the three to a hermitage in the Himalayas for a twelve-year exile. After nine years, Dasharatha died and Lakkhaṇa and Sita returned; Rāmapaṇḍita, in deference to his father's wishes, remained in exile for a further two years. This version does not include the abduction of Sītā.There is no Ravan in this version i.e. no Ram-ravan war.

In the explanatory commentary on Jātaka, Rāmapaṇḍita is said to have been a previous birth of the Buddha, and Sita as previous birth of Yasodharā(Rahula-Mata).

But, Ravana appears in other Buddhist literature, the Lankavatara Sutra.

Jain versions

Main articles: Rama in Jainism and Salakapurusa

Jain versions of the Ramayana can be found in the various Jain agamas like Saṅghadāsagaṇī Vāchaka's Vasudevahiṇḍī (circa 4th century CE),[42] Ravisena's Padmapurana (story of Padmaja and Rama, Padmaja being the name of Sita), Hemacandra's Trisastisalakapurusa charitra (hagiography of 63 illustrious persons), Sanghadasa's Vasudevahindi and Uttarapurana by Gunabhadara. According to Jain cosmology, every half time cycle has nine sets of Balarama, Vasudeva and prativasudeva. Rama, Lakshmana and Ravana are the eighth Baldeva, Vasudeva and prativasudeva respectively. Padmanabh Jaini notes that, unlike in the Hindu Puranas, the names Baladeva and Vasudeva are not restricted to Balarama and Krishna in Jain Puranas. Instead they serve as names of two distinct classes of mighty brothers, who appear nine times in each half time cycle and jointly rule half the earth as half-chakravartins. Jaini traces the origin of this list of brothers to the jinacharitra (lives of jinas) by Acharya Bhadrabahu (3d–4th century BCE).

In the Jain epic of Ramayana, it is not Rama who kills Ravana as told in the Hindu version. Perhaps this is because Rama, a liberated Jain Soul in his last life, is unwilling to kill.[43] Instead, it is Lakshmana who kills Ravana (as Vasudeva killes Prativasudeva).[43] In the end, Rama, who led an upright life, renounces his kingdom, becomes a Jain monk and attains moksha. On the other hand, Lakshmana and Ravana go to Hell. However, it is predicted that ultimately they both will be reborn as upright persons and attain liberation in their future births. According to Jain texts, Ravana will be the future Tirthankara (omniscient teacher) of Jainism.

The Jain versions have some variations from Valmiki's Ramayana. Dasharatha, the king of Ayodhya had four queens: Aparajita, Sumitra, Suprabha and Kaikeyi. These four queens had four sons. Aparajita's son was Padma and he became known by the name of Rama. Sumitra's son was Narayana: he came to be known by another name, Lakshmana. Kaikeyi's son was Bharata and Suprabha's son was Shatrughna. Furthermore, not much was thought of Rama's fidelity to Sita. According to the Jain version, Rama had four chief queens: Maithili, Prabhavati, Ratinibha, and Sridama. Furthermore, Sita takes renunciation as a Jain ascetic after Rama abandons her and is reborn in heaven as Indra. Rama, after Lakshman's death, also renounces his kingdom and becomes a Jain monk. Ultimately, he attains Kevala Jnana omniscience and finally liberation. Rama predicts that Ravana and Lakshmana, who were in the fourth hell, will attain liberation in their future births. Accordingly, Ravana is the future Tirthankara of the next half ascending time cycle and Sita will be his Ganadhara.

Sikh version

In Guru Granth Sahib, there is a description of two types of Ramayana. One is a spiritual Ramayana which is the actual subject of Guru Granth Sahib, in which Ravana is ego, Sita is budhi (intellect), Rama is inner soul and Laxman is mann (attention, mind). Guru Granth Sahib also believes in the existence of Dashavatara who were kings of their times which tried their best to restore order to the world. King Rama (Ramchandra) was one of those who is not covered in Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Granth Sahib states:

ਹੁਕਮਿ ਉਪਾਏ ਦਸ ਅਉਤਾਰਾ॥
हुकमि उपाए दस अउतारा॥
By hukam (supreme command), he created his ten incarnations

Rather there is no Ramayana written by any Guru. Guru Gobind Singh however is known to have written Ram Avatar in a text which is highly debated on its authenticity. Guru Gobind Singh clearly states that though all the 24 avatars incarnated for the betterment of the world, but fell prey to ego and therefore were destroyed by the supreme creator.

He also said that the almighty, invisible, all prevailing God created great numbers of Indras, Moons and Suns, Deities, Demons and sages, and also numerous saints and Brahmanas (enlightened people). But they too were caught in the noose of death (Kaal) (transmigration of the soul).


Besides being the site of discovery of the oldest surviving manuscript of the Ramayana, Nepal gave rise to two regional variants in mid 19th – early 20th century. One, written by Bhanubhakta Acharya, is considered the first epic of Nepali language, while the other, written by Siddhidas Mahaju in Nepal Bhasa was a foundational influence in the Nepal Bhasa renaissance.

Ramayana written by Bhanubhakta Acharya is one of the most popular verses in Nepal. The popularization of the Ramayana and its tale, originally written in Sanskrit Language was greatly enhanced by the work of Bhanubhakta. Mainly because of his writing of Nepali Ramayana, Bhanubhakta is also called Aadi Kavi or The Pioneering Poet.

Southeast Asian


Cambodian classical dancers as Sita and Ravana, the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh (c. 1920s)

The Cambodian version of the Ramayana, Reamker (Khmer: រាមកេរ្ដិ៍ - Glory of Rama), is the most famous story of Khmer literature since the Kingdom of Funan era. It adapts the Hindu concepts to Buddhist themes and shows the balance of good and evil in the world. The Reamker has several differences from the original Ramayana, including scenes not included in the original and emphasis on Hanuman and Sovanna Maccha, a retelling which influences the Thai and Lao versions. Reamker in Cambodia is not confined to the realm of literature but extends to all Cambodian art forms, such as sculpture, Khmer classical dance, theatre known as lakhorn luang (the foundation of the royal ballet), poetry and the mural and bas-reliefs seen at the Silver Pagoda and Angkor Wat.


Lakshmana, Rama and Sita during their exile in Dandaka Forest depicted in Javanese dance

There are several Indonesian adaptations of Ramayana, including the Javanese Kakawin Ramayana[44][45] and Balinese Ramakavaca.[46] The first half of Kakawin Ramayana is similar to the original Sanskrit version, while the latter half is very different. One of the recognizable modifications is the inclusion of the indigenous Javanese guardian demigod, Semar, and his sons, Gareng, Petruk, and Bagong who make up the numerically significant four Punokawan or "clown servants". Kakawin Ramayana is believed to have been written in Central Java circa 870 AD during the reign of Mpu Sindok in the Medang Kingdom.[47] The Javanese Kakawin Ramayana is not based on Valmiki's epic, which was then the most famous version of Rama's story, but based on Ravanavadha or the "Ravana massacre", which is the sixth or seventh century poem by Indian poet Bhattikavya.[48]

Kakawin Ramayana was further developed on the neighboring island of Bali becoming the Balinese Ramakavaca. The bas-reliefs of Ramayana and Krishnayana scenes are carved on balustrades of the 9th century Prambanan temple in Yogyakarta,[49] as well as in the 14th century Penataran temple in East Java.[50] In Indonesia, the Ramayana is a deeply ingrained aspect of the culture, especially among Javanese, Balinese and Sundanese people, and has become the source of moral and spiritual guidance as well as aesthetic expression and entertainment, for example in wayang and traditional dances.[51] The Balinese kecak dance for example, retells the story of the Ramayana, with dancers playing the roles of Rama, Sita, Lakhsmana, Jatayu, Hanuman, Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Indrajit surrounded by a troupe of over 50 bare-chested men who serve as the chorus chanting "cak". The performance also includes a fire show to describe the burning of Lanka by Hanuman.[52] In Yogyakarta, the Wayang Wong Javanese dance also retells the Ramayana. One example of a dance production of the Ramayana in Java is the Ramayana Ballet performed on the Trimurti Prambanan open air stage, with the three main prasad spires of the Prambanan Hindu temple as a backdrop.[53]


Phra Lak Phra Lam is a Lao language version, whose title comes from Lakshmana and Rama. The story of Lakshmana and Rama is told as the previous life of Gautama buddha.


The Hikayat Seri Rama of Malaysia incorporated element of both Hindu and Islamic mythology.[54][55][56]


Rama (Yama) and Sita (Me Thida) in Yama Zatdaw, the Burmese version of Ramyana

Yama Zatdaw is the Burmese version of Ramayana. It is also considered the unofficial national epic of Myanmar. There are nine known pieces of the Yama Zatdaw in Myanmar. The Burmese name for the story itself is Yamayana, while zatdaw refers to the acted play or being part of the jataka tales of Theravada Buddhism. This Burmese version is also heavily influenced by Ramakien (Thai version of Ramayana) which resulted from various invasions by Konbaung Dynasty kings toward the Ayutthaya Kingdom.


Main article: Maharadia Lawana

The Maharadia Lawana, an epic poem of the Maranao people of the Philippines, has been regarded as an indigenized version of the Ramayana since it was documented and translated into English by Professor Juan R. Francisco and Nagasura Madale in 1968.[57](p"264")[58] The poem, which had not been written down before Francisco and Madale's translation,[57](p"264") narrates the adventures of the monkey-king, Maharadia Lawana, whom the Gods have gifted with immortality.[57]

Francisco, an indologist from the University of the Philippines Manila, believed that the Ramayana narrative arrived in the Philippines some time between the 17th to 19th centuries, via interactions with Javanese and Malaysian cultures which traded extensively with India.[59](p101)

By the time it was documented in the 1960s, the character names, place names, and the precise episodes and events in Maharadia Lawana's narrative already had some notable differences from those of the Ramayana. Francisco believed that this was a sign of "indigenization", and suggested that some changes had already been introduced in Malaysia and Java even before the story was heard by the Maranao, and that upon reaching the Maranao homeland, the story was "further indigenized to suit Philippine cultural perspectives and orientations."[59](p"103")


The Thai retelling of the tale—Ramakien—is popularly expressed in traditional regional dance theatre

Thailand's popular national epic Ramakien (Thai:รามเกียรติ์, from Sanskrit rāmakīrti, glory of Ram) is derived from the Hindu epic. In Ramakien, Sita is the daughter of Ravana and Mandodari (thotsakan and montho). Vibhishana (phiphek), the astrologer brother of Ravana, predicts the death of Ravana from the horoscope of Sita. Ravana has thrown her into the water, but she is later rescued by Janaka (chanok).[43]:149 While the main story is identical to that of Ramayana, many other aspects were transposed into a Thai context, such as the clothes, weapons, topography and elements of nature, which are described as being Thai in style. It has an expanded role for Hanuman and he is portrayed as a lascivious character. Ramakien can be seen in an elaborate illustration at Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok.

Critical edition

A critical edition of the text was compiled in India in the 1960s and 1970s, by the Oriental Institute at Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India, utilizing dozens of manuscripts collected from across India and the surrounding region.[60] An English language translation of the critical edition was completed in November 2016 by Sanskrit scholar Robert P. Goldman of the University of California, Berkeley.[61]

Critical editions

Any edition that attempts to construct a text of a work using all the available evidence is "critical," whatever its methodology. Critical editions require collation of the different manuscript witnesses, and the construction of a reading text out of the results of that collation. Most critical editions use a base manuscript, whose readings they accept except where there is reason not to do so, but some are more eclectic than others. Critical editions encourage readers to think about the work, more than about its specific manuscript presentation, and may well be more informative on such topics as the work's sources, historical context, form, style, and other literary matters.

Critical editions you may be familiar with include The Riverside Chaucer, edited by Larry Benson, and The Vision of Piers Plowman by William Langland, edited by A.V.C. Schmidt. In general, a critical edition will contain a single (edited) version of the text, along with substantial introductory matter, explanatory, and textual notes.

-- Types of Editions, Harvard's Geoffrey Chaucer Website

Influence on culture and art

See also: Ramayana Ballet

A Ramlila actor wears the traditional attire of Ravana.

One of the most important literary works of ancient India, the Ramayana has had a profound impact on art and culture in the Indian subcontinent and southeast Asia with the lone exception of Vietnam. The story ushered in the tradition of the next thousand years of massive-scale works in the rich diction of regal courts and Hindu temples. It has also inspired much secondary literature in various languages, notably Kambaramayanam by Tamil poet Kambar of the 12th century, Telugu language Molla Ramayanam by poet Molla and Ranganatha Ramayanam by poet Gona Budda Reddy, 14th century Kannada poet Narahari's Torave Ramayana and 15th century Bengali poet Krittibas Ojha's Krittivasi Ramayan, as well as the 16th century Awadhi version, Ramacharitamanas, written by Tulsidas.

Ramayanic scenes have also been depicted through terracottas, stone sculptures, bronzes and paintings.[62] These include the stone panel at Nagarjunakonda in Andhra Pradesh depicting Bharata's meeting with Rama at Chitrakuta (3rd century CE).[62]

The Ramayana became popular in Southeast Asia during 8th century and was represented in literature, temple architecture, dance and theatre. Today, dramatic enactments of the story of the Ramayana, known as Ramlila, take place all across India and in many places across the globe within the Indian diaspora.

Hanuman discovers Sita in her captivity in Lanka, as depicted in Balinese kecak dance.

In Indonesia, especially Java and Bali, Ramayana has become a popular source of artistic expression for dance drama and shadow puppet performance in the region. Sendratari Ramayana is Javanese traditional ballet of wayang orang genre, routinely performed in Prambanan Trimurti temple and in cultural center of Yogyakarta.[63] Balinese dance drama of Ramayana is also performed routinely in Balinese Hindu temples, especially in temples such as Ubud and Uluwatu, where scenes from Ramayana is integrap part of kecak dance performance. Javanese Wayang (Wayang Kulit of purwa and Wayang Wong) also draws its episodes from Ramayana or Mahabharata.

The painting by the Indonesian (Balinese) artist, Ida Bagus Made Togog depicts the episode from the Ramayana about the Monkey Kings of Sugriva and Vali; The Killing of Vali. Rama depicted as a crowned figure with a bow and arrow.

Ramayana has also been depicted in many paintings, notably by the Indonesian (Balinese) artists such as I Gusti Dohkar (before 1938), I Dewa Poetoe Soegih, I Dewa Gedé Raka Poedja, Ida Bagus Made Togog before 1948 period. Their paintings is currently in the National Museum of World Cultures collections of Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherland. Also Malaysian artist Syed Thajudeen in 1972. The painting is currently in the permanent collection of the Malaysian National Visual Arts Gallery.

Religious significance

Deities Sita (right), Rama (center), Lakshmana (left) and Hanuman (below, seated) at Bhaktivedanta Manor, Watford, England

Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, is one of the most popular deities worshipped in the Hindu religion. Each year, many devout pilgrims trace their journey through India and Nepal, halting at each of the holy sites along the way. The poem is not seen as just a literary monument, but serves as an integral part of Hinduism and is held in such reverence that the mere reading or hearing of it or certain passages of it, is believed by Hindus to free them from sin and bless the reader or listener.

According to Hindu tradition, Rama is an incarnation (Avatar) of god Vishnu. The main purpose of this incarnation is to demonstrate the righteous path (dharma) for all living creatures on earth.

In popular culture

Multiple modern, English-language adaptations of the epic exist, namely Rama Chandra Series by Amish Tripathi, Ramayana Series by Ashok Banker and a mythopoetic novel, Asura: Tale of the Vanquished by Anand Neelakantan. Another Indian author, Devdutt Pattanaik, has published three different retellings and commentaries of Ramayana titled Sita, The Book Of Ram and Hanuman's Ramayan. A number of plays, movies and television serials have also been produced based upon the Ramayana.[64]


Hanoman At Kecak Fire Dance, Bali 2018

One of the best known Ramayana plays is Gopal Sharman's The Ramayana, a contemporary interpretation in English, of the great epic based on the Valmiki Ramayana. The play has had more than 3000 plus performances all over the world, mostly as a one-woman performance by actress Jalabala Vaidya, wife of the playwright Gopal Sharman. The Ramayana has been performed on Broadway, London's West End, United Nations Headquarters, the Smithsonian Institution among other international venue and in more than 35 cities and towns in India.

Starting in 1978 and under the supervision of Baba Hari Dass, Ramayana has been performed every year by Mount Madonna School in Watsonville, California.[citation needed] Currently,[when?] it is the largest yearly, Western version of the epic being performed.[citation needed] It takes the form of a colorful musical with custom costumes, sung and spoken dialog, jazz-rock orchestration and dance. This performance takes place in a large audience theater setting usually in June, in San Jose, CA. Dass has taught acting arts, costume-attire design, mask making and choreography to bring alive characters of Rama, Sita, Hanuman, Lakshmana, Shiva, Parvati, Vibhishan, Jatayu, Sugriva, Surpanakha, Ravana and his rakshasa court, Meghnadha, Kumbhakarna and the army of monkeys and demons.[citation needed]

In the Philippines, a jazz ballet production was produced in the 1970's entitled "Rama at Sita" (Rama and Sita).

The production was a result of a collaboration of four National Artists, Bienvenido Lumbera’s libretto (National Artist for Literature), production design by Salvador Bernal (National Artist for Stage Design), music by Ryan Cayabyab (National Artist for Music) and choreography by Alice Reyes (National Artist for Dance).[65]


• Kanchana Sita, Saketham and Lankalakshmi – award-winning trilogy by Malayalam playwright C. N. Sreekantan Nair
• Lankeswaran – a play by the award-winning Tamil cinema actor R. S. Manohar
• Kecak - a Balinese traditional folk dance which plays and tells the story of Ramayana


• Gallery Nucleus:Ramayana Exhibition -Part of the art of the book Ramayana: Divine Loophole by Sanjay Patel.
• The Rama epic: Hero. Heroine, Ally, Foe by The Asian Art Museum.


La bufanda roja by Fitra Ismu Kusumo, a promoter of Indonesian art and culture in Mexico

• Ramayana by C. Rajagopalachari
• The Ramayana by R. K. Narayan
• The Song of Rama by Vanamali
• Ramayana by William Buck and S Triest
• Ramayana: Divine Loophole by Sanjay Patel
• Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana By Devdutt Pattanaik
• Hanuman's Ramayan By Devdutt Pattanaik
• Rama Chandra Series by Amish Tripathi, a fictional retelling of the Ramayana. It has 3 books till now — Ram: Scion of Ikshvaku, Sita: Warrior of Mithila, and Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta.
• Asura, Tale of the Vanquished by Anand Neelakantan, a novel.
• The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.


• Lanka Dahan (1917)
• Ramayana (1942)
• Ram Rajya (1943)
• Rambaan (1948)
• Ramayan (1954)
• Sampoorna Ramayanam (1958)
• Sampoorna Ramayana (1961)
• Lava Kusha (1963)
• Sampoorna Ramayanamu (1971)
• Sita Kalyanam (1976)
• Kanchana Sita (1977)
• Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama (1992)
• Ramayanam (1996)
• Lav Kush (1997)
• Opera Jawa (2008)
• Sita Sings the Blues (2008)
• Ramayana: The Epic (2010)
• Lava Kusa: The Warrior Twins (2010)
• Ramayana: The Epic (2010)
• Sri Rama Rajyam (2011)
• Yak: The Giant King (2012)
• Adipurush (2022), upcoming film

TV series

• Ramayan – originally broadcast on Doordarshan, produced by Ramanand Sagar in 1987
• Luv Kush – originally broadcast on Doordarshan, produced by Ramanand Sagar in 1988
• Jai Hanuman – originally broadcast on Doordarshan, produced and directed by Sanjay Khan
• Ramayan (2002) – originally broadcast on Zee TV, produced by B.R. Chopra
• Ramayan (2008) – originally broadcast on Imagine TV, produced by Sagar Enterprise
• Ramayan (2012) – a remake of the 1987 series and aired on Zee TV
• Antariksh (2004) – a sci-fi version of Ramayan. Originally broadcast on Star Plus
• Raavan – series on life of Ravana based on Ramayana. Originally broadcast on Zee TV
• Sankatmochan Mahabali Hanuman – 2015 series based on the life of Hanuman presently broadcasting on Sony TV
• Siya Ke Ram – a series on Star Plus, originally broadcast from 16 November 2015 to 4 November 2016
• Rama Siya Ke Luv Kush – 2019 series based on Uttar Ramayan, showing the life of children of Rama Sita, Kush and Luv broadcasting on Colors TV


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43. Ramanujan, A.K (2004). The Collected Essays of A.K. Ramanujan (PDF) (4. impr. ed.). New Delhi: Oxford University Press. p. 145.
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54. Fang, Liaw Yock (2013). A History of Classical Malay Literature. Yayasan Pustaka Obor Indonesia. p. 142. ISBN 9789794618103.
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56. Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. 1898. pp. 143–.
57. Guillermo, Artemio R. (16 December 2011). Historical Dictionary of the Philippines. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810875111.
58. Francisco, Juan R. "Maharadia Lawana" (PDF).
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61. "UC Berkeley researchers complete decades-long translation project | The Daily Californian". Retrieved 6 January 2017.
62. B. B. Lal (2008). Rāma, His Historicity, Mandir, and Setu: Evidence of Literature, Archaeology, and Other Sciences. Aryan Books. ISBN 978-81-7305-345-0.
63. Donald Frazier (11 February 2016). "On Java, a Creative Explosion in an Ancient City". The New York Times.
64. Mankekar, Purnima (1999). Screening Culture, Viewing Politics: An Ethnography of Television, Womanhood, and Nation in Postcolonial India. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-2390-7.
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• Arya, Ravi Prakash (ed.).Ramayana of Valmiki: Sanskrit Text and English Translation. (English translation according to M. N. Dutt, introduction by Dr. Ramashraya Sharma, 4-volume set) Parimal Publications: Delhi, 1998, ISBN 81-7110-156-9
• Bhattacharji, Sukumari (1998). Legends of Devi. Orient Blackswan. p. 111. ISBN 978-81-250-1438-6.
• Brockington, John (2003). "The Sanskrit Epics". In Flood, Gavin (ed.). Blackwell companion to Hinduism. Blackwell Publishing. pp. 116–128. ISBN 0-631-21535-2.
• Buck, William; van Nooten, B. A. (2000). Ramayana. University of California Press. p. 432. ISBN 978-0-520-22703-3.
• Dutt, Romesh C. (2004). Ramayana. Kessinger Publishing. p. 208. ISBN 978-1-4191-4387-8.
• Dutt, Romesh Chunder (2002). The Ramayana and Mahabharata condensed into English verse. Courier Dover Publications. p. 352. ISBN 978-0-486-42506-1.
• Fallon, Oliver (2009). Bhatti's Poem: The Death of Rávana (Bhaṭṭikāvya). New York: New York University Press, Clay Sanskrit Library. ISBN 978-0-8147-2778-2.
• Goldman, Robert P (1984). The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki: An Epic of Ancient India. Princeton University Press. ISBN 81-208-3162--4.
• Keshavadas, Sadguru Sant (1988). Ramayana at a Glance. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 211. ISBN 978-81-208-0545-3.
• Goldman, Robert P. (1990). The Ramayana of Valmiki: An Epic of Ancient India: Balakanda. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-01485-2.
• Goldman, Robert P. (1994). The Ramayana of Valmiki: An Epic of Ancient India: Kiskindhakanda. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-06661-5.
• Goldman, Robert P. (1996). The Ramayana of Valmiki: Sundarakanda. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-06662-2.
• B. B. Lal (2008). Rāma, His Historicity, Mandir, and Setu: Evidence of Literature, Archaeology, and Other Sciences. Aryan Books. ISBN 978-81-7305-345-0.
• Mahulikar, Dr. Gauri. Effect Of Ramayana On Various Cultures And Civilisations, Ramayan Institute
• Rabb, Kate Milner, National Epics, 1896 – see eText in Project Gutenberg
• Murthy, S. S. N. (November 2003). "A note on the Ramayana" (PDF). Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies. New Delhi. 10(6): 1–18. ISSN 1084-7561. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 August 2012.
• Prabhavananda, Swami (1979). The Spiritual Heritage of India. Vedanta Press. p. 374. ISBN 978-0-87481-035-6. (see also Wikipedia article on book)
• Raghunathan, N. (transl.), Srimad Valmiki Ramayanam, Vighneswara Publishing House, Madras (1981)
• Rohman, Todd (2009). "The Classical Period". In Watling, Gabrielle; Quay, Sara (eds.). Cultural History of Reading: World literature. Greenwood. ISBN 978-0-313-33744-4.
• Sattar, Arshia (transl.) (1996). The Rāmāyaṇa by Vālmīki. Viking. p. 696. ISBN 978-0-14-029866-6.
• Sachithanantham, Singaravelu (2004). The Ramayana Tradition in Southeast Asia. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press. ISBN 9789831002346.
• Sundararajan, K.R. (1989). "The Ideal of Perfect Life : The Ramayana". In Krishna Sivaraman; Bithika Mukerji (eds.). Hindu spirituality: Vedas through Vedanta. The Crossroad Publishing Co. pp. 106–126. ISBN 978-0-8245-0755-8.
• A different Song – Article from "The Hindu" 12 August 2005 – "The Hindu : Entertainment Thiruvananthapuram / Music : A different song". 12 August 2005. Archived from the original on 27 October 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
• Valmiki's Ramayana illustrated with Indian miniatures from the 16th to the 19th century, 2012, Editions Diane de Selliers, ISBN 9782903656768

Further reading

Sanskrit text

• Electronic version of the Sanskrit text, input by Muneo Tokunaga
• Sanskrit text on GRETIL


• Valmiki Ramayana verse translation by Desiraju Hanumanta Rao, K. M. K. Murthy et al.
• [1] translation of valmiki ramayana including Uttara Khanda
• Valmiki Ramayana translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith (1870–1874) (Project Gutenberg)
• Prose translation of the complete Ramayana by M. N. Dutt (1891–1894): Balakandam, Ayodhya kandam, Aranya kandam, Kishkindha kandam, Sundara Kandam, Yuddha Kandam, Uttara Kandam
• Jain Ramayana of Hemchandra English translation; seventh book of the Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra; 1931
• Summary of The Ramayana Summary of Maurice Winternitz, A History of Indian Literature, trans. by S. Ketkar.
• The Ramayana condensed into English verse by R. C. Dutt (1899) at
• Rāma the Steadfast: an early form of the Rāmāyaṇa translated by J. L. Brockington and Mary Brockington. Penguin, 2006. ISBN 0-14-044744-X.

Secondary sources

• Jain, Meenakshi. (2013). Rama and Ayodhya. Aryan Books International, 2013.

External links

• Ramayana at the Encyclopædia Britannica|
• Ramayana at Project Gutenberg
The Ramayana of Valmiki English translation by Hari Prasad Shastri, 1952 (revised edition with interwoven glossary)
• A condensed verse translation by Romesh Chunder Dutt sponsored by the Liberty Fund
• The Ramayana as a Monomyth from UC Berkeley (archived)
• Collection: Art of the Ramayana from the University of Michigan Museum of Art
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