How many Rāmāyaṇa-s?

This question often perplexes many people. Many years ago, one devotee asked me the same question after reading the following episode from Adhyātma-Rāmāyaṇa: “In Adhyātma-Rāmāyaṇa, when Sītā Ji pleads Śrī Rāma to take her also in exile with him, at that time she tries to persuade Śrī Rāma by giving this logic — O’ Rāma! You must have heard many Rāmāyaṇa-s from many saints, but in any Rāmāyaṇa did You ever hear Śrī Rāma went into exile without Sītā!? (रामायणानि बहुशः श्रुतानि बहुभिर्द्विजैः॥ – AR 2.4.77) So how can You go this time in exile leaving me here in Ayōdhyā ?” (The same line of argument is given by Sita Ji in a play named Udaar-Raaghav.)

This episode of Adhyātma-Rāmāyaṇa indicates many things – there has been many Rāmāyaṇa-s same time, in each Rāmāyaṇa there are some common theme based upon principles like “(a) Sītā is Nārīṇām-uttamā, Śrī Rāma is Puruṣōttama; that best among ladies, Sītā always follows her consort Śrī Rāma, She can’t bear Viyoga even for a moment from her prince; (b) Śrī Rāma goes in exile in every Ramayana to give his darshan and intimacy and great glory to his devotees, (परम-सौलभ्य - Param-saulabhya) etc” - such things are siddhanta (principle) enshrined in every Rāmāyaṇa, however supreme Lord did his other pastimes in diverse ways in each Rāmāyaṇa.

This is a natural question which would come in mind of people how many Ramayana-s are there? Apart from Rāmāyaṇa-s, the story of Śrī Rāma has been also sung in Rāmōpākhyān of Mahābhārata , Bhāgavatam and other Purāṇa -s, but everywhere those stories are slightly different from each other from Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, why?

Gōsvāmī Jī says :

नाना भाँति राम अवतारा। रामायन सत कोटि अपारा॥
कलपभेद हरिचरित सुहाए। भाँति अनेक मुनीसन्ह गाए॥
करिअ न संसय अस उर आनी। सुनिअ कथा सादर रति मानी॥
[Sri Ramcharitmanas 1.33.2-4]

“In every time cycles Śrī Rāma descends on earth to do his leela in diverse ways. Wise men who hear this uncommon legend of Rāma marvel not; for they know there is no limit to the stories of Śrī Rāma in this world. They are convinced in their heart that Śrī Rāma has appeared in diverse ways and that the story of Rāma (Ramayana) has been sung in Shat-Koti Ramayana(s) (reference to both 1 billion Ramayana-s and the Ramayana composed by BrahmA in a thousand million verse, yet infinite). Great sages have diversely sung the charming stories of Shri Hari, relating as they do to different Kalpas or cycles. Bearing this in mind the reader should not entertain any doubt and should hear this narrative reverently and with devotion.”

Ramayana happening in different Kalpa-s:

Same is said in different scriptures:

चरितं रघुनाथस्य शतकोटिप्रविस्तरम् ।
क्वचित् क्वचित्पुराणेषु विरोधो यदि दृश्यते ॥
कल्पभेद विधिस्तत्र व्यवस्था सद्भिरुच्यते ।
(Padma-Purana)

“The legend of Shri Rama has been described in Shat-Koti Ramayana-s, if some differences are seen somewhere in those ancient stories, then wise ones have suggested this it is due to Shri Rama performed his pastimes in diverse ways in different Kalpas”

पुनः पुनः कल्पभेदात् जाताः श्रीराघवस्य च ।
अवताराः कोटिशोऽत्र तेषु भेदः क्वचित् क्वचित् ॥
(Ananda-Ramayana)

“Due to descend of Bhagavan Shri Rama again and again in different Kalpas, crores (infinite) of his incarnations happened. Among those infinite incarnations, there had been also differences at some places in his pastimes”

कलप कलप प्रति प्रभु अवतरहीं। चारु चरित नानाबिधि करहीं॥ (Shri Ramacharitmanas)

In every time-cycle (Kalpa), Shri Rama descends on this earth and enacts charming sports in diverse ways.

*So, Shri Rama-avatara happens in every Kalpa to enact charming sports for the bliss of his devotees, whether other Avatar-s happen or not, but Shri Rama has to take incarnation in every Kalpa for the bliss of his devotees in his leela-Vibhuti. The pastimes of Lord in leela-vibhuti is superior than pastimes of Lord in his Nitya-Vibhuti (eternal-abode) because in Nitya-Vibhuti there is Nitya-Rasa only, while while in leela-Vibhuti, Lord takes birth - becomes a child and then grows into a Kishore and performs various pastimes in diverse ways, so wise devotees aspire to get entry into Shri Rama-avatar-leela.

One Kalpa is equal to a day of BrahmA, it is the time cycle of universe, consisting of 14 Manvantara-s - each Manvantara consists of 71 Chaturyuga-s (each chaturyuga consists of 4 Yugas : satyuga, treta, dwapar and Kaliyuga). Last Shri Rama-avatar happened in the 24th Chaturyugi of this Vaivasvat-Manvantara of the Shvet-varaha-Kalpa.

Who composed so many Ramayana-s?

कोसलेन्द्रोऽवतान्नः — kōsalēndrō 'vatāt naḥ
(Shrimad Bhagavatam 9.10.4)

Here, before describing Shri Ramayana in brief, Sage Shukadeva beseech his Isha-deva Bhagavan Shri Rama “May the King of Koshala (Ayodhya), Bhagavan Shri Rama be pleased to protect us (Parikshit and me Shukadeva.)”

An Ananyopasaka asks protection from his Ishta only.

In his very famous commentary, revered by all and even Chaitanya-Mahaprabhu, Sridharacharya (1300-1350 AD) has commented this on Shrimad Bhagavatam verse 9.10.4:

ग्रन्थकोटिभिराकीर्णमद्भुतं रामविक्रमम् ।
अध्यायद्वयतो वक्ष्यन्नेकश्लोके समस्यति॥
[Sridhar commentary on SB 9.10.4]

The extremely amazing pastimes and valorous exploits of Bhagavan Sri Rama are spread across the millions of scriptures (ग्रन्थकोटिभिः - indication of 1 billion Vedic-Ramayanas and many other scriptures). Sage Shukadev is going to describe that infinite glory of Lord Sri Rama in just 2 chapters and He summarizes the same in this single shloka (ek-shloki Ramayana).”

Here Sridharacharya refers about the Shatkoti Ramayana Samhita-s (and also about many many other scriptures), which is not just one or few, but ग्रन्थकोटिभिः 1 billion different Ramayana-s. Padma-Purana, Matasya Purana all says the same “चरितं रघुनाथस्य शतकोटिप्रविस्तरं - caritaṃ raghunāthasya śatakōṭipravistaraṃ” - The story of Lord Sri Rama is sung in hundred crore Ramayan-s. (1 crore = 10 millions, 100 crores = 1 billion) Those are composed by whom? So Shuka Goswami answers this in Bhāgavatam:

तस्यानुचरितं राजन्नृषिभिस्तत्त्वदर्शिभिः ।
श्रुतं हि वर्णितं भूरि त्वया सीतापतेर्मुहुः ॥
( Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 9.10.3)

“O King Parikshit, the transcendental activities of Lord Śrī Rāmacandra have been described (वर्णितं) by many many great Rishis ऋषिभिः and तत्त्वदर्शिभिः (Seers and sages such as BrahmA, Shiva, Agastya, Sutikshana, Lomasha, Bhushundi, Valmiki, Vashishtha, Manu, etc) who seen (realised) the supreme truth. You might have heard again and again about Lord Śrī Rāma, the husband of Bhagavatī Sītā, I shall describe his activities only in brief (otherwise I wouldn’t be able to complete Bhagavatam within 7 days). Please listen.”

How come Shri Rama’s story has been sung in millions of scriptures?

When Vēda-vēdya Parātpara-Puruṣa Śrī Rāma himself appears as the darling son of Maharaj Dasarath and Kaushalya in each Kalpa, then all Veda-s itself appear as Rāmāyaṇa from the mouth of Sage Valmiki. In each Kalpa, Valmiki and many other ancient seers-and-sages (Rishi-s, Munis) of Vaidic-lore also appear - they all made Supreme Purusha Shri Rama their Ishta and sang his ravishing life-story to sing his glory! First Ramayana in the human-world is composed by Valmiki, and then it became the basis upon which innumerable Rishis-Munis sang the Ramayan in accordance they conceived the divine story of Shri Rama in their heart from their divine-vision and divine-revelation unto to them. Since Bhagavān Śrī Rāma did his pastimes in diverse ways in every Kalpa, so those diverse pastimes were conceived by different Rishi-s, Munis of Vaidic-lore in each time cycle, and therefore innumerable Rāmayana-s ( 1 billion Rāmayana-s) appears in each time cycle.

How Many Ramayana-s are available now?:

Due to evil-effect of Kaliyuga, innumerable-Ramayana-s revealed by Rishis and Munis have disappeared, yet there are still many Ramayana-s which are current in Parampara.

What is the motivation behind innumerable seers and sages composing millions of scriptures solely dedicated to Śrī Rāma?

No matter how great, and virtuous a prince is, Brahm-realised-souls Vaidic-sages-and-seers (Rishis and Munis) would have never made his life-story the subject of their eulogies and praises and epic-poems, and glorify him the god of gods, the supreme immaculate Brahman, in millions of scriptures. The only real motivation for those god-realised seers and sages to sing the life-story of Śrī Rāma in millions of scriptures is Śrī Rāma being the original personality of godhead, the best among all-avatara-s, and therefore his being the ocean of infinite-auspicious qualities and virtues, not vice-versa. So, they who think vice-versa that seers and sages sang the glory of a prince Rama because of his virtuosity and qualities are not in their right-senses. In fact, scripture says qualities became quality because of being adorned by prince charming Bhagavan Śrī Rāma.

It is again noticeable that many other Avatara-s also might have happened in different Kalpa-s, they might have also done their pastimes in diverse ways, but why only Śrī Rāma is sung so much in ग्रन्थकोटिभिः (millions of scriptures)?

Reason is Śrī Rāma is the original personality of godhead, the source of Ishvar-koti and all incarnations, the bestest among all-avatara-s, therefore it becomes very natural if millions of scriptures are solely dedicated to him, composed by innumerable Rishis-Munis in every Kalpa (time-cycle). Śrī Rāma is the ocean of infinite-auspicious qualities (महनीयगुणाब्धये e.g. Saundarya-Saar-Sarvasvam — Param-Madhurya-Nilayam, the most attractive, the ocean of all beauty, all-enticing, the abode of supreme Madhurya, etc) and noblest-virtues (e.g. always truthful, never deceives anyone, most compassionate, second to none in his valor, yet most humble, master of all skills, Param-gunavan, supreme refuge for all alike a sheltering wish-yielding tree, etc), He is such touchstone which verifies all noble and great qualities; Whatever best is present or seen in other personalities in entire cosmos, those all bestness in its entirely and simultaneously present in Śrī Rāma alone, so who will not sing the glory of such noblest hero, the ocean of all qualities and virtues, without a second !

In Prasann-Raghava, Nata (actor in play) asks the same question from Sutradhaar (the presenter of the play), ‘How come Śrī Rāma alone is sung by all poets?’:

स्वसूक्तीनां पात्रं रघुतिलकमेकं कलयतां कवीनां को दोषः स तू गुणगणानामवगुणः।
यदेतैर्निःशेषैरपरगुणलुब्धैरिव जगत्यसावेकश्चक्रे सततसुखसंवासवसतिः ॥
(Prasann-Rāghava 1.12)

“Nata asks Sutradhaar: ‘How come all poets sing exclusively the glory of Śrī Rāma alone , again and again?’

Upon this question Sutradhaar answers: ‘there is no fault on the part of the poets if they chose exclusively Śrī Rāma alone as the worthy of their poetries and praises. Rather, it is fault of (all blame should go to) Śrī Rāma’s innumerable auspicious-qualities and virtues on which all the poets (became लुब्ध) fell in love and lost their heart and soul, and made Śrī Rāma alone the sole subject of their Suktis (poetries, eulogies) !” (Prasann-Raghava 1.12)

Śrī Rāma is the culmination of all (सौन्दर्य) beauty, (माधुर्य) sweetness, (सौरस्य ) enticing-rasa, (सौगन्ध्य) fragrance, (सौकुमार्य) young-tenderness, ( सौशील्य) accessibility to all even lowly ones, (आभा) aura and appearance, (प्रभा) splendor, (शोभा) elegance, (कान्ति) lustre and radiance, (शान्ति) peacefulness, etc.

Śrī Rāma’s (तत्परता) readiness in dharma, (शुचिता) uprightness (flawlessness) and (पवित्रता) purity in conduct, (inherent शीलता) virtuosity-&-(उत्कृष्टता ) nobility in character, (उदारता) generosity in dealings, (मधुरता) sweetness in speech, (विनयता) humility in honoring others, (मधुरता, स्निग्धता) sweetness and (सौन्दर्यता) beauty on his countenance, (गाम्भीर्यता) profundity in eyes and heart, (सत्यसन्धता) truthfulness, (संयमता) restrain-and-sobriety, (धैर्यता) forbearance, (करुणता) compassion and mercy, (शरण्यता) affording protection to the surrendered ones, (सर्वप्रियता) , (पौरुषता ) heroism, ‘शोभा elegance - कान्ति lustre - छबि beauty - वर्ण complexion (swarthy-bluish) - लक्षण auspicious marks - लावण्य charm - अभिजात्य-कोमलता lotus like softness or tenderness in touch of being high born - सौभाग्य making one feel blessed upon look - राग all attractiveness’ — of his from, (ऐश्वर्यता) supreme Lordship (of being the fire of fire, the sun of sun, the shri of shri, the god of gods, etc), and (रामयता, परम-माधुर्यता) foremostness in delighting all by his sweetness, and so on .. all these are most superior, exalted, and transcendental, therefore in the eyes of Rishis-and-Munis ‘none other than Rama could be worthy of all eulogies-praises-poems and fame’.

आदिकाव्यमिदं राम त्वयि सर्वं प्रतिष्ठितम्।
नह्यन्योऽर्हति कव्यानां यशोभाग् राघवादृते॥
[Valmiki Ramayana 7.98.18]

Lord BrahmA prayed to Shri Ram: “Oh, Raghava! You are the one who is glorified everywhere in the first and foremost among poems, Ramayana! And none other than You can be worthy of all the fame, eulogies, praises and poems!

Basis (eternal-Seed) of innumerable Ramayana-s and all other scriptures :

It is clear so far that innumerable Ramayana-s have been sung in every Kalpa by seers and sages (ऋषिभिस्तत्त्वदर्शिभिः - SB 9.10.3) who seen the supreme absolute truth.

In beginning of some Kalpa-s, Ramayana is revealed to BrahmA Ji by Śrī Rāma himself, in some Kalpa by ŚrīmanNārayana, in some Kalp by Hanuman Ji. Then, Lord BrahmA composes Ramayana in 1 billion verses for the bliss of his own heart. Same Ramayana is passed to Narada, and then to sage Valmiki who is the first poet of Human world. And BrahmA Ji requests the best of poets, Aadi-Kavi Sage Valmiki to reveal the life-story of Śrī Rāma in this world.

Therefore, Sage Valmiki composed the best Ramayana in 24000 verses in the best poetic meter - Anushtup-meter, encoded on the 24 syllables of Gayatri-Hymn, to expound the deepest imports of Vedas. And that same Valmiki Ramayana became the eternal-seed of innumerable Ramayana-s and all other scriptures composed by Vyasa.

परम् कवीनाम् आधारम् - param kavīnām ādhāram
(Valmiki Ramayana 1.4.27)

“Ramayana composed by Valmiki will be the subsistence for tomorrow's greatest of poets.”

The eternal-seed of all scriptures (काव्यबीजं सनातनम्‌)

रामायणमहाकाव्यमादौ वाल्मीकिना कृतं ।
तन्मूलं सर्वकाव्यानमितिहासपुराणयोः॥
संहितानाञ्च सर्वसां मूलं रामायणं मतम्।
[Brihad-dharma Purana, Purvardh 25.28-29]

"Sage Valmiki composed the first Kavya of the world, Srimad Ramayana, which is the eternal seed of all other scriptures, Kavya-s, Itihasa (Mahabharata) and Purana-s. That Ramayana is the seed of all Samhita-s also" [Brihad-dharma Purana]

It means whatever scripture exists is originated from Ramayana, even leela of Bhagavan Shri Krishna in Bhagavatam has basis in Shri Rama's leela in Shri Valmiki Ramayana.

पठ रामायणं व्यास काव्यबीजं सनातनम्‌।
यत्र रामचरितं स्यात्‌ तदहं तत्र शक्तिमान॥
[Brihad-dharma Purana]

"Bhagavati Saraswati ordered Sage Ved-Vyasa: Oh' Vyasa! Study the eternal seed of all scriptures (Kavyas), Srimad Ramayana! Where there is SriRama-Charitam, there will be I (Saraswati)!"

In fact, that scripture is not scripture where the name of Rama doesn't come.

Then Bhagavan Ved-vyasa studied Ramayana after being ordered by Bhagavati Saraswati and composed Mahabharata and all Puranas.

Innumerable Ramayana-s by Vaidic-seers and sages:

Here is a short list of Many-Ramayanas given with some descriptions , each Ramayana is solely dedicated to Bhagavan Shri Rama:

1. Mantra-Ramayana : This is the Ramayana present in Rig-Veda. And, this is the eternal-seed of Rama-Katha in Vedas.

2. Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa (in 24,000 verses): Composed by Aadi-Kavi Maharshi Vālmīki. After being instructed by BrahmA Ji, Divine sage Narada narrated that story of Śrī Rāma in brief to Maharshi Valmiki, and then BrahmA himself requested Maharshi Valmiki to compose the life-story of Shri Rama. Thereafter, Maharshi Valmiki got everything about Sita and Rama revealed and unrevealed in his Yogic-Samadhi-avastha (रहस्यम् च प्रकाशम् च यद् वृत्तम् - VR 1.2.33; ततः पश्यति धर्मात्मा तत् सर्वम् योगमास्थितः - VR 1.3.6), and then He composed Ramayana, the best-ever epic-poetry in 24,000 verses in Anushtup-meter to expound the deep-imports of Vedas. This Valmiki-Ramayana became the basis and seed of innumerable (1-billion) Ramayana-s, Mahabharat, Purana-s, and rests other scriptures.

The innumerable Ramayana-s which are divine-revelation unto Vaidic seers and sages who seen the Supreme Absolute truth - which are therefore completely in accordance of the principles of Veda-s and Veda-avatar Valmiki Ramayana - are as much authoritative as Valmiki Ramayana, Although Valmiki Ramayana is the most beautiful in its composition and theme as it is primarily based upon the sublime-legend of Sita Ji, and also due to tt being the incarnation of all Vedas itself.

Śrī Rāma of Valmiki Ramayana is the original two-armed Purushottama, the source of all Bhagavad-Swarupa-s, whatever best is present in others is all simultaneously present in Śrī Rāma alone, it also declares in so clear words that Shri Rama has Param-Aishvarya as well as Param-Madhurya. Therefore, It is not justified to think (or create) any limitation in his divine-leelas which are spread across ग्रन्थकोटिभिः (millions of scriptures). As like Śrī Rāma is Aadi-Purusha, the eternal-original source of all-Bhagavad-Swarupas, similarly Śrī Valmiki Rāmayana is Ādi Kāvya and (Kāvya-bijam-sanatam) the eternal-seed of all other-scriptures and leela-s present in them.

3. Mahā-Rāmāyaṇa (in 3,50,000 verses) : It is in the form of the dialogue between Shiva and Parvati where Shiva narrates the pastimes of Paratpar-Bhagavan-Śrī Rāma to Bhagavati Parvati. In this Rāmāyaṇa, Lord Shiva describes the life-story and 99 Maha-Rāsa-s* of Bhagavan Shri Rama.

*Out of hundred-Maha-Rasa-s, one Maha-Rasa at Chitrakoot was intervened by Jayanta in his jealousy and curiosity of why his wife leave him in heaven and come to Chitrakoot. She was a great devotee of Sita and Rama, and therefore she was used to come to participate in Rasa-dance of Bhagavan Shri Rama. As per scriptures, that one incomplete Maha-Rasa was completed by Bhagavan Shri Rama in his whole Krishna-Avatara.

4. Satyōpākhyāna : It is in form of the dialogue between Sage Valmiki and Sage Markendeya. In this Rāmāyaṇa, there is a detail description of Śrī Rāma’s childhood pastimes as a cowherd-leader (Gopa), his Rasa-leela in 12 forests on the bank of River Sarayu, Sita’s Maan leela and then after persuasion by Śrī Rāma, Sakha-s (friends) of Śrī Rāma becoming Gopi-s to participate in Rāsa-dance, Lord Shiva also becomes a gopi and participates in the Rāsa-dance of Ishta Bhagavan Śrī Rāma.

Lord Shiva is exclusively devoted to Śrī Rāma-Rupa, so he is satisfied by Bhagavan. Some other scripture gives account of many Shiva-s also (along with their consorts many Parvati-s) become gopika-s to Participate in Śrī Rāma-Rāsa dance. Parvati or Katyayani devi also helps Sakhi-s in achieving Bhagavan as husband or Sakha. And Sometimes, Lord Shiva guides gopi-s of Shri Rama how to achieve him.

The bodies of Bhagavan Shri Rama and Sita, both are Chinmaya (Shuddha-Satvamaya), and Sakhi-s/Gopi-s are Kaya-Vyuhas of Sita Ji. Innumerable Gopi-s emerge from the Yugal-Brahm, and by grace of one of those Sakhi-s alone one gets Priti-Rupa Bhakti as Sakhi and rights in upasana of Rasaraj Shri Rama. The name ‘Rama’ itself is vaachya of Rasarajtvam. Sakhi-s take pleasure in arranging everything perfectly for the perfect union of Priya-Priytam Bhagavan Shri Shri SitaRama, and see the culmination, and this alone is their real bliss and highest perfection of love ! Pure Love is (तत्सुखे सुखित्वं) the happiness in seeing the happiness on the face of beloved and becoming happy in the happiness of Sita and Rama. These Sakhi-s have no Swa-sukheksha , Tat-Sukh i.e. Sukha (happiness) of Sita Ji is one and only thing desirable to all gopi-s / Sakhi-s.

5. Bhuśuṇḍī-Rāmāyaṇa (Aadi-Rāmāyaṇa) : It is the story of original-personality of godhead, the source of all Bhagavad-swarupa-s, Paratpar-Bhagavan Shri Rama, narrated by Lord BrahmA to Bhusundi Ji in the beginning of the first Kalpa. It is one of the prime scriptures in Shringari-Ramopasana, relished by only initiated-devotees. Shri Rama performs Rāsa-leelā in the 12 forests on the bank of river Sarayu before marriage with a chief Gopi (manifestation of Sita Ji) and many other Gopi-s. After marriage of Shri Rama, Gopi-s pray Lord Shiva, and they are again united with Bhagavan Śrī Rāma for Rasa-dance. Śrī Rāma performs Rasa dance at many places (a) in Mithila, with friends of Sita Ji, (b) in Ayodhya, with many Gopi-s on the bank of river Sarayu, (c) in Chitrakoot, with many gopis who visited from Ayodhya and other forest-dweller-damsels, and celestial-damsels, (d) in Lanka where even demonesses become beautiful-damsels (Gopi-s) by the grace of Sita Ji to participate in Rāsa-dance of Bhagavan Śrī Rāma.

6. Vṛhat-kōśalakhaṇḍa (brahma-Rāmāyaṇa) : In this Rāmāyaṇa, there are detail descriptions of (a) Paratpar-brahm Śrī Rāma’s pastimes before marriage - his studying in Gurukula and then after Sakha-Rāsa (his friends becoming gopi-s to participate in Rāsa-dance); his Rāsa-dance with many Gopi-s living on the bank of river Sarayu, celestial-divinities and damsels, Gandharva-ladies, and princesses; all Gopi-s worships Bhagavati Parvati to present Rama as their husband; Śrī Rāma visiting the bank of Yamuna-river for hunting along with his friends, then Bhagavan Shiva arranges Mahā-Rāsa by creating a heavy storm in order to make Gopa-s flee away leaving Gopi-s, and thereafter Bhagavan Śrī Rāma performs Mahā-Rāsa dance with Gopi-s on the bank of river Yamuna. In that Mahā-Rāsa dance, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Parvati become gopi-s to participate in Rāsa-dance. Once, Maharaja Dasaratha sends prince Rama to get tax on the milk-production from the Gopa-s on the bank of River Sarayu, there all Gopa-s prayed Śrī Rāma to accept their daughters, so Shri Rama accepted all Gopikas and performs Rāsa dance with all those Gopi-s. Seeing this, all celestial-ladies crave for Śrī Rāma, so they appear from the creepers of Sānatānik-Vanam and Śrī Rāma marries with them and does Rāsa dance. (b) After marriage of Shri Rama with Sita Ji, Vishwakarma builds a great Palace for divine couple Sita and Rama, in which Śrī Rāma enters along with Sita and innumerable other wives. Śrī Rāma celebrates many festivals, Vasanta-utsava, and does Rāsa-dance with them for many thousand Years.

In this Ramayana, before her marriage Sita Ji becomes Shri Rama once and She does a Mahā-Rāsa dance with all Sakhi-s of Mithila. This shows Sita Ji is feminine aspect of Bhagavan, She herself is Bhagavan.

While Nitya-leela in Nitya-Vibhuti is somewhat stagnant with Nitya-Rāsa-leela, Śrī Rāma’s leela in leela-Vibhuti has a greater charm, a greater excitement, it has a flow, a flow of all forms of bliss. Therefore, whether a Mukta-Jiva (liberated-souls) or Nitya-Mukta-Parikars (eternally-liberated), all crave to enter in Vibhuti-leela of Śrī Rāma.

7. Saṃvṛta-Rāmāyaṇa (in 24,000 verses) : It is composed by divine Sage Narada. In this Rāmāyaṇa, first couple of world - Svāyambhuva Manu-Shatrupa - does a great penance for several thousand Years to get the divine vision of the original personality of godhead who is source of all-avatara-s and countless number of brahmA-Vishnu-Shiva-s, to feast their eyes on the form of that original-personality of godhead which sports as a swan in the lake of Bhusundi’s mind, and dwells in Shiva’s heart, then in the last the most superior one, the supreme Lord of all, Bhagavan Shri Rama, the ocean of all beauty, appeared before them along with his consort Sita, and Manu-Shatrupa kept gazing upon his all attractive form intently and with unblinking eyes. (* This story is mentioned by Goswami Tulsidas in Shri Ramacharitmanas.)

Then, first Manu of Kalpa (Svāyambhuva Manu) and his wife Shatrrupa got the boon to get Śrī Rāma himself as their son and then they reappeared as Dasarath and Kaushalya in next birth.

8. Lōmaśa-Rāmāyaṇa (in 32,000 verses) : It is composed by sage Lōmaśa. In this Rāmāyaṇa, there is also story of king Kumud and his wife Veervati becoming Maharaj Dasaratha and Kaushalya respectively in their next life.

9. Mañjula-Rāmāyaṇa (in 120,000 verses) : It is composed by Sage Sutikshana, in whose heart, Śrī Rāma first shown his two-armed form and kept watching his deep-ecstasy hiding behind tree, however when Lord came near Muni, Muni was still in very deep-Samadhi of continuously gazing upon divine-transcendental-beauty of two-armed form of Rama, therefore to wake up Sutiksha, Bhagavan Śrī Rāma withdrew his two-armed form, and manifested his four-armed form, then Sage became restless of losing the vision of two-armed form and immediately opened his eyes, and to his surprise He saw the same two-armed Rama in front of him.

In this Rāmāyaṇa, there is the story of Bhanupratap and Arimardan who became Ravana and Kumbhkarna respectively. Śrī Rāma imparts Shabari the knowledge of 9 forms of devotion.

10. Agastya-Rāmāyaṇa (in 16,000 verses) : This is composed by sage Agastya. In this King Kuntal and his queen Sidhumati become Maharaj Dasarath and his wife Kaushalya in next-birth. There is story of Bhanu-Pratap and Arimardan who became Ravana and Kumbhkarna.

11. Saupadma-Rāmāyaṇa (in 62,000 verses) : This is composed by Sage Atri. In this Rāmāyaṇa, Śrī Rāma and Sita first met in Vatika (Garden) while Sita Ji was going for Gauri-Pujan (as described by Goswami Tulsidas Ji).

12. Rāmāyaṇa-mahāmālā (in 56,000 verses) : This is in form of dialogue between Shiva and Parvati. In this Rāmāyaṇa, the great devotee of Śrī Rāma, Kak-Bhusundi Ji removes all doubts and terrible-dejection of Garuda Ji. And Kak-Bhusundi Ji narrates the story of how he visited multi-verse (many universes) in abdomen of Śrī Rāma and saw Rāmāyaṇa happening in all those universes. (This is mentioned by Goswami Tulsidas Ji in Shri Ramacharitmanas.)

13. Rāmāyaṇa-maṇiratna (in 36,000 verses) : It is in the form of the dialogue between sage Vashishtha and his wife Arundhati. In this Rāmāyaṇa, Śrī Rāma’s celebration of Vasanta-Utsava with Sita and her friends in Mithila and Ayodhya has been also described.

14. Sauhārda-Rāmāyaṇa (in 40,000 verses) : This is composed by Sage Sharbhanga.

15. Saurya-Rāmāyaṇa (in 62,000 verses) : This is in the form of the dialogue between Hanuman and Sun-god.

16. Chāndra-Rāmāyaṇa (in 75,000 verses) : This Rāmāyaṇa has also the story of previous-birth of Kevata.

17. Svāyambhuva-Rāmāyaṇa (in 18,000 verses) : It is in the form of the dialogue between BrahmA and Narada. In this Ramayana, Svāyambhuva Manu and Shatrupa becomes Maharaj Dasaratha and Queen Kaushalya respectively.

18. Suvarca-Rāmāyaṇa (in 15,000 verses) : It is in the form of the dialogue between Sugreeva and Tārā. In this Rāmāyaṇa, there are also the stories of Maha-Sati Sulochana, the wife of Meghanada, and the elimination of Mahā-Rāvana.

19. Dēva-Rāmāyaṇa (in 100,000 verses) : It is in the form the dialogue between Indra and his son Jayanta.

20. Śravaṇa-Rāmāyaṇa (in 125,000 verses) : This Ramayana starts with a dialogue between Indra and King Janaka. It has also the tales of the birth of Manthara, and the arrival of Maharaj Janak at the time of Bharat going to Chitrakoot to request Śrī Rāma to return back to Ayodhya.

21. Adhyatma-Rāmāyaṇa (in 4200 verses) : It is in the form of the dialogue between Shiva and Parvati. Lord Shiva narrates the story of Śrī Rāma to Bhagavati Paravati. It is a very concise Ramayana, in this BrahmA Ji eulogizes Śrī Rāma as the one who is worshiped by Gopika-s in Vrindavana (surprising?*).

(*Primary sense is It was Śrī Rāma who did Mahā-Rāsa dance with many Gopikā-s in Vrindavana first time, Pramod-Vana on the bank of Sarayu manifested itself as Vrindavana on the bank of Yamuna. Another sense is Śrī Rāma will be worshiped again by Gopika-s in Vrindavan in his Śrī Kṛṣṇa-avatara too. Both sense are true. Again, one should understand that from the word “Kṛṣṇa”, Śrī Rāma is Vācya (spoken) in Vrindavan.)

22. Ananda-Rāmāyaṇa (in 12000 verses): It is composed by Sage Valmiki. It gives description of Shri Rama’s intimate pastimes with Sita Ji.

23. Adbhuta-Rāmāyaṇa : It is in the form of the dialogue between Sage Valmiki and Sage Bharadwaja. Sage Valmiki narrates the story of Rama and Sita to Sage Bharadvaja.

24. Duranta-Rāmāyaṇa (in 61,000 verses) : It is in the form of the dialogue between Sage Vashishtha and King Janaka. It sings also the glory of Bharat Ji.

25. Subrahma-rāmāyaṇa (in 32,000 verses)

26. Mainda-Rāmāyaṇa (in 52,000 verses) : It is in form of dialogue between Mainda and Kaurava-s. It gives the detail account of Pushp-Vatika-Prasanga (Rama and Sita seeing each other first time in flower-garden and falling in love of each other).

Above list is only a short-list of Rāmāyaṇa-s composed by many by seers and sages (ऋषिभिस्तत्त्वदर्शिभिः - SB 9.10.3) who seen the supreme absolute truth. Apart from these, Maharshi Valmiki himself composed 1 billion Rāmāyaṇa-s, Lord Shiva and Lord BrahmA too composed many Ramayana-s, even each Monkey-chief authored different Rāmāyaṇa-s, these all Vaidic-Rāmāyaṇas which are divine-revelation are authentic as per the doctrine of Kalpa-bheda. And thus, there are innumerable Rāmāyaṇa-s and many other scriptures solely dedicated to the supreme-personality of godhead Bhagavan Śrī Rāma.

There is no other Personality who has been so much as like Śrī Rāma, not even 0.000001% of Śrī Rāma!

Ramayana happening in different universes:

There is a story of Kak-bhusundi ji in Shri Ramcharitmanas which goes like this: Kak-Bhusundi (a sage having crow’s body, who got the boon from Shri Rama to be always immortal even while cosmic dissolution) went to see Shri Rama, there he was bewildered to see Rama being child crawling on his hands and knees to catch him, so he flied away, in order to catch him Shri Rama also grew his hands, and therefore Kak-Bhusundi found Rama’s hand always near him no matter how far he flew, ultimately he was exhausted of flying and so he fell and found himself near Shri Rama. Shri Rama smiled to see Kak-bhusundi near him, and when Rama laughed, Kak-Bhusundhi Ji instantly driven into his mouth. Inside the hyper-space of his belly, Kak-bhusundi Ji beheld multitudinous universes (multiverse) in form of spherical-bubbles each more wonderful than the rest. In that infinite hyper-space, Kak-bhusundi Ji got to see each universe had its own distinctive character, in those multitudinous universes, each universe had its own distinct BrahmA-vishnu-mahesha-s, and other host of gods, humans and all creatures having shape peculiar to that universe. Each universe had its own Ayodhya, and Sarayu and it’s own men and women etc on earth. Kakbhusundi ji saw Shri Rama’s Parents — Dasrath and Kaushalya — and his brothers Lakshmana-bharat-Shatrughna were all different in each universe where Ramayana was going on, Everything he saw had a distinctive stamp of its own universe and was exceedingly wonderful too, but in his round of the innumerable universes he saw no other Sita and Rama, his lord. Tossed by the blast of infatuation he saw, in each successive world that he visited, he beheld the same beauty, the same gracious Rama ! Thus, he spent a time equal to almost a hundred time-cycles (kalpa-s) in entering and roaming into many universes and seeing many Rama-avataras, but everywhere same Shri Rama..... In each universe he visited, he spent a time of 100 years there, and then, in one universe he again went near to Śrī Rāma, and Śrī Rāma laughed again, and then Kak-Bhusundi came out of his mouth, and surrendered to Bhagavan.

This is the story of Ramayana happening in different universes. Thus, there is neither limit on Shri Rama’s stories nor any limitation on his various divine-pastimes !

राम अनंत अनंत गुनानी । जन्म कर्म अनंतनामानी ॥
जल सीकर महि रज गनि जाहीं। रघुपति चरित न बरनि सिराहीं॥
(मानस, ७ । ५२ । ३)

“Infinite is Śrī Rāma and infinite His excellences; His births, activities, and names too are endless. It may be possible to count the drops of water (in a shower of rain) or the grains of sand; but the exploits of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus) cannot be recounted in full.” (Sri Ramcharitmanas 7.52.3)

SitaRama-Charan-Chancharik,
SiyaRaghavendra Sharan

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