There are the Ramayanams and there are the Valmiki Ramayanams.
Some of the Versions of the Ramayanam written by different authors and in different languages in India:
- Ramayanam : Bhaaradwaaja Ramayanam and Hanumat Ramayanam : Contemporaries of Rama
- Kamban 11th century CE
- Ranganatha 12th to 15th century CE
- Krttivas 14th century CE
- Tulsidas 1574 CE (Hindi)
- Molla 1576 CE (Telugu)
- Narahari 16th century CE
- Balaramadas 16th century CE
- Premanand 17th century CE
- Sridhara 18th century CE
- Ezhutthacchan ? century CE (Malayalam)
- Ramakandam – Telugu Historical Novel 21st century CE
Versions of the Valmiki Ramayanam:
Interestingly there are many versions of the Valmiki Ramayana, itself. That means that there are many versions of the Ramayana, with the author as Valmiki, of slightly differing lengths and with some variations. The three well-known versions are the Northwestern (Pascimaottariya), the Eastern (Bangya) and the Southern (Dakshinatya). This link uses the most popular Southern Version : http://valmiki.iitk.ac.in/index.php?id=introduction
The Gita Press came up with a Critical Edition after applying their judgement on the various sources (oral traditions and manuscripts) of the Valmiki Ramayanam that they had access to. My accounts have so far been restricted to the Gita Press critical edition. I am very interested in getting a hold of the other Valmiki Ramayanam versions.
The Southern Recension calls the Ramayanam – the best of the Kavyas. The Ramayanam is called the Adikavya by all and by the North Western Recension it is called – the first kavyam of the three worlds. As far as the Ramayanam Versions of later authors in other languages, I generally take them to be more inspired versions and less of itihasas. I take only the Valmiki Ramayanam as an Itihasa.
The Daksinatya version was published by the Nirnaya Sagara with Tilaka’s commentary in 1930. The Bangiya version was published in 1847 in Italian characters by Gorressio and in 1908 in Bengali Characters by Pancanana Tarkaratna. The Pascimottariya version was published in 1931 by Pandita Bhagavad Datta, Ramalabhya and others.
Other names of the Ramayanam:
- Sitayah Caritam
- Paulastya Vadham
- Raghuvara Caritam
- Raghuvamsa Caritam
- Rama Caritam
- Rama Katha.
In addition to the Hindu versions of the Ramayanam, the Buddhists and Jains have their own versions of the Ramayanam as well. Also, in addition to the Indian versions of the Ramayanam, there are various versions of the Ramayana in the rest of Asia. There are also some Hungarian legends which have tiny similarities to the Ramayana, that cannot be fully ignored. This led Lokamanya Tilak to believe that the Ramayana occured at the North Pole and and moved with the people to all parts of Eurasia. This theory is not very popular.
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