The Sarus’ Sorrow: Voicing Nonviolence in the Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa

How to Cite

Raj Balkaran. (2022). The Sarus’ Sorrow: Voicing Nonviolence in the Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa: Journal of Vaishnava Studies. Journal of Vaishnava Studies, 26(2), 147–165. Retrieved from


The story of Rāma has enjoyed an incredibly vast, varied and dynamic receptive history.1 Boasting a genesis some twenty-five centuries ago, its themes remain quintessential aspects of Hindu thought and culture continuing to inspire artistic rendition, retelling, and moral instruction to this day. Despite having undergone countless interpolations, redactions, vernacular translations, and
local retellings, the innumerable incarnations of the story of Rāma unanimously revolve around prince-regent Rāma renouncing his throne upon his coronationday. It is impossible to render the legend of Rāma without featuring this peculiaryet distinctive twist in his royal career. Why is this so? This twist is not only seminal to the Rāmāyaṇa’s plot (placing the hero in forest exile where he fulfills his
destiny to vanquish the evil Rāvaṇa), it’s crucial for encapsulating the Rāmāyaṇa’scentral theme.

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