The Ramayana is one of the largest ancient epics in world literature. It consists of nearly 24,000 verses divided into seven Kandas (books) and about 500 sargas (chapters). In Hindu tradition, it is considered to be the adi-kavya (first poem). It depicts the duties of relationships, portraying ideal characters like the ideal father, the ideal servant, the ideal brother, the ideal wife and the ideal king. Like the Mahabharata, the Ramayana is not just a story: it presents the teachings of ancient Hindu sages in narrative allegory, interspersing philosophical and ethical elements.
Ramayana by the sage Valmiki is one of the great epics of the Sanskrit language, and is dated to approximately 200 B.C.E. There are many other versions of the epic in the many regional languages found in South Asia. Although the same core narrative is used in most of these versions, there are significant differences amongst them.