This story of Shri Rama by the great sage Valmiki is referred to as the Adi Kavya or original epic. Universally acclaimed and accepted as the first among Sanskrit poets, Valmiki was the first to discover a metrical expression of epic dimension and vision to match the emotional ecstasy of the story of Rama. About the Ramayana, Swami Vivekananda said: "No language can be purer, none chaster, none more beautiful, and at the same time simpler, than the language in which the great poet has depicted the life of Rama."
The seven episodes or 'kandas' of Ramayana are:
- Bal Kanda, the boyhood section;
- Ayodhya Kanda, Rama's life in Ayodhya, until his banishment;
- Aranya Kanda, Rama's life in the forest and Sita's abduction by Ravana;
- Kishkindha Kanda, Rama's stay at Kishkindha, the capital of his monkey ally, Sugriva;
- Sundara Kanda, Rama's passage to Sri Lanka;
- Yuddha Kanda or Lanka Kanda, Rama's battle with Ravana, the recovery of Sita, and return to Ayodhya; and
- Uttara Kanda, the section narrating Rama's life in Ayodhya as king, the birth of his two sons, Sita's test of innocence and return to her mother, and Rama's demise or 'jala samadhi' (water-tomb).
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