Since times immemorial, the Ramayan has been told millions of times and the beauty of it is that it has inspired not only our country’s traditions and culture, but spread its essence of values all over the world. Shri Ram is not only the idol of our Hindu Sanatana Dharma, but he is a motivation to people of other countries to follow the path of Dharma too. The Ramayan is a faith in different parts of the world like Thailand, Tibet, Burma, Cambodia, Philippines, and Japan and many more and Shri Ram is the inspirational drive of the people in those countries.
In Thailand, the Ramayan is called Ramakien, and it is also the national epic of their country. The first capital of Thailand was named Ayutthaya, and it is still customary to name their new king with the prefix of Ram expressing their devotion towards Shri Ram. Along with Shri Ram, Hanuman is worshipped with great reverence in this country.
Ramayan is called the Yama Zatdaw in Burma and is also the unofficial national epic of the country. Shri Ram is pronounced as Yama and Mata Sita is called Methida. In Cambodia, the Ramayan is read in the name of Ramakerti, meaning The Glory of Ram and this is a popular dance form of their country. The Cambodian temples like Angkor Wat and other temples depict the beauty of Ramayan carved on the temple walls and spreading the richness of Ramayan in their art forms too.
In Java and Indonesia, Ramayan is mentioned as Kakawin Ramayan, written in the Javanese form of poetry and the speciality is that the verses are written in Sanskrit following the Valmiki Ramayan. The Japanese follow two versions of Ramayan which are named Hobutsushu and Sambo Ekotoba. The Malaysian people named their Ramayan as Hikayat Seri Ram. They believe in the principles of Shri Ram which are mentioned in the epic written during the 13th and 14th centuries.
Going more beyond, the Ramayan is called Maharadia Lawana in the country of Philippines. One of their famous dances Singkil is based on the story of Shri Ram. The temples of Laos too, depict many beautiful sculptures from the Ramayan. The Ramayan is also the national epic of their country. The Vietnam country has a huge temple dated back to the 7th century and dedicated to Shri Ram in which the whole story of Ramayan is beautifully illustrated.
Ramayan has travelled Far East and West too. It might be intriguing to know that the ancient excavations in Italy have shown images of two men with bows and arrows on their shoulders with a lady accompanying them, a person with a tail bowing to them. This is just a simple example to depict the greatness of Shri Ram crossing borders beyond India and spreading far.
The richness of Ramayan is that it is just not viewed as a story of four brothers or the story of a husband and wife, but it is an ideal for leading a life with righteousness as a human. Shri Ram is a ideal man who is an inspiration to the entire world transcending all borders of countries, castes, creed and people. As the great Shri Goswami Tulasidas says, Ramayan might be told and re told in many different ways, yet the beauty remains the same and it is the belief towards life in each and every breathe of life.