The Ramayana

The Ramayana Epilogue Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The narrator says that Rama entered Ayodhya and picked up right where he left off 14 years earlier. Hanuman and Sugreeva took on human forms and were treated as honored guests. Even Kaikeyi had taken the 14 years to think about what she did and accepted Rama with open arms. When Rama was crowned, Sita sat next to him, Rama held his bow in his right hand, and Lakshmana stood watchfully below the throne. Hanuman knelt at Rama's feet, ready to do his bidding.
All is truly well when Rama is crowned: Hanuman will get to spend his life serving Rama, as he was destined to do; Lakshmana will continue to be the ideal brother and companion; Sita will be the ideal queen and wife; and Rama's bow remains an indicator of his power and his heroism.
Themes
Heroism Theme Icon
Storytelling, Teaching, and Morality Theme Icon
The narrator reminds the reader that when he was young, Hanuman had been told to dedicate his life to Vishnu, which he did. The narrator says that the story goes that wherever you hear Rama's name, the spirit of Hanuman is there. He says that Hanuman is one of the most important and faithful characters of the story.
Though readers and listeners are encouraged to identify with Rama and be like Rama, the strength of Hanuman's faithfulness suggests that it is also one of the most important of Rama's virtues.
Themes
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Storytelling, Teaching, and Morality Theme Icon
The narrator explains that storytellers today often change the story or add embellishments to make The Ramayana seem contemporary: Rama's vehicle at the end of the story is often cast as an airplane. However, the narrator says that storytellers all know the traditional poem by heart, which takes 40 days to recite. At special points during the retelling, an audience often gifts the storyteller clothes, money, sweets, and rings.
The Ramayana has stood the test of time and is continually altered to appeal to ever-changing contemporary audiences. However, the original Valmiki poem remains the heart of the story, and is essential for it to continue functioning as a teaching tool and part of a cultural heritage.
Themes
Heroism Theme Icon
Storytelling, Teaching, and Morality Theme Icon
Finally, the narrator admits that he's leaving out the "sequel," which tells the story of Rama and Sita's second parting. Sita gives birth to twin boys in the forest, and the couple decides to return together to the heavens. He says that this ending isn't popular or considered authentic, and he prefers to end the tale with Rama happily enthroned as the ruler of Ayodhya.
To end, the narrator makes it clear that the Ramayana has many iterations, and that not all of them cast Rama in the best light. He insists that the reader keep this in mind and remember that Rama is very much the product of the many individuals who have had a hand in writing his story and that, while Rama is overwhelmingly good, he's not infallible.
Themes
Heroism Theme Icon
Storytelling, Teaching, and Morality Theme Icon
Get the entire The Ramayana LitChart as a printable PDF.
The ramayana.pdf.medium