Difference Between Ramayana and Mahabharata

Ramayana vs Mahabharata

The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are the two epics of India. They show some differences between them when it comes to their dates of composition, authors, characters and the like. The Ramayana was written by Sage Valmiki. On the other hand, the Mahabharata was written by Sage Vyasa.

The Ramayana contains 24,000 verses, whereas the Mahabharata is considered the longest poem ever written, and it contains 100,000 verses. It is indeed true that the Mahabharata has gained entry into the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest poem in the world.

The Ramayana contains the story of Rama, the son of King Dasaratha of Ayodhya. It deals with how Rama fought against Ravana, the king of Lanka and killed him in a hard fought battle. Ravana had erred by abducting the wife of Rama, Sita by name. On the other hand, the Mahabharata contains the story of the rivalry between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, who were both called by the name of Purus.

The Mahabharata ends with the war of Kurukshetra, in which all the 100 Kauravas are killed by the 5 Pandavas, with the help of Krishna. Pandavas eventually rule over Hastinapura for several years and finally enter heaven. This is how the Mahabharata ends. On the other hand, the Ramayana ends with the coronation of Rama as the king of Ayodhya. Vibhishana, the brother of Ravana is coroneted as the king of Lanka.

Rama finally enters into the Sarayu River to complete his incarnation. His sons, Lava and Kusha take the mantle of kingship. This is how the Ramayaua ends. It is also interesting to note that the Mahabharata is associated with the number 18.

The Mahabharata contains 18 long chapters. Each chapter is called as a Parva. Hence, there are totally 18 Parvas in the Mahabharata. On the other hand, the Ramayana has parts called Kandas. There are 7 Kandas in all in the Ramayana. The 7 Kandas of the Ramayana are Bala Kanda, Ayodhya Kanda, Aranya Kanda, Kishkinda Kanda, Sundara Kanda, Yuddha Kanda and Uttara Kanda.

It is believed that the Uttara Kanda might have been a later addition or interpolation according to some scholars. They feel that the Bala Kanda is also a kind of later addition to the original Ramayana that might have contained only 5 Kandas to begin with. It is interesting to note that Rama was never spoken as the incarnation of God in the Ramayana. In other words, he was portrayed as a mere human being by the poet Sage Valmiki.

On the other hand, Krishna is sometimes portrayed as an incarnation of God in the Mahabharata. At several other places, he too was considered a human being who ruled over the city of Dwaraka. He is said to have killed several demons when he was a child. Rama on the other hand, in the Ramayana is said to have killed Subahu, when he was a teenaged boy.

The Ramayana described the battles at their earliest phase where sophisticated weapons were not used. On the other hand, the Mahabharata described battles in which sophisticated weapons were used. This shows that the Ramayana has happened in the Treta Yuga and the Mahabharata happened later in the Dwapara Yuga.