Valmiki vs Kamba Ramayanam | Valmiki Ramayana vs Kamba Ramayanam
Valmiki Ramayana and Kamba Ramayanam are two versions of Ramayana written in the Sanskrit and Tamil languages respectively. There are certain differences between them in the manner of composition, style of poetry used and the like.
Kamba Ramayanam is originally called as Ramavataram. Although, Valmiki Ramayana is the original version of the story of Rama, Kamba Ramayana is believed to be based on the work by Valmiki. Kamba Ramayanam was written in the 12th century AD by the great Tamil poet Kamban.
Valmiki Ramayanam was written by Valmiki and the date of composition is not clearly known, but the entire compilation might have got over during the 1st century AD. Kamba Ramayanam differs in many ways from the original Ramayanam of Valmiki including in its storyline.
Both, Valmiki Ramayana and Kamba Ramayanam have a lot of religious importance and value attached to them. The Valmiki Ramayana is divided into seven chapters, namely Kandams. They are Balakandam, Ayodhyakandam, Aranyakandam, Kishkindakandam, Sundarakandam, Yuddhakandam and Uttarakandam. On the other hand Kamba Ramayanam is divided into six chapters only, namely, Balakandam, Ayodhyakandam, Aranyakandam, Kishkindakandam, Sundarakandam and Yuddhakandam.
As a matter of fact, Kamban divides the Kandams into 123 sections called Padalams. All these 123 padalams together comprise of 12,000 verses. Valmiki Ramayana consists of 24,000 slokas or verses on the whole. It means, Valmiki Ramayana consists of double the number of verses contained in the Kamba Ramayanam.
The literary significance of Kamba Ramayanam consists in the fact that the poet uses Viruttam and Santham types of styles in composition. Viruttam refers to the tempo in the verses, whereas Santham refers to the tune or the meter in the verse. These two aspects make the Kamba Ramayanam a great religious text indeed. Kamban used the words that suited Viruttam and Santham very well.
Kamba Ramayanam developed religious significance over a period of time. Many Hindus read the text during prayers. The entire text is read once during the Tamil month of Adi. This is done in a bid to bring fortunes to the members of the household.
Valmiki is given the title ‘Adikavi’ or the first poet since the Ramayana is said to be the very first work in ornate poetry. The most important Sanskrit meter called as ‘Anushtubh’ is used in the composition of several verses of the text by Valmiki.
It is indeed, not a hyperbole to say that Kamba Ramayanam laid the foundation for the worship of Rama in the temples of Tamilnadu. In fact, the poet talks about total surrender to Rama as he is considered as the very incarnation of Vishnu. The Valmiki Ramayana is considered as the standard and the original text on the life of Rama based on which many other version of the epic were written in several languages of India.