Comparing Ramayan and Mahabharat Epics
by Vikas Kamat
First Online: July 06, 2008
Page Last Updated: June 13, 2013
The following table compares the two great Hindu epics,
Ramayan and Mahabharat. Please also see the much more detailed sections on
each of these epics for characters, tales, and the art forms these epics
|The story of Rama, the prince and
eventual emperor of India; the epic precedes the Mahabharat by
substantial period. It is a story of idealism and characters are
much easily be categorized into heroes and villains.
||The central theme is a fraternal war to
decide which of the two sides is right in a moral dispute. Krishna
acts as a mediatory, first as a diplomat, then as a war time
counsel. The characters are vivid, and the epic provides a guideline
for humans to live a life of virtues amidst conflicting interests.
|Said to have written by sage Valmiki.
Version written by saint Tulasidas is also widely recited.
|Said to have written by sage Vyasa. A
predominant part, the Bhagavad-Gita is narrated by Sanjay, an aid to
the blind emperor Dhritarashta. It is believed that Ganesh
assisted as the copy-writer, using his tooth as a pen.
|Set in Ayodhya, encompasses the route
from Northern Indian to Srilanka. The names and cultures of the
places still bear resemblance to present day.
||Set in Northern India, the war
involved factions from as far as present day Afghanistan and South
India. The Nagas and the Himalayan region features prominently in
|Main characters: Dasharatha, Kaikeyi,
Rama, Lakshman, Sita, Rawana, Vibhishan
||Main Characters: Bhishma, Dhritarashtra,
the Pandavas, Karna, Duryodhana, Krishna, Kunti, Gandhari, Drona