Learn Sanskrit from Slokas – 16 (One-Verse Ramayana)

Welcome to series of learning Sanskrit through Slokas! Today we will see an interesting sloka known as Ekashloki Ramayana. As you might already know, ʼEka’ is ‘one’, so it means Ramayana in just one Sloka. Sounds interesting, isn’t it?

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Here is the sloka

आदौ राम तपोवनादि गमनं हत्वा मृगं काञ्चनम्
वैदेही हरणं जटायु मरणं सुग्रीव संभाषणम् |
वाली निग्रहणं समुद्र तरणं लङ्कापुरी दाहनम्
पश्चात् रावण कुम्भकर्ण हननं एतत् हि रामायणम् ||

aadau raama thapovanaadi gamanam hathvaa mrugam kaanchanam
vaidehi haranam jataayu maranam sugriva sambhaashanam |
vaali nigrahanam samudra tharanam lankapuri daahanam
paschaat raavana kumbhakarna hananam ethath hi ramayanam ||

If you notice, you will see some familiar names and events mentioned in the sloka. The events of Ramayana are arranged in the chronological order in this sloka. The events are in the form of noun-verb combination. The nouns are mostly names of characters in the epic while the verbs are the events described.

Let’s try to understand the events one by one.

aadau raama thapovanaadi gamanam
  • aadauaadhi is ‘beginning’. In fact being the first epic, Ramayana is called aadhikaavya. Thus aadau is ‘in the beginning’
  • raama thapovanaadithapovana is sacred forest. The aadi here means ‘etc’
  • gamanam – the verb ‘gam’ means ‘to go’. Thus gamanam here means ‘going to’.

The full meaning would be the event of Lord Rama reaching the forest to fulfil his wish to his father (pitru vaakya paripalanam)

hathvaa mrugam kaanchanam
  • kaanchanam is ‘golden’
  • mrugam is deer
  • hathvaa – hatha is ‘to kill’ (recall ‘aathmahatyaa’ is suicide). Hathvaa means ‘after killing’

The event described here is Rama killing the golden deer who is nothing but the demon Maaricha in disguise.

vaidehi haranam jataayu maranam sugriva sambhaashanam
  • vaidehi haranam is the abduction of Vaidehi (the princess of Videhaa) by Ravana
  • jataayu maranam is the death of the eagle king (Pakshi Raja) Jataayu
  • sugriva sambhaashanam is the conversation between Sugriva (the Vaanaraas) and Rama
vaali nigrahanam samudra tharanam lankapuri daahanam
  • vaali nigrahanam – as you know ‘grahanam’ means capture (recall ‘ Suryagrahanam’). In this case, it means subduing (killing) Vaali by Rama
  • samudra tharanamthara means to cross. Note that Rama Nama is called ‘thaaraka mantra’ which means the one which can help us cross this sea of Samsaara. Here the phrase means crossing of the ocean by Hanuman
  • lankapuri daahanamdaha is to burn. Here the events of Hanuman destroying Lanka by burning is indicated
paschaat raavana kumbhakarna hananam ethath hi ramayanam
  • paschaat is later
  • raavana kumbhakarna hananamhananam is again from hata which means ‘to be killed’. Thus the phrase means killing of Ravana and Kumbhakarna.
  • ethath hi ramayanam – ‘ethath hi’ means ‘this indeed is’. The phrase means ‘This indeed is the complete Ramayana’ 

Thus this Ekashloki Ramayana covers the entire epic in one verse. 

The full meaning of the verse would be, ‘In the beginning Rama set out to the forest (to fulfil his father’s wish), killed the demon Maricha who was disguised as a golden deer.  Sita was abducted (by Ravana) and Jatayu was slaughtered (by Ravana).  Rama then befriended Sugriva and defeated his brother Vali (to restore the kingdom to Sugriva). Then Lord Anjaneya crossed the mighty ocean (met with Sita) and burnt the whole of Lanka as a punishment. After which Ravana and Kumbhakarna were killed by Rama who rescued his beloved Sita. This is the entire story of Ramayana. ‘

Our young children can be taught this Ekashloki Ramayana which is easy to memorise and understand. This could pave the way for them to learn the complete work of Valmiki Ramayana later.

You can read the meaning of other slokas here.

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Rangarajan has been blogging for over 12 years now on various topics. With Thedal, he becomes one with the universe and he is hoping that his search will help him discover the eternal truth.  Please join him as he traverses through the universe across temples, philosophies and science!

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