Friday, March 26, 2021

Hyperbole in Ramayana

 Hyperbole in Ramayana 

To evoke strong feelings, to create strong impressions, to provoke emotional displays, hyperbole has been used as an rhetorical device in the poetry and oratory of great epic Shrimadvalmiki Ramayana. The epic is full of hyperbole and metaphors to catch and maintain readers/listeners attention. 

The poet described the seasons of Spring, Varsha, Sharad and Shishir beautifully, but made it difficult to judge the geography by describing the areas and acts uncommon for the humans and monkeys to live and perform. Some of the examples of the hyperbole are the followings:

1) King of Koshal (Ayodhya capital) Dasharatha was 60000 years old. (Balkand, 20.2)

2) King Dasharatha donated ten lakh cows, ten crore gold coins, forty crore silver coins to the Brahmins who had performed Ashwamedh yagya. He donated one crore gold coins to other Brahmins. Was Koshal a very rich Kingdom? (Balkand Sarg 14)

3) Rama ruled Ayodhya (Koshal) Kingdom for 11000 years. (127.95, 127.106)

4) The divine hospitality of Rishi Bhardwaj to King Bharata and his army who were on the way to Dandakaranya to meet Rama. They were served many varieties in dinner including meat and alcohol (सुरादीनि च प्यारी मांसानि विविधानी च), Apsaras were called to serve and dance. Palace for Bharata and tent cities for thousands of soldiers were erected for night stay. Food and shelters were arranged for the hundreds of animals. So much so that the soldiers were saying that they would neither go to Ayodhya nor to Dandakaranya. (Ayodhyakand Sarg 31) 

5) Kishkindha was located near the sea and Vali was taking a walk of the sea from west to east and from south to north but was not getting tired. (Kishkindha Kand 11.4). 

6) Dudumbhi had power of one thousand elephants. He was killed and his dead body was lifted up by in two hands and was thrown away to one yojan near Matang hermitage by Vali. (Kishkindha Kand 11.45-48).

7) Hanuman took a giant leap and crossed the sea of 100 yojan in few hours. While it takes 48 minutes to Vibhishana to cross it when he came for the asylum. Shurpanakha, Ravana, the spies of Ravana and other Rakshasas were crossing the sea without much efforts. 

8) Monkeys built a bridge over the Sea Makaralaya (full with crocodiles) of 100 yojan length and 10 yojan width in five days (Yuddhkand 22. 68-72, 76) using trunks and rocks and an army of one billion monkeys crossed the bridge. 

9) Army of Lanka made of one billion Rakshasas big in sizes and they were living with their families in big houses and protecting the city of Lanka spans 200 square yojan (10 yojan width and 20 yojan length) situated on the highest pick of 100 square yojan on the mountain of Trikut. (Yuddhkand 39.18-20). The battle of Lanka was fought between one billion monkeys and one billion Rakshasas. 

10) Ravana had 10 heads.

11) Kumbhakarna’s height was 100 dhanush (300 metres) and width was 600 dhanush (1800 meters) (Yuddhkand, 65.41) and he was sleeping a cave of one square yojan in the mountain of Trikut. To wake him up many Rakshasas were sent with many pots of meat and hundreds of instruments to make big noise. When he didn’t wake up with the big noise and beating up with the rocks, maces and trunks; elephants, camels, horses were run over his body. Later in the battle, his hands, legs and head were cut by the arrows of Rama. (Yuddhakand 60-67)

12) Hanuman leaped to Himalaya carried the mountain of herbs to Lanka and took it back after the use and returned Lanka in few hours. (Yuddhkand)

13) The narration of battle of Lanka carries many exaggerations. 


1 December 2020


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