Jagamohana Ramayana
Author(s)Balarama Dasa
PatronPrataparudra Deva
Dedicated toJagannath
Languagemiddle Odia
Date15th century
PersonagesRama, Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman, Ravana

The Jagamohana Ramayana (Odia: ଜଗମୋହନ ରାମାୟଣ) also known as the Dandi Ramayana popularly across Odisha is an epic poem composed by the 15th-century poet Balarama Dasa. This work is a retelling of the Ramayana, though not a direct translation.[1][2]


The story of this version is presented as a narration by Shiva to Parvati. The plot moves as a form of dialogue between the two. The story begins with Sati and how Shiva is reunited with Sati in the form of Parvati. After being reunited with the goddess, Shiva narrates the story of Rama to Parvati. The plot of the Ramayana begins with Dasharatha's efforts of getting a son by holding a yajna. The central plot of the Sanskrit Ramayana is followed in the text, with some significant departures in the plot and the characters, influenced by local tradition.

According to the author, Rama is Jagannatha or Vishnu himself, Sita is Lakshmi, and his brothers are partial incarnations of Vishnu. The gods scheme to have Rama exiled from his kingdom following his wedding so that he would fulfil his destiny of slaying Ravana, sending the heroes Khala, Durbala, and Saraswati to influence Kaikeyi's hostility towards Rama. Shiva is regarded to have achieved liberation by chanting the name of Rama. Jagannatha himself is attributed as the author of the work according to Balarama Dasa, who calls himself the scribe. In his chapters, the author employs versions of the legend from the Puranas, kavyas, southern and northern folk traditions, and natakas.[3]


The work is written in a meter called Dandi Vritta. It is a 14 letter meter suitable for narrative style.[4][5] It is a lengthy work.[6] The epic follows the seven cantos of the original Sanskrit Ramayana. They are:

Cultural aspects

This work brought the tale of Ramayana to the Odia speaking region and it became quite popular. It faced significant opposition from the Sanskrit proponents and opponents of Odia literature. It is heavily influenced by the Jagannath culture. In multiple places the writer says that the writing is carried out by Jagannath himself. The book also enlightens some significant aspect of contemporary lifestyle. There are descriptions of pregnancy, customs and rituals followed during pregnancy etc. There descriptions of cultural practices that follows the birth of a child. There are descriptions of natural beauty of Odisha, living standards, foods, locations etc.[7] It also contains reference to the popular Indian foods at the time such as puri, malpua, laddu, and rasgulla.

Derivative works

There were multiple books written that summarised the Jagamohana Ramayana called Tika Ramayana. There were several of these abridged versions. One such work by Maheswara Dasa was just forty printed pages.[8]

In southern Odisha, the original Odia Ramayana circulated with new material being added over the years. This eventually grew to a massive volume of 3000 pages. This version is known as Dakhini Ramayana.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Bhubaneswar Review (in Odia). M. N. Misra. 1968. p. 53. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  2. ^ Paniker, K.A.; Sahitya Akademi (1997). Medieval Indian Literature: Surveys and selections. Sahitya Akademi. p. 402. ISBN 978-81-260-0365-5. Retrieved 2020-08-13.
  3. ^ Ayyappappanikkar (1997). Medieval Indian Literature: Surveys and selections. Sahitya Akademi. pp. 402–403. ISBN 978-81-260-0365-5.
  4. ^ Ray, D. (2007). Prataparudradeva, the Last Great Suryavamsi King of Orissa (A.D. 1497 to A.D. 1540). Northern Book Centre. p. 134. ISBN 978-81-7211-195-3. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  5. ^ RATH, RAMAKANTA; DAS, HARA PRASAD (1994). "Tradition and Modernity in Oriya Poetry". India International Centre Quarterly. 21 (1): 8–10. JSTOR 23003889.
  6. ^ Bose, D.C.I.S.A.R.I.A.R.M.; Bose, M.; Oxford University Press (2004). The Ramayana Revisited. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-19-516832-7. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  7. ^ Bahinipati, P. (2017). Jagamohana Ramayana. The Epic of Balarama Dasa. Anchor Academic Publishing. p. 17. ISBN 978-3-96067-124-4. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  8. ^ a b Bose, D.C.I.S.A.R.I.A.R.M.; Bose, M.; Oxford University Press (2004). The Ramayana Revisited. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-19-516832-7. Retrieved 2020-08-12. the Tika Ramayana of Mahesvara Dasa, Balarama's substantial poem is reduced to around forty printed pages