The Ramayana and Trade Essay Sample

The Ramayana and Trade Pages
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Ramayana, described in the ancient Indian Scriptures as “Kaavayaanam uttamam”, meaning the best of epics provides several instances of a flourishing trade.

The Ayodhya kanda which depicts the plans of coronation of Rama and his subsequent leaving for the Vanvaas or exile has several references to the society of Ayodhya.

There are references to highly processed goods  like incense sticks and sandal wood paste which are finished products and can be safely assumed to be sold and bought for use in auspicious occasions. Besides in the various references made to the people of the kingdom before the anointment of Rama clearly mentions the agriculture based citizens who came from the adjoining villages where as the reference to the people of the city of Ayodhya is largely limited to the wealthy merchants and buildings of rich family persons.

Valmiki Ramayana translated by Desiraju Hnaumanta Rao and K.M.K.Murthy Valmikiramayan.net, Ayodhya kanda, 16 Feb 2007<http://www.valmikiramayan.net/>

 &< http://www.valmikiramayan.net/ayodhya/sarga6/ayodhya_6_prose.htm>

When Rama is banished to the forests by his step mother Queen Kaikeyi, the grief of the city of Ayodhya is described thus “No one felt any delight or gladness, merchants would not display their wares, no goods were set out to catch the eye…” (Pollock 249)

To add credence to the presence of a flourishing trade is the mention of currency in Rama rajya which consisted of gold coins (Athavale 34)

Besides the mention of the Manu dharma in Ramayana period is itself indicative of the presence of trade because Manu dharma provides for four classes in society out of which Vaisya is translated as a trader or a merchant and to this day various descendents of this community are seen foremost as traders.

On a lighter note, the mention of singers, actors and dancers depicts a society which took good care of its entertainment industry.

Works cited

Sheldon.I.Pollock. Ramayana by Valmiki New York:  NYU press, 2005

Pandurang Vaijnath Athavale, Valmiki Ramayana Michigan: University of Michigan, 1976

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