"Valmiki's Ramayana depicts Rama as a mere mortal. Rama's promotion to divinity was possible because of Adhyatma Ramayana, and its commentaries which explained every action of Rama as beyond reproach. We still read and recite Valmiki Ramayanam. Tulsidas' Ram Charit Manas is based on Adhyatma Ramayana, but Tulsi stops his Manas without the Uttara Kanda, thus saving the large number of our North Indian devotees from having to learn of Rama's cruelty to Sita. Perhaps even Tulsi found it beyond his ken to justify those actions of Rama."
Dear Shri sangom Ji,
Maharishi Valmiki has clearly mentioned that Sri Rama was an Avatara of Narayana, though Rama himself mentions,
"Atmaanam Manusham manye" - that he is very much a human being, Acharyas has commented this as Avatara vidambanam.
In the sixteenth sarga of balakandam (devanam vishnum prathi raavanaya nararupena avatharanya prarthana) the following sloka appears:
ithyetat vachanam sruthva suranaam vishnurathmavan
pitharam rochayamaasa tada dasaratham nrupam
Vishnu wanted to have King Dasaratha as his father. So this is one example of Rama Avatara among the numerous slokas in the original Valmiki Ramyana itself apart from numerous references in Srimad Bhagavatam, Padma puranam and other puranas.
Again in the eighteenth sarga(Sri Rama Janana gattam normally recited during Ramanavami) in the balakandam the following slokas appear:
vishnor ardham mahabaagam putram ikshvaku nandanam
lohithaksham mahabaahum rakthoshtam dundubhisvanam
Kausalya susubetena putrena amitha tejasaa
yatha varena devanamidithirvajra paanina
Bharatho nama kaikeiyam jaignye sathya parakramaha
sakshaad vishnor chathurbhagaha sarve sumudhito gunaihi
Atha Lakshmana Satrugnau sumita janayath sutau
The same sloka appears in Padma purana with some modifications.
Again in the Ramapattabisheka sarga (Yuddhakaandam 128th sarga)
priyathe sathatham ramaha sahi vishnu sanathanaha
Adhidevo mahabahur Harir Narayana Prabhuhu
Sakshaad Ramo Raghusreshataha sesho Lakshmana Uchyate.
Here Valmiki says that While Rama is Vishnu Avatara, Lakshmana is sesha (Adhisesha)
So it's crystal clear that Rama is an Avatara from the original Valmiki Ramayana itself.
That Rama lived as an ideal humanbeing is waht valmiki has attempted to portray as Rama himself as a charatcer in the Ramayana, looks upon himself as a human being.
Dear Shri Samarapungavan,
Our perspectives, as you will have noticed by now, are different. You implicitly believe that the Ramayana book gives an authentic account of the life of Rama, correct to the minutest detail, and relate the true
life of a divine avatara of Vishnu. All that is stated are/were hundred percent true and there is no error, redaction, interpolation, etc. I, on the other hand, while not finding fault with the faith people have in the godhead of Rama, or any other deity for that matter, try to enquire into the history of our religious lore. Hence we are bound to have differences of opinion. My attempt is to give the “other side of the coin” so that when we talk about our glorious past, the greatness of Hinduism, etc., people also become aware of this other side. Otherwise what we see is a pitiable blind acceptance of whatever has been dished out for centuries in order to keep the people blissfully ignorant.
I have read Rt. Hon. V.S. Srinivasa Sastri's 'Lectures on the Ramayana
' and in that he says he gave a series of lectures in Madars (probably Mylapore) in the 1930's and when he said Vali vadham could not be justified, the audience got enraged and threw the chairs at him. (Since I read the book long ago, the details may be different, but the central point is that Sastri depicted Rama as a plain human being, not divine at all.)
“The Satapatha Brahmana
and Brhadaranyaka Upanishad
mention King Janaka several times. In these ancient religious writings, he is a sage and a philosopher. He is in no way related to Sita. This Janaka and the other Janaka, father of Sita, are separated by eighteen generations.”
_Legend of Ram: antiquity to janmabhumi debate, Sanujit Ghose
Interpolations to Ramayana are certain. Some of those must have been even post-Buddha since there is a specific mention of Buddhists being punished as thieves in Ayodhya Kanda.
Bharata persuades Rama to come back to Ayodhya. A long conversation between the two is told. Javali, a learned man tries to argue and convince Rama that he need not give weightage to do ‘pitruvaakya paripaalanam’.
Rama is not convinced, and quoting Vedas, praises the virtues of sacrifice, charity and penance, founded upon truth. In his reply Rama says among other things, “As a Buddhist is punishable like a thief….”.
As a result of the linguistic and philological studies, scholars opine that both Bala Kanda and Uttara Kanda are most probably later interpolations, in order to endow the hero of the “Adi kAvya” with a divine hue. From Ayodhyakanda to Yuddhakanda, it is no where mentioned that he was God or had attributes of the divine (Vishnu amsa). He is shown as an ordinary person with human attributes who cries when his wife is taken away and at no time utters a soothing word to Lakshmana who also lives alone, without any complaint. This shows how much of a self-centred character Rama was, and how insensitive he was to the “viraha” of his brother Lakshmana.
Even in Yuddha Kanda the last sloka is sarga-116, sloka-90, which reads as under:
[FONT="]सर्वे लक्षण सम्पन्नाः सर्वे धर्म परायणाः[/FONT]
[FONT="]दशवर्ष सहस्राणि रामो राज्यम् अकारयत् ॥६-११६-९०[/FONT]
(sarvE lakshaNa sampannAH sarvE dharma parAyaNAH
daSavaRsha sahasRANi rAmO rAjyam akArayat)
(Maharishi University Collection)
There may be addition of Phala Sruti in the version you refer to or it may contain more sargas. The version I have, is supposed to be authentic. I would like to know the particulars of the version, publisher, etc., for my information.