Online Resources For Teaching the Ramayana
The very best “one-stop-shop” for Ramayana source material—synopsis, links to online versions, reference and classroom materials—is found at the site of the Maxwell School of Citizenship Affairs, South Asia Center, Syracuse University, my go-to site when I prepare to teach each semester, either in World Literature, Mythology and Tradition, or both.
The link “Moral Dilemmas” is my favorite. I put students in groups of two or three and pass out the copies of the three dilemmas correlating with their reading (narrative and questions titled “Dasarutha’s Choice,” Lakshmana’s Loyalty,” and “Sita’s Ordeal By Fire”), distributing as evenly as possible so that all three narratives are covered by at least one group. One student in the group reads the “dilemma” out loud; another student writes down the answers; if the group has three members, the third member keeps the conversation going, asking questions, “directing traffic” for the group’s answers.
These dilemmas all focus on what dharma requires (no one correct answer), and two of the three focus almost exclusively on Sita’s difficult position as the “ideal wife” who is confronted with situations outside of her control.
My second favorite source, this site includes an introduction, guiding questions, learning objectives, preparation instructions, lesson activities and more.
Excellent historical archive from LEARN NC, a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997-2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. LEARN NC is no longer supported by the School of Education—this is a historical archive of their website.
This brief source includes an introduction, a romanticized synopsis (no mention of either of Sita’s two ordeals), and some interesting ideas for discussion questions.
The Ramayana Online/Print ScholarlyEditions
Full texts online:
- https://www.maxwell.syr.edu/moynihan/sac/The _Ramayana/
Scholarly editions in textbook anthologies/single volumes:
Egenes, Linda and Kumuda Reddy, editors. The Ramayana: A New Retelling of Valmiki’s Ancient Epic—Complete and Comprehensive. Penguin Random House, 2016.
Rosenberg, Donna. “The Ramayana.” World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics, 3rd edition, edited by Donna Rosenberg, McGraw-Hill, 1999, pp. 296-321.
Simha, S.L.N. Ramayana for the Modern World. Introduction to Mythology: Contemporary Approaches to Classical and World Myths. Edited by Eva M. Thury and Margaret K. DeVinney, Oxford UP, 2013, pp. 244-53.
Swami Venkatesananda, translator. The Ramayana of Valmiki. The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Shorter 3rd ed., Vol. 1, edited by Martin Puchner, W.W. Norton, 2013, pp. 686-726.
 “Harvard University To Offer Course On Ramayana, Mahabharata In Fall 2017.” https://good-university.com/2017/08/16/harvard-university-to-offer-course-on-ramayana-mahabharata-in-fall-2017/