The two Ramayanas in the Mahabharatha
The Mahabharatha is a gigantic epic. We all know that. But did you know that it contains within itself the story of Rama, the Ramayana? That too, not once but twice?
The Ramayana is recounted during the Pandava Vanavas to Bheema by none other than Hanuman. Bheema comes across Hanuman when he is searching for the saugandhika flowers for Draupadi. He first arrogantly tries to fight Hanuman and is defeated. Then Hanuman reveals himself and Bheema requests him to tell him the story of Rama and Hanuman does so.
Rishi Markandeya also recounts the story of Rama to Yudishtira right before agyaathvaas. Yudishtira is very sad that he, his brothers and Draupadi are going through such hardship. Markandeya gives him the example of Rama, Lakshmana and Seetha to show they faced adversity in their life.
Both these Ramayanas end with Rama being installed as king upon the throne of Ayodhya.
Apart from Hanuman, two other familiar faces from the Ramayana are seen in the Mahabharata too. One is Vibhishana, who is sent a message during Yudishtira’s Raja suya and who becomes an ally in far-off Lanka.
The other is the vaanar Dwividha, who fought alongside Rama against Ravana. But this vaanar has now turned evil, abusing his power. He is killed by Balarama.