Didem Doğan

The Ramayana Legend and the Tree of Life in Prambanan Temples

If the Greeks have Odyssey and Iliada, the Indians have Ramayana and Mahabharata.

The exterior walls of the main temple in Prambanan are covered with replicas from the epic Ramayana, the story of the Prince of Rama. One of the three main gods in Hinduism, Vishnu is reincarnated in Rama, a god/prince, who is sent exile- such as in Odyssey there’s a story of journey. The journey of Rama, his brother and his fiancée and their exile which lasts years are finalised with a victory. Some of the main characters, the god/prince Rama, his fiancée, the symbol of the feminine and the loyalty, Sita, his brother, his ‘comrade’ Lakshman; the ‘bad’ on the other side Ratana, the place they come back at the end of the story Ayodyha, they are all described in detail in the walls in Prambanan.

The outer walls of Prambanan Temples show many examples of the replica of the ‘tree of life’, a symbol: always a tree in the middle and two animals, birds, on its right and left sides. Kalpataru is a feminine creature which is always asked for a wish, and it’s always protected by two other creatures Kinnara and Kinnari. The animals beneath the tree, one on the right, other on the left must be protecting it. Not only in Hinduism, but today as a spiritual practices we see many people putting papers, cloths n the branches of trees. It must a way of collective consciousness to wish it from a tree…