3. See Bulcke 1950. When I mentioned Bulcke’s count of three hundred Ramayanas to a Kannada scholar, he said that he had recently counted over a thousand in Kannada alone; a Telugu scholar also mentioned a thousand in Telugu. Both counts included Rama stories in various genres. So the title of this paper is not to be taken literally.
4. Through the practice of tapas – usually translated ‘austerities’ or ‘penances’ – a sage builds up a reserve of spiritual power, often to the point where his potency poses a threat to the gods (notably Indra). Anger or lust however immediately negates this power; hence Indra’s subsequent claim that by angering Gautama he was doing the gods a favour.
5. The translation in the body of this article contains selected verses from I.9, the section known in Tamil asakalikaipatalam. The edition I cite is Kampar Iyarriya Iramayanam (Annamalai: Annamalai Palikalaikkalakam, 1957), Vol. 1.
6. See, for example, the discussion of such views as summarised in Goldman 1984, 15. For a dissenting view, see Pollock 1984.
7. See Desai 1980, 63. In the discussion of the Ramakirti to follow, I am indebted to the work of Desai and Singaravelu. For a translation of the Thai Ramayana, see Puri and Sarahiran 1949.
8. Kampar Iyarriya Iramayanam, Vol. 1, selected verses from I.1, in the section known as nattuppatalam. My translation.
9. One source for Peirce’s semiotic terminology is his ‘Logic as Semiotic’, in Peirce 1940, 88-119.
10. Personal communication from V. Narayana Rao.
11. I heard the Telugu tale in Hyderabad in July 1988 and I have collected versions in Kannada and Tamil as well.
This essay has been published with the permission of Krishna Ramanujan and Krittika Ramanujan.