Different Versions of Indian Scripture


Sir, I read in the articles that Valmiki first wrote the Ramayana and he visited Hanuman on Kailash mountain to show where Hanuman has written the evident truth about the life of Lord Rama on the rocks. Few truths of Valmiki’s Ramayana have been taken from the Hanuman Ramayana. Later on saint Tulsidas wrote Ramcharitmanasa out of the interaction with Lord Shiva in his dream.

Since saint Tulsidas was considered as the rebirth of Valmiki, why are the stories different?

—nafisa, india


Dear Nafisa,

The great masters play different roles in different incarnations, based on the needs of the time. So it should not be surprising that the same soul might choose (or more accurately, be guided by God) to show a scriptural story in a different light at different times.

We must also remember that these stories are not intended to be factual, historical documents. They are written to instruct and inspire people. Different versions of the same story will resonate with different people. The important thing is that the teachings reach people who can hear them. If we worry about conflicting facts in two different versions of one story, we will miss the point.