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The Life of Hinduism$
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John Stratton Hawley and Vasudha Narayanan

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520249134

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520249134.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

• An Open-Air Ramayana

• An Open-Air Ramayana

Ramlila, the Audience Experience

(p.115) 8 • An Open-Air Ramayana
The Life of Hinduism

John Stratton Hawley

Vasudha Narayanan

University of California Press

The line between ritual and performance is thin. This can be seen in this chapter's portrayal of the ramlilas of Banaras, where the Brahmin boys who take the leading roles are not considered actors, but “intrinsic forms,” of the divine figure they represent: Sita and Rama, and Rama's three brothers. These boys bear the aura of divinity as long as the play continues, and are surrounded by many other figures, including a host of monkeys led by Hanuman. The ramlilas of Banaras, patronized by the Maharaja and performed on his extensive palace grounds at Ramnagar, just across the Ganges, are famous all over India.

Keywords:   ramlilas, Brahmin boys, Ramayana, Banaras

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