Indian mythology includes stories of gods and the asuras. The two great epic poems, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata have had an abiding impact on Indian culture and philosophy.
Hero worship which was and still is the focal point of Indian culture and is depicted in these epics. Mahabharata written by Vyasa is a epic tale about the quarrel between Pandavas and the Kauravas. Ramayana written by Valmiki narrates the story of Lord Ram, son of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya. For over the centuries, these epic stories have inspired a great deal of art, music, dance, theatre and even spirituality.
Containing some of the emotions and moral values of the human behavior, the epics continue to guide the daily lives of millions of Indians. Although the oral form existed since 500 BC, they were only put into words in the 4th century AD.
Ramayana is the tale of Lord Rama, who was prevented from becoming the king of Ayodhya by the intrigues made by his step mother. He was sent to exile with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman for 14 years. In the meanwhile demon-king Ravana abducted Sita, who was then rescued by Rama and his brother Lakshman with the help of monkey-god Hanuman. Rama is worshiped as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
The epic Mahabharata narrates the rivalry between the five heroic Pandava brothers – Yodhistira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva, and 100 members of the Kaurava family, headed by Doryodhana, and culminates in a great battle. It finds a major religious and philosophical importance in Indian culture and religion. Mahabharata discusses the human goals of artha or wealth, kama or pleasure, dharma or duty/harmony, and moksha or liberation and explains the relationship of an individual to society and the world and the consequences of karma.