Ramayana and Mahabharata are the two great epics of Hindu Mythology that have been worshiped and revered through out the ages. The Hindus consider these books not just as a story but as 'Itihasa' or history. They believe that the incidents that are mentioned in the books actually happened and the characters once roamed the earth in flesh and blood.
Ramayana took place in the Treta Yuga (the second Yuga) and and Mahabharata happened in the Dwapara Yuga (the third Yuga). The stories had a huge gap of time in between (supposedly, millions of years) but still, it is seen that there are a few characters that appear in both.
While some of the characters are gods who are to live till the end of the Maha Yuga, the others are human beings. So, here we shall describe the 6 characters that make an appearance in both the epics and also made a significant contribution to the storyline. Read on to know more about these characters. If you feel that we have left out any, please let us know in the comments section.
Hanuman was the minister of Sugreeva and was the biggest devotee of Lord Rama. He plays an important role in Ramayana as one of the main characters. He also appears in the Mahabharata.
Bhima, Hanuman's brother (Vayu is thought to be their father), was on his way to obtain the Saugandhika flower. He found an old monkey blocking his path with his tail. Enraged, Bhima asked the monkey to remove his tail from the path. The monkey replied that he was too old and tired to do it and Bhima will have to move it himself. But Bhima, who was proud of his strength and poweress, could not even budge the old monkey's tail. With his pride broken, Bhima asked the monkey to reveal who he really was. The old monkey then tells Bhima that he is Hanuman and blesses Bhima.
Jambvath is described as a bear like being who appears in both Ramayana and Mahabharata. Jambvath served in Rama's army, led by Sugreeva. When Hanuman was asked to cross the ocean to look for Sita, Hanuman forgot the powers he possessed (due to a curse). It was Jambvath who reminded Hanuman who he was and enabled him to cross the ocean and find Sita in Lanka.
In Mahabharata, it is said that Jambvath fought Krishna without knowing his true identity. When Krishna revealed that he and Rama were one and the same, Jambvath asked for forgiveness and offered his daughter, Jambvati's hand in marriage to Krishna.
Vibhishana was Ravana's brother who fought from Rama's side. When the war was over, Vibhishana was crowned as the king of Lanka.
In Mahabharata, when the Pandavas conducted the Rajasuya Yagnya, it is believed that Vibhishana accepted their invitation and sent them precious gifts.
Parashurama was mentioned in the Ramayana when he challenged Rama to a duel. He was upset that the bow that belonged to Lord Shiva was broken by Rama during the Swayamvara of Sita. When he learns that Rama is an avatar of Vishnu, he asks for forgiveness and blesses Rama.
In Mahabharata, Parashurama is mentioned as the teacher of Bhishma and Karna.
Mayasura is mentioned in Ramayana as the Father-in-law of Ravana as Mandodari was his daughter.
In Mahabharata, he was the only survivor when the Dandaka forest was burnt by the Pandavas, Krishna wanted to kill him too but he begged for refuge to Arjuna. In return for his life, he built the magical sabha of Indraprastha.
Maharshi Durvasa is noted in Ramayana as the person who predicted the separation of Sita and Rama.
In Mahabharata, Maharshi Durvasa is mentioned as the sage who gave Kunti the Mantra which led to the birth of the five Pandavas.
Image Courtesy By: Swaminarayan Sampraday