The following verse from the website valmikiramayan.net indicates the total no. of verses present in Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa.

चतुर् विंशत् सहस्राणि श्लोकानाम् उक्तवान् ऋषिः |
तथा सर्ग शतान् पंच षट् काण्डानि तथा उत्तरम् || १-४-२

2. R^iSiH = sage Valmiki; slokaanaam = verses; chatur vimshat sahasraaNi = twenty-four, thousand; tathaa = that way; pancha sarga shataan = five, chapters, hundreds; SaT kaaNDaani cha = six, books, also; tatha uttaram = that way, an end piece; uktvaan = said.

Sage Valmiki said Ramayana in twenty four thousand verses, in six hundred chapters, in six books, likewise an end-piece too. [1-4-2]

The same verse is also present in the translation available at valmiki.iitk.ac.in:

चतुर्विंशत्सहस्राणि श्लोकानामुक्तवानृषि:।
तथा सर्गशतान्पञ्च षट्काण्डानि तथोत्तरम् ।।1.4.2।।

ऋषि: sage Valmiki, श्लोकानां चतुर्विंशत्सहस्राणि twenty four thousand verses, तथा and, पञ्च सर्गशतान् five hundred cantos, षट् काण्डानि six kandas, तथा and, उत्तरम् in addition Uttarakanda, उक्तवान् recite (composed).

Sage Valmiki composed the Ramayanam in twentyfour thousand verses in six kandas and also Uttarakanda (consisting of five hundred cantos).

However, some commentators on Rāmāyaṇa consider this verse to be an interpolation. This is what the Tilaka commentary by Nagoji Bhatta or Ramavarma (1730-1810) says:

The Number of Slokas and Sargas in the Ramayana 1.4.2

‘Sargasatam panca satskandani’ means the Ramayana comprises five hundred sargas covering six kandas . But the sloka says the total number of slokas in the Ramayana to be 24,000. Since the actual number is far less and there is no reference to the Uttarakanda this sloka is spurious.

Is this verse present in the critical edition of Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa?

  • 1
    Valmikiramayan.net itself claims that it is the critical edition. Which critical edition are you look for? Apr 27, 2018 at 5:06
  • What does it mean when someone says, "Critical Edition" ? Because I can find many references of Critical Edition of Valmiki Ramayana including the site sv. mentioned in his question.
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Apr 27, 2018 at 6:43
  • No, it's not the critical edition, that site clearly says: "This site aims to study various versions of Srimad Valmiki Ramayana and arrive at a version of Ramayana that is most relevant to modern times." There's only one critical edition that I know of released by the Oriental Institute of Baroda, India. @Sarvabhouma Apr 27, 2018 at 14:53
  • See Textual Criticism. The basic idea is that many Hindu scriptures have several manuscripts (written in various languages/scripts) that sometimes conflict with each other. How do you arrive at the most authentic version? You compare all those, resolve the conflicts, and come up with the base version. They call this the critical edition. From BORI MBH CE site: "This edition was prepared with painstaking efforts of scholars for about five decades consulting 1,259 manuscripts." @TheLittleNaruto Apr 27, 2018 at 15:12

2 Answers 2


I think not. The critical edition mentions 500 chapters in the text but most probably not the number of shlokas.

The table below shows the number of chapters and shlokas we have in the Critical Edition. The Critical Edition has 606 chapters, 106 more than 500 sargas mentioned in the text itself. And there are 18,670 shlokas. If one considers chapters and shlokas from non-critical versions, irrespective of which version it is, there are almost 650 chapters and just over 24000 shlokas.

Introduction to The Valmiki Ramayana translated by Bibek Debroy.


The critical edition of Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa available at bombay.indology.info doesn't list the verse in question.

1004001a    प्राप्तराज्यस्य रामस्य वाल्मीकिर्भगवानृषिः
1004001c    चकार चरितं कृत्स्नं विचित्रपदमात्मवान्

1004001a    prāptarājyasya rāmasya vālmīkir bhagavān r̥ṣiḥ
1004001c    cakāra caritaṁ kr̥tsnaṁ vicitrapadam ātmavān

(When Rama obtained his kingdom, the illustrious rishi Valmiki, in control of his soul, composed the entire account of his conduct, in wonderful padas.)

1004002a    कृत्वा तु तन्महाप्राज्ञः सभविष्यं सहोत्तरम्
1004002c    चिन्तयामास को न्वेतत्प्रयुञ्जीयादिति प्रभुः

1004002a    kr̥tvā tu tan mahāprājñaḥ sabhaviṣyaṁ sahottaram
1004002c    cintayām āsa ko nv etat prayuñjīyād iti prabhuḥ

(The immensely wise one recounted what had happened and what would transpire in the future, thereafter. Having composed it, the lord thought about who would recount the tale.)

1004003a    तस्य चिन्तयमानस्य महर्षेर्भावितात्मनः
1004003c    अगृह्णीतां ततः पादौ मुनिवेषौ कुशीलवौ

1004003a    tasya cintayamānasya maharṣer bhāvitātmanaḥ
1004003c    agr̥hṇītāṁ tataḥ pādau muniveṣau kuśīlavau

(While the great sage was thinking about this in his mind, in the garb of sages, Kusha and Lava came and touched his feet.)

Bibek Debroy's English translation (used above) is based on the critical edition and it doesn't contain the translation of the verse from Bālakāṇḍa about Rāmāyaṇa containing 24,000 ślokas.

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