Introduction to Manas
(An epic – “Shri Ramcharitmanas”)
Shri Ramcharitmanas is an epic, written in the 16th century by Goswami Tulsidas Ji in Awadhi language. This epic holds a special place in the Indian culture. In North India, Ramayan (or Shri Ramcharitmanas) is read daily by many people. In Shri Ramcharitmanas, the hero of this epic (book), Shri Ram, is depicted as a superpower. Whereas in Maharshi Valmiki’s Ramayan, Shri Ram has been described as a human. Lord Ram according to Goswami Tulsidas, despite being omnipotent is ‘Maryada Purushottam’ and the stories related to this are recited for the entire nine days of the ‘Sharad Navratri’.
Shri Ramcharitmanas is considered a great work of Hindi Literature. And is also commonly known as ‘Tulsi Ramayan’ or ‘Tulsikrit Ramayan’. Based on the historical war, which took place between Ram and Ravana in ‘Treta Yug’ and composed in Awadhi language (a popular branch of Hindi), Shri Ramcharitmanas is ranked 46th among the 100 best and popular epics in the world. As mentioned earlier, Shri Ramcharitmanas is an epic written by Goswami Tulsidas Ji in the 16th century. Tulsidas, himself writes in the ‘Baal Kaand’ of Shri Ramcharitmanas that he started the creation of Shri Ramcharitmanas in Ayodhya on Vikram Samvat 1631 (1574 AD) on the day of ‘Ram Navmi’ (tuesday).
According to Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddar of Gita press, Gorakhpur, Goswami Tulsidas Ji took 2 years, 7months and 26 days to write the Ramcharitmanas. And he completed it on the day of ‘Shri Ram Vivah’ in Margashirsha Shukla Paksh of Samvat 1633 (1576 AD). The language of this epic is Awadhi, which is a branch of Hindi itself.
In Shri Ramcharitmanas, Goswami Tulsidas has described the serene and vivid character of Shri Ram. The Sanskrit Ramayan composed by Maharshi Valmiki, is considered to be the basis of Shri Ramcharitmanas. Although, Ramayan and Shri Ramcharitmanas, both describe the character of Shri Ram, there is a noticeable difference in the narrative style of the authors who have composed the two epics. While Valmiki has depicted Ram only as a worldly person in Ramayan, Tulsidas has considered Ram as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu in Shri Ramcharitmanas.
Tulsidas has divided The Ramcharitmanas into seven ‘Kaands’. The names of these seven ‘kaands’ are as follows :
1) Baal Kaand
2) Ayodhya Kaand
3) Aranya Kaand
4) Kishkindha Kaand
5) Sundar Kaand
6) Lanka Kaand
7) Uttar Kaand
According to the number of verses, ‘Baal Kaand’ and ‘Kishkindha Kaand’ are the smallest and the largest Kaands respectively. Tulsidas Ji has beautifully used the Hindi figures of speech in the Ramcharitmanas, especially ‘alliteration’.
Every Hindu has immense faith in Shri Ramcharitmanas and it is also considered to be the holy book of Hindus.