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Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas

Context:

Recently, Bihar Education Minister said the Ramcharitmanas “spreads hatred in society”, and that Goswami Tulsidas’s epic poem — along with the Manusmriti and M S Golwalkar’s Bunch of Thoughts — should be burned.

Relevance:

GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. The Ramcharitmanas
  2. Goswami Tulsidas

The Ramcharitmanas

  • The poem was written in the 16th century in the Awadhi dialect that is mainly spoken in the areas that are today’s Lucknow, Prayagraj, and Ayodhya districts.
  • It is divided into seven chapters (Kand) that tell the story of Lord Ram from birth to his becoming King of Ayodhya.
  • The Ramcharitmanas is based on the Ramayana, sage Valmiki’s great epic.
  • It is the holiest book of the Indo-Gangetic region, and among the world’s most read holy books — by one estimate, Geeta Press (Gorakhpur) has sold almost 7 crore copies.
  • Across the Hindi heartland, a reference to “Ramayan” often actually means Ramcharitmanas.

Goswami Tulsidas

  • Tulsidas, a Brahmin whose original name was Ram Bola Dubey, is believed to have been born in Rajapur by the Yamuna in today’s Banda district.
  • He composed the Ramcharitmanas on the bank of the Ganga in Varanasi — he is said to have begun writing on Ram Navami day in 1574, and completed the poem over the next few years.
  • In the seventh shloka of the first chapter (Baal Kand), Tulsidas declares, “Swantah sukhay Tulsi Raghunathgatha…” — that is, he has written the “story of Raghunath (Lord Ram) for his own happiness”.
  • Tulsidas lived in the time of Emperor Akbar, and some believe that he was in touch with Abdurrahim Khan-e-Khanan, the son of Akbar’s commander Bairam Khan, and they possibly exchanged some poetic communication as well.
  • Tulsidas made the story of Lord Ram popular among the masses because he wrote in the regional dialect that most people understood.

-Source: Indian Express


May 2024
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