Triveni Journal

1927 | 11,233,916 words

Triveni is a journal dedicated to ancient Indian culture, history, philosophy, art, spirituality, music and all sorts of literature. Triveni was founded at Madras in 1927 and since that time various authors have donated their creativity in the form of articles, covering many aspects of public life....

Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas

S. K. Mangammal Chari


The scriptures and Philosophical works written in Sanskrit were confined to a few. Tulasidas has rendered most valuable service to the world by composing Ramacharitmanas in Hindi, easy to be followed by a common man. It had become sacred to the masses because of the waning popularity of Sanskrit language.

Here is a translation of Tulasidas by Sri Madhu Sharma from V.Patrika on steps to devotion.
‘O shall I ever pass my days
By Rama’s grace in saintly ways?
Contented with whatever got,
From none will anything be sought 
And pledged to help at moment each
All souls with body, mind and speech;
On hearing words, to bear too rough,
I will not seethe with flames there of
with humble mind, unbiassed, still,
Say won’t anothers good or ill.
Renouncing all corporal care
On weal or woe with evenness ,bear
 Now Tulasi asks if life so led
with firm devotion won’t him wed?

Once the English writer Addison wrote in one of his essays that it had been his ambition to cull the most sublime philosophical truths from Philosophical libraries and scatter them in the street for the masses. It is not known whether his ambition was fulfilled.  But, Tulasidas by composing Ram charitmanas  in Hindi has been able to scatter the highest truth of religion and philosophy in a graceful and plain language not only into the streets but in every village and every home and in such a way that even an ignorant fool could not but be benefited thereby.

Ramacharitmanas holds the place of pre-eminence because the story is marvellously well told and sustains the interest of the reader right through, it fascinates by its rich glow, its wealth of imagery, its vivid language its music, its grace and felicity of expression.

Tulasidas is commonly known to Europeans as the author of the history of Rama but he is far more than that, He is a religious Poet whose theme was Rama. He lived in Benarese unequalled, and alone in his niche in the temple of Fame. Desciples he had in plenty; to-day they are numbered by millions. His motto seems to have been’ He prayeth best, who loveth best, all things both great and small.

He did not only teach the elevated system of religion; he succeeded in getting his teachings accepted. To quote Mr.Gnouse in the introduction to his translation of Ramayana - ‘The book is in every ones hands from the court to the cottage and is read, heard and appreciated alike by every class of the Hindu community, whether high or low, rich or poor, young or old.

According to an old missionary - ‘that no one could hope to understand the native of upper India, till he had mastered every line that Tulasidas had written”.

Tulasidas was a great devotee of the Lord combining in himself the quintessance of ‘Jnana’ and ‘Prema’. His saintly life, his wide and tolerant outlook and his insight into the mysteries of existence can not fail to engage the attention of even a casual reader.

His speciality:- The Poet’s mind is engrossed in his subject.  His concern is to direct the reader’s attention to Rama - his greatness and goodness and not to the cleverness of the writer. He writes not to procure fame for himself but to make secure the glory of Rama-Chandra and Sita.

He wants to be intelligible and is out to make the reader understand and not to compel him to admire the writer’s skill. His intention is to use the simple language - eg - Bhasha banithi bhori Mathi Mori (Hindi) Hansibe - Jog Hasai; Nahi Khori (Hindi)

The combination of meters is very happy. The introduction of chandas offers relief and sublimity of their matter and language.Very largely there are four choices (four footed verses) followed by a Doha (couplet). In all, Tulasidas possessed the magical Power of making any word fit into any place. He indulged in occassional alliteration eg.

Bhava, Bhay, Bhanjan,
Jan Han Ranjan
Ganjan Vipathi “

The humour of Tulasidas deserves a section to itself for example (1) the bluster of Parasurama and the bubbling fun of Lakshmana as he replies to his anger. (2) The courting of Lakshmana by Surpanaka (3) The story of Hanuman and his tail. Sometimes the humour is combined with piercingly keen irony. eg - Samarath Kahan nahi Dosh Gosai” (Hindi)

Surdas proves fascinating with literary grace charm and music of his verses. But he lives in high Plateau with wondorous flowers and fruits but would not a few precipices and crags be bracing?

Kabir had greatness of saying so much in so few words. He is unequalled for the Power of compassion and for rough rugged strong phrases and his couplets contain sound practical philosophy. But Kabir and Tulasidas have not enough in common to invite a comparison between the two.

Many Poets have enriched Hindi literature but surely Tulasidas stands out as the greatest of them all. To quote Mahatma Gandhi ‘Tulasidas had a marvellous faith. His faith has bequeathed to the Hindus, a precious book like the Ramayana, a literary master piece; but its literary merit pales in to insignificance before the charm of its devotional spirit - - - I regard the Ramayan of Tulasidas as the best volume on the cult of devotion”.

Ramcharitmanas indeed is an epitome of all scriptures:

Hail Tulasi;
Hail Manas;

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