Awadhi poem about Rama by Tulsidas / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Ramcharitmanas (Devanagari: श्रीरामचरितमानस Rāmacaritamānasa), is an epic poem in the Awadhi language, based on the Ramayana, and composed by the 16th-century Indian bhakti poet Tulsidas (c. 1532–1623). This work is also called, in popular parlance, Tulsi Ramayana, Tulsikrit Ramayana, Tulsidas Ramayana or simply Manas. The word Ramcharitmanas literally means "Lake of the deeds of Rama". It is considered one of the greatest works of Hindu literature. The work has variously been acclaimed as "the living sum of Indian culture", "the tallest tree in the magic garden of medieval Indian poetry", "the greatest book of all devotional literature" and "the best and most trustworthy guide to the popular living faith of the Indian people".
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Tulsidas was a great scholar of Sanskrit. However, he wanted the story of Rama to be accessible to the general public, as many Apabhramsa languages had evolved from Sanskrit and at that time few people could understand Sanskrit. In order to make the story of Rama as accessible to the layman as to the scholar, Tulsidas chose to write in Awadhi. Tradition has it that Tulsidas had to face much criticism from the Sanskrit scholars of Varanasi for being a bhasha (vernacular) poet. However, Tulsidas remained steadfast in his resolve to simplify the knowledge contained in the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Puranas to the common people. Subsequently, his work was widely accepted.
Ramcharitmanas made available the story of Rama to the common man to sing, meditate and perform on. The writing of Ramcharitmanas also heralded many a cultural tradition, most significantly that of the tradition of Ramlila, the dramatic enactment of the text. Ramcharitmanas is considered by many as a work belonging to the Saguna school of the Bhakti movement[n 1] in Hindi literature.