Tales from the Ram Charit Manas

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Author's Note

It has been a long standing desire that these tales be told. Told in a way that they seem interesting and engrossing for the youth. It is not out of any consciousness of my capacities to tell them that this attempt is being made, but a sincere belief that telling them in a need of the hour. The sole dependence on any aid to do so, is on the benevolent grace of the Sadguru and the consequent kripa of the Supreme Being. That, in the final count, the failings in this effort would be entirely mine and the success absolutely His alone, goes without saying.

The Ram charit Manas is one of the most popular epics of the land. The tired farmer, to forgot his travails, sings it to the accompaniment of the simple drum. The savants, to bring forth the acme of human behaviour sing it. It is studied by the erudite for its faultless meter and lofty philosophy. It is quoted as a gospel, both by the good and the cunning. It is a textbook that is being taught to the young in school and the same is the source material for him, who seeks a doctorate on literature. There is magic in its pages. When studied as a social science, its helps a sincere student to grasp the acme of human behaviour. When it is the subject of a study to master the literary art of poetic portrayal, its standard staggers the intellect. But the forte of this unique literary masterpiece is the facility of the delineation of the highest philosophic tenets of the Indian thinkers of yore, in seemingly rustic dialiects. As pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayanandji often pointed out, nowhere in the world has this seemingly impossible feat of expressing philosophy in lilting poetic form has even been attempted, much less successfully accomplished.

The immense treasure contained herein is locked away form the reach of the youth of today. Their education, while giving them great capacities to master the intricacies of computers or nuclear physics, leaves them incapable of enjoying the uplifting experience that the Ram Charit Manas can give. The barrier is the archaic language employed herein. The motivation behind this effort is to do away with that obstacle. My wish is that our youth gain this wonderful legacy of our land.

I also wish and hope that grown-ups too, who in their hazy concept of this great epic have relegated it to be a mere fairy tale of a bygone age, with no historical validity, may find, by a careful study, those nuggets of wisdom that lie embedded in it. That this epic has used geography and history as its backdrop is a cause for many savants to reject its scientific content. The simple fact is that it is not a text dealing with either history or geography, and that a poet is always allowed appropriate license. So the baby is flung away with the bath water. The search for the basic values of a fulfilling life never succeeds for such people.

And so, this attempt is presented to the kind readers for whatever it is worth.

Guru Poornima,
28 July 1999

Rana Bahadur Singh

About the Author

Born in the erstwhile Rewa State on 21 December 1928, Rana Bahadur Singh had his bachelor's degree from the Degree College of Rewa and his postgraduate degree from the Allahabad University. He was elected and independent Member of the Lok Sabha from Sidhi constituency of Madhya Pradesh in 1971. He met Swami Chinmayananda in 1960, and chose to devote his full time to the Chinmaya Mission from 1979 onwards. He helped the Rewa branch of the Chinmaya Mission to set up the Pitamaha sadan in Laxmanpur village near Rewa, and was appointed the President of the All India Chinmaya Yuva Kendra for the period 1993-1999. Rana Bahadur Singh now lives in the Pitamaha Sadan and speaks and writes on spiritual subjects. The Chinmaya Mission Rewa, has published his concise commentary on the Bhagwat Geeta in Hindi.

CONTENTS
Author's Note vii
Introduction ix
1 Sant Goswami Tulsidas 1
2 The God of All Gods Bhagavan Shiva and Goddess Parvati 7
3 The Tale of Lord Ram's Birth 30
4 The Story of King Pratapbhanu 38
5 The Story of Sita 55
6 The Story of the Palace Coup 81
7 The Tale of the Wonderful Brother, Bharat 105
8 The Marvellous Monkey God Hanuman 127
9 The Tale of the Great War 166
10 The Tale of the Old Crow 199
Epilogue 220