Tulsidas, the author of Ramcharitmanas was born in Rajpur in the Banda district of Uttar Pradesh in the 16th century. Tulsidas is considered to be an incarnation of Valmiki, the sage who composed the original Ramayana, and is counted among the foremost devotees of Lord Rama.
Sri Ramcharitmanas consists of seven chapters or Adhyaya. The chapters have quatrains called chaupais, broken by dohas or couplets and have occasional sortha and chhand.
The first Chapter is Bala Kand. It tells about the importance of the name Ram of the Lord Ram, how the story of Lord Ram is propogated through the ages, who told whom and how Tulsidas got this story, about the reasons of incarnation of the Lord on earth, the marriage of Shiv & Parvati and the childhood of Lord Ram. It concludes with the marriage ceremony of the Lord Ram and his 3 brothers. The first chapter is the largest of the seven chapters.
The second chapter is Ayodhya Kand. It tells about sending of Lord Ram to forest for 14 years, the event on way to Chitrakoot, life at Chitrakoot, meeting with his younger brother Bharat and all the citizens of Ayodhya and reasons of leaving Chitrakoot for denser areas of the forest. Together, the first and second chapter form half volume of this great epic.
The third chapter is Aranya Kand. It gives a glimps of life of Lord Ram along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman in forest, meeting with sages, devotees and earning of Astra & Shastra (divine weapons) from Gautam rishi, the life at Panchavati, the stealing of Lord Ram's wife Sita by the demon king Ravana, and the search process of Sita by Lord Ram and his brother Lakshmana.
The fourth chapter is about meeting of Ram with monkey king Sugreev, their friendship, the vow of Sugreev to find Sita, fight of Sugreev with his brother Baali, the throning in of Sugreev as king of Kishkindha and the search of Sita by the monkies led by Hanuman, Jambwant, Nal-Neel and Angad.
The fifth chapter is about the exploits and bravery of Hanuman - the incarnation of 11th Rudra (Shiva), the finding of Sita at Ashokvatika in Lanka - the kingdom of Ravana, the burning of Lanka by Hanuman, bringing back the message of Sita to Lord Ram and the effort of Lord Ram to find way across the Indian Ocean to Lanka.
The sixth chapter is about the fight of Lord Ram's monkey army and demon king Ravan's demon army, the fight of Lakshman and Meghanaad, the bringing of life giving medicines by Hanuman to save the life of Lakshman, the killing of Ravana and his complete army, the throning in ceremony of Vibhishan - the youngest brother of Ravan, and the journey of Lord Ram along with Mother Sita and monkey chiefs to Ayodhya.
The seventh chapter narrates the reception of Lord Ram at Ayodhya, the throning-in ceremony of Lord Ram as king of Ayodhya, the paying of respect of all Gods and Vedas to Lord Ram, the rule of Lord Ram, the qualities of His rule, the life and bhakti of Kakabhusundi - the great crow, the various principles of life, about the knowledge & relation of the earthly materialism (Maya), the spirit (Atma) and God - the supreme Lord.
Those who read Ramcharitmanas or the Ramayana are blessed with Bhakti (devotion) and Mukti (salvation). They mostly achieve all that they deserve in the materialistic world and are united with the Lord.
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