What is the Difference Between Ramayana and Ramcharitmanas?

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Difference Between Ramayana and Ramcharitmanas

Ramayana and Ramcharitmanas are two significant literary works in Hinduism that revolve around the life of Lord Rama. These epics hold immense cultural, religious, and historical significance in India and continue to captivate readers and followers worldwide. While both texts share a common theme and narrative, they differ in their language, style and the perspective from which the story of Lord Rama is presented. In this article, we will explore the differences between Ramayana and Ramcharitmanas and learn about them elaborately.

What is Valmiki Ramayan?

Ramayana was written by the sage Valmiki. It is considered one of the oldest and greatest Sanskrit epics. It is believed to be written around 500 AD and consists of 24,000 verses divided into seven chapters known as Kandas. The epic narrates the life and adventures of Lord Rama, his wife Sita and his loyal devotee Hanuman.

Ramayana is composed in classical Sanskrit, which was the language of scholars in ancient India. The text follows a poetic and highly structured style and explores philosophical and moral themes such as the concepts of duty, honour, loyalty and the nature of good and evil. Valmiki’s Ramayana is also called Mula-Ramayana. 

Also Read – Vedic Period: A Sacred Chapter of Indian History

What is Ramcharitmanas?

Ramcharitmanas, written by the saint poet Goswami Tulsidas in the 16th century and has nearly 10,902 verses. It is a popular devotional version of the Ramayana with 7 Kandas. It holds a special place in the hearts of millions of devotees and has been instrumental in spreading the message of Lord Rama’s divinity and love.

Unlike Ramayana, Ramcharitmanas is written in Awadhi, a dialect of Hindi that was widely understood by the masses during Tulsidas’ time. The use of the Awadhi language makes the text more accessible and relatable to common people and bridges the gap between the scholarly Sanskrit and vernacular Hindi. Ramcharitmanas presents Lord Rama as the supreme embodiment of divinity and love, emphasizing devotion and surrender to God. 

Original Manuscript of Ramcharitmanas by Tulsidas Ji.

Major Difference between Ramayan and Ramcharitmanas

As to what is the difference between Ramayana and Ramcharitmanas is a very important question to ponder. Many people get confused with Ramcharistmanas as Ramayana, but there lies a huge difference between the two. Let’s see the difference in the listed table below – 

Written ByValmiki is believed to be a contemporary of Lord RamaTulsidas, a contemporary of Emperor Akbar
LanguageSanskrit languageAwadhi language
YugaComposed in Treta-YugaComposed in Kal-Yuga
PerspectiveObjective, showcasing human & divine aspectsDevotional, emphasizing Rama’s divinity
Character PortrayalRama – righteous & heroic, Sita – supportiveRama – compassionate & relatable, Sita – stronger focus on virtues & trials
Narrative StyleWritten in “Shlokas” formatWritten in “Chaupais” format
EmphasisDharma (righteousness) & consequences of its violationBhakti (devotion) & path to salvation through faith in Rama
Structure7 Chapters – Balakandam, Ayodhya Kandam, Aranyakandam,Kisskinda Kandam,Sundara Kandam, Yuddha Kandam and Uttara Kandam7 Chapters with slight variations -Balakandam, Ayodhya Kandam, Aranyakandam, Kisskinda Kandam, Sundara Kandam, Lanka Kandam  (Yuddha & Lanka Kanda combined) and Uttara Kandam
LengthLonger, more elaborate description of events & characters with 24,000 VersesConcise, retaining story essence with 10,902 Verses
EndingRama returned to Ayodhya and departed later when Goddess Sita went into Mother Earth and Lord Rama with Lakshmana disappeared in River Saryu.Does not have any details about how the lives of Goddess Sita, Lord Ram and Lakshmana ended. Instead, includes the story of the birth of Goddess Sita and Lord Rama’s twin sons – Luv & Kush in the end.
Views on Goddess SitaGoddess Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, according to RamayanaA clone of Goddess Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, according to Ramcharitmanas. As Lord Rama handed over the original incarnation of Goddess Sita to Lord Agni much before the kidnapping event.
Views on RavanaIn the Battlefield, according to Ramayana, Ravana was defeated by Lord Rama twice, at the beginning and at the end.In the Battlefield, according to Ramcharitmanas, Ravana came last to fight against Lord Rama. Hence was defeated only once in the end.
Views on “Agni Pariksha” (Purity Test)According to Ramayana, Lord Rama asked Goddess Sita to prove her purity through “Agni Pariksha”.According to Tulsidas, Lord Rama performed the Agni Pariksha to get back the original incarnation of Goddess Sita in exchange for the clone of Goddess Sita who was kidnapped.
Cultural InfluenceWider influence across Southeast AsiaStronger influence in North Indian culture & religious practices
Views on King DasarathaKing Dasaratha had 350 wives and 3 main wives -Kaushalya, Keikeyi and Sumitra according to RamayanaKing Dasaratha had only 3 wives -Kaushalya, Keikeyi and Sumitra according to Ramcharitmanas.
Views of King JanakAccording to Ramayana, there was no organisation of Swayamvara by King Janak for his daughter Sita. When Ram visited Janak’s palace with guru Vishwamitra, he easily lifted the Bow of Shiva, that’s why Goddess Sita married Lord Rama.  According to Ramcharitmanas, there was a grand organisation of Swayamvara by King Janak for his daughter Sita. When Ram visited Janak’s palace with guru Vishwamitra, at the Swayamvar he was the only one to lift the Bow of Shiva and attach the strings to break the bow, and win Goddess Sita’s hand in marriage.
Views on Lord HanumanLord Hanuman is considered a Human belonging to the Vanara Tribe.Lord Hanuman is considered a Monkey and Not Human.
Religious ImportanceSacred textMore devotional status, used in rituals & pujas
LegacyGrand chronicleLiving testament to Rama’s journey resonates deeply with everyone

In conclusion, Ramayana and Ramcharitmanas, though share a common theme, differ significantly in terms of language, style, accessibility, and philosophical emphasis. Ramayana, with its classical Sanskrit and moral teachings, stands as a timeless epic of ancient India. Conversely, Ramcharitmanas, with its devotional tone and simple language, has touched the hearts of millions, spreading the message of love and devotion to Lord Rama. Both texts continue to inspire, enlighten, and nurture the spiritual aspirations of countless devotees, serving as guiding lights in the path of righteousness and divinity.

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That’s all about the difference between Ramayana and Ramcharitmanas! If you want to know more about topics like this, then visit our general knowledge page! Alternatively, you can also read our blog on general knowledge for competitive exams!

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