As I grew up I read children’s stories by Enid Blyton and the like. Presently, the detective stories of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys have caught my imagination.
Besides these books, I have also read a number of stories, novels, a few dramas, essays and even poems. I also enjoy reading the daily news papers, magazines on science, art and current events.
But my affaires all-time favourite is the Ramcharitmanas by the great poet Tulsidas. I can read the great epic over again without getting bored or feeling that I have read before. The book never loses its charm. Rather, it is like the deep and vast ocean which presents a new jewel to me every time I plunge into it. In fact, I feel that the book, the story and everything about it has transcended the Indian mind, body and soul. Every Indian is familiar with the story as he is familiar with the air he breathes and the land he dwells on.
The story is narrated in a very interesting and engaging way. It never dwindles into monotony. Even though the language of the book is Avadhi, the reader does not feel that he is wandering into unknown realms. The epic is divided into several parts and each of its episodes can be developed into an independent story. The story relates the reasons of the birth of Lord Rama, the insistence of all the Gods and his life story, marriage to Sita, his going into exie and his conquering Lanka and defeating Ravana.
The epic is dispersed with social, political and religious wisdom. It is really about life and teacher’s one about the wisdom and very essence of life. It is a storehouse of wisdom and virtue. It stands as a monumental work in Hindu literature. The books depict life in all its colours, hues and shades. The poet has skillfully treated all the “Rasas” with equal dexterity. The use of similes, metaphors and various other figures of speech, ornamentation and embellishment is unsurpassed till now.
No other work has touched such great height as the Ramcharitmanas. It is also a religious book for the Hindus and its importance cannot be started in words. Yet the beauty and permanence of the book lies in the fact that it does not belong to any religion but to all the people of all ages, era and times.
The epic is a living code of conduct for all the people. It is an eternal symbol of virtue. The theme that emerges over and over again from every page of the epic is that virtue is forever victorious. It is the truth that the triumph in the end and the good that wins and the evil is vanquished in the end.
The book is also rich in its political wisdom. It deals with the ideal rule of a king over his people what we call the ‘Ram Rajya’. Even Gandhiji dreamt of having the ideal rule for his country where truth reigns all over. The episode of Ravana warns us against tyrannical rule and vanity of knowledge.
The book is the epitome of India’s progress and enriching culture during ancient times. It reflects upon the material, economic, political, social, and intellectual affluence of ancient India. It also teaches us the prime virtue of sacrifice and love through the Bharat episode and true dedication in the character of Human. These embedded jewels of the epic make it my favorite book for all time.