the book

A Modern Interpretation of Goswami Tulsidas’s Ramcharitmanas


the story

‘A Modern Interpretation of Lokmanya Tilak’s Gita Rahasya’ got a surreal launch in Lucknow at the hands of the Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra during the celebration of the 101’st anniversary of Lokmanya Tilak’s famous declaration, “Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it,” on December 30, 2017, in the presence of Lokmanya’s great-grandson, Shailesh Tilak. I knew it was time to take the next logical step of writing the modern interpretation of Goswami Tulsidas’ Ramcharitmanas. Ashutosh Ramgir of Sakal, present on the occasion, readily agreed to publish the book and assigned the same editorial team.

Why is it important for modern people to read their scriptures? Where is the need for the modern generation to bother about the old and jaded conversations, so esoteric, distant and even vague? I was fascinated to see the breadth and depth of Goswami Tulsidas’ imagination to capture and portray every possible shade of the human mind. He added a profound last chapter to the Valmiki Ramayana, presenting a long conversation between Kakbhusundi, an immortal crow witnessing the cycles of creation and destruction of the universe, and Garuda, the carrier of Lord Vishnu who got confused about Shri Rama being God incarnate, after liberating him from Meghanad’s serpent knot.

Besides being the eternal story of Shri Rama, the Ramcharitmanas is brilliant poetry. How do I convey the poetic artistry in prose? As if by Providence, the English translation of ‘The Divine Comedy’, written by the Italian poet, Dante Alighieri (1265–1321), translated by the American poet, John Ciardi (1916 –1986), reached me. John Ciardi translated the Italian verses written by Dante Alighieri in three-line verses in English, with stunning effect. I decided to translate the verses written by Goswamiji in Sanskrit and Avadhi into English, in a five-line format. It took me a lot of time, but gave me a satisfaction that I have never earlier experienced. In fact, Bibek Debroy, the celebrated translator of the Valmiki Ramayana in English, complimented me by saying that I was born to do this work.

 I requested Dr. B. Soma Raju to write the foreword. He is not an atheist but stays away from religious practices. He brilliantly wrote, “This book must be read to bridge the almost fatal disconnect of modern people from their roots, which is always present in their bodies as the unconscious mind, and if not accessed and resolved, has the power to destroy not only the mental and physical health, but also transmute the DNA for future generations that would be created out of this genetic stock.”

In the present age, families have largely become nuclear, with one or no child. People are living longer, but without enough income and/or support. Life is, as if hanging by a thread, which is about to give way. This book presents Rama to all such anxious souls as a solid landing rock. Rama is everywhere, including inside you, waiting to be plugged into; to be landed on.

This book is not to promote the Hindu religion, the worship of Shri Rama, or the Ramcharitmanas, as they are eternal truths and need no human assistance. This book attempts to give its readers a means to enhance their neural functioning and thereby improve their physical and emotional health. Remembering God every day and considering your true self not your body, your mind, or your intelligence, but your spirit can permanently change the structure of your brain so that it becomes responsive instead of reactive, emphatic instead of pathetic, and compassionate instead of competitive. Reading this book will help your neurological circuitry generate peace in your family, productivity at your workplace and above all, vigorous youth and serene old age.

“What is the ‘Ramcharitmanas’? It is Rama’s story, or Rama’s conduct, as narrated by Goswami Tulsidas. However, this doesn’t quite explain what the word ‘manasa’ (mind) is doing in the title. The explanation given, in the ‘Ramcharitmanas’, is that this story was in Shiva’s mind and came to Tulsidas via Parvati and Narharidas, Tulsidas’s guru. It is no different with this volume by Professor Arun Tiwari. As a text, the ‘Ramcharitmanas’ is suffused with bhakti, and Rama’s story and ‘Ramcharitmanas’ become what the reader, as a bhakta, take them to be, much more than with any other text. In this case, the bhakta is also a re-teller and re-interpreter, and bhakti is blended with Advaita Vedanta, although labels are best avoided. Goswami Tulsidas composed the ‘Ramcharitmanas’ rather late in life. Age brings wisdom. Through this book, Arun Tiwari too brings forth the wisdom that he now passes on, especially to the younger generation, in a novel and engaging way”


Bibek Debroy

Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India

Profusely blessed, Prof. Arun Tiwari, the celebrated co-author of ‘Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji’ with Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, has written a modern narrative of the timeless ‘Ramcharitmanas’ in the language and flair of the youth. God can be seen through the loving eyes of a devotee in the Murti and felt in the service of a Gunantit Guru. A must-read for people in a world overwhelmed by and overloaded with material pleasures and desires. The book provides a guiding path for the devout to connect with the Supreme.

Sadhu Swayamprakashdas (Pujya Dr. Swami)



Publication year

sakal publications