Some of us use the words Ramayana and Ramcharitmanas interchangeably, little realising that they are rather two different magnum opuses by different authors in different eras. Both the books are about (Lord) Rama and his consort Sita and their lives. Ramcharitmanas is a later retelling of Ramayana. So are other religious scriptures like Kamban(Tamil), Krittivasi Ramayan (Bengali) and Bhavarth Ramayan (Marathi). It will be good to understand the meaning of the titles of the two.

Meaning of Ramayana

Ram + Aayanam (Story): Ram’s Story
(There’s no exaggeration or eulogy in the title)

Meaning of Ramcharitmanas

Ram + Charit (deeds or character) + Manas (Lake):   The Lake of the Deeds of Ram
(The title itself hints at divinity/extraordinaire of Ram)


differences between ramayana and ramcharitmanas

There are various differences wrapped in layers in the verses of both the books. But the ten elementary differences in structure, characters and narration are captured and put in the table below.

10 Differences Between Ramayana and Ramcharitmanas

1Written by Goswami Tulsidas, born in 15th CenturyWritten by Sage Valmiki, a contemporary to Ram
2Written in 15th CenturyWritten sometime in millennia BC (debated)
3The language in Awadhi (a dialect of Hindi)The language is vedic Sanskrit
4Written in rhyming Chaupais (4 line quatrain metre) & DohasWritten in Shlokas (Anustubh Meter)
5Is a retelling on RamayanaIs an Adi Kavya (original text)
6Rama was depicted as God (incarnation of Vishnu)Rama was depicted as a Human of greatest virtues (Purushottam)
7Hanuman was depicted a Vanara (monkey)Hanuman was a human ( from a tribe called ‘Vanara’)
8Ram’s father Dashrath had only 3 wivesDashrath had over 350 wives
9The penultimate chapter is called Lanka KandThe penultimate chapter is called Yudha Kand
10Ends with the birth of Lava and Kusha, Sita’s twin progenies.Ends with Sita willingly entering netherworld, and Rama leaving his mortal incarnation. When Lava & Kusha are aged 12.

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