‘Shri Ram Charitra Manas’ is an epic historical text that described the triumphs and trials of the life of Lord Rama – the seventh reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Rama is also known as ‘Purushottam’ – meaning the ‘Supreme Persona’ as he stands for truth, justice, morality and is an epitome example of an ideal son, husband, brother, friend and king. Hence, Akhand Ramayan Paath is often recited to not only learn about Lord Rama’s life but also to learn and imbibe the qualities of the supreme person within ourselves.
Importance and Significance of Akhand Ramayan Paath
‘Shri Ram Charitra Manas’ was written by a Hindu-poet and philosopher, Saint Tulsidas Goswami back in 16th century, who was a devout follower of Lord Rama. The text was a depiction of Ramayana written by Sage Valmiki in Sanskrit. Akhand Ramayan Paath is a practice of continuous recital of the entire ‘Shri Ram Charitra Manas’ without any break. The entire text includes seven chapters, i.e. Kaands, which depict different stages of Lord Rama’s life. They are -
The mere recital of the Akhand Ramayan Paath is believed to be auspicious. It removes all the obstacles and the adversities from one’s path to success and prosperity and provides moksha to the soul, which is considered sacred and important amongst Hindus.
Benefits of reciting Akhand Ramayan Paath
Reciting Akhand Ramayan Paath is believed to reap innumerable benefits. Some of them are -
- Bringing in peace, understanding, prosperity and happiness within the family.
- Brings success to new business and ventures.
- Auspicious for other new beginnings like entering a new house (Griha Pravesh), Marriage ceremonies, Birth of a Child and so on.
- Creates a divine atmosphere at the place where Akhand Ramayan Paath is recited.
- Induces truth, courage and righteousness amongst disciples.
- Provides moksha to soul and rids it from trails of re-birth.
- Prevents harm and danger from evil.
- Protects against ill health.
- Seek blessings of Lord Rama and Lord Hanuman.
History & Stories
While ‘Shri Ram Charitra Manas’ written by Saint Tulsidas is a depiction of ‘Ramayana written by Sage Valmiki, the only difference was the way it was written. Ramayana was a direct factual account of the story, whereas Shri Ram Charitra Manas is a regional version written from devotee’s point of view, praising Lord Rama in all his glory for his virtues.
The text was written in Awadhi language to make common people aware of Lord Rama’s ethical life and his triumphs compared to Ramayana which was in Sanskrit language and restricted to only Brahmins to understand. The concise text in local language not only popularized the epic saga but also helped in turn establishing a way of living for mankind.
Occasions to perform the Puja
- The day is decided basis tithi. Ramnavami – the birth day of Lord Rama, is considered the best day to organise and perform Akhand Ramayan Paath.
- Dussera is also considered auspicious..
Akhand Ramayan Paath Vidhi (Procedure)
- Akhand Ramayan Paath is read continuously in 24 hours. Hence, it is necessary to keep all things ready and handy to avoid any disruptions in Paath. Generally the Akhand Ramayan Paath is done in communities and temples with bigger audience to benefit all.
- A stage facing east is prepared for all dieities to reside on. The same is adorned with banana stalks covering on all four sides of dias for each deity. Cover the dias with read cloth.
- Place the idols of Lord Rama, Devi Sita, Lord Hanuman, Lord Ganesh, Lord Shiva, Devi Parvati, over the Tulsi leaves on the dias.
- Place a Kalash with water on a heap of rice on the dias in front of Lord Rama’s idol. Keep five betel leaves at the mouth of Kalash and place a coconut over it.
- Tie a mauli thread to both coconut and Kalash. Draw swastika and five dots on Kalash with kumkum.
- Place Supari, cloves, cardamom, Mishri and other offerings on one side and fruits, flowers and bhog on the other side.
- Light a bigger ghee diya as it needs to last till the puja is finished. Keep the additional ghee in handy to add in case needed.
- Akhand Ramayan Paath involves number of procedures like Swasti Vachan, Shanti Path, Sankalp, Ganesh Sthapan, Kalash Sthapan, Lakshmi Sthapan, Ram Darbar Sthapan, Navgrah Sthapan, Brahma Sthapan and Agni Sthapan.
- Puja also includes rituals for invocation of all Gods and Goddesses, Navagraha Mantra Jaap followed by Akhand Ramayan Paath and an additional recitation of "Sundarkand Paath" to mark the end of Akhand Ramayan Paath.
- Once completed, priests perform Homam with puja samagri, Navagraha Samidha and finally offer Purnahuti and Aarti.
- Once the puja is done, the Bhog is offered to Brahmins and Prasad is distributed amongst others.
Akhand Ramayan Paath commences in Brahma Muhurat at early morning 5 am and the recitation goes on non-stop till next 24 hours.