Hindu Scriptures  

Shree Rama Charit Manas
As Written By
Goswami Tulsi Daas Jee

Introduction Bal Kaand Ayodhya Kaand Aranaya Kaand
Kishkindhaa Kaand Sudar Kaand Lanka Kaand Uttar kaand

Popularly known as Raamaayan, it has been written by several authors and in several languages. First it was written by Aadi Kavi (the first poet) Rishi Vaalmeeki Jee which is known as Vaalmeeki Raamaayan. It is not very common among public to read its this version. This is written in Sanskrit language, but its Hindi translation is also available.

Second is written by Goswaamee Tulasee Das Jee. He is reputed to live for 125 years, from 1511 AD to 1637 AD. This is most popular in UP area. It is written in Avadhee dialect of Hindi language in such a way that it can be sung. Its Hindi translation is also available. It is more popular in educated people.

Third version, written by Ghanshyaam Daas, is known as Ghanshyaam Daas Jee Kee Raamaayan. It is also written in the way that it can be sung, but it is more popular among village population, because its language is daily use spoken language and people can cram it
There are other Raamaayan also in other provincial languages of India, such as Tamil, Gujrati etc.
There is another Raamaayan which is Adhyaatm Raamaayan. It is a part of Brahmaand Puraan. I mention it here because the mention of shadow Seetaa has been taken from Adhyaatm Raamaayan.
Shiv Jee has been mentioned several times in Raamaayan and Mahaabhaarat, that is why a section has been included on Shiv Jee, His stories etc.

How to Read It
Here this Raamaayan is written by Tulsee Das Jee. It is very popular to read this Raamaayan in:--

One month - People can read it in any auspicious month like Kaartik, or Maagh. It has divided in such a way that you need not to think where to start and end daily. "Maas Paaraayan Vishraam" are marked for monthly reading. This is more popular among those who have some time and want to read it as their daily worship. In one day one can read it in one hour or according to the speed of the reader. A few sections are longer than others. They also take longer time than usual time to finish.
Nine days - People can read it in nine days too. Although these nine days can be at any time of the year but there are two "nine days" are very popular to read it and in those days it is read in many households and temples. Like the "Maas Paaraayan", it also has marks for nine days reading. These nine days are two "Nav Raatri" periods which fall first in Chaitra Maas - from Chaitra Shukla Padavaa to Chaitra Shukla Navamee, the day is Raam Janmdin (Raam's birthday); and the second one falls in Aashwin Maas - from Aashwin Shukla Padavaa to Aashwin Shukla Navamee (the Tenth day is Dashaharaa or Vijayaa Dashamee). This takes a longer time, about 3-4 hours. or according to the speed of the readers.

Akhand Raamaayan - People read it in two ways: one, people read it continuously, in whatever time it takes. In this way at least two or four people sit together and read it together. When one has to leave he can go easily because other people are still reading it. So they do not allow to break the flow in reading. Two, in this way people read it normally in 24 hours. Similar rules are applied to this also, except that it has to be finished in almost 24 hours. Speed can be regulated just by checking time at time to time. This Akhand Raamaayan, although can be read at any auspicious day of the year but is most popular in both Nav Raatri periods. People start it on the eighth day and finish it on the ninth day.

In every reading, there is a tradition to read a Chaupaayee as Samput. Samput is normally read after every Dohaa. This Samput is decided before start reading it. There are several Chaupaayee popular for this purpose but the following is most popular:

Mangal bhavan amangal haaree
Dravahu so Dashrath ajir bihaaree