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This Volume no. 4 continues with the English narration of the Story of Lord Ram as described in the devotional classic known as ‘Ram Charit Manas’ written by Goswami Tulsidas, from where we had left it in volume no. 3, i.e. the end of Baal Kand. Hence, this volume no. 4 narrates the Story as described in Canto 2, i.e. Ayodhya Kand, from the beginning—till Doha no. 163.
The entire Book ‘Ram Charit Manas’ is divided into 7 Cantos, named Baal Kand, Ayodhya Kand, Aranya Kand, Kishkindha Kand, Sundar Kand, Lanka Kand, and Uttar Kand.
The topics that are covered in this volume 4 are the following:
(1) King Dasrath realised he was getting old, and so he decided to anoint Lord Ram as the next King of Ayodhya; rejoicing in the city as this news spread;
(2) The gods want Lord Ram to go to the forest instead, so that the main purpose of the Lord’s manifestation as a human being, which was to eliminate the scourge of the tyrannical demons led by their ferocious king Ravana, could be successfully accomplished; so the gods tweak the mind of queen Kaikeyi by using her trusted maid Manthara as a medium to accomplish their goal; Kaikeyi prevails upon her husband, king Dasrath, to grant her two boons under oath—one was to send Lord Ram to the forest, and the other was to appoint her own son as the King of Ayodhya; the king was devastated by this demand;
(3) Lord Ram cheerfully and willingly accepted the demand, and after taking permission from his mother Kaushalya, the Lord proceeded to the forest; Sita and Laxman decide to accompany.
(4) Lord Ram, Sita and Laxman depart from Ayodhya on their way to the forest; the grief-stricken citizens follow them; Dasrath asks Sumantra to take a chariot and go with the Lord for some distance, and then try to bring him back; Lord Ram, Sita and Laxman board the chariot, and after spending the first night on the banks of river Tamsa, they reach Sringberpur;
(5) Lord Ram meets and befriends Nishad, the chief of the boatman community; the next morning Sumantra pleaded with Lord Ram to return home, conveying to him and Sita Dasrath’s emotional message; Lord Ram politely declined and asked Sumantra to turn back; then the Lord, accompanied by Sita, Laxman and Nishad, cross the river Ganges after blessing the boatman who took them across;
(6) Lord Ram and his companions arrive at Prayag; then the Lord visits sage Bharadwaj’s hermitage; the conversation between the Lord and the sage;
(7) Departure from Bharadwaj’s hermitage; the news of the passage of Lord Ram through the countryside spread like wildfire, and every single soul who heard came rushing to meet and get blessed by the Lord’s presence; when the Lord reached river Yamuna, he asked Nishad to return home;
(8) Lord Ram arrives at sage Valmiki’s hermitage; conversation between the sage and the Lord during which Valmiki outlines the symbolic holy places where Lord Ram should live;
(9) On the advice of sage Valmiki, Lord Ram arrives at Chitrakoot to abide there for some days;
(10) Meanwhile, Sumantra returned to Ayodhya and informed king Dasrath of the developments; Dasrath lamented and grieved sorrowfully, and died in shock of separation from Lord Ram which was too much for him to cope with;
(11) Bharat and Shatrughan were informed by messengers sent by sage Vasistha; Bharat returns home and learns of the wicked deed of his mother; he strongly rebuked and upbraided her.
Our Book contains the Original Text of Ram Charit Manas followed by Roman Transliteration of the verses, and then a comprehensive and analytical narrative of the Text in English, explaining it thoroughly and from different perspectives verse-by-verse, aided by detailed notes and references.
The other volumes that follow in this series will carry on with the magnificent narrative of Ram Charit Manas in a step-wise manner.