Saint Valmiki composed Ramayan, considered to be the most ancient epic .in the world (approximately the 5th to 4th century B.C) which contained 24000 Sloka (verses) in 600 chapters called Sargas, in seven Kandas (grouped into books) that dealt chronologically with the major events in the life of Ram, written in classical Sanskrit poetry. Ram’s sons, Luv and Kush, were the first reciters of Ramayan to the world.
• Bala Kanda – Childhood – Birth and training of the Princes and marriage of the Princes
• Ayodhya Kanda – Ayodhya – Preparations for Ram’s coronation as a prince, coronation and his exile into the forest. Raja Dasharath died due to grief.
• Aranya Kanda –Forest – Forest life of Ram, visit to the Rishis, Ram received celestial weapons from Rishi Agastya. Kidnapping of Sita by Ravan.
• Kishkindha Kanda –Kishkindha – Meeting of Hanuman with Ram, Sugriv killed Bali with the help of Ram. Sugriv was crowned as the king of Kishkindha search of Sita.
• Sundara Kanda – Auspiciousness – Hanuman’s journey to Lanka and his meeting with Sita, sets fire to Lanka.
• Yuddha Kanda – War – Battle between Ram and Ravan. Both used Astras charged with Mantra, Sita was rescued from Ravan. Sita’s honour was tested in the fire
• Uttara Kanda –Afterword – Ram’s life after returning to Ayodhya and Sita’s exile, the birth of Luv and Kusha to Sita, their coronation to the throne of Ayodhya,.
The “Ramcharitamanas” written by Tulsidas in the 16th century in Avadhi. The exact date is stated within the poem as being the ninth day of the month of Chaitra, which was the birthday of Ram.
Valmiki’s epic depicts the story of Sri Rama as a royal hero, but for Tulasidas on the other hand, Sri Rama is incarnation of Vishnu and with Brahman (The Supreme Lord) on earth to protect the saints and His devotees.
Tulasi’s Sri Ramcharitamanas is based on the Adhyatma Ramayan. The Adhyatma Ramayan forms part of the Brahmanda Purana.
According to Hindu tradition, the Ramayan took place during a period of time known as Treta Yuga
The esoteric meaning of Ramayan is this: Ravan represented Ahankara. Had ten heads represent the ten senses. The city of Lanka was the nine-gated city of the physical body. Vibhishan corresponded to the intellect. Sita was peace. Ram was Jnana (wisdom). To kill the ten-headed Ravan was to kill the egoism and curb the senses. To recover Sita was to attain the peace which the Jiva (individual) had lost on account of desires. To attain Jnana was to had Darsana of Ram or the Supreme Self.