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When Can a Long Poem be Called an Epic

There are two main epics in Hindi literature - Mahaabhaarat and Raamaayan. Although an epic is just like a long poetry, but the same becomes an epic when it meets certain conditions -

1. It should be about somebody, some important person of the society.
Both Raamaayan and Maanas are about an important character Raam.

2. It should describe the detailed account of his life since birth to death in chronological order.
Both V-Raamaayan and Maanas describe Raam's life description in detail in chronological order.

3. It should start from some kind of prayer to God.
Both V-Raamaaya and Maanas start with prayers to God.

4. It should have the detailed description of all the seasons in a year.* (see below)
5. An epic must also contain all the nine Ras of poetry as ascertained by poetry principles.** (see below)

So both these long poetry fulfill these conditions, that is why they are called epics.

Description of Seasons In V-Raamaayan -

Hemant Ritu narration in Kishkindhaa Kaand 30th chapter when promised period of waiting for Seetaa's search ends and Raam sends Lakshman to Sugreev in His wrath in Aranya Kaand Chapter 16 at the time of starting living in Panchvatee before meeting Shoorpankhaa.
Vasant Ritu (post-Autumn or post Fall) narration in Kishkindhaa Kaand, Chapter 43 when Hanumaan and other Vaanar are in search of Seetaa after their exit from the cave of Swayamprabhaa.
Varshaa Ritu (Rainy season) narration in Kishkindhaa Kaand, Chapter 28 when the monkeys are given a holiday in search of Seetaa.

Description of Ras in Tulasee's Maanas -

1. Vaatsalya Ras (Parents' love towards child) - In Baal Kaand, when Maa Kaushalyaa is bringing up her son Raam.
2. Shaant Ras (Peace) - In Baal Kaand, in the beginning, it is in prayers. Also in Uttar Kaand.
3. Haasya Ras (Comedy) - In Baal Kaand, in reference to Naarad.
4a. Shringaar Ras (Love towards the hero or heroine) - In Baal Kaand, Seetaa in garden.
4b. Shringaar Ras (Separation of hero and heroine) - In Kishkindhaa Kaand, after Seetaa has been abducted by Raavan.
5. Veer Ras (Bravery) - In Lankaa Kaand, at the time of war.
6. Veebhats Ras (Bhayaanak Ras)- In Lankaa Kaand, at the time of war.
7. Krodh Ras - In Ayodhyaa Kaand when Parashuraam comes and shows his anger on Lakshman



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Created by Sushma Gupta On 5/27/04
Modified on 04/14/12