The ancient Sanskritepics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, laid the cornerstone for much of Hindu religion. Indeed, the epic form prevailed and verse was and remained until very recently the preferred form of Hindu works. Hero-worship was and is a central aspect of Indian culture, and thus readily lent itself to a literary tradition that abounded in epic poetry and literature. The Puranas, a massive collection of verse-form histories of India's many Hindu gods and goddesses, followed in this tradition.
The first epic to appear in Hindi was Tulsidas' (1543-1623) Ramacharitamanasa, also based on the Ramayana. It is considered a great classic of Hindi epic poetry and literature, and shows the author Tulsidas in complete command over all the important styles of composition - narrative, epic, lyrical and dialectic. He has given a human character to Rama, the Hindu avataar of Vishnu, potraying him as an ideal son, husband, brother, king and so on.
The epic is a broadly defined genre of poetry, and one of the major forms of narrative literature.
In the West, the Iliad, Odyssey, and the Nibelungenlied; and in the East, the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Shahnama, Epic of King Gesar, and Journey to the West are often cited as examples of the epic genre.
The first epics are associated strongly with preliterate societies and oral poetic traditions.
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