Pramāņa : the source of valid knowledge.
Pramāņa (or Pramaanam) are the means or the source of obtaining the correct knowledge. The sources or means of correct knowledge are acknowledged as authoritative. In the context of Dharma and knowledge of supreme being, Dharma-Shastras such as Shruti, Smriti, Itihasa, Puranas and Apta-Vakyas (testimony of realised-souls such as Rishi-s) which are completely in line of Vedas, are the Pramāņa-s (the source of correct knowledge).
In Vishishtadvaita-Vaishnavism i.e. Sri-Sampradāya, these are accepted as source of knowledge (Pramāņa):
Pratyakşa — direct sense perception or immediate cognition
Anumāna — logical inference
Śabda — Verbal testimony

Shabda Pramana are of two types:
1) Svatah-Pramāņa (self-sufficent authority): Revealed words or Sabda i.e. 4 Vedas [Shrutis] are the self-sufficient authority.
2) Paratah-Pramāņa (Dependent authority) : All other scriptures and Aapta-Vakyas (verbal testimony of qualified people e.g. Brahm-jnāni sages) which expounds Vedas, and are completely in line of Shruti.

There are many contexts e.g. Dharma and Adharma, Brahman (The supreme Absolute one), etc. in which Anumāna (logical inferences) and Pratyaksha (direct sense perception or immediate cognition) are not cent percent free from defects, and may not be perfect and pure truth. As the unseen reality Brahman is not the subject of senses, hence in the context of the transcedental supreme absolute, Brahman, Shruti (Śabda Pramana) alone which is the authorless (Apaurusheya) and revealed knowledge is the supreme and final authority.

It is also confirmed from Brahma-Sutras:
शास्त्रयोनित्वात् । ( ब्रह्म सूत्र १.१.३ । )
śāstrayōnitvāt । ( brahma sūtra 1.1.3 । )
भावार्थ:- ब्रह्म का ज्ञान शास्त्र से होता है॥
Purport: Brahmam cognisable through the scriptures alone. Therefore, the scripture being the source of right knowledge.

तत् तु समन्वयात् । ( ब्रह्म सूत्र १.१.४ । )
tat tu samanvayāt । ( brahma sūtra 1.1.4 । )
भावार्थ:- वह ब्रह्मज्ञान शास्त्र के समन्वय से होता है॥
Purport: But that Brahman is to be known only from the Scriptures after harmonization, and not independently, because it is the main purpose of all Vedantic texts.

Vedas : वेदानां स्वतः प्रामाण्यम्‌।

why is Shruti the most most authoritative or supreme authority ( for right knowledge in the context of Brahman) among all Shastra-s?

Prime reason is Vedas are Apaurusheya (authorless) as Maharshi Kapil has said in his sānkhya-sutras :
न पौरुषेयत्वं तत्कर्तुः पुरुषस्याभावात् । sānkhya-sutra 5.46 ।
No one authored Vedas, Vedas are authorless (Apaurusheya).
and directly revealed by Brahman himself :
निजशक्त्यभिव्यक्तेः स्वतः प्रामाण्यं । sānkhya-sutra 5.51 ।
Purport: Vedas are self-sufficient authority in itself as it is revealed ( and illuminated) by lord himself.
In Brahm-Sutra, Maharshi Badarayan says:
शब्द इति चेन् नातः प्रभवात् प्रत्यक्षानुमानाभ्याम् । (brahm sutra 1.3.28)
Purport: The Vedic words have been proved to be permanent, i.e. without beginning or end, whole existence mere follows those Vedic-words (Vedas), as is known from direct perception (Sruti) and inference (Smriti).
अत एव च नित्यत्वम् । ( brahm sutra 1.3.29। )
Purport: From this very reason also there follows the eternity of the Vedas.
Thus Vedas are always in existence and eternal. The Seers (Rishis) were not the authors of the Vedas. They only discovered the eternal Mantra-s of Vedas, through revelation by Brahman. It is also approved in Rig-Veda.

य॒ज्ञेन॑ वा॒चः प॑द॒वीय॑माय॒न्तामन्व॑विन्द॒न्नृषि॑षु॒ प्रवि॑ष्टाम्।
तामा॒भृत्या॒ व्य॑दधुः पुरु॒त्रा तां स॒प्त रे॒भा अ॒भि सं न॑वन्ते॥
[Rig Ved 10.71.3]
Purport: By means of Yajna (sacrifice) they followed the trace of speech (Vak); they found it dwelling in the Rishis. (It shows that the speech found by the Rishis was permanent.)
Veda was percieved by Brahman himself, and Brahman revealed it to Seers.
Q . Why should a modern science oriented person believe on Vedas as the self-sufficient authority and Pramana (the source of valid knowledge)?
Answer : It is known to all - 'Veda is the most ancient scripture of human-kind'. Still there is no contradiction found in whole Vedas with any law of nature or physical science or cosmology etc. which are discovered by modern science recently. In reality, whatever is said long ago in Vedas, modern science is mere reinforcing and approving those facts with their own scientific discoveries. Everything in Vedas is perfect and true, while this is not the same case with Avaidika-scriptures (which are not in line with Vedas). So Vedas by the virtue of its perfectness in everyway could be the only scripture which are perceived by the supreme absolute (Brahman) himself. As Jiva-s are endowed with limited knowledge, so a Jiva can't be author of the divine marvel Vedas, only the supreme almighty, the omniscient Brahman should be the one who revealed it to Seers for transmitting the valid knowledge generation after the generation.
One can see here how modern science is approving the concept of Vedic-cosmology: Modern Science via-a-vis Vedic Concept in Cosmology
Thus it is beyond doubt that all perfect Veda is divine revelation by the Brahman, the soul of universe.
After considering all these, whole Sanatan Dharma accepts Vedas as the Swatah-Pramana (self-sufficient means of valid knowledge) and the supreme authority because of their most divine nature. In Sri-Vaishnava Ramanandi Sampradaya too, Vedas are supreme authority.

Valmiki Ramayana : वेदावतार वाल्मीकि रामायण ।

In Sanatan Dharma, Valmiki Ramayana is treated as Itihasa (history), the biography of supreme personality and the Pramana (the means of valid knowledge) which expounds the Vedas. One of the most important facts about Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is 'It is the first scripture after Vedas, composed by a Brahm-jnani sage Valmiki in order to expound and reinforce the meanings of Vedas.' As Brahman or Purusa is the main purport of Vedas, similarly Sri Ram is the main purport of Valmiki Ramayana as it is completely based upon Sri Ram's life; in the begining (with the quest about the Purusa being perfect in 16 qualities, on the Pattern of the quest about Brahman in Brahm-Sutra), the middle and the end (reconfirmation from BrahmA and Shiva) of Valmiki Ramayana, Sri Ram is identified as the Purusa (the supreme personality) or Aadi-Purusa (the primeval lord), and the imperishable Brahman.

Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is the most authoritative scripture after Bhagavati-Shruti, Purva-Bhaag of Veda i.e. the Dharma (righteous duties) is decided by Sri Ram's sublime conduct and Uttar-Bhag of Vedas i.e. Brahman himself is Sri Ram! Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is the incarnation of Vedas itself.
वेदवेद्ये परेपुंसि जाते दशरथात्मजे।
वेदः प्राचेतसादासीत् साक्षाद् रामायणात्मना॥
तस्माद्रामायणं देवि! वेद एव न संशयः॥
[Mangalacharan, Valmiki Ramayana, and Agastya Samhita]
Purport: Supreme being is known through Vedas. When that Supreme being of Vedas born as son of Dasratha (Śrī Rām) in Ayodhya, that time all Vedas manifested themselves through the mouth of sage Valmiki, the son of sage Prachetus, directly as the Ramayana. Therefore, O' Devi, there is no doubt that Sri Ramayana is Vedas itself.
In Sri-Vaishnava Ramanuji and Ramanandi sect, both, Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is held as the most authoritative scripture after Vedas. Here are some Sutras from Sri-Vachana-Bhushanam by Srivaishnava Acharya Pillai Lokacharya which is treated as Maha-Shastra by Sri Ramanuji-Vaishnavas :-

Q. How to know the real imports of Vedas?

वेदार्थो निश्चेतव्य: स्मृतीतिहासपुराणै: ॥१॥
स्मृति, इतिहास और पुराण से हीं वेदों का सही अर्थ लगाया जाता है।
know the actual imports of Vedas through Smritis Itihasa and Puranas.
Q. What is/are decided from Smriti and Itihasa?

स्मृत्यापूर्वभागार्थो निर्णीयते अन्याभ्यांद्वाभ्यामुत्तर भागार्थो निर्णीयते ॥२॥
स्मृतियों से वेदों के पूर्व-भाग अर्थात कर्म का निरूपण किया जाता है, और इतिहास [रामायण, महाभारत और पुराणों] से ब्रह्म का निरूपण किया जाता है।
The Karma-s are decided from (explained & enunciated by) Smritis, and The Brahman (The absolute one, the Purusa) is explained and described through Itihāsa and Purana.
. Q. Which has superior authority among these?

अनयोरूभयोर्मध्ये इतिहासः प्रबलः॥३॥
इतिहास और पुराण के मध्य में इतिहास प्रबल है!
Among these, however, Itihāsa is superior authority.

. Q. for which reason?

तेन स पूर्वं भवति ॥४॥
इतिहास पुराण से प्रबल होने से हरेक जगह पहले आता है।
(वेद और उपनिषदों में 'इतिहासपुराणाभ्यां' जैसे समास में इतिहास पूर्व में [पहले] कहा गया है। इस तरह किसी भी पुराण से इतिहास श्रेष्ठ है।)
Itihāsa has superior authority as everywhere in the Vedas and other scriptures the word 'Itihāsa' comes before the word 'Purāṇ' whenever they are joined together in accordance of the 'Dvandva' Samās (compound).

(Itihāsa is told before in 'Samasa' like 'Itihasapuranabhyam' in Veda and Upanishads. Hence Itihasa is superior than All Puranas).

Q. There are two main Itihasa, Ramayana and Mahabharata! Which one has superior authority?

इतिहासश्रेष्ठेन रामायणेन कारागृह वास कर्त्र्या वैभव उच्यते ॥५॥
(इतिहासों में श्रेष्ठ श्रीमद रामायण हैं जिससे की रावण के कारागार में निवास करने वाली भगवती सीता का वैभव कहा जाताहै।)
Among the Itihāsa-s (Śrī Rāmāyaṇa, Śrī Mahābhārata, etc), Śrī Rāmāyaṇa has the superior authority, through Śrī Rāmāyaṇa the true glory of Śrī Sītā Jī who made herself in captive of Rāvaṇ (to reveal the true glory of Sri Ram), is told.
Thus Sri Ramayana is the supreme authority equal to Vedas in Sanātan-Vaidic-Dharma, It is the supreme authority in Sri-Vaishnavism (in Vishishtadvaita-Vaishnavism of both Jagadguru Śrī Rāmānuj and Jagadguru Śrī Rāmānand) and regarded more authoritative than Māhābharat and Purāṇ-s.

It is also told in various scriptures such as:
नास्ति रामायणात्परम्॥ [स्कन्द पुराण उ० ख० रा० मा० अ० 5/21]
भावार्थ:- श्रीमद रामायण से परे कोई ग्रन्थ नहीं है!
Purport: No other scripture exists beyond Śrīmad Rāmāyaṇa.
रामायणमहाकाव्यमादौ वाल्मीकिना कृतं ।
तन्मूलं सर्वकाव्यानमितिहासपुराणयोः॥
[Brihad-dharma Purāṇa]
Maharshi Vālmīki composed the first Kāvya of the world, Śrīmad Rāmāyaṇa, which is the eternal seed of all other scriptures, Kāvya-s, Itihasa (Mahābhārat) and Purāṇa-s.
ŚrīRāmacharit (the legend of ŚrīRāma) is the eternal seed of all the scriptures. It is told in scripture 'That scripture is not a scripture where ŚrīRām is not glorified' as Bhagavati Saraswati lives where there is Śrī Rāmacharitam (the glories of Śrī Rām).

After studying Śrīmad Rāmāyaṇa, Bhagavān Vedavyāsa who is the partial incarnation of Sri Hari, got the grace of Bhagavati Saraswati to compose Mahābhārata and Purāṇas.

पठ रामायणं व्यास काव्यबीजं सनातनम्‌।
यत्र रामचरितं स्यात्‌ तदहं तत्र शक्तिमान॥
[Brihad-dharma Purāṇa]
Purport: Bhagavati Saraswati instructed Sage Vedavyāsa: O' Vyasa! Study the eternal seed of all scriptures, Srimad Ramayana! Where there is Śrī Rāmacharitam (the divine exploits or glories of Śrī Rāma), I (Saraswati) am always there!
रामायणं पाठितं मे प्रसन्नोऽस्मि कृतस्त्वया ।
करिष्यामि पुराणानि महाभारतमेव च ।।
[Brihad-dharma Purana]

After studying Śrīmad Rāmāyaṇa the eternal seed of all scriptures, Sage Ved-Vyasa composed Mahabharata and all Puranas.

Before Śrī Rāma, most of the incarnations of Bhagavān Śrī Vishnu such as Trivikrama, Vārāha, Narsimha, etc. were already happened, however no scripture was composed in order to account the glorious exploits of those incarnations. The Ādi-Kāvya (Śrīmad Rāmāyaṇa) was composed to expound 'Ved-Purusa, the Brahm of Upanishad is Śrī Rām'. The divine sage Nārad and Maharshi Vālmīki, both accepted Śrī Rāmāyaṇa is completely in accordance of Vedas. Maharshi Vālmīki composed Śrī Rāmāyaṇa to reinforce the deep imports of Vedas. Thus, a direct inference can be deduced from it - 'Sri Ram is the main purport of Vedas, Vedas sings the glory of Sri Ram alone, he is the Purusa of Purusa-Sukta, Purusa-Sukta is reconfirmed for Sri Ram in Śrī Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, he is the all pervading eternal-Vishnu, he is the Aadi-Dev (Primeval lord), He is Narayana (the abode of all beings). The Brahm of Bhagavati Shruti is explained and expounded by Śrī Rāmāyaṇa.

SriRamacharitmanas : श्रीरामचरितमानस ।

As like Maharshi Vālmīki composed Śrī Rāmāyaṇa in order to expound the Vedas, similarly Vālmīkiya-āvatār Goswāmī Tulsīdās who was a Rishi (seer) appeared in this Kaliyuga composed Śrī Rāmacharitamānas upon the order of Lord Shiva to propagate the devotion into the lotus feet of the most superior Purusa of Vedas, Śrī Rāma. Goswami Jī says in the begining Śrī Rāmacharitamānas is completely in accordance of Vedas, Itihāsa and Purānas. At various places in Śrī Rāmacharitamānas, Goswami Ji has given Nirnay (conclusion) over many things such as Saguna and Nirguna, Jnana and Bhakti, etc, therefore Śrī Rāmacharitamānas is not only a Pramana (the means of valid knowledge), but also a determining authority (Nirnay-Granth) on the purport of Vedas, Śrī Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, and Purānas, etc. As like Śrī Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, Śrī Rāmacharitamānas also keeps Sri Rama as the most superior Purusa, and the Saguna & Nirguna Brahman of Vedas (राम ब्रह्म ब्यापक जग जाना। परमानंद परेस पुराना॥ पुरुष प्रसिद्ध प्रकाश निधि प्रगट परावर नाथ। रघुकुलमनि मम स्वामि सोइ कहि सिवँ नायउ माथ॥).

Q . How is Śrī Rāmacharitamānas an authoritative source of valid knowledge?
1. Śrī Rāmacharitamānas is an authoritative source of Valid knowledge, because it was first conceived in heart (Mānasa) by the greatest of the poets Bhagavān Shankar himself, and then he revealed it to Goswami Tulasidas Ji. Following couplets of Manas can be quoted for this:-

यत्पूर्वं प्रभुणाकृतं सुकविना श्रीशंभुना दुर्गमं | श्रीमद्रामपदाब्जभक्तिमनिशं प्राप्त्यै तु रामायणं ||
मत्वा तद्रघुनाथनाम निरतं स्वान्तस्तमः शान्तये | भाषाबद्धमिदं चकार तुलसीदासस्तथा मानसं ||
[श्री रामचरितमानस, उत्तरखंड]
भावार्थ:-श्रेष्ठ कवि भगवान्‌ श्री शंकरजी ने पहले जिस दुर्गम मानस-रामायण की, श्री रामजी के चरणकमलों में नित्य-निरंतर (अनन्य) भक्ति प्राप्त होने के लिए रचना की थी, उस मानस-रामायण को श्री रघुनाथजी के नाम में निरत मानकर अपने अंतःकरण के अंधकार को मिटाने के लिए तुलसीदास ने इस मानस के रूप में भाषाबद्ध किया॥1॥
Translation: The same mysterious “Mānasa-Rāmāyaṇa” (the story of Śrī Rāma figuratively spoken of as a “Mānasa lake”) which was composed of yore by the blessed Lord Shambhu (Shiva), the best of all poets, with the object of developing unceasing devotion to the lotus-feet of the all-beautiful Śrī Rāma, has been likewise rendered into the vernacular language by Tulasīdās for dispersing the gloom of his heart, cognizing the fact that it is devoted to the Name of Śrī Rāma (the Lord of the Raghus). [Śrī Rāmacharitamānas, Uttar-Kanda, ending shloka-1]
संभु कीन्ह यह चरित सुहावा | बहुरि कृपा करि उमहि सुनावा || [RCM 1.29.2]
Translation: This ravishing tale (Śrī Rāmacharitamānas) was conceived by Shambhu (Lord Shiva), who graciously communicated with his consort Umā (Devī Pārvati).

Śrī Rāmacharitamānas by the virtue of a divine composition in Sanskrit by Lord Shiva and further revelation of the same to Goswami Tulasidas Ji, is completely in line of all Vedas, is an authoritative source of correct knowledge.
2. Goswāmī Tulsīdās was a divine seer, like the Rishi of Veda, appeared in this Kaliyuga. As like Rishis in Vedas have said many things which are now being approved by modern science too, in the same way Goswami Ji mentioned so many things which are also being found completely true by modern science recently, only a god realised soul can reveal such things. One can see here: Śrī Hanumān Chalisa and Distance between The SUN and the EARTH

3. Apta-Vakyas (the words of great personality like divine saints) are Pramān as long as they don't contradict with Shruti. And Śrī Rāmacharitamānas no where contradicts with Shruti. In fact Goswami Ji has always held Vedas as topmost..

अतुलित महिमा बेद की तुलसी कियो बिचार ।
जेहि निंदत निन्दित भयो बिदित बुद्ध अवतार ।।
Translation: “After a deep pondering, this Tulasidas has come to conclusion that the great glory of Vedas is uncomparable. (So much so) that even the Buddha incarnation of the Lord was denounced (by the followers of Sanatana Vedic Dharma) due to His criticism of the Vedas” [Dohawali]

4. Goswāmī Tulsīdās was the incarnation of Brahmarshi Vālmīki, appeared to propagate Śrī Rāma-Bhakti. It is also approved by Sage Ved-Vyāsa in Śrī Bhavaishya-Purān. Besides everything else, His enlightement, writings and matchless compositions being full of devotion of Shri Rama makes him the Vālmiki of Kaliyuga. Many devotees appeared, however none could match the glory of Goswāmī Tulsīdās in this Kaliyuga. He is shining like the sun in the Bhakt-nakshatra-ākāsh (among the devotees in the form of stars in the sky).

Thus, by virtue of being conceived by Bhagavān Shankar himself, completely in line of Vedas, expounding the Bhakti, spirituality, religious duties, and the secret imports of Vedas, being composed by a sage of Kaliyuga and the incarnation of Brahmarshi Valmiki, Śrī Rāmacharitamānas holds great reverence among the followers of Sanatan-Vaidic-Dharma.

Some Vaishnavas try to compare Śrī Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa's story with the story of Śrī Rāmacharitamānas, thinking (as if) Goswami Ji translated Śrī Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa. First of all, It is not right to compare the story of Śrī Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa with the story of Śrī Rāmacharitamānas, as Śrī Rāmacharitamānas is not the translation of Śrī Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, It is Goswāmī Tulsīdās's own first hand divine experience, and a divine revelation by Lord Shiva to him.

Therefore, the Paramparā of Śrī Rāmacharitamānas is started from Bhagavān Shiva, while Śrī Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa was imparted to Maharshi Vālmīki by divine sage Narada after instructed by Lord Brahmā.

Śrī Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa has the story of one Kalpa, while Śrī Rāmacharitamānas has story and pastimes of many Kalpas. Śrī Rāmacharitamānas is the abstract of the story of Shatkoti-Rāmāyaṇa (the life story of Shri Rama spread across one billion Rāmāyaṇa-s). There are differences between story of Śrī Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa and that of Śrī Rāmacharitamānas. People can find the stories of Śrī Rāma from different Kalpas in Padma-Puran. One can find differences between story of Śrī Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa and that of Śrī Rāma's stories found in Mahābhārata, Bhāgavatam and other Purāns. Therefore, one shouldn't be surprised if one sees differences between Śrī Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa's story and that of Śrī Rāmacharitamānas.

Goswāmī Tulsīdās Ji says:

नाना भाँति राम अवतारा। रामायन सत कोटि अपारा॥
कलपभेद हरिचरित सुहाए। भाँति अनेक मुनीसन्ह गाए॥
करिअ न संसय अस उर आनी। सुनिअ कथा सादर रति मानी॥
Let no one who should happen not to have heard this ravishing tale of Śrī Rāmacharitamānas before be surprised to hear it. Wise men who hear this uncommon legend marvel not; for they know there is no limit to the stories of Śrī Rāma in this world. They are convinced in their heart that Śrī Rāma has appeared in diverse ways and that the Rāmāyaṇa, though consisting of a thousand million verses, is yet infinite. Great sages have diversely sung the charming stories of Shri Hari, relating as they do to different Kalpas or cycles. Bearing this in mind the reader should not entertain any doubt and should hear this narrative reverently and with devotion. [Śrī Rāmacharitamānas 1.33.2-4]

Therefore, Śrī Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa is the incarnation of Vedas, while Śrī Rāmacharitamānas is the abstract of all Vedic-scriptures.

Once a devotee asked Abhinav ādya-Shankarāchārya Dharm-Samrāt Karpātri Ji - is there any single scripture which alone would be enough for the comprehensive understanding of whole Sanatan-Dharma (all Vedas, Itihasa, Puranas etc) and Bhāratiya-Sanskriti (Vedic culture)?

Then Karpatri Ji said If one wants to study a single scripture only, then He should take refuge of Śrī Rāmacharitamānas alone for the comprehensive understanding of whole Sanātan-Dharma (all Vedas, Itihāsa, and Purāṇas etc) and Vedic culture!

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॥ श्रीसीतारामचन्द्रार्पणमस्तु ॥

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