The average time for songs is becoming shorter.

“From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds,” reports Quartz, in a 2019 article.

The trend continues to this day, with a few notable exceptions (like Taylor Swift’s record-breaking version of her love song "All Too Well" that clocks in at 10 minutes). 

It's a fact: due to a variety of factors, from the current streaming systems to the general length of albums, we tend to listen to progressively shorter music.

That’s where Dr Jagadeesh Pillai - a writer, researcher and motivational speaker from Varanasi, in the region of Uttar Pradesh, India - sets himself apart. 

In April 2023, after a long journey that encountered a few setbacks, Dr Pillai successfully completed the incredible task of composing, recording and mixing a long, long, long record-breaking track. The song reached the whopping time of 138 hours 41 minutes and 20 seconds, becoming the longest officially released song ever. 

That’s the equivalent of five days of uninterrupted track.

Dr Pillai holding the Ramcharitmanas

The track is based on the poetic work Shri Ram Charit Manas, from which it also takes the name, and it has been recorded during a project that spanned several years. 

The acclaimed poetic workwhich is regarded as one of the epic masterpieces of Hinduism, consists of over 15,000 verses. 

According to Firstpost Dr Pillai first found out about the record and decided that he would break it in 2016, when he also started looking for the perfect track to record.

After many months of research, the attempt officially started three years later, in 2019.

Completing the mammoth task took Dr Pillai several years, partly due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The inevitable delays caused by the global pandemic hindered the attempt, resulting in a change of schedule for the recording. Despite the delays and difficulties he finished all the different stages, finally mixing and recording the song in 2022.

"This elaborate process spanned a significant duration of four years, 63 days, and 295 hours in total," writes Firstpost.

Dr Pillai reading and mixing

The entire epic poem Shri Ram Charit Manas (also known as Tulsidas Ramayana) is composed in the Awadhi language, a folk form of Hindi mainly spoken in the Awadh region; consequently, the record-breaking song is also in Awadhi.

Revolving around three separate conversations, the Shri Ram Charit Manas consists of seven Kānds, also translated in "episodes," with the first two Kānds taking over half of the total. 

It's based on the majorly famous Ramayana, one of the two fundamental epic texts of Hinduism together with the Mahābhārata. 

The Sanskrit work recounts the deeds of legendary Prince Rama, the seventh avatar of Vishnu. 

Showing some notable differences from the original epic and written in the local dialect, the Shri Ram Charit Manas (which is commonly translated into “Lake of the deeds of Rama") was composed by the Indian devotee poet Goswami Tulsidas. 

Tulsidas lived between 1532–1623 and is regarded as one of the most famous saints and poets in Hinduism.

Renowned for his dedication to the legendary prince and deity Rama, he spent most of his life between the city of Varanasi, which is also the same city where the record was broken, and Ayodhya.

Dr Pillai while recording

The location of Dr Pillai's record attempt acquires a special meaning, as the city of Varanasi – located in Northern India – stands out as a spiritual hub for Hinduism devotees. 

Buzzing with tradition and often mentioned in the epic sagas, Varanasi boasts a reputation as one of the world's oldest continually inhabited cities.

Among other notable deeds, in Varanasi Tulsidas founded the Sankatmochan Temple dedicated to Hanuman, a god and central figure in the Ramayana. 

The building is believed to occupy the exact place where the saint and scholar received a vision of the deity. 

Rama statue in Mumbai

Believed to be founded by the god Shiva and with a history spanning across many eras, today Varanasi is regarded as a longstanding educational and musical centre.

"This city is called the spiritual capital of India," said Dr Pillai regarding Varanasi. 

"Because of the holy river Ganges, house to thousands of temples, and also because of Sarnath, where Lord Buddha has given his first sermon to his five disciples after the illumination, this city has a lot and lot to say and spread." 

With this major effort, Dr Pillai didn’t only mean to break a record: he also wanted to spread the spiritual and educational importance of Varanasi. 

Want more? Follow us across our social media channels to stay up-to-date with all things Guinness World Records! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Snapchat Discover– including our new Guinness World Records Extreme channel.

Don’t forget, we’re also on YouTube!

Still not had enough? Follow the link here to buy our latest book, filled to the brim with stories about our amazing record breakers.