Spirtual Awareness

Tulsidas

Life History of Goswami Tulsidas

Tulsidas was a Hindu poet-saint, reformer and philosopher renowned for his devotion to the God Rama. A composer of several popular works, he is best known as the author of the epic Ramcharitmanas, a retelling of the Sanskrit Ramayana. Tulsidas was acclaimed in his lifetime to be a reincarnation of Valmiki, the composer of the original Ramayana in Sanskrit.

Birth

Tulsidas was born in the year 1554 a village named Rajapur {present day Chitrakoot district, Uttar Pradesh, India}. His father Atmaram Dubey was a well-known Saryuparin Brahmin. His mother’s name was Hulsi. Tulsidas was born after staying in the mother’s womb for 12 months. He had 32 teeth at the time of birth. Like other children he did not cry at birth but said the word “Ram”. Thus he was named ‘Rambola’. At birth, he looked like a 5 year old child. The nakshatra under which the child was born was considered to be inauspicious. Father Atmaram feared that the child might be a bad omen. Mother Hulsi wanted to protect her child and so she asked her maid ‘Chunia’ to take away the new born child with her to her marital home. The next day mother Hulsi passed away. Chunia began to mother him as her own child and took good care of him. The child was brought up with great love and care by maid Chunia. Such was the child’s fate that Chunia too passed away when Rambola was 5 1/2 years old.

The Orphan Child received the grace of Goddess Parvati

Rambola roamed about on the streets for food like an orphan child, seeking mercy from door to door. Goddess Parvati’s saw the child’s condition and her heart bled for the poor orphan. The kind hearted Goddess Parvati disguised as a Brahmin lady and fed Rambola with food daily with her own hands.

Rambola meets his Guru

On Ramshaila mount lived Narharianand, the disciple of Anantanand, a spiritualist. He was a Rama devotee. One night Lord Shiva appeared to him in his dream. Lord Shiva told him about an orphan boy Rambola and urged him to educate the boy and make him study the religious scriptures. With God’s inspiration Swami Narhari found the boy and took him to Ayodhya. Swami Narhari initiated the boy with the holy name of God ‘Ram’. Rambola studied the Holy Scriptures under the guidance of his Guru. His mind was very sharp and receptive. He could remember every word taught by his Guru. Rambola with his Guru ‘Swami Narhari’ came to a place named Soro, where Swami Narhari recited to him the story of Lord Rama. Lord Rama became the central figure of his life. Rambola became Ramacentric.

From there Swami Narhari and Rambola went to Kashi. For 15 years he dedicated his life in studying all the scriptures and holy books of Hindu religion, under the guidance of Swami Shesh Sanaatanji. Rambola was now known as Tulsidas.

Young Tulsidas got bitten by the bug of the worldly pleasures. After taking permission from Swami Shesh Sanaatanji, he went back to his birth place. There he found that his family had perished.  He stayed there for some time and recited Ramayana to the people. A Brahmin of a nearby village used to come to hear his recitation of the story of Rama. Later in the year 1583, Tulsidas got married to the Brahmin’s daughter named Ratnawali. Tulsidas was deeply attached to his wife and could not live without her even for some time.

Once, Ratnawali went away to her mother’s house without letting Tulsidas know about it. When Tulsidas came back home he found the house empty. He was highly disappointed. He immediately went to meet his wife at night. Ratnawali was shocked to see her husband’s madness. She rebuked her husband and said, “The amount of obsession that you have towards my physical body, if you develop even half of that craze for Lord Rama, then you can easily achieve the divine glory”. These words pierced his heart and hurt him deeply. Without a second thought he walked out of the house. Tulsidas went to the holy city of Prayag where he adopted a sadhu guise. From there he went to visit the holy places. He reached Kashi. On reaching Mansarovar he met the holy bird Kaagbhushundi ji (a crow) sitting on a tree branch. Then he came back to Kashi where he narrated the story of Lord Rama. Tulsidas ji met Hanumanji and prayed to him for the sight (darshan) of Lord Rama. Hanumanji asked him to go to Chitrakoot for Ram darshan. Tulsidas reached Chitrakoot. Lord Rama and Lakshman, two incredibly handsome young men in princely attire gave darshan to Tulsidas but he could not recognise the Lord. But for the second time, with the help of Hanumanji he recognised Lord Rama and was mesmerised by Lord Rama’s darshan. By Hanumanji’s advice he went to Ayodhya where the Ramayana recitation was going on. He dutifully heard the story. From there he went to Kashi where he stayed at a Brahmin’s house near Prahladh ghat.

Tulsidas was now in a devotional frenzy. He got inspired to write Ramcharitra in Sanskrit in the verse format of couplets and quartets. But whatever he wrote in the morning disappeared in the evening. One night, Lord Shiva appeared in his dreams and ordered him to write Ramayana verses in the common man’s language (in Hindi). Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati asked Tulsidas to stay in Ayodhya. Tulsidas obeyed the Lord.

In the starting of the year 1631, on the auspicious day of Ram naumi which happened to be Rama’s birthday, early in the morning Tulsidas started writing the famous epic, ShriRamcharitra manas. It took 2 years, 7 months and 26 days for the completion of the epic. In 1633, 7 sections of Ramcharitra manas had been completed on the day of Ram Sita marriage. Then Tulsidas went to Kashi with the manuscript of Ramcharitra manas. He went to Baba Vishwanath temple and put his manuscript at the feet of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati’s idols. Next morning when the temple doors were opened, to everyone’s amazement it was found that on the cover of the manuscript, a divine slogan “Satyam Shivam Sundaram” was written with Lord Shiva’s symbol at the bottom. The pundits (priests) became jealous of his work and tried to destroy the book. Two thieves were sent to steal the manuscript and to destroy it. The thieves were surprised to find two ancient warriors guarding the house door with bows and arrows. They were mesmerised upon seeing the warriors and their heart got purified. They left stealing and started singing the Lord’s name. When Tulsidas came to know that God himself had to come and guard the book, he kept the book with his friend Todarmal. New copies of the book were being prepared. The jealous pundits decided to test the authenticity of the book. They plotted to put the book through another test. They kept the manuscript at the bottom of all the Vedas, Shastras and Purans, in the temple of Lord Shankar. To everyone’s surprise, in the morning the book was found to be on the top of all the holy books. The pundits were ashamed and fell at the feet of Tulsidas. They begged for forgiveness from him.

After the temple incident Tulsidas began to live at Asighat. One night, after finishing the recitation, Kalyug came and began to torment Tulsidas. Hanumanji came to his rescue and asked Tulsi to write more verses in the praise of Lord Rama. Tulsi obeyed Hanumanji’s advice and wrote prayers to Rama known as Vinay Patrika.

In 1680, Tulsidas left his physical body chanting the holy name of the Lord “Ram Ram”.

What a beautiful journey of life of Tulsidas ji, which began with and ended with the Lord’s holy name “Ram”.

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