Tulsidas is a great Hindi poet who is a great devotee of Lords Rama and Hanuman. He has a special place among Indian poets for his works like Ramacharitmanas and Hanuman Chalisa. He wanted to create a Ramaraj by spreading the ideals of Lord Rama in the society and the works of Tulsidas are based on this vision.
Goswami Tulsidas was born in Rajapur (Chitrakoot), a village on the banks of the river Yamuna. Since he uttered the word Rama when he was born, he was called Rambola.
It is said that Tulsidas stayed in his mother’s womb for 12 months and was born with all 32 teeth. His parents were Hulsi and Atmaram Dubey. Tulsidas was an unfortunate child and had a miserable childhood as he was abandoned by his parents and left to the care of their servant maid due to his inauspicious horoscope.
Tulsidas was adopted by Narharidas at the age of five and was named Tulsidas. He had his upanayana when he was 7 years old. He began his learning at Ayodhya first. He learned Rama Katha through Narharidas for the first time at a temple dedicated to Varaha (boar avatar of Vishnu) and was greatly influenced by the ideals and life of Rama.
Later he came to Varanasi, learned Sanskrit grammar, Vedas, Vedangas, astrology, and Schools of Philosophy from his guru Shesha Sanatana. He came back to Chitrakoot to find that his parents were no more and paid relevant obeisance to them. He stayed in Chitrakoot, narrating the Ramayana Katha to the people there.
Later, he was married to Ratnavali to whom he was greatly attached. He was unable to live without her and did not wish to leave her for a moment. They had a son with the name Tarak who died in his infancy. One day, when Tulsidas went to Hanuman temple, Ratnavali went to her father’s home. Knowing this, Tulsidas swam across the river to meet her in her hometown.
Unable to bear his behaviour, Ratnavali scolded him saying that if he were to devote even half of his attention to God than devoting to her flesh, he would easily seek salvation. Realizing the reality, Tulsidas immediately sacrificed his worldly life and became a saint. He had many spiritual experiences that showcase how he had darshan of Rama and Hanuman face to face.
It is mentioned in Bhavishya Purana, that Lord Shiva told Goddess Parvathy that Valmiki would take birth as Tulsidas in Kali Yuga. Valmiki was blessed by Hanuman that he would sing the glory of Lord Rama in vernacular language and for that, he would incarnate in Kali Yuga.We know that Valmiki wrote Ramayana in Sanskrit.
There is even a story behind this. Lord Hanuman wanted to hear Ramayana from the mouth of Valmiki but was turned down by Valmiki because he was a monkey. Hanuman after the destruction of Ravana, went to the Himalayas and wrote Rama Katha by engraving the scenes on rocks. Valmiki felt that Hanuman’s narration could supersede his Ramayana. Understanding this, Hanuman threw the engraved rocks into the ocean but instructed Valmiki to be reborn as Tulsidas and write Ramakatha in his vernacular language Awadhi.
In honour of Tulsidas, a ghat in Varanasi has been named Tulsi Ghat. Further, the Hanuman temple in Varanasi with the name Sankatamochan Temple was founded by Tulsidas.
Tulsidas is famous for his Vinayakapatrika, Ramacharitmanas and Hanuman Chalisa. On his Jayanti, people recite verses from Ramacharitmanas and chant Hanuman Chalisa.
Let us salute Tulsidas, the great poet, saint and philosopher for his meaningful renderings in Indian Literature, making it supreme in the arena of global literature.