Tulsidas, is an ardent devotee of Lord Rama who composed the Ramcharitmanas which is an Awadhi(hindi-like) version of Ramayana. He was born in Rajpur in the Banda district of Uttar Pradesh in the 16th century. Tulsidas is often considered an incarnation of Sage Valmiki and played a crucial role in the life of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita. (Cover image courtesy: pinterest.com)
Early life of Tulisdas
In his youth, Tulisdas got married to a girl named Ratnavali who he was immensely in love with and cared about. It is believed that once when she went to stay with her parents, he couldn’t take the separation and went to meet her desperately. Ratnavali is said to have reprimanded Tulsidas by saying “I am just a bag of flesh and bones. Why are you so attracted to it? Why don’t you love Lord Rama with the same fervor?” During those times, this type of response from a wife was unheard of and got him thinking. It is often speculated whether Ratnavali was herself spiritually inclined or whether it was God’s plan that it was the appropriate time for Tulsidas to leave his family life. This resulted eventually in him removing all ties to his family life.
His Bhakti/devotion has been witness to many miracles. Once, when a thief tried to enter his house in the night he was startled to note that two men with bows and arrows were guarding his house. The thief was very frightened on seeing the two men and ran as quickly as he could. The following day he fell onto the feet of Tulsidads and begged for forgiveness. Tulisadas, however, was completely guilty and ashamed that he had made Lord Ram and Lakshman guard his house.
The very next day he donated all his precious belongings not wanting to lead a materialistic life.
Tulsidas’s encounter with Lord Rama
Tulsidas’s encounter with Lord Rama is yet another beautiful story. When Tulsidas resided in Kashi, he used to water a tree every day, praying and calling out Lord Rama’s name. in this particular tree, a spirit resided which was so happy with his devotion and love, wanted to grant him a boon.
Tulsidas, however had only wish, to have a darshan of Lord Rama and wanted nothing else. The spirit agreed to his wish and instructed Tulsidas that in order to meet Lord Rama, he must find Lord Hanuman. To find him was simple, Hanuman was present in every place where Lord Rama’s story were told, dressed as an old deceased man and was always the last to leave. Tulsidas, was extremely happy when he heard this as he recited Lord Rama’s story every day and this meant Hanuman was present during these times.
The following day, he organized the Ram Katha and was very eager to meet Lord Hanuman. When the story was going to end, he saw a diseased old man slowly leaving. Immediately, he fell on to his feet and waited for him to reveal his true identity. Lord Hanuman was very pleased and asked Tulsidas for a boon he wished to be granted. Tulisdas confessed that his only wish was to meet Lord Rama and worship him. Hanuman then agreed to help him and asked him to leave for Chitrakut as that is where he would eventually meet Lord Rama. This story is also mentioned in Tulsidas’s Hanuman Bahuk.
Hanuman also granted Tulsidas with the boon to sing praises of Shri Ram in a common language in the period of Kalyug and support people and aid them in getting rid of their distress. Tulsidas began to write the Ramcharitmanas in Ayodhya on the Ramnavami month in the year 1631. He concluded his writing of the Ramcharitmanas in two years, seven months and twenty six days in the year 1633 at the Vivaha Panchami (marriage day of the Rama and Sita) of the month Margashirsha. Tulsidas was able to achieve just Lord Hanuman’s wishes.
Ramcharitmanas is deeply engaging and relieves all the readers of worries and stress. It is written very beautifully and immediately eases an individual.
On his arrival at Varanasi, he produced the Ramcharitmanas to the Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati at the Kashi Viswanath temple.
Another significant story happened to Tulsidas in the year of 1607, when Tulsidas was making Chandan (sandalwood), two young princes came to him and asked for the same. Lord Hanuman came in the form of a parrot and spoke:
|| Chitrakoot Ke Ghaat Par, Bhai Santan Ke Bheer
Tulseedaas Chandan Ghisen, Tilak Det Raghubeer ||
“…Amidst the large crowd of holy men in Chitrakut, while Tulsidas grinds the sandalwood to turn it into paste, Raghubeer (Lord Ram) appeared before him asking the paste to be smeared on his forehead…”
Tulsidas was able to recognize the two princes as Lord Rama and Lakshman. Tulsidas was elated and went into a trance. His wish was fulfilled as his life’s goal was now accomplished. He had the rare opportunity of having a darshan of Lord Rama with the help of Hanuman.
Tulsidas was right when he wrote:
|| Raam Duwaare Tum Rakhvaare,
Hota Na Aagyaa Binu Paisaare || (Haunman Chalisa)
“…Oh Hanumanji! You are the sentinel at the door of Lord Ram’s mercy-mansion. No one may enter without your permission (get near the Lord without your blessings)…”
May we all get inspired by Tulsidas’ exclusive devotion to Lord Ram. May we all be blessed by Sri Ram, Sri Hanuman and Saint Tulsidas to attain the supreme bliss of the Self.