Goswami Tulsidas


Hindi Text

Tulsidas was a great Awadhi bhakta (devotee), philosopher, composer, and the author of Ramcharitmanas, an epic poem and scripture devoted to the Hindu God Rama. Tulsidas was born in Rajpur, in the district of Banda in Uttar Pradesh, in Samvat 1589 or 1532 A.D. He was a Sarayuparina Brahmin by birth and is regarded as an incarnation of Valmiki, the author of Ramayana written in Sanskrit. His father’s name was Atmaram Shukla Dube and his mother’s name Hulsi. Tulsidas did not cry at the time of his birth. He was born with all the thirty-two teeth intact. In childhood his name was Tulsiram or Ram Bola. Tulsidas’s wife’s name was Buddhimati (Ratnavali). Tulsidas’s son’s name was Tarak. Tulsidas was passionately attached to his wife. He could not bear even a day’s separation from her. One day his wife went to her father’s house without informing her husband. Tulsidas stealthily went to see her at night at his father-in-law’s house. This produced a sense of shame in Buddhimati. She said to Tulsidas, "My body is but a network of flesh and bones. If you would develop for Lord Rama even half the love that you have for my filthy body, you would certainly cross the ocean of Samsara and attain immortality and eternal bliss". These words pierced the heart of Tulsidas like an arrow. He did not stay there even for a moment. He abandoned home and became an ascetic. He spent fourteen years in visiting the various sacred places of pilgrimage. While returning from answering the calls of nature, Tulsidas used to throw the water that was left in his water-pot at the roots of a tree which a spirit was occupying. The spirit was very much pleased with Tulsidas. The spirit said, "O man! Get a boon from me". Tulsidas replied, "Let me have Darshan of Lord Rama". The spirit said, "Go to the Hanuman temple. There Hanuman comes in the guise of a leper to hear the Ramayan as the first hearer and leaves the place last of all. Get hold of him. He will help you". Accordingly, Tulsidas met Hanuman, and through His grace, had Darshan or vision of Lord Rama.


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Ramacharitamanasa, an epic devoted to Rama, was the Awadhi version of Ramayana of Valmiki. It is not identical to the so-called "Awadhi version", but rather represents the first of its kind. Apart from "Awadhi", three other languages are also seen in the epic Ramcharitmanas, they are "Bhojpuri", " Brijbhasa" and "bundeli". Like many translations of the original Sanskrit Ramayana, it is read and worshipped with great reverence in many Hindu homes in India. It is an inspiring book that contains couplets in verse form called chaupai. It is also called Tulsi-krit Ramayan and is as well known among Hindi-speaking Hindus in India. Many of its verses are popular proverbs in that region. Tulsidas' phrases have passed into common speech, and are used by millions of Hindi speakers (and even speakers of Urdu) without the speakers being conscious of their origin. Not only are his sayings proverbial: his doctrine actually forms the most powerful religious influence in present-day Hinduism; and, though he founded no school and was never known as a guru or master, he is everywhere accepted as both poet and saint, an inspired and authoritative guide in religion and the conduct of life. Tulsidas professed himself the humble follower of his teacher, Narhari Das, from whom as a boy in Sukar-khet he first heard the tale of Rama's exploits that would form the subject of the Ramcaritmanas. Narhari Das was the sixth in spiritual descent from Ramananda, a founder of popular Vaishnavism in northern India, who was also known for his famous poems. There are numerous differences between Tulsi Ramcaritmanas and Valmiki Ramayana. One example is the scene in which Kaikayi forces her husband to exile Rama. In Tulsi Das it becomes considerably longer and more psychological, with intense characterisation and brilliant similes. Other works Besides the Ramcaritmanas, Tulsidas the author of five longer and six shorter works, most of them dealing with the theme of Rama, his doings, and devotion to him. The former are 1. the Dohavali, consisting of 573 miscellaneous doha and sortha verses; of this there is a duplicate in the Ram-satsai, an arrangement of seven centuries of verses, the great majority of which occur also in the Dohavali and in other works of Tulsi, 2. the Kabitta Ramayan or Kavitavali, which is a history of Rama in the kavitta, ghanakshari, chaupaï and savaiya metres; like the Ramcaritmanas, it is divided into seven kandas or cantos, and is devoted to setting forth the majestic side of Rama's character, 3. the Gitavali, also in seven kandas, aiming at the illustration of the tender aspect of the Lord's life; the metres are adapted for singing, 4. the Krishnavali or Krishna gitavali, a collection of 61 songs in honor of Krishna, in the Kanauji dialect of Hindi: the authenticity of this is doubtful, 5. the Vinaya Patrika, or Book of petitions, a series of hymns and prayers of which the first 43 are addressed to the lower gods, forming Rama's court and attendants, and the remainder, Nos. 44 to 279, to Rama himself. His minor works include Baravai Ramayana, Janaki Mangal, Ramalala Nahachhu, Ramajna Prashna, Parvati Mangal, Krishna Gitavali, Hanuman Bahuka, Sankata Mochana and Vairagya Sandipini.[3] Of the smaller compositions the most interesting is the Vairagya Sandipani, or Kindling of continence, a poem describing the nature and greatness of a holy man, and the true peace to which he attains. Tulsidas's most famous and read piece of literature apart from the Ramayana is the "Hanuman Chalisa", a poem praising Hanuman. Many Hindus recite it daily as a prayer. The entire collection of compositions by Tulsi Das, consisting of 13 books, has been translated into English (as poems) by Binda Prasad Khattri (1898-1985). The work is however, yet unpublished.


, INDIA

Posted By : Vinod Jindal on Dec 16, 2010


 
 

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