Biography of Tulsidas
He was the composer of the original Ramayana into Sanskrit. He lived in Varanasi till death. The name of Tulsi ghat is after him. He was great poet in Hindi, Indian, world literature and founded the temple Sankat mochan.
Goswami Tulsidas was a great Hindu poet saint, reformer as well as philosopher and composed various popular books. He is renowned for his dedication to the Lord Rama and being the author of great epic, the Ramcharitmanas. He was always admired as a reincarnation of the Valmiki (original composer of the Ramayana in Sanskrit and Hanuman Chalisa). Goswami Tulsidas lived his whole life as well as died in the city of Benares society in the India.
Tulsidas was born at the 7th day in the month of Shraavana (July or August), in the bright half of the lunar. His birth place is identified at the Rajapur (also known as the Chitrakuta) at the banks of the Yamuna river in UP. The name of his parents is Hulsi and Atmaram Dubey. According to the biographers, various opinions are there regarding the birth year of Tulsidas. Many of them say according to the Vikrami Samvat that he took birth in 1554 and other say it was 1532. He lived his life around 126 years.
According to the legend, Tulsidas took the 12 months to come out to the world, till then he stayed in the womb of his mother. He had all the 32 teeth from his birth and looks like a five year old boy. After his birth, he told Rama word instead of crying. That’s why he named as Rambola, he himself had stated in Vinayapatrika. At the fourth night after his birth his father had passed away because of the danger to life. Tulsidas had stated in his works Kavitavali and Vinayapatrika about his parents abandonment after his birth.
Chuniya (the female maid of his mother Hulsi) took Tulsidas to her town, Haripur and took care of him. She died after caring him for just five and a half years. After that event, Rambola lived as a poor orphan and walked door to door begging for alms. It is assumed that the Goddess Parvati took up the form of a Brahmin for taking care of the Rambola.
He himself had given some of the facts and events of his life in his various works. Two ancient sources of his life are the Bhaktamal and Bhaktirasbodhini composed by the Nabhadas and Priyadas respectively. Nabhadas had written in his writing about Tulsidas and described him as an incarnation of the Valmiki. Priyadas composed his writing 100 years after the death of Tulsidas and described the seven miracles and spiritual experiences of the Tulsidas. Two other biographies of Tulsidas are Mula Gosain Charit and Gosain Charit composed by Veni Madhav Das in 1630 and Dasanidas (or Bhavanidas) around 1770 respectively.
Incarnation of the Valmiki
It is believed that Tulsidas was the reincarnation of Valmiki. According to the Hindu scripture Bhavishyottar Purana, Lord Shiva had described to his wife Parvati that how Valmiki will incarnate in the Kal Yuga.
According to the sources, it is considered that the Hanuman was used to go to Valmiki to hear him singing the Ramayana. After the triumph of Lord Rama over Ravana, Hanuman was continued to worship the Rama at Himalayas.
Rambola (Tulsidas) was given the Virakta Diksha (known as Vairagi initiation) and got the new name, Tulsidas. His Upanayana was performed by the Narharidas at Ayodhya when he was just of 7 years old. He started his first learning at the Ayodhya. He mentioned in his epic the Ramcharitmanas that his guru narrated him the Ramayana over and over again. He came to the sacred city Varanasi when he was just 15–16 years old and got the knowledge of Sanskrit grammar, Hindu literature and philosophy, four Vedas, six Vedangas, Jyotisha from his guru Shesha Sanatana at the Pancaganga Ghat in Varanasi.
After study, he came back to his birthplace, Chitrakuta by the permission of his Guru. He started to live in his family home and narrating the story of Ramayana.
He got married to the Ratnavali (the daughter of Dinbandhu Pathak of Mahewa village and Kaushambi district) at the 13th thirteenth day of the Jyeshta month (May or June) in the year 1583. After some years of the marriage he got a son named Tarak who died in his toddler state. Once upon a time, his wife went to her father’s home when Tulsidas had gone to the Hanuman temple. When he returned home and did not saw his wife, he swam a long River Yamuna in order to meet his wife. Ratnavali was very upset with his activity and blamed him. She remarked that devote yourself to the God fully. He then left her wife and went to the holy city of Prayag (where he renounced the stages of Grihastha life and became a Sadhu). According to the some authors, he was unmarried and Sadhu from the birth.
How he meet to the Lord Hanuman
Tulsidas meet the Hanuman at his own Katha, he fell at the Hanuman’s feet and shouting that I know who you are so you cannot get away leaving me. Then, the Hanuman blessed him a lot. Tulsidas had expressed his feeling in front of Hanuman that he want to see Rama confronting each other. Hanuman guided him and told that go to the Chitrakuta where you would really see the Rama.
How he meet to the Rama
After getting instructed with the Hanuman, he pursued the instructions of Hanuman and started to live in the Ashram at Ramghat in Chitrakuta. One day when he went for making the Parikrama of the Kamadgiri Mountain, he saw the two princes on the horsebacks. But he could not distinguish them. Later when he acknowledged that they were Rama and Lakshman by the Hanuman, he got disappointed. All these events are described by himself in his writing Gitavali. On the next morning, he met Rama again when he was making sandalwood paste. Rama came to him and asked for a Tilaka with sandalwood paste, in this way he had a full sight of the Rama. Tulsidas was so happy and he forgot about the sandalwood paste, then Rama took tilak himself and applied on his forehead and also on the Tulsidas‘s forehead.
In the Vinayapatrika, Tulsidas had mentioned the miracles at Chitrakuta and lot of thanks to the Rama. He got darshan of the Yajnavalkya (speaker) and Bharadvaja (listener) in the Magha Mela under a banyan tree.
About his literary life
Tulsidas had composed the Statue at Tulsi Manas Mandir, Chitrakuta, Satna, India. He then started to compose poetry in the Sanskrit at the listener in the Varanasi. It is considered that Lord Shiva himself had ordered him to compose his poetry in the vernacular language instead of the Sanskrit. When Tulsidas opened his eyes, he saw that both Shiva and Parvati had blessed him. He ordered to go to Ayodhya and write his poetry in the Awadhi.
Composition of the Epic, Ramcharitmanas
He started to write the Ramcharitmanas in Ayodhya on the Ramnavami of the Chaitra month in the year 1631. He completed 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.
He died on the river bank of Gange at the Assi Ghat in the month of Shraavan (July or August) in 1623.
His other major works
Apart from the Ramcharitmanas, there are the five major works of the Tulsidas which are:
Dohavali: It has the collection of at least 573 miscellaneous Doha and Sortha in Braja and Awadhi. Out of all around 85 Dohas of it is also included in the Ramcharitmanas.
Kavitavali: It has the collection of Kavittas in Braja. Just like the epic, Ramcharitmanas, it is also has seven books and many episodes.
Gitavali: It has the collection of 328 Braja songs divided into seven books and all are of Hindustani classical music type.
Krishna Gitavali or Krishnavali: It has the collection of 61 Braja songs especially for the Krishna. Out of the 61, 32 songs are dedicated to the childhood and Rasa Lila of the Krishna.
Vinaya Patrika: It has the collection of 279 Braja stanzas. Out of all, around 43 hymns are attended to the variety of deities, Rama’s courtiers and attendants.
His minor works are:
Barvai Ramayana: It has 69 verses created in the Barvai metre and divided into seven Kands.
Parvati Mangal: It has the collection of 164 verses describing the marriage of the Mata Parvati and Lord Shiva in the Awadhi.
Janaki Mangal: It has the collection of 216 verses describing the marriage of Sita and Rama in the Awadhi.
Ramalala Nahachhu: It described the Nahachhu ritual (cutting the nails of the feet before the Vivaha) of the child Rama in the Awadhi.
Ramagya Prashna: It described the Will of Rama in Awadhi, consisting of the seven Kands and 343 Dohas.
Vairagya Sandipini: It consists of 60 verses in Braja describing the state of realization and Vairagya.
Popularly recognized works
Hanuman Chalisa: It consists of 40 verses devoted to the Hanuman in the Awadhi, 40 Chaupais and 2 Dohas and is a prayer to Hanuman.
Sankatmochan Hanumanashtak: It consists of 8 verses for the Hanuman in the Awadhi.
Hanuman Bahuka: It has 44 verses in the Braja describing The Arm of Hanuman (praying to the Hanuman for curing his hand).
Tulsi Satsai: It has the collection of 747 dohas in both Awadhi and Braja and separated into seven Sargas or cantos.