Goswami Tulsidas is considered as one of the great poets in Hinduism. He is also known as the reformer, philosopher and has composed various popular books.
Goswami Tulsidas is renowned for his love and dedication to Lord Rama. So reflective is his status for Hindus that he is widely believed by some to be the incarnation of Valmiki, the author of the Ramayana.
He is also known as the author of Shri Ramacharitramanasa. He was a great poet in Hindi, Indian, world literature, and founded the Sankat mochan temple in Varanasi.
He lived his whole life as well as breathed his last at Varanasi. Famous Tulsi Ghat is kept after his name.
Origin and History
Goswami Tulsidas was born on the 7th day of the lunar calendar’s Shravan month. His birthplace was determined in Rajapur (also known as Chitrakuta) on both banks of the Yamuna River in UP.
His parents’ names are Hulsi and Atmaram Dubey. According to historians, there are various opinions about the year of Tulsidas’s birth.
According to Vikrami Samvat, many people said he was born in 1554, whereas some said it was 1532. He has lived for about 91 years. In his various works, he gives some facts and events in his life.
The two ancient sources of his life were the Bhaktamar and Bhakta Raspodini composed of the Nabhadhas and the Priyadas. Nabhadas wrote in a book about Tulsidas and described him as the incarnation of Valmiki.
Priyadas wrote his work 100 years after Tulsidas’ death and described Tulsidas ’seven miracles and spiritual experiences.
Goswami Tulsidas’ other two biographies are Mula Gosain Charit and Gosain Charit, composed of Veni Madhav Das in 1630, and Dasanidas (or Bhavanidas) around 1770.
Goswami Tulsidas Marriage and How He Turned into Ascetic
Goswami Tulsidas married Ratnavali on the 13th day of Jyeshta month in 1583. After many years of marriage, he had a son named Tarak. He died in his toddler state.
Once, when Goswami Tulsidas went to Hanuman Temple, his wife went to his father’s house. When he returned home without seeing his wife, he swam the Yamuna River for a long time to meet his wife.
Ratnavali was very frustrated with his activities and accused him. She uttered him that:
“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 hurt the heart of Tulsidas. He gave up his homeland, became an ascetic, and spent fourteen years visiting various holy sites.
Folklore and Legends of Goswami Tulsidas
The history has seen many folklore and legends and one such person that has made his name in history is Shri Goswami Tulsidas that has a lot of folklore associated with him and his work for the humans.
1. Staying in Mother’s Womb for 12 months
History says it took 12 months for Tulsidas to come to the world until then he stayed in his mother’s womb. He was born with all 32 teeth and looks like a five-year-old boy.
After birth, he told Rama instead of crying. This is why he said in Vinayapatrika that he was named as Rambola. On the fourth night after his birth, his father died due to a danger to his life.
In his works “Kavitavali and Vinayapatrika“, Tulsidas talks about the situation in which his parents were abandoned after he was born.
2. Raised by her Mother’s Maid
Chuniya, the maid of his mother Hulsi, took Tulsidas to her small town of Haripur to take care of him. She only took care of him for 5 and a half years and died.
After that incident, Rambola lived as a poor orphan, begging for charity from door to door. Presumably, the goddess Parvati took the form of a Brahmin to take care of Rambola.
3. An incarnation of Saint Valmiki
It is believed that Tulsidas is the reincarnation of Valmiki. According to the Hindu scripture Bhavishyottar Purana, Lord Shiva described to his wife Parvati how Valmiki would reincarnate in Kal Yuga.
According to sources, Hanuman used to go to Valmiki to listen to his singing Ramayana. After Lord Rama defeated Ravana, Hanuman continued to worship Rama in the Himalayas.
4. Meeting Lord Hanuman
Tulsidas met Hanuman at his own Katha. He fell at the foot of Hanuman and shouted that I know who you are, so you can’t leave me.
Then, Hanuman gave him many blessings. Tulsidas expressed his feelings in front of Hanuman, he hoped to see Rama confronting each other.
Hanuman guided him and told him to go to Chitrakuta, where he will see Rama.
5. Meeting Lord Rama
Legend says that after receiving Hanuman’s guidance, he followed Hanuman’s instructions and began living in Ashram in Ramghat, Chitra Kuta.
One day, Goswami Tulsidas went to Parikrama to the Kamadgiri Mountain, where he saw two princes on horseback. But he could not distinguish them.
Later, when he acknowledged from Hanuman that they were Rama and Lakshman, he was disappointed. All these events are described in his book “Gitavali“.
The next morning, he met Rama again while making sandalwood pulp. Rama came to him and asked for Tilaka with sandalwood paste so that he could see Rama.
Tulsidas was very happy, he forgot the sandalwood paste, and then Rama picked up the tilak himself and put it on his forehead and Tulsidas’ forehead.
At Vinayapatrika, Tulsidas mentioned Chitrakuta’s miracle and thanked Rama. In Magha Mela under the banyan tree, he got the Darshan of Yajnavalkya and Bharadvaja.
6. Meeting Lord Krishna as Rama
A popular legend may be based in part on facts, describing Goswami Tulsidas’ visit to the temple of Lord Krishna in Brindavan.
According to reports, when he saw the statue of Krishna, he said:
“Lord, how can I describe your beauty? However, only when you hold a bow and arrow, Tulsi will bow his head.”
Then, Lord Krishna appeared in the form of Lord Rama waving his bow and arrow, he showed himself in front of Tulsidas.
7. Friendship with Mughal Emperor Akbar
In another widely popular legend, the blessing of Goswami Tulsidas once raised the dead husband of a poor woman to life.
Emperor Akbar of Delhi knew the miracle and sent someone to Tulsidas to ask the saint to do some miracles for him.
Tulsidas refused and said, “I don’t have superhuman strength, I only know Rama’s name.” This was a behavior of contempt that made him imprisoned by the Emperor.
Then Tulsidas prayed to Lord Hanuman, causing countless powerful monkeys to invade the royal family.
The frightened Akbar released Tulsidas from prison, begging for forgiveness. Akbar and Tulsidas continued to be good friends afterward.
Learnings and Compositions of Goswami Tulsidas
Rambola was given the Virakta Diksha (known as the Vairagi initiation) and renamed Tulsidas. At the age of 7, his Upanayana was performed by Narharidas in Ayodhya.
He started studying in Ayodhya. Goswami Tulsidas mentioned Ramcharitmanas in his epics, and his guru told him Ramayana again and again.
At the age of 15-16, he came to the sacred city of Varanasi, where he obtained Sanskrit grammar, Hindu literature, and philosophical knowledge from Shesha Sanatana.
Tulsidas created a statue at Tulsi Manas Mandir in Chitra Kuta, Satna, India. Then he began writing poetry in Sanskrit among the audience in Varanasi.
It is believed that Lord Shiva himself has ordered Goswami Tulsidas to write poetry in vernacular rather than Sanskrit.
When Tulsidas opened his eyes, he saw Shiva and Parvati bless him. He was ordered to go to Ayodhya to write poetry in Awadhi.
Goswami Tulsidas started writing Ramcharitmanas in Ayodhya on Ramnavami in Chaitra in 1631.
He completed Ramcharitmanas writing for two years, seven months, and twenty-six days in 1633 on Vivaha Panchami (wedding day of Rama and Sita).
He came to Varanasi and gave the epic Ramcharitmanas to Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati at Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi.
In every Hindu family in northern India, people read and worship Ram charit manas very respectfully. An inspiring book in which the couplets are praised with hymns.
Other Major works of literature by Goswami Tulsidas
|Dohavali||It collected at least 573 various Dohas and Sorthas in Braja and Awadhi. Ramcharitmanas also contains about 85 Dohas in total.|
|Kavitavali||It houses Kavittas in Braja. Like the epic Ramcharitmanas, it also has seven books and many episodes.|
|Gitavali||It has a collection of 328 Braja songs, divided into 7 books, all songs are of the Hindustan classical music type.|
|Krishnavali||It has a collection of 61 Braja songs, especially Krishna. Of the 61 songs, 32 are dedicated to Krishna’s childhood and Rasa Lila.|
|Vinaya Patrika||It collected 279 Braja festivals. Among them, there are about 43 hymns for various gods, Rama courtiers, and attendants.|
|Barvai Ramayana||It created 69 verses in the Barvai rhythm and divided them into seven Kands.|
|Hanuman Chalisa||It is composed of 40 verses of Hanuman in Awadhi, 40 Chaupais, and 2 Dohas. It is a prayer for Hanuman.|
|Sankatmochan Hanumanashtak||It consists of 8 verses of Hanuman in Awadhi.|
|Hanuman Bahuka||There are 44 verses in Braja describing Hanuman’s arm (pray to Hanuman to heal his hand).|
|Tulsi Satsai||It has 747 Doha collections in Awadhi and Braja and is divided into seven Sargas or cantos.|
|Parvati Mangal||It collected 164 verses describing the marriage of Mata Parvati and Lord Shiva in Awadhi.|
|Janaki Mangal||It collected 216 verses describing the marriage of Sita and Rama in Awadhi.|
|Ramalala Nahachhu||It describes the Nahachhu ritual of Awadhi’s child Rama (cut nails before Vivaha).|
|Ramagya Prashna||It describes Awadhi’s will of Rama, which includes seven kands and 343 dohas.|
|Vairagya Sandipini||It consists of 60 verses in Braja, describing the status of realization and Vairagya.|
Last Days of Tulsidas
Tulsidas left the mortal body and entered the Holy Land of Eternal Life and Eternal Happiness in 1623 at 91 years of age.
Goswami Tulsidas was the ardent devotee of Lord Rama who created Ramacharitmanas, which is his most revered composition.
His poems and literary works are still being preached by many followers in the 21st century. Let us know in the comments, your views about him!
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Was Tulsidas Married?
There are two contrasting views regarding the marital status of Tulsidas. According to the Mula Gosain Charit and some other works, Tulsidas was married to Ratnavali on the thirteenth day of the bright half of the Jyeshta month (May–June) in 1526. Whereas some historians say that Tulsidas didn’t marry.
When and where was Tulsidas born?
Shri Goswami Tulsidas was born on the 7th day of Shravan month of the lunar calendar. He was born in a place called Rajapur which is now known as Chitrakuta.
When and where did Tulsidas die?
Tulsidas is believed to have died at the age of 91, in Uttar Pradesh at Varanasi. The year of his death is recorded as 1623.
What is the difference between Ramayana and RamCharitManas?
The word Ramayana is made of two words — Ram and Aayanam (Story), thus the meaning of Ramayana is Ram’s story. The word RamCharitManas is made of three words — Ram, Charita (good deeds), and Manas (lake), thus the meaning of RamCharitManas is Lake of good deeds of Ram.
What is the real name of Tulsidas?
The Real name of Tulsidas was Rambola since the first word from his mouth when he was born was Rama, Tulsidas’s parents kept his name as Rambola.