Shri Goswami Tulsidas
|Date of birth||1554 Vikram Samvat|
|Date of death||1680 (Aged 126 years)|
|Birth place||Rajapur, Banda District|
|Compositions||Ramcharitramanas; Hanuman Chalisa|
|Father||Atma Ram Dubey|
पंद्रह से चौवन बिषै, कालिंदी के तीर।स्त्रावन शुक्ला सप्तमी, तुलसी धरेउ सरीर।।
कलौ देवि भविष्यति। रामचन्द्रकथामेतां भाषाबद्धां करिष्यति।।
-Bhavishyottar Purana, Pratisarga Parva, 4.20
In Bhavishyottar Purana, Lord Shiva tells mother Parvati how Maharshi Valmiki got a boon from Lord Hanuman to sing Shri Ram Katha in vernacular language in the age of Kaliyuga. This prophecy of Lord Shiva materialised on the Shraavan Shukla Saptami, Vikrami Samvat 1554 when Maharshi Valmiki took birth as Tulsidas ji in a Saryuparin Brahmin family in a village named Rajapur situated on the banks of the river Yamuna.
At the time of birth, Goswamiji was as healthy as a five-year old boy and instead of crying, He uttered the word “Ram”. At this moment, Lord Rama made an aakaashvaani and named the divine child as “Rambola” (one who uttered Raam). Goswamiji Himself attests this.
राम को गुलाम नाम रामबोला राख्यो राम ।
At this auspicious event, gods started playing celestial instruments to celebrate the birth. Becoming apprehensive and unable to understand the strangeness of events, Shri Atmaram Dubey abandoned his son. Goswamiji writes.
जायो कुलमंगन बधावनो बजायो सुनि । भयो परिताप पाप जननी जनक को ।।
Meeting with his Guru Shri NarhariDas Ji
After five years, there occurred a dramatic event in Rambola’s life. When He was living under the trees just outside Haripur, Lord Shiva inspired Shri Narharidas ji to meet Rambola. Shri Narharidas ji or Shri Narharyanand ji was the fourth disciple among the twelve chief disciples of Adya Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Ji and also an incarnation of four Sankadik sages. A little conversation took place when Shri Narharidas ji met the boy.
Narharidasji : Boy! What is your name?
Tulsidasji : Rambola.
Narharidasji : Why?
Tulsidasji : Because “Ram” was the first word that came out from my mouth when I was born.
Narharidasji : Who gave you this name?
Tulsidasji : Lord Ram Himself.
Narharidasji : What do you do?
Tulsidasji : I utter “Ram-Ram” sometimes.
राम को गुलाम नाम रामबोला राख्यो राम । काम यहै नाम द्वै हों कबहुँ कहत हौं ।।
Shri Narharidas Ji showered divine grace on the boy and gave Him the Virakta Shri Vaishnav Diksha in Shri Ramanandi Parampara, i.e. initiated Him in the Ramanandi sect with due rituals, and presented Him the name “Tulsidas”. Goswamiji describes His Diksha and the above conversation in the following verses.[ref]
बूझ्यो ज्यों ही कह्यौं मैं हूँ चेरा ह्वैहौं रावरो जू, मेरो कोउ कहूँ नहिं चरण गहत हौं । मींज्यो गुरु पीठि अपनाई बोलि बाँह गहि, सेवक सुखद बाँको बिरुद बहत हौं । बलोग कहें पोच, सो न सोच न संकोच मेरे, ब्याह न बरेखी जात पाँत न चहत हौं । तुलसी अकाज काज राम ही के रीझे खीझे, प्रीति की प्रतीति ताते मुदित रहत हौं ।
Gurudev Shri Narharidasji took Tulsidasji to a place called Sookar (सूकर), now known as Soron. There He narrated the ShriRamcharitmanas Katha to Tulsidasji several times which He had received in tradition from Maharshi Yajnavalkya ji. Shri Narharidasji had received the Katha from Maharshi in the form of the four Sankadik sages. Goswamiji writes.
मैं पुनि निज गुरु सन सुनी कथा सो सूकर खेत । समझी नहिं तस बालपन तब अति रहेउँ अचेत ।।
-Ramcharitmanas, 1.3. क
Goswamiji remembers His Guruji’s name figuratively in the Manas.[ref]
बन्दउं गुरुपद कंज कृपासिन्धु नररूप हरि ।
-सो. Ramcharitmanas, 1.5
With the grace of Gurudev, Tulsidasji easily mastered all Puranas, Nigamas, Agamas and other scriptures.
Bhagwan Hanuman Darshan
With the help from a pret (प्रेत), Tulsidasji had a darshan of Lord Hanuman in Kashi Karnghanta. In the nearby Sankatmochan place, Hanumanji told Tulsidasji to visit Chitrakoot to have darshan of Lord Ram. Hanumanjitold this by putting one hand on His own chest and indicating to the south with the other hand. The indication was that one who resides inside my heart, i.e. Lord Raam, will give you darshan in the southern direction (in Chitrakoot).
Today an idol of Hanumanji can be seen with the same hand postures at that place. It is considered that Goswamiji praises that pret (प्रेत) in the following verse in Manas.
Following this instruction of Hanumanji, Tulsidasji visited Chitrakoot and constantly chanted the pious name of Lord Ram. One day while doing parikrama of Kamadgiri (a hill in Chitrakoot where Lord Ram had stayed), Tulsidasji saw two handsome princes, one dark complexioned and one fair complexioned, riding beautiful horses in front of Him at some distance. Though the beauty of two princes mesmerized Tulsidasji, He could not recognize that they were actually Lord Ram and Lakshman. When Hanumaanji met Him again and told Him the reality, Goswamiji felt very sad. Hanumanji then gave assurance and Goswamiji restarted His Jaap Sadhna.[ref][ref]
देव दनुज नर नाग खग प्रेत पितर गन्धर्व । बन्दउं किन्नर रजनिचर कृपा करहु अब सर्व ।।
Prabhu Shri Ram Darshan
On Maagh Krishna Amaavasyaa, that is Mauni Amaavasyaa, of Samvat 1620, Shri Ram and Lakshman ji came inside Tulsidasji’s hut, situated on Ram Ghat on the banks of the holy river Mandakini in Chitrakoot. Tulsidasji was rubbing Chandan (sandalwood-paste) and Lord Ram and Lakshman ji, in the form of two boys, appeared before Him and said, “Baba! Give us Chandan too!”. Baba got mesmerized at this. Lord Ram put Chandan on His own forehead and then made a Tilak on Baba’s forehead. At this moment, Hanumanji turned into a parrot, sat on the nearby mango tree, and uttered the following popular doha lest the Baba should fail to recognize the Lord once again.
चित्रकूट के घाट पर भइ सन्तन की भीर । तुलसिदास चन्दन घिसें तिलक देत रघुबीर ।।
and then Tulsidasji recognized His Lord, Lord Ram. In Vinaypatrika, Goswamjji gives indication of this event.[ref]
तुलसी तोकौ कृपाल जो कियौ कोसलपाल । चित्रकूट के चरित चेत चित करि सो ।।
Tulsidas & Akbar
सन्तन को का सिकरी सो काम
He brought about a calmness through his healing touch expressed through his writings which oozed positivity. His language of writing was the then used dialect understood by all. Anyone could read and find answers and solace in it. Other poets were busy pleasing the wily rulers.
He started writing his greatest epic Ram charit Manas in l631 as ordered by Hanuman ji. It took him two years seven months and twenty six days to complete this epic which changed the lives of many later on. This whole epic was first heard by Hanuman who blessed him to be great. He also composed the Hanuman Chalisa.
Apart from ShriRamcharitmanas, Goswamiji also composed scriptures such as Kavitavali, Hanuman Bahuk, VrihadBarwai Ramayana, LaghuBarwai Ramayana, JanakiMangal, ParvatiMangal, Dohavali, VairagyaSandipani, Tulsi DohaShatak, Hanuman Chalisa, Geetavali Ramayana, Krishna Geetaavali, Vinaypatrika.
At the age of 126, Goswamiji left his body on the Shraavan Shukla Tritaya, Saturday, Samvat 1680 on the Asee Ghat of Varanasi.
सम्वत सोरह सै असी असी गंग के तीर । श्रावण शुक्ला तीज शनि तुलसी तज्यौ शरीर ।।
When devotees asked for a teaching from Goswamiji about His experience, He spoke golden words.[ref]
अलप तो अवधि तामें जीव बहु सोच पोच, करिबे को बहुत है कहा कहा कीजिए । ग्रन्थन को अन्त नाहिं काव्य की कला अनन्त, राग है रसीलो रस कहाँ कहाँ पीजिए । वेदन को पार न पुरानन को भेद बहु, वाणी है अनेक चित कहाँ कहाँ दीजिए । लाखन में एक बात तुलसी बताए जात, जन्म जो सुधारा चाहो रामनाम लीजिए ।
Thus spoke the last composer of Shri Ram Katha. His last words were –
रामचंद्र गुण बरनि के भयो चहत अब मौन । तुलसी के मुख दीजिए बेगहि तुलसी सोन ।।