Tulsidas (1532-1623) was a legendary Indian poet and philosopher Tulsidas is the author of the ‘Ramcharitmanas’, one of the greatest epics ever written. His full name was Goswami Tulsidas and he was born in 1532 A.D in Rajpur, in the Banda district of Uttar Pradesh, India, during the reign of Mughal Emperor, Akbar.
Tulsidas was a Sarayuparina Brahmin by birth and is regarded as an incarnation of Valmiki, the sage who composed the Ramayana in Sanskrit. He was the son of Atmaram Shukla Dube and Hulsi and was known as Tulsiram during his childhood. Although Tulsidas’s childhood was one of poverty and suffering, he was a devout follower of Lord Rama, and was taught by his guru, Nahari-Das during his days at Sukar-khet. He went on to marry Buddhimati (also known as Ratnavali), from whom he had a son named Tarak.
Tulsidas was passionately attached to his wife, and as legend goes, he even followed her to her father’s house just to be beside her; however, it was when Ratnavali reproached his love for her and asked him to love Lord Rama instead, that he immediately renounced the world to lead an ascetic life. Over the next few years, Tulsidas wandered across India, visiting numerous pilgrimage sites, in his quest for Lord Rama, spiritually changing his bent of mind. Ayodhya was his main stay, and it was here that he sighted a vision of Lord Rama who inspired him to compose the Ramayana in Awadhi, the common language spoken by the people then.
Beginning his work in 1574, Tulsidas went on to pen down several other works of great literary merit, however, his greatest masterpiece is the epic titled ‘Ramcharitmanas’, (‘The Lake of the Deeds of Rama’), which contains sweet couplets in beautiful rhyme known as ‘chaupai’, solely devoted to Lord Rama. His emphasized the path to attain salvation by devoting oneself to God. Some of the other great literary works composed by Tulsidas include the Dohavali, the Kavitavali, the Gitavali, the Krishnavali, the Vinay Patrika, and the much revered poem praising the god Hanuman, the Hanuman Chalisa. His minor compositions include the Vairagya Sandipani, Baravai Ramayana, Janaki Mangal, Ramalala Nahachhu, Parvati Mangal, and Sankata Mochana.
Goswami Tulsidas’s works were even admired by the Mughal rulers Akbar and Jahangir. In 1623, Tulsidas passed away at the age of 91, in the holy city of Benares. Even today, his writings display an amalgamation of his intense devotion and philosophical ideologies, making him one of the greatest Hindi poets to ever compose such outstanding literature.