Profile of the Hindu Poet Goswami Tulsidas

Hindu Poet Goswami Tulsidas
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Goswami Tulsidas is widely considered to be one of the greatest poets in India and Hinduism. He is best known as the author of the epic Ramcharitmanas—an adaptation of the Ramayana. So profound is his reputation for Hindus that he is widely believed by some to be the incarnation of Valmiki, the author of the Ramayana. A great deal of Tulsidas' genuine biography is blended with the legend, to such a degree that it is difficult to separate truth from mythology. 

Birth and Parentage:

It is known that Tulsidas was born to Hulsi and Atmaram Shukla Dube in Rajpur, Uttar Pradesh, India in 1532. He was a Sarayuparina Brahmin by birth. It is said that Tulsidas did not cry at the time of his birth and that he was born with all thirty-two teeth intact—a fact used to support the belief that he was the reincarnation of the sage Valmiki. In his childhood, he was known as Tulsiram or Ram Bola.

From Family Man to Ascetic

Tulsidas was passionately attached to his wife Buddhimati until the day she uttered these words: "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 Tulsidas' heart. He abandoned home, became an ascetic, and spent fourteen years visiting various sacred places. Legend has it that Tulsidas met Lord Hanuman and through him had a vision of Lord Rama.

Immortal Works

Tulsidas wrote 12 books, the most famous being the Hindi version of the Ramayan, the work called “The Ramcharitmanasa” that is read and worshipped with great reverence in every Hindu home in Northern India. An inspiring book, it contains sweet couplets in beautiful rhyme praising Lord Rama. Evidence from Tulsidas' writings suggests that the composition of his greatest work began in 1575 CE and took two years to complete. This work was composed in Ayodhya, but it is said that immediately upon completion, Tulsidas traveled to Varanasi where he recited the epic to Shiva. 

“Vinaya Patrika” is another important book written by Tulsidas, thought to be his last composition. 

Wanderings and Miracles

We know that Tulsidas lived in Ayodhya for some time before moving to the holy city of Varanasi, where he lived for most of his life. A popular legend, likely based partly on fact, describes how he once went to Brindavan to visit the temples of Lord Krishna. Upon seeing the statue of Krishna, he is reported to have said, "How shall I describe Thy beauty, O Lord! But Tulsi will bow his head only when You take up bow and arrow in Your hands." The Lord then revealed Himself before Tulsidas in the form of Lord Rama wielding bow and arrows.

In another widely told story, Tulsidas’ blessings once brought the dead husband of a poor woman back to life. The Moghul emperor in Delhi came to know of this miracle and sent for Tulsidas, asking the saint to perform some miracles for him. Tulsida declined, saying, "I have no superhuman power, I know only the name of Rama"—an act of defiance that saw him placed behind bars by the Emporer. Tulsidas then prayed to Lord Hanuman, resulting in countless powerful monkeys invading the royal court. The frightened emperor released Tulsidas from prison, begging for pardon. The Emporer and Tusidas went on to become good friends.

Last Days

Tulsidas left his mortal body and entered the Abode of Immortality and Eternal Bliss in 1623 CE at the age of 91. He was cremated at Asi Ghat by the Ganges in the holy city of Varanasi (Benaras).

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Das, Subhamoy. "Profile of the Hindu Poet Goswami Tulsidas." Learn Religions, Aug. 27, 2020, Das, Subhamoy. (2020, August 27). Profile of the Hindu Poet Goswami Tulsidas. Retrieved from Das, Subhamoy. "Profile of the Hindu Poet Goswami Tulsidas." Learn Religions. (accessed March 26, 2023).