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Saint Tulsidas

Hari OM

Story-day is for cultural exploration, puraanas and parables and finding out about leading lights in spiritual philosophy.

Tulsidas is considered to be one of the greatest of the Hindu saints of India and to be one of the most famous representatives of the Bhakti school of Hinduism.

Details of his early life are a bit sketchy.  He is thought to have been born about 1532, though there is some difference of opinion on this.  There is however, an agreement that he was born in Rajpur India, in present day Uttar Pradesh.  He was born to Atmaram Shukla Dube and his wife Hulsi.  As a youngster, his name was Tulsiram and / or Ram Bola.  (Even today in India it is not unusual for a person to have different names, at different times of their life, and to different people).

Image result for story of tulsidasHis introduction into the principles of the Bhakti school came when Tulsidas was a young boy in Sukar-Khet.  There he heard the story of Rama, which would form the basis for much of his later literary work.  This was from Narhari Das who was a very influential saint.

Tulsidas' family life was not unusual.  As is the custom, he lived for a time as a householder, and assumed the normal duties of raising and supporting a family.  He was married to a woman by the name of Buddhimati (Ratnavali).  She bore him a son by the name of Tarak.

However his life as a householder was to be short-lived. Having been totally besotted with his wife, he followed her one night to her parents' home; Ratnavali was so embarassed with his behaviour she declared, 'if you had one iota of devotion for Lord Rama in the manner you have for this dirty body of flesh and blood and bone, you would be nothing short of a saint!' Her anger flummoxed Tulsidas - he somehow thought her words to be true. He left home and took sanyaas (the life of a renunciate).  For the next fourteen years he visited various pilgrimage places.  Afterwards he settled down and started an ashram where he taught, and composed his literary works.

His literary work was most impressive.  He was a Sanskrit scholar, but he is known for his works in Awadhi (A dialect of Hindi).  He is particularly known for his "Tulsi-Krita Ramayan", this is also known as "Ramcharitamanasa". Despite sage Valmiki having written the Ramaayana prior, many who follow Shri Rama are fondest of the Tulsidas version - it is a little more 'user friendly'. Tulsidas is also well known for his "Hanuman Chalisa".  In all, he composed 22 major literary works in his lifetime.

He died about 1623 in Asighat in Varanasi (Benares).

Image result for story of tulsidas

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