Gosvāmī Tulsīdās (1532-1623; Devanāgarī: तुलसीदास, may be written as Tulasī Dāsa depending on if the name is transcribed to indicate Sanskrit pronunciation instead of Hindi) was an Awadhi poet and philosopher, and the author "Rāmacaritamānasa" ("The Lake of the Deeds of Rama"), an epic devoted to Lord Rama.

He was born in Rajpur, India in the present day Banda District, [ [http://www.dlshq.org/saints/tulsidas.htm Goswami Tulsidas Biography] By Swami Sivananda at Divine Life Society.] Uttar Pradesh, during the reign of Humayun to Hulsi and Atmaram Dubey. [ [http://hinduism.about.com/od/gurussaints/p/tulsidas.htm Biography] Tulsidas at hinduism.about.com.] During his lifetime, Tulsidas wrote 22 different works [http://www.poetseers.org/spiritual_and_devotional_poets/india/tulsidas Biography] www.poetseers.org.] and, although a Sanskrit scholar, he is considered the greatest and most famous of Hindi poets. He is regarded as an incarnation of Valmiki, the author of Ramayana written in Sanskrit.

"Rāmacaritamānasa" ("The Lake of the Deeds of Rama"), an epic devoted to Lord Rama, was the Awadhi version of Ramayana of Valmiki, like many translations of the original Sanskrit Ramayana, is read and worshipped with great reverence in many Hindu homes in northern India. It is an inspiring book that contains sweet couplets in beautiful rhyme called 'chaupai'. "Vinaya Patrika" is another important book written by Tulsidas.


Tulsidas's most famous poem is "Rāmacaritamānasa", or "The Lake of the Deeds of Rama". It is popularly called "Tulsi-krita Ramayana" and is as well known among Hindi-speaking Hindus in India. Many of its verses are popular proverbs in that region. Tulsidas' phrases have passed into common speech, and are used by millions of Hindi speakers (and even speakers of Urdu) without the speakers being conscious of their origin. Not only are his sayings proverbial: his doctrine actually forms the most powerful religious influence in present-day Hinduism; and, though he founded no school and was never known as a guru or master, he is everywhere accepted as both poet and saint, an inspired and authoritative guide in religion and the conduct of life.

Tulsidas professed himself the humble follower of his teacher, Narhari Das, from whom as a boy in Sukar-khet he first heard the tale of Rama's exploits that would form the subject of the "Rāmacaritamānasa". Narhari Das was the sixth in spiritual descent from Ramananda, a founder of popular Vaishnavism in northern India, who was also known for his famous poems.

Other works

Besides the "Rāmacaritamānasa", Tulsidas was the author of five longer and six shorter works, most of them dealing with the theme of Rama, his doings, and devotion to him. The former are

# the "Dohavali", consisting of, 573 miscellaneous doha and sortha verses; of this there is a duplicate in the Ram-satsai, an arrangement of seven centuries of verses, the great majority of which occur also in the Dohavali and in other works of Tulsi,
# the "Kabitta Ramayan" or "Kavitavali", which is a history of Rama in the kavitta, ghanakshari, chaupaï and savaiya metres; like the "Rāmacaritamānasa", it is divided into seven kandas or cantos, and is devoted to setting forth the majestic side of Rama's character,
#the "Gitavali", also in seven kandas, aiming at the illustration of the tender aspect of the Lord's life; the metres are adapted for singing
# the "Krishnavali" or "Krishna gitavali", a collection of 61 songs in honor of Krishna, in the Kanauji dialect of Hindi: the authenticity of this is doubtful,
# the "Vinaya Patrika", or "Book of petitions", a series of hymns and prayers of which the first 43 are addressed to the lower gods, forming Rama's court and attendants, and the remainder, Nos. 44 to 279, to Rama himself.

His minor works include Baravai Ramayana, Janaki Mangal, Ramalala Nahachhu, Ramajna Prashna, Parvati Mangal, Krishna Gitavali, Hanuman Bahuka, Sankata Mochana and Vairagya Sandipini [ [http://www.ramcharitmanas.iitk.ac.in/manas1/html/tulsim.htm Tulsidas] www.ramcharitmanas.iitk.ac.in.] . Of the smaller compositions the most interesting is the "Vairagya Sandipani", or "Kindling of continence", a poem describing the nature and greatness of a holy man, and the true peace to which he attains.

Tulsidas's most famous and read piece of literature apart from the Ramayana is the "Hanuman Chalisa", a poem praising Hanuman. Many Hindus recite it daily as a prayer.

His doctrine

Tulsi's doctrine is derived from Ramanuja through Ramananda. Like the former, he believes in a supreme personal God, possessing all gracious qualities (sadguna), as well as in the quality-less (nirguna) neuter impersonal Brahman of Sankaracharya; this Lord Himself once took the human form, and became incarnate, for the blessing of mankind, as Rama. The body is therefore to be honored, not despised. The Lord is to be approached by faith (bhakti) disinterested devotion and surrender of self in perfect love, and all actions are to be purified of self-interest in contemplation of Him. Show love to all creatures, and thou wilt be happy; for when thou lovest all things, thou lovest the Lord, for He is all in all. The soul is from the Lord, and is submitted in this life to the bondage of works (karma); Mankind, in their obstinacy, keep binding themselves in the net of actions, and though they know and hear of the bliss of those who have faith in the Lord, they don't attempt the only means of release. The bliss to which the soul attains, by the extinction of desire, in the supreme home, is not absorption in the Lord, but union with Him in abiding individuality. This is emancipation (mukti) from the burden of birth and rebirth, and the highest happiness. Tulsi, as a Saryupareen Brahmin, venerates the whole Hindu pantheon, and is especially careful to give Shiva or Mahadeva, the special deity of the Brahmins, his due, and to point out that there is no inconsistency between devotion to Rama and attachment to Shiva (Ramayana, Lankakanda, Doha 3). But the practical end of all his writings is to inculcate bhakti addressed to Rama as the great means of salvation and emancipation from the chain of births and deaths, a salvation which is as free and open to men of the lowest caste as to Brahmins.

However it is important to understand that for Tulsidas "doctrine" is not so important. Far more relevant is practise, the practise of repeating Rama-Nama, the name of the Rama. In fact, Tulsidas goes as far as to say that the name of Rama is bigger than Rama Himself (कहउँ नामु बड़ राम तें निज बिचार अनुसार, [ Ramacharitamanas, Bal Kand, Doha 23 ] ). Why is the name of Rama bigger than Rama? Because "Rama" is a mantra, a sound, the repetition of which can lead one to higher states of consciousness. Thus it is not Rama that "saves", but the name of Rama. The literary worth of Tulsidas has been highlighted by Acharya Ram Chandra Shukla in his critical work Hindi Sahitya Ka Itihaas.Acharya Shukla has elaborated Tulsi's Lokmangal as the doctrine for social upliftment which made this great poet immortal and comparable to any other world littérateur.

Sources and manuscripts

In Growse's translation of the "Rāmacaritamānasa" [ [http://www.archive.org/details/rmyanaoftuls00tulauoft The Rámáyana of Tulsi Dás] ] , will be found the text and translation of the passages in the "Bhagatmala" of Nabhaji and its commentary, which are the main original authority for the traditions relating to the poet. Nabhaji had himself met Tulsidas; but the stanza in praise of the poet gives no facts relating to his life – these are stated in the tika or gloss of Priya Das, who wrote in A.D. 1712, and much of the material is legendary and untrustworthy. Unfortunately, the biography of the poet, called "Gosai-charitra", by Benimadhab Das, who was a personal follower and constant companion of the Master, and died in 1642, has disappeared, and no copy of it is known to exist.

In the introduction to the edition of the "Ramayana" by the Nagri Pracharni Sabha all the known facts of Tulsi's life are brought together and critically discussed. For an exposition of his religious position and his place in the popular religion of northern India, see Dr. Grierson's paper in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, July 1903, pp. 447-466. (C. J. L.)

A manuscript of the "Ayodhya-kanda", said to be in the poets own hand, exists at Rajapur in Banda, his reputed birthplace. One of the "Bala-kanda", dated Samvat 1661, nineteen years before the poet's death, and carefully corrected, it is alleged by Tulsidas himself, is at Ayodhya. Another autograph is reported to be preserved at Maliabad in the Lucknow district., but has not, so far as known, been verfied. Other ancient manuscripts are to be found at Benares. An excellent translation of the whole into English was made by F. S. Growse, of the Indian Civil Service (5th edition, Cawnpore, Kanpur, 1891).

A person from non-Hindi background may find Sri Ramcharitmanas bit difficult to understand. This mainly arise from the colloquialisms, and the idiomatic and elliptical structure of the sentences. These very difficulties constitute its peculiar value to the student who wishes to learn the Sri Ramcharitmanas. It disciplines the mind into recognizing words which have been distorted and twisted, and teaches one that a sentence can be turned upside down and inside out and yet remain intelligible. A nice introduction to the grammar of the Sri Ramcharitmanas was written by Edwin Greaves titled "Notes on the grammar of the Ramayan of Tulsi Das" [ [http://www.archive.org/details/notesongrammarof00greaiala Notes on the grammar] Ramayana of Tulsi Das] (1895).

Differences in Tulsi Rāmacaritamānasa and Valmiki Ramayana

There are numerous differences between Tulsi Rāmacaritamānasa and Valmiki Ramayana. One example is the scene in which Kaikayi forces her husband to exile Rama. In Tulsi Das it becomes considerably longer and more psychological, with intense characterisation and brilliant similes.


External links

* [http://wikisource.org/wiki/Tulsidas Original works of Tulsidas in Hindi (Wikisource)]
* [http://hi.literature.wikia.com/wiki/%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%81%E0%A4%B2%E0%A4%B8%E0%A5%80%E0%A4%A6%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B8 Tulsidas at Kavita Kosh]
* [http://oldhindipoems.blogspot.com/2006/09/ramcharitmanas-bal-kand-part-1.html "Rāmacaritamānasa" text in Hindi]
* [http://moralstories.wordpress.com/2006/07/28/shri-gosvaami-tulasidas/ Biography Tulasidas]
* [http://www.stutimandal.com Poetic eulogies by Tulsidas -Stutimandal]
* [http://www.swargarohan.org/ramayana/ramcharitmanas.htm Complete text of Tulsidas's "Rāmacaritamānasa", with Gujarati translation by Shri Yogeshwarji]
* [http://www.jagannathchetana.com/articles/Stories_param%20bramhan%20appears%20as%20Sri%20Ram.htm Tulsi Das finds Sri Ram in Lord Jagannath]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tulsidas — (Hindi: तुलसीदास Tulsīdās, auch Tulasidas, Gosvāmī Tulsīdās, Tulasī Dāsa, * wahrscheinlich um 1532 / um 1543, wahrscheinlich in Rajapur, Distrikt Banda, in Uttar Pradesh; † 1623 in Asi Ghat/Varanasi) war ein indischer Dichter, Mystiker,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Tulsidas — Nombre completo Gosvāmī Tulsīdās Nacimiento 1532 Rajapur, Uttar Pradesh …   Wikipedia Español

  • Tulsidas — Tulsîdâs Goswami Tulsîdâs (1532 1623; hindi: तुलसीदास) est un poète et philosophe indien, principalement connu pour sa version du Ramayana. Il est souvent considéré comme l équivalent pour la langue hindi de ce que Molière est au français ou… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tulsidas — Tulsidas,   indischer Dichter, * Raipur (?) 1532, ✝ Benares (heute Varanasi) 1623; seine in Althindi verfassten Werke sind v. a. der Ramaverehrung gewidmet. Seinem Hauptwerk »Ramacaritmanas« (»See des Lebenslaufs des Rama«) liegt der Stoff des… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Tulsidas — (1532–1623)    greatest Hindi poet    It can be said without reservation that Tulsidas is the greatest poet to write in the Hindi language. Tulsidas was a BRAHMIN by birth and was believed to be a reincarnation of the author of the SANSKRIT… …   Encyclopedia of Hinduism

  • Tulsîdâs — Goswami Tulsîdâs (1532 1623 ; hindi : तुलसीदास) est un poète et philosophe indien, principalement connu pour sa version du Ramayana. Il est souvent considéré comme l équivalent pour la langue hindi de ce que Molière est au français ou… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • TulsiDas — Tul·si Das (to͝olʹsē däsʹ), 1543? 1623. Hindu poet whose Ramcaritmanas is considered one of the greatest works of Hindi literature. * * * ▪ Indian poet born 1543?, probably Rājāpur, India died 1623, Vārānasi       Indian sacred poet whose… …   Universalium

  • Tulsīdās — biographical name 1543? 1623 Hindu poet …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Tulsi Das — Tulsîdâs Goswami Tulsîdâs (1532 1623; hindi: तुलसीदास) est un poète et philosophe indien, principalement connu pour sa version du Ramayana. Il est souvent considéré comme l équivalent pour la langue hindi de ce que Molière est au français ou… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tulsî Dâs — Tulsîdâs Goswami Tulsîdâs (1532 1623; hindi: तुलसीदास) est un poète et philosophe indien, principalement connu pour sa version du Ramayana. Il est souvent considéré comme l équivalent pour la langue hindi de ce que Molière est au français ou… …   Wikipédia en Français