• Tulsidas known as Rambola Dubey  was a Vaishnava (Ramanandi) Hindu saint and poet, renowned for his devotion to the deity Rama, is believed to have been born around 1543  in Rajapur by the Yamuna in today’s Banda district.
  • He composed the Ramcharitmanas on the bank of the Ganga in Varanasi — he is said to have begun writing on Ram Navami day in 1574, and completed the poem over the next few years.
  • Tulsidas lived in the time of Emperor Akbar, and some believe that he was in touch with Abdurrahim Khan-e-Khanan, the son of Akbar’s commander Bairam Khan.
A Mughal prince visits Tulsidas

The Ramcharitmanas

  • The poem was written in the 16th century in the Awadhi dialect that is mainly spoken in the areas that are today’s Lucknow, Prayagraj, and Ayodhya districts.
  • It was written in the Avdhi dialect. The sacred chant ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ is a part of it.
  • It is divided into seven chapters (Kand) that tell the story of Lord Ram from birth to his becoming King of Ayodhya.
  • The Ramcharitmanas is based on the Ramayana, sage Valmiki’s great epic.
  • It is the holiest book of the Indo-Gangetic region, and among the world’s most read holy books — by one estimate, Geeta Press (Gorakhpur) has sold almost 7 crore copies.
  • Across the Hindi heartland, a reference to “Ramayan” often actually means Ramcharitmanas.
  • Tulsidas made the story of Lord Ram popular among the masses because he wrote in the regional dialect that most people understood.

Incarnation of the Valmiki

  • Legend has it that Tulsidas, the revered poet, is thought to be the reincarnation of Valmiki, as per the Hindu scripture Bhavishyottar Purana. The story goes that Lord Shiva, in a conversation with his wife Parvati, foretold the incarnation of Valmiki in the Kal Yuga.
  • According to sources, it’s believed that Hanuman would visit Valmiki to delight in the rendition of the Ramayana. Even after the victorious saga of Lord Rama defeating Ravana, Hanuman continued to offer his devotion to Rama in the serene Himalayas.

Marriage History

  • He was married to Ratnavali (the daughter of Dinbandhu Pathak of Mahewa village and Kaushambi district) on the 13th of Jyeshta month (May or June) in the year 1583. After some years of marriage, he had a son named Tarak who died in his toddler state. Once upon a time, his wife went to her father’s home when Tulsidas had gone to the Hanuman temple. When he returned home and did not saw his wife, he swam along River Yamuna in order to meet his wife.
  • Ratnavali was very upset with his activity and blamed him. She remarked that he should become a true devotee and should focus on God. He then left her wife and went to the holy city of Prayag (where he renounced the stages of Grihastha’s life and became a Sadhu). According to some authors, he was unmarried and Sadhu from birth.

Literary Journey

  • Tulsidas, after constructing the Tulsi Manas Mandir, received divine guidance to compose poetry in the vernacular language.
  • Lord Shiva and Parvati blessed him, directing him to go to Ayodhya and write in Awadhi instead of Sanskrit.
  • Initiated the writing of Ramcharitmanas in Ayodhya on Ramnavami, Chaitra month, in 1631.
  • Completed this epic endeavor in two years, seven months, and twenty-six days in 1633 on Vivaha Panchami (Rama and Sita’s marriage) in Margashirsha.
  • Tulsidas delivered the completed Ramcharitmanas to Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati at Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi.

Death of Tulsidas

  • Tulsidas erected a statue at Tulsi Manas Mandir in Chitrakuta, signifying his deep connection with Lord Rama.
  • Tulsidas peacefully passed away on the banks of the Ganges at Assi Ghat in the month of Shraavan (July or August) in 1623.
  • His legacy endures through the timeless verses of Ramcharitmanas.

Tulisdas and political controversies

  • While in the Ramcharitmanas, Lord Ram is maryada purushottam, the epitome of righteousness, his conduct has been criticised by leaders of anti-Brahmin movements like E V Ramasamy Periyar.
  • One of the 22 pledges that Dr B R Ambedkar administered to his followers while embracing Buddhism in October 1956 was: “I shall have no faith in Rama and Krishna, who are believed to be incarnation of God, nor shall I worship them.”
  • Non-upper caste assertion in politics has sometimes been manifested in criticism of the Ramcharitmanas.
  • Critics have used these parts of the poem to accuse Tulsidas of being against the non-upper castes and women, and a flagbearer of the idea of Brahminical superiority.

Key Points

  • Uttar Pradesh tourism emphasized the significance of Ramcharitmanas as well as its writer whose birthplace is visited by people in large numbers to pay their obeisance.
    • The Ramcharitramanas or Tulsi Ramayana is a retelling of the epic Ramayana, by Tulsidas in Awadhi language.
  • Tourism facilities would be developed, including accommodation and various other provisions to enable digital availability of the Ramcharitmanas.
    • With an expenditure of ₹21 crore, about two-and-a-half acres area near Tulsi Memorial in Rajapur village will go through beautification.
  • A park with medicinal plants, dormitory, digital library and interpretation center will be built as well.
  • At present, Uttar Pradesh tops the country in terms of domestic tourism. Tourist facilities are being continuously developed in the state.
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