Goswāmi Tulsīdās

Gosvāmī Tulsīdāsa (तुलसीदास) was a great sage, poet, philosopher, reformer and more importantly an ardent devotee of Śrī Rāma belonging to Śrī Rāmānandi- Vaiṣṇava-Sampradāya, who appeared to spread the divine ravishing tale of Śrī Rāma, and Śrī Rām-Bhakti among people. He is popularly known as the author of Śrī Rāmcharitmanas and Hanumān Cālīsā which are studied and recited daily by millions of Hindus. Goswami Tulsidasa had got the vision of his ishta Bhagavān Śrī Rām in this Kali-age from his physical eyes on the bank of river Mandākinī at Chitrakoot.

In his life-time, Gosvāmī Tulsīdās was acclaimed a Mahā-Muni, the incarnation of Maharshi Vālmīki who composed Rāmāyaṇa in Sanskrit. Gosvāmī Tulsīdās has been the most influential Bhakti-saint in the India.

The childhood of Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās Jī

Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās Jī was born to a Sarayupārīṇ Brāhmin Ātmārām Dubey and his wife Hulasī on the day of Shrāvaṇa-Shukla-Saptamī (the seventh day of the bright half of the Shrāvaṇa month) in the Vikrami Samvat 1554 (1497 CE) as per the Mula Gosain Charita.

Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās was born after staying in the womb for twelve months. He had all thirty two teeth in his mouth at birth, his health and looks were like that of a five-year-old boy. Just after the birth, Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās Jī uttered the name 'Rāma', instead of crying like ordinary newborns. And then a divine sound from sky said 'Rāmabolā', and thus Bhagavān Śrī Rām named the newborn divine child Rāmabolā.

Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās Jī indicated this incident in Vinayapatrikā —

रामको गुलाम, नाम रामबोला राख्यौ राम ।
(श्री विनयपत्रिका ७६.१)

rāmakō gulāma, nāma rāmabōlā rākhyau rāma ।
(Śrī Vinayapatrikā 76.1)

“मैं श्रीराम का गुलाम हूँ, बचपन में भगवान् श्रीराम ने हीं मेरा नाम रामबोला रख दिया!”

“I am a servant of Śrī Rām, having given a childhood-name 'Rāmabolā' by Śrī Rāma.”

Seeing Bhagavān Śrī Rām given the childhood-name for the divine child, the gods started dancing and playing their divine instruments in the sky to celebrate the birth of Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās Jī. However, Ātmārām Dubey the father of Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās Jī, became apprehensive after seeing the wonderful child as well as the strange events happening at the time of his birth. He consulted with astrologers who did their calculations and said to him 'Brahmā has written worse fate for him, as the child is born under the Abhuktamūla constellation which according to Jyotisha (astrology) causes immediate danger to the life of the family-members'. Already apprehensive Ātmārām Dubey finally decided to abandon the newborn child.

Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās Jī indicated this incident in Kavitāvalī how wretched fate he was born with —

मातु-पिताँ जग जाइ तज्यो बिधिहूँ न लिखी कछु भाल भलाई॥
नीच, निरादरभाजन, कादर, कूकर-टूकन लागि ललाई॥
रामु-सुभाउ सुन्यो तुलसीं प्रभुसों कह्यो बारक पेटु खलाई।
स्वारथको परमारथको रघूनाथु सो साहेबु, खोरि न लाई॥
(कवितावली ७.५६)

mātu-pitām̐ jaga jāi tajyō bidhihūm̐ na likhī kachu bhāla bhalāī॥
nīca, nirādarabhājana, kādara, kūkara-ṭūkana lāgi lalāī॥
rāmu-subhāu sunyō tulasīṃ prabhusōṃ kahyō bāraka pēṭu khalāī।
svārathakō paramārathakō raghūnāthu sō sāhēbu, khōri na lāī॥
(kavitāvalī 7.56)

“His parents abandoned him after giving birth to him, even Brahmā had not written anything good in his fate. So much wretched, and worthy of contempt that child was that He in his hunger had to look for the foods thrown for the stray dogs. After hearing the sweet disposition of Śrī Rām, that Child Tulasīdās opened his heart (told his agonies) to the Lord. Then, Raghunāth Ji as per his disposition left no stone unturned in taking care of the worldly well-being and the supreme spiritual welfare of Tulasīdās who sought his shelter.”

Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās Jī was abandoned by his parents on the tenth night from his birth. Seeing her husband's inclination to abandon the child, The ailing mother Hulasī became very anxious, therefore on the tenth night she silently entrusted her child who was her life to the house-maid Chuniā and sent her away with some gifts to her in-law's village. And the next day on Ekādashī, the mother Hulasī left her body. Chuniā took the child to her village of Haripur and started taking care of the child with a great love, however she could not be much helpful to him for long, when the child became around five years and five months old, she was bitten by a poisonous snake and she left her body. Rāmabolā (Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās) became an orphan. The villagers of Haripur sent a letter to his father Ātmārām Dubey to come Haripur and for proper care take his child back to his village. However, Ātmārām Dubey sent back a blunt reply 'who would take back such a child who kills his caretakers', his reply created a fear among the people of Haripur. People started fearing even from his shadow, they became heartless over that destitute little child who needed kindness from them. The poor orphaned child Rāmabolā (Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās) became impoverished and emaciated. (Gosvāmī Tulasīdās mentions this in Kavitāvalī 7.73 बारेतें ललात-बिललात द्वार-द्वार दीन, जानत हो चारि फल चारि ही चनकको॥ ) in so young age, in his hunger He had to wander from door to door to beg some food, and when someone out of compassion used to put the four grains of grams on his hand, He regarded it as if much received that day like the attainment of the four rewards of the human-life!

Devī Pārvatī couldn't bear to see it for long and she took the form of a Brāhmaṇī and started coming everyday to feed the orphaned divine child from her own hands in her laps like a mother feeds. Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās Jī remembers Devī Pārvatī and Lord Shiva as mother and father and guru with a great love.

Seeing Rāmabolā with improved health, the villagers of Haripur became curious to know who feeds this child? They put a woman behind the child to detect the truth. She saw a Brāhmaṇī comes to the child everyday and feeds him in her lap. Seeing this, the spying lady fell at the feet of Brāhmaṇī and asked who is she? But, Devī Pārvatī disappeared without telling anything. From that day Devī Pārvatī stopped visiting Rāmabolā, and He became orphan again. And, on the other side, Devī Pārvatī also became sad, to remove her sadness Lord Shiva expanded his leelā. In those days, Śrī Narharidās the renowned disciple of Śrī Anantānand Jī was used to live in Chitrakoot and do Bhajan-Sādhanā of Bhagavan Śrī SītāRāma. One day Lord Shiva graciously appeared to him, and preached him about Śrī Rāma-Tattva and narrated the mysterious tale of Śrī Rāmacaritmānasa. Then Lord Shiva asked him to go to Haripur, there is a divine child who is now orphan, adopt him and take him to Ayodhyā and give him proper Vaiṣṇavī-deeksha there and then after sometime narrate him the story of Śrī Rāmacaritmānasa which I told You.

Meeting the Sadguru

From the divine inspiration of Lord Shiva, Śrī Narharidās went Haripur and found the homeless child Rāmabolā sleeping under the trees outside the village of Haripur. Śrī Narharidās was in the fourth generation of Spiritual teachers in the disciplic-succession (paramparā) of Bhagavad Śrī Rāmānand. Seeing the impoverished orphaned child, Śrī Narharidās started a conversation with the child and graciously taken him in his shelter. He brought the child Rāmabolā to Ayodhya with him and did His Yajnopavīt-Saṃskāra. Thereafter, Sadgurudev Śrī Narharidās gave Śrī Rāma mantra and a new name 'Tulasīdās' to Rāmabolā. Sadgurudev Śrī Narharidās gave Pañca-saṃskāra Deekshā to Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās. Pañca-saṃskāra (Five Samskaras) : 1. Rāma mantra, 2. a new name Tulasīdās, 3. divine-marks of Bow and arrows, 4. Tulasi Mālā and 5. Urdhvapundra Tilak of Rāmānandī-samprdāya.

Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās started his learning in Ayodhyā under the guidance of his Sadgurudev. After living for ten months in Ayodhyā, Śrī Narharidās brought him to Vārāha-Kshetra (now known as Soron), where Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās heard first time the divine tale of Mānas-Rāmāyaṇa from the mouth of his Sadgurudev. He mentioned it in Śrī Rāmacaritmānasa :

मैं पुनि निज गुर सन सुनी कथा सो सूकरखेत ।
समुझी नहिं तस बालपन तब अति रहेउँ अचेत ॥
(श्रीरामचरितमानस १.३०)

maı̐ puni nija gura sana sunī kathā so sūkarakheta ।
samujhī nahi̐ tasa bālapana taba ati raheu̐ aceta ॥
(Śrī Rāmacaritmānasa 1.30)

“Then I heard the same narrative (story) [of Śrī Rāmacaritmānasa told by Lord Shiva to Devī Parvatī] in the holy Vārāha-Kshetra (the modern Soron in the Uttar-pradesh) from my Sadgurudev (Śrī Narharidās); However I did not understand it full well then, as I had no sense in those days of my childhood.”

तदपि कही गुर बारहिं बारा। समुझि परी कछु मति अनुसारा॥
भाषाबद्ध करबि मैं सोई। मोरें मन प्रबोध जेहिं होई॥
(श्रीरामचरितमानस १.३१.१)

tadapi kahī gura bārahiṃ bārā । samujhi parī kachu mati anusārā॥
bhāṣābaddha karabi maı̐ sōī । mōrē̐ mana prabōdha jēhi̐ hōī॥
(Śrī Rāmacaritmānasa 1.31.1)

“Nevertheless, when the preceptor repeated the story time after time, I followed it to a certain extent according to my poor lights. I shall versify the same in the popular tongue, so that my mind may derive satisfaction from it.”

Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās came Kāshī and studied the four Vedas, Six Vedāṅga (the limbs of Vedas), and six schools of Hindu Philosophy over a period of fifteen years under the guidance of Shikshā-Guru Śrī Śēṣasanātana. Śrī Śēṣasanātan was a friend of his Sadgurudev Śrī Narharidās.

Darshan of Hanumān

Ārādhya-Darshan (the vision of Ishta-dev Śrī Rāma)

Gosvāmī Tulsīdās had very deep longing to get vision of his Ishta-dev Bhagavān Śrī Rāma. Seeing his deep longing for Śrī Rāma, Hanumān used to appear in front of him to guide Gosvāmī Tulsīdās. At the request of Gosvāmī Tulsīdās, Hanumān had promised to help him in getting divine Darshan (vision) of Śrī Rāma. Therefore, Hanumān requested Śrī Rāma to end the wait of Gosvāmī Tulsīdās and grant his vision to Tulasīdāsa. On the other side, Hanumān instructed Gosvāmī Tulsīdās to go to Chitrakoot and chant Rama Naam night and day with deep longing to see Śrī Rāma. Gosvāmī Tulsīdās came Chitrakoot and started chanting Rāma Nāma all the time. One day, when Goswami Ji was doing circumambulation of Kāmadagiri mountain in Chitrakoot, then Śrī Rāma and Lakshmaṇa took the forms of two charming princes, one dark and another fair. Riding on horses, those two divine princes passed through the road near Gosvāmī Tulsīdās, Gosvāmī Tulsīdās got just a glimpse of those two divine princes from side and was left completely enraptured from their sight, however he couldn't recognise them that they are his Ishta Bhagavān Śrī Rāma and Lakshmaṇa. Therefore, Hanumān again requested Śrī Rāma to give his darshan to Gosvāmī Tulsīdās, not from side but from front full-view. Those days Gosvāmī Tulsīdāsa was used to live in Chitrakoot.

On the bank of Mandākinī river at Chitrakoot, there happened an assembly of saints. While Gosvāmī Tulsīdās was preparing the sandalwood-paste to give Tilaka to devotees, then the two most charming bluish and golden princes Śrī Rāma and Lakshmaṇ appeared again, however this time not in the form of two charming-princes, but in the form of Vanavāsī (forest-dwellers) Śrī Rāma-Lakshmaṇa Rupa. Vanavāsī Śrī Rāma-Lakshmaṇa suddenly appeared from the crowd and came in front of Gosvāmī Tulsīdāsa. Seeing their incomparable beauty, Goswami Ji was mesmerised and lost in their eye-captivating Then, Śrī Rāma smilingly asked sandalwood-paste and adorned his forehead with the Tilak on his own, and then he marked the Tilaka to Gosvāmī Tulsīdāsa. To bring Gosvāmī Tulsīdāsa back to his senses and let him meet his Ishta-dev Śrī Rāma with due reverence, Hanumān immediately took the form of parrot and uttered this stanza loudly :—

चित्रकूट के घाट पर भई संतन की भीर।
तुलसीदास चंदन घिसें तिलक देत रघुबीर ॥
(मूल गोसाईं चरित)

citrakūṭa kē ghāṭa para bhaī saṃtana kī bhīra।
tulasīdāsa caṃdana ghisēṃ tilaka dēta raghubīra ॥
(mūla gōsāīṃ carita)

“On the bank of Mandākinī river at Chitrakoot, there happened the assembly of saints. While Gosvāmī Tulsīdās is rubbing the sandalwood for making the paste [to give Tilaka to devotees], Tilaka is being given on the forehead of Tulasīdāsa by Raghuveer Śrī Rāma himself.”

Such a sweet leelā, Bhagavān is giving Tilak to his devotee after taking Tilak himself. Hearing the words of Hanumān Ji in the form of the parrot, and seeing this unusual grace of his Ishta Śrī Rāma giving Tilaka on his forehead, Gosvāmī Tulsīdāsa came back from trance and fell down in the lotus feet of his Ishta-dev Bhagavān Śrī Rāma.

Composition of Śrī Rāmacaritmānas

The divine ravishing tale of Śrī Rāmacaritmānasa was conceived by Lord Shiva in his heart, he had communicated it first time to Bhagavati Pārvatī and imparted once again to Kākabhushundī, and then that tale came into Guru-Paramparā of Gosvāmī Tulsīdāsa. One day Lord Shiva appeared in dreams of Gosvāmī Tulsīdāsa and asked him to compose the same ravishing tale of Śrī Rāmacaritmānas in the vernacular language. The same morning Gosvāmī Tulsīdāsa got the divine vision of Lord Shiva and Pārvatī who again asked him to go in Ayodhyā-dhāma to compose the divine exploits and the life-story of Śrī Rāma in the form of Śrī Rāmacaritmānasa there.

After getting divine inspiration and instruction from lord Shiva, Goswami Tulsidasa went Ayodhya and started composing the great epic poem Śrī Rāmacaritamānasa (श्रीरामचरितमानस) in the year Vikram-Samvat 1631 (1575 CE) in bright-half of the Chaitra-month on the day of Rāmanavamī (the appearance day of Śrī Rāma). He completed the work of composing Śrī Rāmacaritmānasa in 2 years 7 months 26 days in the Year Vikram-Samvat 1633 (1577CE) in the Margshirsha Month on the day of Vivāh-Panchamī (the marriage anniversary of Sita-Rama). His most renowned work Śrī Rāmacaritmānasa is universally accepted and respected by the common people, Vaidic-scholars, devotees and saints irrespective of their affiliations to different Sampradāyas, such is the universal acceptance of Gosvāmī Tulsīdās. Lord Shiva even approved the great epic poem Śrī Rāmcharitmanas as the most superior among sacred texts by leaving his sign (Satyam Shivam Sundaram) on the original copy of Śrī Rāmacaritamānasa at Kāshī-Vishwanātha Temple in Vārānasi. Actually, BrAhmina-s in Kashi were earlier not accepting Tulsidasa's Rāmāyaṇa due to being composed in vernacular language, and they were questioning the authenticity and divinity of work in parallel to divine scriptures composed by Vālmīki & Ved-vyasa. As Lord Shiva had motivated Tulsidas to compose Śrī Rāmcharitmanas in vernacular language so that Rama's divine life-story could be spread and easily accessible to all sections of society, even to those who were not adept in Sanskrit to study Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, thus all the responsibility of upholding the greatness and authenticity of Śrī Rāmacaritamānasa as authoritative scripture (text) came directly on Lord Shiva, therefore Lord Shiva left his sign on the original copy of Śrī Rāmacaritmānasa when it was kept for a night under the stacks of scriptures in Kashi-Viswanath temple under closed doors. Lord Shiva not only left his signature “Satyam Shivam Sundaram (It is True (real), Auspicious, and ravishing)”, but he also kept it over the top of the stacks of scriptures. When doors of Kashi-Vishwanath Temple were opened in morning, everyone saw the miracle of Lord Shiva leaving his sign on the original copy of Śrī Rāmacaritamānasa, Brahmina-s who were opposing Goswami Tulsidas fell down in feet of Gosvāmī Tulsīdās, and they asked forgiveness from him for their misdeeds. Everyone hailed Lord Shiva, and greatness of Śrī Rāmacaritmānasa and Gosvāmī Tulsīdās.

Each and every Shloka of Śrī Rāmcharitmanas is accepted as the divine powerful mantra by devotees and saints' community.
The verse given below can also be taken as Pramaan (proof) which is from Buddha-kaushik Ram-raksha Stotra as well as found in Padma-Purana and other sacred texts :

चरितं रघुनाथस्य शतकोटि प्रविस्तरम् ।
एकैकमक्षरं पुंसां महापातकनाशनम् ॥
[- रामरक्षा स्तोत्र]

“The divine exploits of Śrī Rām has been exclusively described in the form of 100 crore stanzas (verses). Each and every single word of those stanzas describing divine exploits of Śrī Rāma can eliminate the utmost grievous sins of this world i .e those letters are महापातकनाशनम् MahA-pAtaknAshanam.”

In Kaliyuga, there had been already a great downfall in the knowledge of Sanskrit, so Gosvāmī Tulsīdās composed the great epic poem Shri Rāmacaritamānasa ( श्रीरामचरितमानस ) in vernacular language i.e. Avadhi (Hindi) after the divine inspiration and instruction of Lord Shiva.

Gosvāmī Tulsīdās: the incarnation of Vālmīki Ji

Gosvāmī Tulasīdās (तुलसीदास ) is told to be reincarnation of Maharshi Vālmīki in Bhavishyottar Puarana by Lord Shiva himself.

In Bhavishyottar Purana, Lord Shiva tells Parvati how Vālmīki got a boon from Hanumān to sing the glories of Lord Śrī Rāma in vernacular language in the Kali Yuga. This prophecy of Lord Shiva materialised on the Shraavan Shukla Saptami, Vikrami Samvat 1554 when Vālmīki reincarnated as Tulsidas.

वाल्मीकिस्तुलसीदासः कलौ देवि भविष्यति ।
रामचन्द्रकथामेतां भाषाबद्धां करिष्यति ॥
(भविष्योत्तर पुराण, प्रतिसर्ग पर्व, ४.२०)

vālmīkis-tulasīdāsaḥ kalau dēvi bhaviṣyati ।
rāmacandra-kathām-ētāṃ bhāṣā-baddhāṃ kariṣyati ॥
(Bhaviṣyōttara Purāṇa, Pratisarga Parva, 4.20)

Lord Shiva tells —
“O Goddess Pārvati ! Maharshi Vālmīki will become Tulasīdās in the Kali age (Kaliyuga), and will compose this narrative of Śrī Rāma (the narrative of Śrī Rāma told by Lord Shiva to Pārvati called Mānas Rāmāyaṇ/Śrī Rāmacaritamānas) in the popular language.”

Gosvāmī Tulsīdās blessed by Sita Rama

In the aforementioned verse, Both Ved-Vyāsa and Lord Shiva authenticated the divine authority of Śrī Rāmacaritamānas as same like Vālmīki-Rāmāyaṇa.

Same thing Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās Jī himself mentions —
“The ravishing tale of Śrī Rāmacaritamānas was originally conceived by the greatest of the poets Lord Shiva himself. Having conceived it, the great Lord Shiva treasured it in His mind till the time a favorable opportunity presented itself, and then he graciously communicated it to His Consort Devī Umā (Pārvatī). Therefore, after due consideration Lord Hara (Shiva) joyously gave it the excellent title of Śrī Rāmacaritamānas.” (Śrī Rāmacaritamānas 1.35.5-6)

Śrī Nābhādās, the renowned composer of Bhaktamāla (the garlands of devotees) was contemporary to Gosvāmī Tulsīdās, he was very much acquainted with the divinity of Gosvāmī Tulsīdās and his works. In Bhaktmal, Śrī Nābhādās gives introduction of Gosvāmī Tulsīdās as the incarnation of Sage Vālmīki in following verses :—

कलि कुटिल जीव निस्तारहित बाल्मीकि तुलसी भये॥
त्रेता काब्य निबंध कियो सत कोटि रमायन।
इक अच्छर उद्धरे ब्रह्महत्यादि परायन॥
अब भक्तन सुख देन बहुरि लीला बिस्तारी।
रामचरन रसमत्त रहत अहनिसि ब्रतधारी॥
संसार अपार के पार को सुगम रूप नौका लये।
कलि कुटिल जीव निस्तारहित बाल्मीकि तुलसी भये॥
॥ श्रीभक्तमाल - पद १२९ ॥

kali kuṭila jīva nistārahita bālmīki tulasī bhayē॥
trētā kābya nibaṃdha kiyō sata kōṭi ramāyana।
ika acchara uddharē brahmahatyādi parāyana॥
aba bhaktana sukha dēna bahuri līlā bistārī।
rāmacarana rasamatta rahata ahanisi bratadhārī॥
saṃsāra apāra kē pāra kō sugama rūpa naukā layē।
kali kuṭila jīva nistārahita bālmīki tulasī bhayē॥
॥ śrībhaktamāla - pada 129 ॥

“For the deliverance of fallen-Jivas, Maharshi Vālmīki himself appeared as Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās. In Treta-Yuga, Maharshi Vālmīki composed Shat-Koti Rāmāyaṇa-s. Each and every letter of the Ślokas of Śat-Koti Rāmāyaṇas can destroy instantly all the grievous sins like Brahma-hatyas, etc. For bestowing the happiness and bliss to devotees, Maharashi Vālmīki in form of Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās revealed Śrī Rāmacaritamānas to narrate the leelā of Śrī Rām vividly. Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās remains engaged day and night in drinking the nectar of the devotion in the lotus feet of Bhagavān Śrī Rāma. He brought with him the great boat, easily accessible to everyone, in the form of Śrī Rāmacaritamānas to take everyone across the unfathomable ocean of mundane-existence (transmigration). For the ultimate welfare of fallen-Jivas, Maharshi Vālmīki himself appeared as Gōsvāmī Tulasīdās.”

Maharshi Vālmīki composed Ādi-Kāvya Rāmāyaṇa which is incarnation of all Vedas (-Agastya Samhita) and the seed of all other scriptures, and Śrī Rāmacaritmānasa is the abstract of all Vedic-scriptures including innumerable Rāmāyaṇa-s.

Shri Madhusudana Saraswatī, a very famous Advaita-acharya of Bhagavadpad Shankarcharya's sect composed the following famous shloka in praise of Gosvāmī Tulsīdās Ji —

आनन्दकानने ह्यस्मिन तुलसी जंगमस्तरूः ।
कविता मञ्जरी भाति यस्य राम भ्रमर भूषिता ॥

ānandakānanē hyasmina tulasī jaṃgamastarūḥ ।
kavitā mañjarī bhāti yasya rāma bhramara bhūṣitā ॥

“In this Anand-kanan (another name of Kashi, literal meaning 'the forest of bliss'), Tulsidasa is a moving tree (of Basil)! On this tree there are manjaris (flower-buds of Tulasi) in the form of his poems which are always adorned and even relished by a bee in the form of Śrī Rāma Himself! (Rama is the bee which is always present on the flower-buds in form of the poetry of Tulasidas, Rama himself relishes the nectar of those flower buds!)”

Poet 'Beni' in praise of Gosvāmī Tulsīdās Ji said —

जो पै यह रामायण तुलसी न गावतो॥
बेदमत सोधि, सोधि-सोधि कै पुरान सबै
संत और असंतन को भेद को बतावतो।
कपटी कुराही क्रूर कलि के कुचाली जीव
कौन राम नामहु की चर्चा चलावतो॥
'बेनी' कबि कहै मानो-मानो यह प्रतीति यह
पाहन-हिए मैं कौन प्रेम उपजावतो।
भारी भवसागर उतारतो कवन पार
जो पै यह रामायण तुलसी न गावतो॥
(-बेनी कवि)

jō pai yaha rāmāyaṇa tulasī na gāvatō॥
bēdamata sōdhi, sōdhi-sōdhi kai purāna sabai
saṃta aura asaṃtana kō bhēda kō batāvatō।
kapaṭī kurāhī krūra kali kē kucālī jīva
kauna rāma nāmahu kī carcā calāvatō॥
'bēnī' kabi kahai mānō-mānō yaha pratīti yaha
pāhana-hiē maiṃ kauna prēma upajāvatō।
bhārī bhavasāgara utāratō kavana pāra
jō pai yaha rāmāyaṇa tulasī na gāvatō॥
('bēnī' kavi)

Had this Rāmāyaṇa (Ramacharitmanas) not sung by Gosvāmī Tulsīdās Ji
after stirring all the Vedas, all the Puranas again and again,
then who would have told us the difference between Sant (saints) and Asant (entities opposite to the saintly qualities);
Who would have broached the discussion of the name of Rama
among the insidious, impostor, cruel Jivas stricken by the evil effects of Kaliyuga, hence always prone to step on the misleading paths?
Beni (the poet) says with conviction after thinking again and again,
Who would have aroused the love among the stone-hearted people (for Rama)?
Who would have made Jivas cross this dreaded ocean of transmigration,
If Tulasidas had not sung this beautiful Rāmāyaṇa?
(Poet 'Beni')

Parampara of Shri Rāmacharitamānasa:

रामचरितमानस मुनि भावन। बिरचेउ संभु सुहावन पावन॥
त्रिबिध दोष दुख दारिद दावन। कलि कुचालि कुलि कलुष नसावन॥5॥

भावार्थ:- यह रामचरित मानस मुनियों का प्रिय है, इस सुहावने और पवित्र मानस की शिवजी ने रचना की। यह तीनों प्रकार के दोषों, दुःखों और दरिद्रता को तथा कलियुग की कुचालों और सब पापों का नाश करने वाला है ।

The holy and beautiful Ramcharitmanas is conceived by Lord Shiva, It is delight of sages. It uproots all evil practices and impurities of Kali-age. It put downs the three kind of errors, sorrow and indigence.

संभु कीन्ह यह चरित सुहावा। बहुरि कृपा करि उमहि सुनावा॥
सोइ सिव कागभुसुंडिहि दीन्हा। राम भगत अधिकारी चीन्हा॥2॥

भावार्थ:-शिवजी ने पहले इस सुहावने चरित्र को रचा, फिर कृपा करके पार्वतीजी को सुनाया। वही चरित्र शिवजी ने काकभुशुण्डिजी को रामभक्त और अधिकारी पहचानकर दिया ।

This ravishing tale was conceived by Lord Siva, who graciously communicated it to His Consort Uma. Lord Shiva imparted it once more to Kak-bhusundi (a sage in the form of crow), knowing him to be a devotee of Śrī Rām and one qualified to hear it.

तेहि सन जागबलिक पुनि पावा। तिन्ह पुनि भरद्वाज प्रति गावा॥
ते श्रोता बकता समसीला। सवँदरसी जानहिं हरिलीला॥3॥

भावार्थ:-उन काकभुशुण्डिजी से फिर याज्ञवल्क्यजी ने पाया और उन्होंने फिर उसे भरद्वाजजी को गाकर सुनाया। वे दोनों वक्ता और श्रोता (याज्ञवल्क्य और भरद्वाज) समान शील वाले और समदर्शी हैं और श्री हरि की लीला को जानते हैं ।

It was Sage Yagyvalkya who received it from the latter (Kakbhusundi Ji) and narrated it to Sage Bharadvaja. Both these, the listener (Bharadvaja) and the reciter (Yagyvalka), are equally virtuous; they view all alike and are acquainted with the pastimes of Śrī Hari. Then the same tale went into Paramapara of Tulsidasa Sadguru and he heard it from him.

मैं पुनि निज गुर सन सुनी कथा सो सूकरखेत।
समुझी नहिं तसि बालपन तब अति रहेउँ अचेत ॥ दोहा ॥

भावार्थ:-फिर वही कथा मैंने वाराह क्षेत्र में अपने गुरुजी से सुनी, परन्तु उस समय मैं लड़कपन के कारण बहुत बेसमझ था, इससे उसको उस प्रकार (अच्छी तरह) समझा नहीं।

Then I heard the same story in the holy Sukarkshetra (the modern Soron in the western United Provinces) from my preceptor; but as I had no sense in those days of my childhood, I could not follow it full well.

Thus Parampara of Śrī Rāmcharitmanas is as follows-

Lord Shiva - Kakbhushundi ji - Yagyavalkya ji - Bhardwaj ji - Sanakadi ji/Narharyanand ji - Tulsidas ji.

We see proof of Parampara of Ramcharitmanas from the verses of Ramcharitmanas itself.

Ramcharitmanas comprises all the six वाद or philosophies of Vedanta, namely Advaita, Vishishtadvaita, Shuddhadvaita, Dvaitadvaita, Achintyabheda and Dvaita. But the main theme is Vishishtadvaita, which was propounded by the great Jagatguru Śrī Rāmānandācārya ji. Sad-Guru of Goswami Tulsidas Ji was Swami Narharidas ji who was the fourth disciple of Jagatguru Śrī Rāmānandācārya.

Guru-Parampara of Goswami Tulsidasa

In the origin of all Vaiṣṇava Parampara-s, there is Bhagavān himself. Goswami Tulsidas was the disciple of Shri Narharidas, thus Goswami Tulsidas comes at the fifth in spiritual descent from Jagatguru Śrī Rāmānandācārya who is regarded as the incarnation of Lord Śrī Rām by devotees of Ramavat Vaiṣṇava sect.

Jagatguru Ramananandacharya belonged to the lineage of Sri-Samprdaya started from Bhagvati Sita (Sri-Devi), from this very Sampradāya Jagatguru Ramanujacharya learnt the philosphy of Visistadvaita and propounded it in world. Jagadguru Ramanujacharya was a renowned famous teacher of Sri-Vaiṣṇava Sampradāya, who is regarded as Sesha-avtaar i.e. incarnation of Lakshmaṇa (Śrī Rāma's Anuja i.e. Ramanujacharya), and Jagadguru Śrī Rāmānandācārya has been regarded as the incarnation of Lord Rama himself.

Lord Śrī Rāmananda took more radical approach in accepting disciples from all castes, and even to Muslims, declaring, Let no one ask a man's caste or with whom one eats. If a man is devoted to Hari, he becomes Hari's own. (जाति-पाती पूछे नहीं कोई, हरि को भजे सो हरि को होई ।) . When there was Muslim rule in North India, Lord Ramananda converted around Million Muslims into Vaiṣṇava in Ayodhya-dhaam. Thus Lord Ramananda played an important role in opening up the spiritual pathway to all people, no matter what their social station in life.

Thus, name of Sri-Sampradāya is also called as Ramanandi-samprday (The Sampradāya of Śrī Rāmānandācārya) or Ramavat Sampradāya). Jagadguru Śrī Rāmānandācārya believed that everyone has right to worship Śrī Rām without any caste barrier where Sri-Vaiṣṇava samprdaya of Jagadguru Ramanujacharya was more focused on caste purity. Jagatguru Ramananda had disciples of all castes, including Muslims. Most famous disciples of Jagatguru Śrī Rāmānandācārya were Dhanna Bhagat, Kabirdas, Nabhadas, Pipa, Ravidas, Sain,etc.

To read more about Sri-Sampradāya: Click here

Sad-guru of Gosvāmī Tulsīdās Ji

It is not in custom to take the name of Guru Ji directly, therefore Gosvāmī Tulsīdās Ji has mentioned his guru's name indrectly in Śrī Rāmacharitmanas.

बंदउँ गुरु पद कंज कृपा सिंधु नररूप हरि।
महामोह तम पुंज जासु बचन रबि कर निकर॥5॥
॥ श्रीरामचरितमानस बालकाण्ड गुरु वंदना श्लोक ॥

baṃdaum̐ guru pada kaṃja kṛpā siṃdhu nararūpa hari।
mahāmōha tama puṃja jāsu bacana rabi kara nikara॥5॥
॥ śrīrāmacaritamānasa bālakāṇḍa guru vaṃdanā ॥

भावार्थ:- मैं उन्हीं श्रीगुरु महाराज के चरणकमलों की वंदना करता हूँ, जो कृपा के सागर तथा नर रूप में श्री हरि ही हैं और जिनके वचन महामोह रूपी घने अन्धकार का नाश करने के लिए सूर्य किरणों के समूह हैं॥

Purport: I bow to the lotus feet of my Guru, who is an ocean of mercy and is no other than Shri Hari (Bhagavān) Himself in human form, and whose words are sunbeams as it were for dispersing the mass of darkness in the form of gross ignorance.॥

नररूप हरि

― नररूप हरि ' - मैं अपने गुरु महाराज श्री नरहरि की वंदना करता हूँ या मैं अपने गुरुदेव जो कि नर रूप में हरि हीं हैं उनके चरणकमलों की वंदना करता हूँ । 'nararūpa hari' - Here Goswami Ji says I bow down in lotus feet of Shri Gurudev (indirectly indicating the name of Guru) Narahari who is none other than Hari in human form (for disciples). In this Shloka, Goswami Ji has indirectly taken the name of his Gurudeva. It is forbidden to take the name of Guru Maharaj, therefore Goswami Ji used the way of indirect utterance so he put an extra word 'Rup' between Nara and Hari to reveal the name of His Gurudeva.

Gurudeva of Goswami Tulsidas: Narharidas (also called as Narharyanand) was Sri Gurudeva of Goswami Tulsidas Ji, It is indicated by Goswami Ji himself in Sri Ramcharitmanas as well as by other contemporary of Goswami Tulsidas, Sri Nābhādās, in his Acharya lineage of Jagaguru Sri Rāmānandāchārya. Sri Nabhadas says :

अनंतानंद पद परसि के लोकपालसे ते भये । गयेश करमचंद अल्ह पयहारी ॥
सारीरामदास श्रीरंग अवधि गुण महिमा भारी । तिनके नरहरि उदित ॥
[Bhakta-maal, Chhappay 37]

“By touching the divine feet of Sri Anantānand, his disciples Sri Gayēśa, Sri Karamachand, Sri Alhadās , Sri Krishnadas Payahārī, Sri Sārīrāmadās, Sri śrīrangāchārya became equal to Loka-paals in virtues and glory! Thereafter Sri Narharidās appeared as the disciple of Sri śrīrangāchārya.”

Sri Anantanand was one of 12 famous disciples of Jagadguru Sri Śrī Rāmānandācārya. Thus Sri Narharidas (Narharyanand Ji) was third Acharya in lineage of Jagadguru Sri Śrī Rāmānandācārya. Therefore Acharya-lineage of Goswami Tulsidas is as below:

Jagadguru Śrī Rāmānandācārya

Sri Anantanand Ji

Sri Srirangacharya Ji

Sri Narharidas Ji (Narharyanand Ji)

Vālmīkiy-avatar Goswami Tulsidas Ji

Mulgosaincharit written by Venimadhav Ji too confirms this same lineage and the name of Gurudeva of Goswami Tulsidas Ji.

Works of Gosvāmī Tulsīdās

Goswami ji composed his works in Avadhi and Braja Bhasha. Apart from Śrī Rāmacharitmanas, Goswami Ji wrote 5 more major works (Vinaya-Patrikā, Kavitāvalī, Gītāvalī, Dōhāvalī , Kṛṣṇa-gītāvalī). There are 6 minor works : 'Baravai Rāmāyaṇa, Pārvatī maṃgala, Jānakī maṃgala, Rāmālalā Nahachhū, Rāmājñā Praśna, Vairāgya Saṃdīpanī' written by Gosvāmī Tulsīdās Ji. Besides these 12 works, Hanumān Chalisa, Hanumānashtak, Hanumān Baahuk are very popular but small compositions by Goswami Tulsidas Ji. Tulasi Satsai is also regarded as work of Goswami Tulsidas by many Historians and scholars.

Works of Goswami Tulsidas ji can be grouped in two groups based upon works in Avadhi and Braja languages:
Awadhi works – Śrī Rāmcharitmanas, Ramagya Prashna, Janaki Mangal, Parvati Mangal, Barvai Ramayan, and Ramlala Nahachhu.
Braja works – Vinay-Patrika, Kavitavali, Gitavali, Dohavali, Vairagya Sandipani, and Krishna Gitavalia.

Message for everyone by Goswami Ji —

बिगरी जनम अनेक की सुधरै अबहीं आजु ।
होहि राम को नाम जपु तुलसी तजि कुसमाजु ॥
।दोहावली दोहा 22।

bigarī janama anēka kī sudharai abahīṃ āju ।
hōhi rāma kō nāma japu tulasī taji kusamāju ॥
(dōhāvalī dōhā 22)

O soul, don't lament even if you have spoiled innumerable births and done nothing good to your soul, but accumulated only the fruits of bad-karmas, still You can make your good today and now itself. How? Just be of Rama, start chanting his name, and Leave all the bad company and association.

 

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॥ श्रीसीतारामचंद्रार्पणमस्तु ॥