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Believed to be the incarnation of Shri Valmiki, the author of Ramayana, Tulsi Das retold the story of Ram in the book Ramcharitmanas. Also known as Goswami Tulsi Das, he was a Hindu saint-poet and an author. Tulsi Das was born on Saptami tithi during the Shukla Paksh (the bright phase) of the Shravana month. This year on August 17, 2018, we shall be celebrating the 521st birth anniversary of Tulsi Das, who has made unparalleled contributions to Hindi and the Sanskrit literature and played an important role in the Bhakti movement.
The Major Contributions Of Tulsi Das
Besides the Ramcharitmanas, he has also authored Hanuman Chalisa, the most popular collection of chants dedicated to Lord Hanuman. In fact, the famous Sankatmochan temple, dedicated to Lord Hanuman was also founded by him. It is said that Lord Hanuman himself had appeared before Tulsi Das, at the place where the temple is situated today. Besides these, the folk theatre of the Ramlila plays was also started by Tulsi Das.
Strange Things About The Birth Of Tulsi Das
For the most part of his life, he lived in Varanasi at a place near the banks of the river Ganges which was named after him and is today known as Tulsi Ghat. He was born in Sookar Kshetra village of Kasganj district in Uttar Pradesh. As per a story about his birth, he was born after staying for twelve months in the mother's womb. Born already having thirty teeth, he did not cry after birth and looked like a five-year-old boy, they say. Moreover, it was also said by the astrologers that he was born under Abhuktamula Nakshatra (constellation), which astrologically meant that he was going to be inauspicious for his father.
Tulsi Das Abandoned By Parents
Because of all these strange things, he was abandoned by his parents just on the fourth day of the birth. They gave the child away to a woman named Chunia. The woman nurtured her for around five years after which she died. Child Tulsi Das wandered begging for alms. Another miraculous thing said about him is that, after the death of Chunia, Goddess Parvati herself came to feed him every evening.
Narharidas Narrated The Ramayana To Tulsi Das
Tulsi Das was initially named Rambola, because he uttered the name of Ram soon after his birth, and he himself has stated it in Vinay Patrika. The name Tulsi Das was given to him by his teacher Narharidas, the fourth disciple of Ramananda. Narharidas adopted him after few months of Chunia's death. He took Tulsi Das to Ayodhya and narrated the whole Ramayana to him.
In one of his quotes, Tulsi Das states that, when his teacher had narrated the Ramayana to him, he could not infer the meaning, but now when he has grown up, he is alert enough to understand the teachings of the book.
Tulsi Das Was Once Rebuked By His Wife Ratnavali
There is a very popular story about the marriage of Tulsi Das and his renunciation from life. According to the story, he was married to Ratnavali, the daughter of a Brahmin. Once when he had gone to a Hanuman temple, his wife went to her hometown with her brother. During the night he went to meet her there. When she opened the door, she chided him saying that if his devotion to God had been even half of what it was for her body and flesh, he would have been redeemed by God. Those words of the woman left a deep impact on his mind, after which he left the materialistic world and went to the city of Prayag taking complete renunciation from the life of a householder.
Though, another story about his life says that he was a saint since childhood and remained a bachelor throughout his life. However, having become a saint, he is acclaimed to have had the sight of Lord Rama and Lord Hanuman.
Tulsi Das Jayanti 2018
On his birth anniversary, homage is paid to him in the temples, especially those of Lord Ram. While pujas and yagna are held in some places, the priests are offered food at others. The recitation of chants from Ramcharitmanas is also undertaken. This year, on his birthday, August 17, the sunrise of Saptami tithi will happen at 6:07 am and the sunset at 6:54 pm.