Author: Sweety Vyas

Tulsidas was a Hindu saint-poet who is the author of Ramcharitmanas, a popular epic describing Lord Ram’s life. He is also popularly known as Goswami Tulsidas. He was born in the early 16th century and is believed to be a re-incarnation of Valmiki, who composed the Ramayana. His life was marked by spiritual devotion to Lord Ram. He is well-known as one of the greatest poets in Indian literature. 

Early Life 

He was born in the village Rajpur in Uttar Pradesh to Atmaram Dubey and his wife Hulsi. It is said that Tulsidas stayed in the womb of his mother for twelve months. Certain miraculous events took place at his birth. He was born with thirty-two teeth. He did not cry during his birth but uttered RAM instead. In his childhood he was known as Rambola (one who chanted Ram’s name). Because the nakshatra (constellation) the child was born under was considered as inauspicious, his father thought that the child was a bad omen. His mother, fearing the boy’s safety asked her maid to take the child away. Soon the mother Hulsi died. The maid took care of the child but she too died when the child was five and a half years old. The orphan child roamed from door to door for food. It is said that Goddess Parvati was moved by the young boy’s plight. She disguised herself as a young Brahman lady. She fed the child daily. 

Meeting his Guru

In Chitrakoot there lived a saint named Narharidas. One night, in his dream Lord Shiva appeared. Lord Shiva told him to educate the boy, teach him religious scriptures and initiate him in the RAM mantra. He also told him that in the future, he would write a beautiful holy text glorifying Lord Ram’s life. Narharidas happily took the boy as his disciple. After initiating him in the RAM mantra, he named him Tulsidas. He taught him many religious scriptures. He made him hear Ram Katha (story of Lord Ram’s life) repeatedly until he understood every word. 

The Hanuman Chalisa

Tulsidas composed the Hanuman Chalisa. This hymn consists of verses that praise Hanuman, who is the most exalted devotee of Lord Ram. Whoever reads the Hanuman Chalisa sincerely becomes fearless. Even today it is recited by millions of people daily.  


He married Ratnavali who was the daughter of a pure-hearted Brahman. Tulsidas was so infatuated by his wife that he would not part from her even for a day. One day, on the insistence of her brother, his wife left to visit her family members when Tulsidas was out for some work. Tulsidas decided to go immediately to her parents’ house. The river was flooded but he swam across and reached their home around midnight. Ratnavali was shocked to see him. She told him to focus his love on Lord Ram instead of her. She mentioned that her body was made up of flesh and bones and was temporary but if he developed attachment to Lord Ram instead, he could perfect his life. Tulsidas realized his mistake. His deep attachment to his wife had led him to abandon Lord Ram. He renounced family life and travelled all over north India, preaching the glories of Lord Ram. 

Lord Ram’s Darshan

Tulsidas wanted to have the Lord Ram’s darshan. He met Hanuman who advised him to go to Chitrakoot. There Tulsidas encountered two very handsome men in princely attire. They were actually Lord Ram and Lakshman. But Tulsidas could not recognize them. However, with the help of Hanuman, he recognized Lord Ram the second time. He was overcome with bliss and caught hold of the lotus feet of the Lord. After giving him darshan, the Lord disappeared. Tulsidas could not bear the agony of separation and cried inconsolably. That night, Hanuman appeared in his dreams and told him not to worry and assured him that he would always see the pastimes and form of the Lord. Tulsidas became very famous after this event.

Writing the Ramcharitmanas

Listening to the Ramcharitmanas, one understands the supreme purpose of life, Just as the pious ones rejoice upon hearing the divine tales of Lord Hari’s (Vishnu’s) incarnations.


He decided to write the Ramcharitmanas. He would write it in Sanskrit during the day, however, in the night it would disappear. This continued to happen for seven days. On the eighth day, he saw Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati in a dream. Lord Shiva asked him why he was writing in Sanskrit. He urged him to write in a local language so that common people could understand. He told Tulsidas to go to Ayodhya. Tulsidas followed the advice.

Tulsidas started writing Ramcharitmanas in 1631. He wrote in Awadhi, a language that was accessible to common people. By coincidence he started writing on Ram Navami day. It was completed in 1633. It took him a total of two years, seven months and twenty-six days to complete the epic. The day of completion was the day of Lord Ram and Mother Sita’s wedding. It is said that Lord Ganesha greatly appreciated the work and appeared personally and took five copies. Hanuman also listened to the composition and gave the blessing that the scripture would become famous in the three worlds.

Ramcharitmanas is one of the greatest works in Hindu literature. It is read and recited in temples, homes and festivals. It is a literary masterpiece. Tulsidas wrote twenty-two literary works during his lifetime. He lived a life of devotion. He died in the year 1623 in Kashi. 


Even today Tulsidas is revered as a great poet and saint. His devotion to Lord Ram was exemplary. His touching poetry is beautiful and appealing. His impact went beyond literature to various art forms including theatre and music. His writings taught virtuous living and explored righteousness and devotion. He left behind a legacy that will continue to inspire many spiritual seekers for generations to come.

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