Tulsidas: The great Rama Bhakta In this Bhakti series, we start with the story of Tulsidas

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Sant Tulsidas is one of India’s finest saints and poets. Known for his intense Rama Bhakti, Sant Tulsidas made the Ramayana accessible to the masses through the Ramacharaithamanas. His composition on Hanuman the Hanuman Chalisa resonates in every home even today. How did this world get this Sant? Was he born enlightened? Here is the story of Sant Tulasidas.

Born to Atamaram, a brahmin living in Hastinapura, Tulsidas enjoyed his childhood with his parents. At a very young age, Tulsidas was married to Mamta. His love and devotion for his wife was so intense that he would never leave her company. He could never endure separation and lead a happy life together.
It so happened that King Akbar was on a tour and Tulsidas joined the entourage. As soon as he left, Mamta got a message from her home that her mother was seriously ill. Listening to this, Mamta became so hysterical that she started weeping aloud. Taken aback, the messengers revealed that they had lied to her because this was the only way to make Tulsidas agree to send her home. Mamta explained that Tulsidas was not at home and she could come with them. She took the permission of her in-laws and went home.
When Tulsidas returned home, he found that Mamta had left for her parents home. Unable to bear the pangs of separation, he spent a sleepless night. The thoughts of Mamta filled his head and his heart ached. His madness was so intense that he walked a good ten miles in the floods to reach Mamta’s home. Wondering how to reach her room, Tulsidas noticed a huge rope and used it to climb to her room.
Shocked to see him there, Mamta wondered how he had come in the floods and managed to climb to her room. When Tulsidas mentioned about the rope, Mamta sent her guards to investigate. Only then did they realise that Tulsidas was so intoxicated with love for her that he had used a huge serpent as a rope.
Frustrated with his behavior Mamta reminded him of stories of Ravana and Indra who did incorrect things intoxicated with love. She told him how sensual pleasures take people nowhere and devotion to God alone can lead to moksha. “Life becomes meaningful only by remembering the holy feet of Shri Hari”, she said.
That very moment, Tulsidas realised who he really was. He bowed down to his wife who gave him the greatest reminder of his life. Visions of him being the avatar of Valimiki came before his eyes. It was a moment of self-reliazation and the vanity and trancient nature of pleasure and enjoyment dawned on him.
He came to Varanasi and undertook immense Tapasya and Vrata. He became completely devoted to Shri Rama and continued his intense austerities for a period of 12 years.
To be continued…