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Durable Link to this BlogSunday, May 26, 2002

Tulasidas

Story of Wife of Saint Tulasidas

Ramcharitmanas of Tulasidas is the most popular classic in North and Central India. For more than four hundred years it has provided great consolation and spiritual guidance to millions and millions of devotees of Rama. It is being recited by wandering monks, teachers, professional reciters and housewives and listened to by rapt attention in and out of season.

Tulasidas (1532-1612 C.E.) the saint-composer was an ordinary householder early in life and was passionately fond of his wife Ratnavali. One day, she had gone to her father's place and Tulasidas, who could not stand her separation even for a day, followed her to his father-in-law's house, uninvited. The annoyed wife seems to have uttered strong words. "Had you offered half of the attention and love to Lord Rama, that you show towards me, you would have attained salvation." A stunned Tulasidas who had risked a tiresome journey in the night, sat quietly for some time. But the moment of truth had arrived. He realized his foolishness and the temporary nature of the world and renouncing everything, undertook a long journey of holy places in the four corners of India, Rameshwar, Dwaraka, Puri and Badarinath. He returned to Varanasi (Benaras) and composed his immortal work Ramcharitmanas. 

But a recluse, he remained, and went on pilgrimage. Once he took shelter in a house and started cooking his meals as was his practice. The lady of the house offered some spices and he declined politely. Again she offered vegetables. He said he has everything in his bag. Finally she exclaimed. "Oh Babaji! You have so many things in your bag. Only you have no place in it for your devoted wife!" She was his wife and could recognize him at once. But the saint could not.

History has no record of this selfless soul, who let her husband forsake her for realization of God and for the welfare of the humanity.

See Picture of Saint Tulasidas in the Holy Men of India.

 

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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