Tulsidas (Hindi: तुलसीदास Tulsidas, also Tulasidas, Gosvāmī Tulsidas, Tulasi Dasa, * probably around 1532/ 1543 in order, probably in Rajapur, District Banda in Uttar Pradesh, † 1623 in Asi Ghat / Varanasi ), was an Indian poet, mystic reformer, saint and philosopher.

Life and work


About Tulsidas is little historical Reliable known for his life is shrouded in numerous legends; Life-history and art are therefore burdened with many uncertainties.

In Tulsidas life a curse to have located: according to legend, the son of a Brahmin and Pandit ( scholar ) Atmaram Shukla Dube (or Dubey, a sub- caste of Sarayuparina Brahmins ) born and his wife Hulsa under a baleful star status, his mother died after birth, after which the father rejected him. The stepmother, who received him, later died also, and you pointed Tulsidas as cursed at the age of seven years, also from this family.

Because of his devotion to Rama had him in youth Tulsiram or Rambola ( " the one who always calls Rama ", " Rama -men " ) called; Tulsidas, the word itself means " servant of Tulsi shrub ," said Tulsi ( Tulasi or ) is the basil as herbal manifestation of Vishnu and his wife Lakshmi in a Hindu household in religious terms plays an important role today. It was one of the treasures that according to mythology, appeared at the churning of the milk sea and therefore enjoys high veneration. Tulsidas was thus a name already marked as Vishnuit.

Tulsidas was married briefly and to his wife Ratna (actually Buddhimati Ratnavali ) have very loved. In spite of their son Tarak it however, advised to follow his religious Determination him.

Ascetic and preacher of Rama

So Tulsidas renounced the world, but without rejecting the institution of marriage, became an ascetic and traveled through India fourteen years as a preacher and pilgrims, which he propagated everywhere faith in Rama. At the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical river Sarasvati, in the holy city for Hindus Allahabad ( in Sanskrit Prayag ), according to other sources in Ayodhya, Rama is said to have instructed him in the dream it, the epic Ramayana to write in a language who could understand the people. Other persons of the myths circuit ( such as Rama's brother Lakshmana and his loyal servant Hanuman ) should be appeared to him. In Ayodhya, he fell out, however, as Smarta Vaishnava because of food habits with the other Brahmins and moved on.

His pilgrimage took him to Vrindavan, the capital of the Krishna cult, after Rameshvaram in the south and Chitrakut, the exile of Rama south of Allahabad. Wherever he came, Tulsidas sat for lifting narrow caste and religious toleration between the followers of various Hindu faiths and between Hindus and Muslims one.

As an intermediary between the exiled Hindu Prince Pratap of Mewar and his opponent, the equally Hindu Rajputenherrscher Man Singh of Gwalior, the supreme commander of the Muslim Mughal forces, Tulsidas should have intervened and restored peace.

The main work Ramacaritmanas

In later years Tulsidas lived in Varanasi / Benares, where he 1574-76/77 in the vernacular Hindi his main work, the translated Ramacaritmanas (also ' Ramcharitmanasa ', ' lake of the deeds of Lord Rama " ) from Sanskrit into the national language Hindi, However, it also heavily edited and reinterpreted. His book is considered a masterpiece of medieval Hindi literature with significant influence on the Hindu culture of North India

Since by then the legendary life story of the hero and Hindu God Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu, was presented only in the scholars and priests Sanskrit language, his version reached widespread and urged the then prevalent Krishna cult in the background, which initially tensions with his followers led.

The original Sanskrit epic, the Ramayana of Valmiki mythical author, describes the fate of Prince Rama, who is brought by intrigue around his throne and comes with his faithful wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana into exile. There, Sita is abducted by the demon king Ravana and freed only after a long struggle and with the help of the monkey army of Hanuman. Since the husband but she is accused of infidelity Sita undergoes an ordeal that brings their innocence to the day, and is taken from the earth, their mother again.

Tulsidas differs from the original version of the Sanskrit content from: His version deifies originally shown as Prince Rama, from the prince's son is an avatar ( appearance, incarnation, descent ) of Vishnu, whose worship and love Tulsidas preaches as a means of grace to salvation. Offensive bodies such as the seduction attempts by the demon king Ravana are repaid. The rhyme and the constant changing of meters, the hymns and theological bays give the work a different stamp. The artfully composed poetic moods distinguish his work from that of his predecessor in addition.

The proclamation of a " Vishnu monotheism " and the redemption by pious love of God in the tradition of the philosopher Ramanuja, Madhva, Vallabha and Chaitanya, but still went one step further by setting up their own sects. Tulsidas ' version is characterized by the appearance of a personal God, which the believer can turn into love, just by the representation for exemplary characters: Rama represents the ideal ruler and husband, Sita, the model woman and wife, Lakshmana the image of the faithful brother.

Tulsidas did not intervene in his machining it back to the Sanskrit epic of Valmiki himself back, but on a medieval editing, Adhyaatma Ramayana, who had already tried to bring the existing Ramakult and the theological- philosophical system of Advaita in line. The influence of the Bhagavata, the main signature of the Krishna cult is noticeable.

In the frame story, which in the traditional way is a God in the narrator, Tulsidas also binds the Shivaites in his Vishnuverehrung one: he lets the story of Lord Rama namely tell of the god Shiva and his wife Parvati. Like a lake is the epic been hidden inside him - hence the title - similar to Manasarovar, the holy lake near Shiva's seat, Mount Kailash. Only by Parvati's demand for the true essence of Rama now step out of this lake to the welfare of the people, just as the four rivers Ganges, Brahmaputra, Sutlej and Ghagara from Kailas take from their origin.

Many Hindus see in Tulsidas an incarnation of Valmiki Sanskrit author. To give him also in scholarly circles reputation, his work has even been retranslated into Sanskrit.

Other works, tradition

Tulsidas be attributed with some certainty twelve works to primarily shorter poetic treatises on deities, so Krsna gitavali, a set of 61 songs in honor of Krishna, Vinaya Patrika ( " Modest letter humble petition " ), a collection of devotional songs in 279 verses honor of the gods, especially Rama and Sita and the holy sites and Kavitavali, stories from the life of Rama. Vinaya Patrika is one of the most famous Indian psalm books.

There are a number of early manuscripts, mostly fragmentary, one of which should come from his hand. The oldest complete manuscript dates from 1647; it consists of seven stanzas of varying length and is on Avadhi, written, so the Tulsidas gave Literature status.

Bhakti and mysticism, political action

Tulsidas ' Bhakti - devotion ( " Dedication, Love" ) and its emphasis on grace is the counterpart to the work of justice of the Orthodox Hindu doctrine with its emphasis on good works, sacrifices, prayers and. Albert Schweitzer therefore counted Tulsidas as Luther to the great reformers.

Its duration of action was beyond the government of Moghulherrschers Akbar, who sought to be a Sunni Muslim in the national interest to a worldview beyond the established religions of India ( Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Parsentum, Christianity ), and even their merger sought. In this case, rivaled not only Muslims with Hindus, but within the Hindu faith Shivaites with Vaishnavites, the latter in turn the Krishna with the Ramaverehrern. So it made ​​sense Tulsidas integrative mysticism, which respected the other faiths, to use as a starting point of a dialogue, the Akbar also absorbed with the Indian musicians (see Tansen )

Compared to India at this time barely existing, perceived as heretical and disreputable than atheism Buddhism has Tulsidas - his written remarks, according to - felt great dislike. In Ramacaritmanas, Book 1, Chaupai 6, the Ganges and the holy city of Varanasi with the bright day, with pleasure and the sky, while the river Karamnasa in Bihar and the city of Magadha - both in the natal area Buddhas - associated with night, suffering and hell be.


Though Tulsidas reveals himself in the loving worship of Vishnu avatar Rama as his special followers, he remained as Smarta - Vishnuit the general beliefs and practices of Hinduism and therefore was not connected to the founder of a sect own. His philosophical beliefs united the monistic Advaita philosophy with the polytheism of the Hindu mythology, which explains the success of his extensive, eclectic view. From the higher rank of the Brahmins, he was firmly convinced, indeed, he even advocated the "oppression " of women, which made him acceptable, especially for conservative Hindus.

In his last residence at Tulsi Ghat of Varanasi some relics are still preserved, including his clogs, his pillow and a small statue of Lord Hanuman, he was deeply devoted.


  • Tulsidas is said to have possessed all the 32 teeth at birth.
  • In order to be near his beloved wife, he crossed despite torrential floods and torrential rains the Ganges - on a drifting corpse. Arriving at the house of his beloved, he managed to pull himself up on a rope - at a snake.
  • After being rejected by Vaishnavites as entering the Shiva temple of Rameshvaram, Shiva is said to have appeared to him and ordered him to return home to Varanasi.
  • An attempt to steal Tulsidas, failed because Rama and Lakshmana even guarded his house.
  • One day asked the Brahmins of Shivaite Vishveshvara temple in hostile intention to Vishnuites Tulsidas to put his Ramacaritmanas for a judgment of God available. The work was placed before the lingam, the symbol of Shiva in a stack with other scriptures and closed the shrine; the next morning it was discovered that his book was on top: Shiva himself had Tulsidas justified.
  • The Mughal emperor Akbar is said to have imprisoned Tulsidas, as who refused to work a miracle; Lord Rama but I freed him from prison.