Goswami Tulsidas explains the world of Bhakti

Greatness of Ramcharitmanas

The Ramcharitmanas is a scripture that balances all schools of thought. There are two-schools of thought

1) The first school of thought wants others to accept their path as the highest means for god-realization. They cancel all-other faith-systems and feel that their path is the highest and nothing stands above it.

2) The second unique viewpoint, which Goswami Tulsidasji, mentions in the Ramcharitmanas and Vinay Patrika is that- ‘There is no point in arguing which path is the best. We should instead see which path suits us the most. This would be most sensible.”

If you go to a clinic and ask the doctor to give you the best medicine, he will surely say that all my medicines work wonderfully but first tell me what is your disease as per that I will give the medication. Which means every patient has a different treatment. You cannot use the same cure for all patients. We must understand that every person is different, every person has a different set of samskaras and different set of problems. So, the same sadhana path cannot suit all people.

What is correct as per Goswami Tulsidasji

In the Vinay Patrika, Someone asked Goswami Tulsidasji what is right as per him?

Goswamiji wrote a Sutra and said-

प्रीति प्रतीति जहाँ जाकी तहँ ताको काज सरो |

Wherever the person feels most connected and attached, that is his ideal path. This sutra is also mentioned in the Manas. He believes that we can solve our own problems by attaching ourselves to a faith system.

Overview of Karma, Jnana and Bhakti

There are three main paths. Karma, Jnana and Bhakti.

Karma focusses on how we live life responsibly in the world and side by side work on our internal Vrittis.
As per the Jnana school of thought, as long as we live in this world, our problems won’t end. So Jnana advises us to finish off the world with the axe of knowledge. Jnana’s prime focus is on the fallacy of the world. Whatever problems we face here is due to our attachment to this world, but if we cut off this world from its very root with Jnana, problems shall end by themselves.

A karma yogi lives in the world and a Jnani cuts off the world.

What is the way of Bhakti?

Bhakti says that this world is an ocean of misery. Just create a new world of emotions and once you enter that world, you won’t feel the ups-and downs of this world. A Bhakta creates a new-world. But, what is this new world?

Let us understand this with an event in Goswami Tulsidasji’s life-

Tulsidasji rejects Mughal king Akbar’s appeal

During Tulsidasji’s times, Akbar was the Mughal king. Logically Goswamiji was the subject of Akbar. But Goswami ji never spoke about Akbar in the wildest of dreams. Somebody told Goswamiji that Akbar is a very loving and kind king, he respects saints and provides for them, he wants you to join his court. To this, Goswamiji quickly said “How can I attend the courts of two kings simultaneously?” The person was shocked, he asked- Whose court do you go to? Goswamiji said-

हम चाकर रघुबीर के

“I belong to the court of the greatest lord Shri Rama.”

The man further said- “But still can’t you attend Akbar’s court also?” To this Goswmaiji said- “But my problem is – हम चाकर रघुबीर के पटो लिखो दरबार |

I have already signed an agreement that I won’ work anywhere else leaving his court-

हम चाकर रघुबीर के पटो लिखो दरबार |

तुलसी अब का होहिंगे नर के मनसबदार ||

You may also want to read- How a Karma Yogi should perform Karma?

If Goswamiji had accepted Akbar as the present ruler he could have possibly accepted the offer but he says, ‘I am the servant of Ishwar himself.’ The kingdoms of mortal men are temporary, it exists today, it may not exist tomorrow, but Shri Rama’s kingdom will exist eternally. Anybody may rule this material world, but Goswamiji only sees Rama-Rajya everywhere. This is why he considers himself to be a member of Shri Rama’s court.

Though Akbar ruled the physical world, he has no entry in Goswamiji’s world of emotions or Bhavarajya.

When Goswamiji narrates the Ramcharitmanas we shouldn’t see Ramcharitmanas as a forgotten history that happened million years ago in the Treta yuga. The characters of Ramayana should become a living reality for us. When we read the period of Ram-rajya, we can imagine how happy the residents of Ayodhya were during Sri Rama’s time. But how is it going to benefit us?

Goswami Tulsidas describes the Bala Kanda

Goswamiji has very beautifully described Sri Rama’s childhood pastimes in the Ramcharitmanas. When he was about to re-write the same in Kavitavali someone told him- “Why are you repeating the same thing when you have already described it in the Ramcharitmanas. When you start a new book, you should narrate new stories, new pastimes. Why drag the same old Bala kreeda?”

Goswamiji says- “No, there is a difference here. In the Ramcharitmanas, Shri Ram played in the courtyard of Dasharatha Maharaj”- मंगल भवन अमंगल हारी|

द्रबउ सो दसरथ अजिर बिहारी ||

“But, In Kavitavali. I have added a new line-

अवधेस के बालक चारि सदा,

तुलसी मन मंदिर में बिहरैं |

Shri Rama plays in the cradle of my heart.

Which simply means that unless we get Shri Rama from Dashratha’s courtyard into the temple of our hearts we can’t truly understand the significance of Ramcharitmanas. Though Lord Rama played in Dashratha Maharaj’s courtyard, unless we bring him into our hearts and see for ourselves his sweet pastimes, we cannot truly experience fulfilment.

Tulsidasji’s love for Shri Rama

When the mothers see the beauty of Shri Rama, Goswamiji writes-

निरखहिं छबि जननी तृण तोरी |

The Mothers first break a blade of grass and then see Sri Rama. They are afraid that their own sight mustn’t harm their son, which is why they first see the straw. If anything must happen, let it happen to the straw and let Shri Rama stay safe. Someone asked Goswamiji- “The mothers break straw on seeing Sri Rama, what do you do on seeing Him?” Goswamiji quickly said- नेवछावरि प्राण करै तुलसी,

बलि जाउँ लला इन बोलनि की |

“I can throw my life at His sweet words. What is a straw? His beauty is such that it is justice only if you throw your life like a straw at His feet.”

In this manner, seeing the pastimes of Bhagavan, a Bhakta drowns himself in an ocean of bliss even while living in this material world. He can see the pastimes happening before him and he himself becomes a character and participates in the play. Truly, this is the purpose of the Ramcharitmanas. How can we benefit by pointing out which character is the best in the Ramcharitmanas. Instead, we must strive to become one of them. This divine teaching is hidden in the Ramcharitmanas.

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