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Tulsidas: The great Rama Bhakta: Part 2

In our pre­vi­ous post, we had nar­rat­ed how Tul­si­das had immense love for his wife and his wife’s words became instru­men­tal in trans­form­ing him and devel­op­ing deep bhak­ti for Shri Rama.

Tul­si­das con­tin­u­ous­ly chant­ed the name of Shri Rama and per­formed his dai­ly ablu­tions in the for­est. Every sin­gle day for twelve years he poured the left over water under a par­tic­u­lar tree. One day a ter­ri­fy­ing fig­ure emerged near the tree. The fig­ure men­tioned that he is a demon and since Tul­si­das had been offer­ing him water for so many years, he could ask for a boon. Tul­si­das thinks “I have been wish­ing for Shri Rama but this ghost has come. I want­ed a cow, but a pig appeared. I put sug­ar around the plant but a bit­ter gourd appeared. I per­formed my aus­ter­i­ties for God but a ghost has come”. He how­ev­er told the demon that he wished to meet Shri Rama. The demon explained invok­ing Shri Rama would be dev­as­tat­ing for him but he could check with Maru­ti. When Tul­si­das asked who Maru­ti was, the demon explained that he can iden­ti­fied by the staff in his hands and a cap on his head. He is an old brah­mana wear­ing a dhoti.

Tul­si­das was doing his morn­ing parayana near the riv­er and a per­son match­ing the descrip­tion of Maru­ti appeared. Tul­si­das fell at his feet. Pleased with him, Maru­ti asked Tul­si­das to make a wish. When Tul­si­das revealed his deep desire to have the dar­shan of Shri Ram, Maru­ti was extreme­ly hap­py. He went to Shri Rama and told him about Tul­si­das, the avatar of Valmi­ki and his desire. Shri Rama was pleased and imme­di­ate­ly walked infront of Tul­si­das’ house with band of mon­keys. Tul­si­das did not recon­g­nise Rama and missed the oppor­tu­ni­ty. When Mau­r­ti appeared again, Tul­si­das lament­ed that he did not get the dar­shan of Rama. Maru­ti asked if Tul­si­das had­n’t noticed the band of peo­ple walk. Maru­ti remarked “A cow came to your house, you thought it was a goat. You saw a touch­stone, but threw it away like a peb­ble. A wise par­rot came, you thought it was a dove.” Maru­ti recount­ed all the occa­sions when Tul­si­das had missed get­ting the dar­shan of Shri Rama.

Tul­si­das was in tears and with great humil­i­ty told Maru­ti that a lay­man like him can rec­og­nize only if the Lord appeared as him­self and not in dis­guise. Just as a lay­man calls it a bracelet and not gold, he would not be able to rec­og­nize Shri Rama in dis­guise. Maru­ti smiled and promised the dar­shan of Shri Rama. That day, Shri Rama appeared to Tul­si­das in a beau­ti­ful crown and yel­low gar­ment. He dis­ap­peared after giv­ing dar­shan to Tul­si­das.

On anoth­er occa­sion, when thieves were try­ing to steal from Tul­si­das’ ashram, they saw to fig­ures with bow and arrow pro­tect­ing the entrance. They dropped the booty back and rushed to seek par­don. The thieves were com­plete­ly trans­formed hav­ing got the dar­shan of Rama and Lak­sh­mana.

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