Tulsidas (, also known as Goswami Tulsidas;〔 1497/1532〔–1623) was a Hindu poet-saint, reformer and philosopher from Ramanandi Sampradaya in the lineage of Jagadguru Ramanandacharya renowned for his devotion to the Lord Shri Rama . A composer of several popular works, he is best known as the author of the epic ''Ramcharitmanas'', a retelling of the Sanskrit ''Ramayana'' based on Rama's life in the vernacular Awadhi.
Tulsidas was acclaimed in his lifetime to be a reincarnation of Valmiki, the composer of the original Ramayana in Sanskrit.〔Lutgendorf 2007, p. 293.〕 He is also considered to be the composer of the Hanuman Chalisa, a popular devotional hymn dedicated to Hanuman, the divine devotee of Rama.〔Rambhadracharya 2008, p. 306.〕
Tulsidas spent most of his life in the city of Varanasi.〔Prasad 2008, p. 857, quoting Mata Prasad Gupta: Although he paid occasional visits to several places of pilgrimage associated with Rama, his permanent residence was in Kashi.〕 The Tulsi Ghat on the Ganges River in Varanasi is named after him. He founded the Sankatmochan Temple dedicated to Hanuman in Varanasi, believed to stand at the place where he had the sight of Hanuman. Tulsidas started the Ramlila plays, a folk-theatre adaption of the Ramayana.〔Handoo 1964, p. 128: ... this book ... is also a drama, because Goswami Tulasidasa started his ''Ram Lila'' on the basis of this book, which even now is performed in the same manner everywhere.〕
He has been acclaimed as one of the greatest poets in Hindi, Indian, and world literature.〔Prasad 2008, p. xii: He is not only the supreme poet, but the unofficial poet-laureate of India.〕〔Prasad 2008, p. xix: Of Tulasidasa's place among the major Indian poets there can be no question: he is as sublime as Valmiki and as elegant as Kalidasa in his handling of the theme.〕 The impact of Tulsidas and his works on the art, culture and society in India is widespread and is seen to date in vernacular language, Ramlila plays, Hindustani classical music, popular music, and television series.〔〔Lutgendorf 1991, p. 11: ... – scores of lines from the ''Rāmcaritmānas'' have entered folk speech as proverbs – ...〕〔Lutgendorf 1991, p. 411: The hottest-selling recording in the thriving cassette stalls of Banaras in 1984... was a boxed set of eight cassettes comprising an abridged version of the Manas sung by the popular film singer Mukesh... it is impossible to say how many of the sets were sold, but by 1984 their impact was both visible and audible. One could scarcely attend a public or private religious function in Banaras that year without hearing, over the obligatory loudspeaker system, the familiar strains of Murli Manohar Svarup's orchestration and Mukesh's mellifluous chanting.〕〔Lutgendorf 1991, p. 411–412: On 25 January 1987, a new program premiered on India's government-run television network, Doordarshan... it was the first time that television was used to present a serialized adaption of a religious epic. The chosen work was the Ramayan and the major source for the screenplay was the Manas. Long before the airing of the main story concluded on 31 July 1988, the Ramayan had become the most popular program ever shown on Indian television, drawing an estimated one hundred million viewers and generating unprecedented advertising revenues. Throughout much of the country, activities came to a halt on Sunday mornings and streets and bazaars took on a deserted look, as people gathered before their own and neighbors' TV sets.... The phenomenal impact of the Ramayan serial merits closer examination than it can be given here, but it is clear that the production and the response it engendered once again dramatized the role of the epic as a principal medium not only for individual and collective religious experience but also for public discourse and social and cultural reflection.〕
==Transliteration and etymology==
The Sanskrit name of Tulsidas can be transliterated in two ways. Using the original Sanskrit, the name is written as ''Tulasīdāsa''. Using the Hunterian transliteration system, it is written as ''Tulsidas'' or ''Tulsīdās'' reflecting the vernacular pronunciation (since the written Indian languages maintain the vestigial letters that are no longer pronounced). The lost vowels are an aspect of the Schwa deletion in Indo-Aryan languages and can vary between regions. The name is a compound of two Sanskrit words: Tulasī, which is an Indian variety of the basil plant considered auspicious by Vaishnavas (devotees of god Vishnu and his avatars like Rama), and Dāsa, which means ''slave'' or ''servant'' and by extension, ''devotee''. Tulsidas, thus means a servant of the plant Tulsi.
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