Tulsidas (1543-1623) was a Hindu poet-saint whose principal work, the ‘Ramcharitmanas’ (Legends of Ram), is an extremely popular and vital part of devotional literature in North India. He is said to have been born at Rajapur in Uttar Pradesh
Tulsidas had a hard life as an abandoned child. But a wandering sage, Narahari Das, took care of the boy, originally named Ram Bhola. The sage re-named him Tulasi Das (servant of tulasi) in honor of the sacred leaf of Tulsi (basil) traditionally used in the purification ceremony of infants. Tulsidas accepted the sage as his guru and accompanied him on his wanderings all over North India. He learnt the story of
Lord Ram from his guru, but his ignorance of the Sanskrit language prevented him from grasping its meaning in full. Learning the story, listening to it in repeated sessions, Tulsidas was determined to write it in the vernacular for others like him.
Tulsidas made long journeys all over Northern India preaching the gospel of Lord Ram. His ardent faith and pious self conquered all initial obstacles. Even in Benares, the chief center of Siva-worship, he won wide respect.
Though Tulsidas worshipped the Lord Ram as the supreme deity, he also paid tributes to the other Gods like Lord Krishna and
Shiva in his writings and hymns. Over 20 works are attributed to Tulsidas. His famous Tulsai-Kirtan-Ramayan (Tulsidas's hymn on Ram) is almost a cult in certain parts of North India with milions of followers.