Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tulsi Das didn’t mention Ram temple demolition – why should he?



Following the Ayodhya verdict, every possible explanation is being heard day after day either questioning the very judgment of giving part of the site to Hindus or the validity of Ram janma bhoomi as Rama's birth place. Justice Khan is quoted as having asked why Tulsi Das did not make a mention of the demolition of Rama's birth place, if it had really been demolished. The Babri Masjid was built hardly 50 years before Tulsi das wrote Ram Charit Manas. The honorable Justice had asked why he didn't mention the demolition in his Epic poem, if it had really happened


I am asking why should he? Ram Charita Manas was not a historical document of his time. It was the story of Ramayana written in the language of the masses. If the Judge expects the poet to write an information that is not connected with the Epic story such as Ramayana, he should take time to ponder over why Valmeeki also did not mention the exile of Sita nor the birth of her children in his Ramayana.



When Valmeeki  wrote Ramayana, Sita was in his custody. The Ramayana was written well after Sita had taken asylum in his ashram. Her children were born while she was staying in his ashram. But Valmeeki did not write these happenings in Ramayana which he wrote in 6 khandas. The length and chapter-wise divisions are mentioned by Valmeeki in the beginning of his Epic itself. There he had mentioned that he had written only 6 khandas, which means upto Yuddha khanda only.  Though Valmiki knew the later events in Rama's life, he did not include them in Ramayana. Uttara Ramayana which contains the later events is not part of the Epic Ramayana.



The story of Ramayana ends with Rama's Pattabhishekam only, as was narrated by sage Narada to Valmeeki. Valmeeki did not add nor delete anything other than what happened until the time of Pattabhisheka. Today many people recite Ramayana on a daily basis. There are people who read only Sudhara Khanda. The Ramayana reading ends up with Rama Pattabhisheka, But those who read Sundhara khanda also will read pattabhisheka when they complete Sundhara khanda. Because that means the reading or recital is over and it is over in a happy note with Valmiki telling the benefits of reading Ramayana in that last chapter.



Tulsi Das also stuck to the tradition of Valmiki and narrated Ramayana in that fashion. Though he told the story in 7 kaands and told about Rama's sons and the sons of other brothers, he did not tell the story of what happened to Sita later. He only ended with a happy note. Ramayana was written by Valmiki to tell the world the story of a supreme hero who stood as an embodiment of all dharmas and all virtues. The mankind is bound to be benefited by reading and knowing the story of Rama. Tulsi Das also wrote Ramayana for that purpose.



The judge is raking up poetic sensibilities etc. which looks amusing. He himself concedes that Tulsi Das's composition has religious importance. That is the first and the last reason why it is still being recited by people. The poetic beauty and melody are additional inputs to make the narration easy to recite and remember.



The same holds good for Valmeeki Ramayana also. The Ramayana was written for posterity. If it had to stay for all times to come, it must have an element that will be admired by people of all ages. In the 4th sarga in chapter -1 of Ramayana, it is told that Valmeeki wrote this Epic in such a way that it could be read and sung melodiously "adaptable to music with three scales and sevenfold tune, and orchestral to the tunes of string-instrument and rhythm included" [1-4-8]. What is mentioned here is the 3 sthaayees and sapta swaras or in other words, the musically adaptable nature of the verses. It is because of that and the beauty of the verses – the proficiency of which he acquired on seeing the fall of the Krouncha bird – and further blessed by Brahma Himself, the composition had withstood the vagaries of Time.



Similarly Ram Charita Manas was composed with the blessings of Hanuman. There can not be anything other than Ramayana in that. Even today people believe that Hanuman sits in front of them to listen when they recite Ramayana. A separate seat is assigned for Hanuman before they start the recital. The story of Rama that Hanuman wishes to hear even today can not have a place for Babar's atrocities or any other instances that come up with Time. All these instances will come and go. But Ramayana will stay as it is.



On the other hand we can derive the other side of the story to prove that Tulsi Das lived at a time when something bad indeed happened to Ram janma bhoomi. This can be explained by seeking answer to why he didn't stay in Ayodhya for all life. His biography shows that he had stayed in Ayodhya for a brief period of time. Being a devotee of Rama, he was expected to spend all his time in Rama's janmasthaan. But he did not stay there for long but left for Varanasi where he stayed until his death.


Seven kshethras are called as Moksha sthalas by Hindus. Ayodhya is one among them. The other places are Dwaraka, Mathura, Varanasi, Haridwar, Ujjian and Kancheepuram. Tulsi Das could have well chosen Ayodhya as his place of moksha and stayed there. But he chose Varanasi. Why? This question is needed to be answered.



What we deduce from the climate of that period is that the Janmasthaan was not there in its splendor when he visited Ayodhya! Had some other temple been the janmasthaan, we could have expected Tulsi das to have stayed there for his entire life. He did not stay in Ayodhya. This shows that the original place of Rama was vandalized and beyond the reach of devotees of Rama. It also shows that the condition in Ayodhya was not conducive for Hindus to live peacefully.










Why didn't Tulsidas mention Ram temple demolition?


Mon, Oct 4 12:31 PM



New Delhi, Oct 4 (IANS) Was legendary poet Tulsidas, who wrote 'Ram Charit Manas' in the 16th century, so scared of Mughal emperor Akbar that he did not mention the demolition of a Ram temple in Ayodhya and the construction of the Babri mosque thereupon in his work?



'If a temple standing on the premises in dispute had been demolished and a mosque had been constructed thereupon less than 50 years before Tulsi Das wrote 'Ram Charit Manas' at Ayodhya, there was no reason for not mentioning the said fact by him in his famous book,' Justice S.U. Khan of the Allahabad High Court said in his judgment on the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi title suits Sep 30.



Justice Khan made this observation while rejecting the contention of several counsel appearing for different Hindu parties on this count.


These counsel had tried to explain this vital omission - no mention of the demolition of Ram's temple and construction of the mosque at the site - on the ground that Tulsidas feared emperor Akbar would not like it and cause him harm if he mentioned it.



But Justice Khan said such a wild accusation against a poet of such repute and calibre as Tulsidas was rather unpalatable even to non-Hindus.



Moreover, Justice Khan says Tulsidas had given up all the comforts of life and had virtually renounced the world by separating himself from his wife for writing 'Ram Charit Manas' at Ayodhya. The work is considered the common man's Ramayana.



'A poet in such a situation and of such calibre is not expected to be fearful in writing the truth,' said Justice Khan.



It was during the reign of emperor Akbar (1556-1605) that Tulsidas (1532-1623) wrote 'Ram Charit Manas' from 1574 to 1577 in Awadhi, which was the common man's language at that time.



Justice Khan said: 'Even if it is assumed that the mosque was subsequently constructed by Aurangzeb, still Tulsidas should have mentioned in 'Ram Charit Manas' that a specific small piece of land measuring 1,500 square yards or a temple standing on such a site was birthplace of Lord Ram.



'Symbolism and similes are two most essential, handy tools of poetry. Accordingly, if not directly then at least symbolically or in similes some indication could have been given by Tulsidas regarding the premises in dispute to be the birthplace of Lord Ram and demolition of the temple,' underlined Justice Khan.



Further disagreeing with the counsel of Hindu parties, Justice Khan said: 'Apart from (its) religious importance, 'Ram Charit Manas' has got great poetical value. Poetry is basically flight of imagination' and this could not be subjected to any fear.'



Elaboratin, Justice Khan said: 'Wealth and fear are two great retarding gravitational forces for flight of imagination. No wealthy or fearful person has composed great poetry.'



However, he said, this principle does not apply to prose writers. Leo Tolstoy who wrote 'War and Peace', the best novel of the world, was a feudal lord of Russia of considerable wealth and position.



The Ayodhya verdict, given by the Lucknow bench of the high court, has divided the disputed land into three parts - one for Ram Lalla, one for the Nirmohi Akhara and one for the Sunni Wakf Board. It also said the Babri mosque had been built on a site that was the birthplace of Hindu god Ram.


Unknown said...

Mam, Justice khan only had to look at Justice agwarwals judgement to answer that query. In his judgement vol 4 page 35 he describes

Goswami Tulsidas, in his 'Sri Tulsishatak' has clearly described the deeds of Muslims and Babur and the mosque having been built by Mir Baqi after demolishing Sri Ram Janam Mandir at Ayodhya, which runs as follows

Goswami Tulsidas Ji says that ‘Yavans’ (barbarians /Mohammedans) ridicule hymns, several Upnishads and treatises like Brahmans, Puranas, Itihas (histories) etc. and also the Hindu society (orthodox religion) having faith in them. They exploit the Hindu society in different ways.

Goswami Tulsi Das says that forcible attempts are being made by Muslims to expel the followers of Hinduism from their own native place (country), forcibly divesting them of their Shikha (lock of hair on the crown of head) and ‘Yagyopaveet’ (sacrificial thread) and causing them to deviate from their religion. Tulsi Das terms this time as a hard and harrowing one.

Describing the barbaric attack of Babur, Goswami Ji says that he indulged in gruesome genocide of the natives of that place (followers of Hinduism), using sword (army).

Gowami Tulsi Das Ji says that countless atrocities were committed by foolish ‘Yavans’ (Mohammedans) in Awadh (Ayodhya) in and around the summer of Samvat 1585, that is, 1528 AD (Samvat 1585- 57=1528 AD). Describing the attack made by ‘Yavans’, that is, Mohammedans on Sri Ramjanambhumi temple, Tulsi Das Ji says that after a number of Hindus had been mercilessly killed, Sri Ram Janam Bhumi temple was broken to make it a mosque. Looking at the ruthless killing of Hindus, Tulsi Ji says that his heart felt aggrieved, that is, it began to weep, and on account of incident it continues to writhe in pain. Seeing the mosque constructed by Mir Baqi in Awadh, that is, Ayodhya in the wake of demolition of Sri 785 Ram Janam Bhumi temple preceded by the grisly killing of followers of Hinduism having faith in Rama and also seeing the bad plight of the temple of his favoured deity Rama, the heart of Tulsi began to always cry tearfully for Raghuraj (the most revered among the scions of the Raghu Dynasty).

Being aggrieved thereby, submitting himself to the will of Sri Rama, he shouted: O Ram ! Save....Save... Tulsi Das Ji says that the mosque was constructed by the wicked Mir Baqi after demolishing Sri Ram Janam Bhumi temple, situated in the middle of Awadh, that is, Ayodhya. Tulsi Das Ji says that the Quran as well as Ajaan call is heard from the holy place of Sri Ram Janam Bhumi, where discourses from Shrutis, Vedas, Puranas, Upnishads etc. used to be always heard and which used to be constantly everberated with sweet sound of bells.”

Unknown said...

that was from justice agarwals judgement placing the evidence given by Ramabhadracharya of tulsipeet in chitrakoot.

Jayasree Saranathan said...

Thanks for the valuable information Asthika.

The affidavit filed by Sri Ramabhadracharya of Tulsipeet can be read here:-

Really heart rending. I have not studied the life history of Tulsi das. But it is known from the Sri Tulsishatak, that he was greatly pained by the happenings at Ayodhya. Perhaps the writing of Ram charita manas is a deliberate attempt to retain the memory of Ramayana among the average people and so it was written in their language using the aphorisms they have known.