Tulsi Das (1552-1625)
The author of the Hindi epic,Ramcharitamanas, Tulsi Dasis generally acknowledgedas the greatest poet of theBhakti movement, thatin the 15th-16th centuriesprotested against Brahminicalorthodoxy. It was in Kashi that hecomposed Ramcharitamanas,the poem that tells the storyof Lord Rama.
Tulsi Das’version of the ancient epicRamayana was written in anidiom the common man couldfollow, and went a long way in popularising the worship ofRama in north India.Tulsi Das, who came toVaranasi as a boy at the ageof twelve, developed for thecity an attachment borderingon adoration. In the Vinaya-Patrika, in fact he hails Kashias the kamadhenu or the wish-grantingcow.Serve with love all life throughKashi.The wishing-cow of all this KaliYuga;It banishes woe, affliction, sin,disease,And it amasses all thingsauspicious. Along the river, go past theAnandamayee Ghat, namedafter Sri Ma Anandamayeethe 20th century saint whoseashram stands above the steps,and the imposing 17th centurypalace of Maharaja Chet Singhthat is over a ghat known as Shivala.