From the Jacket:
Of the saint-poets of our country, Thulasee Das, the outstanding poet of "Bhakti Cult", ranks next only to Santh Kabir who preceded him by more than a century and a half. In both cases the devotion was based on love. For Kabir, it was impersonal love between Atma (Soul) and Paramatma (Supreme Soul), whereas in the case of Goswami Thulasee Das it was between the seeker as Beloved and Shri Rama as Lover.
For both, the ultimate aim of the love game in union of fusion of both into one.
A single example of Thulasee Das's couplets shows the trend:
Thulasee begs of Lord Shiva with folded hands
To grant him boon of Shri Rama's love
And Shri Rama's love for him in this
And following births as would behove.
About the Author:
The author, Shri Gananath Das, retired from the Indian Administrative Service in the year 1972. Since then he has engaged himself in the study of various saint poets starting with the famous saint poet, Kabir Das, of the 15th century A.D.
On Kabir his works include Life and Philosophy of the Saint Poet in Oriya, and translation of five hundred of his couplets in English Verse, in three volumes: the first of one hundred published by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan of Bombay in 1992, the second of three hundred published by Motilal Banarsi Das of Delhi in 19914 and the third of one hundred published by Writers Workshop Calcutta in 1992, followed by Saying of Kabir published by the same publisher in 1993.
In 1992 he published his translation of one hundred songs of Guru Nanak Dev as 'Nanak Satak' in Oriya and 100 Love Songs of Kabir in English Verse which was published by Abhinav Publication of New Delhi.
In 1994 he published his Oriya Verse translation of the entire Thiru Kural, the immortal work of the Tamil Saint Poet Thiru Valluvar, consisting of 1330 couplets in 133 chapters.
In 1994 he published his Essays on Kabir published by the Writers Workshop of Calcutta consisting of indepth studies of the Saint Poet's Sayings on as many as 22 topics.
In the meantime he has completed his "Readings from Bhagabata", being English Verse translation of over 150 Sayings of the famous scripture originally composed by Vyasa Deva and translated into Oriya Verse by Saint Poet Jagannath Das of "Pancha Sakh' fame.
Dohavali in itself is a greatly acclaimed creative work of Tulasi Das. Many of the couplets are from Manas. Some might be from other works which are not available at present. However, couplets are the shorter form of poetry for intense expressions. Only Kabir has resorted to them in the Bhakti Period extensively for preachings. It is thus mainly used for preaching of a particular value and teaching of a moral also.
Tulasi is not satisfied with "Manas" alone. Again and again, he expresses in different forms, in different metres and in different modes. Letter form is best used in "Vinaya Patrika" and Mangal geet (Auspicious songs) form is used in Janaki Mangal and sohar, etc. These are little known works of the great saint, but they are very popular among the masses. They play a significant role in shaping the mind of these innocent and little educated people. These works are main sources of their cultural background. Therefore, Tulasi is a poet of classes as well as masses. He survives not only on paper, but is deeply seated in the hearts of millions.
Now, we are facing the attack on our values. Even, most of us do not know what these values are. We only talk of some orthodox rituals or of blind faiths in the name of immortal values. Tulasi had also gone through this kind of valueless atmosphere in his own time. Of course, he could change the trend. Now, the winds are faster, values are floating in the air like dry leaves. It is also most unfortunate to note that we are giving wrong priorities and also misinterpreting Bhakti, Bhakta and the Lord.
Westerners have tried for last two centuries to take Tulasi to their people. They could present critical discussions on Tulasi for their people. We are benefited with story of Raama Charita, but it has the essence of Tulasi's philosophy.
It is written in simple form and "lucid language. Tulasi never boasts of anything. He speaks very humbly, but firmly. It is impossible to differ from him, as he places his point with appropriate illustrations. Entire Manas is full of such Dohavali references and examples. Mostly, they are also related to his faith and conviction in Raama. In the scientific age of ours this kind of logical pronouncements carry more weight than mere sentimental appeal. In Doha form each couplet is independent of the other. Still, there is continuity of thoughts and ideology. We can call it a truly "secular" poetry. Tulasi Das has a deep sense of righteousness. He cannot be irreligious. But he has carried us for centuries towards a high sense of value. This is how the first line of each couplet takes us to a point of view and the next line deeply sows it in our mind and heart, both. That is why Tulasi Das is called "Lokanayak" (Leader of his Age).
In the present work Mr. G.N. Das has truly followed Tulasi while translating the couplets from Dohavali. The poetry rendering of these couplets needs a very tender hand. Mr. G.N. Das could read the soul of the great saint. He has the command to put down necessary English terminology to house Tulasi's idioms in Avadhi and Braj Boli.
I wish Gananath Das gets a long lease of life to take up many more projects in the interest of our society. We need an art form, not merely for art's sake, but also for various other purposes. Poetry, a purposeful art, has been taken for enactment in different languages through translation. The value- loaded poetry does not lose anything in translation. We hope to get still further guidance from senior citizens of our age like Shri G.N. Das.
One of the most felicitous poets of Bhakti Marg (Devotion) in India was Shrimat Goswami Thulasee Das born in Rajapur about 20 K.M. from Chitrakut in U.P. in the year 1545 A.D. He lived upto 1625 A.D. with a life span of about 80 years and breathed his last in Varanasi at Shri Hanumaan ghat on the sacred river Ganges.
He started his poetic life in Chitrakut but all his major works were composed at Varanasi including Shri Raama Charita Manas, Binaya Patrika and so forth.
The couplets selected for the present work are mainly from the selections included in the "Dohabali" compiled by Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddar and published by Gita Press, Gorakhpur.
Poddarji has appended to each couplet brief but very useful notes explaining the significance and message contained in them. In the copious subject index appended to the book (Dohabali) we find mention of the various subject matters pertaining to Bhakti (Devotion), Gyaan (Knowledge or Learning), Bairagya (Non-attachment), Sadaachar (Righteousness), Prema (Love), Neeti (Laws of conduct). A glance at the couplets relating to these subjects will show how deep has been the study of Goswamiji on these topics and how felicitously he has given expression to them in the couplets.
A reading of the magnum opus of Goswamiji's literary works, Shri Raama Charita Manas, the story of Shri Raama's life and exploits on earth as son of Raja Dasaratha of Ayodhya will show how Shri Raama, though an incarnation of the Almighty, behaved as an ideal human being, righteous, pieteous, compassionate, friendly on the one hand and a hero who fought for protection of the righteous and pieteous and dissolution of the base and vile like Ravana of Lanka.
The chief attainments of human beings for gaining salvation are leading a righteous life on earth and taking shelter of the Almighty Father with firm faith in His compassion of which Shri Raama was the epitome.
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