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Post Info TOPIC: Tulsidas’ testimony -Swami Rambhadracharya of the Ramanandi Sampradaya


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Tulsidas’ testimony -Swami Rambhadracharya of the Ramanandi Sampradaya
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Tulsidas’ testimony

Tuesday, 18 August 2020 | Sandhya Jain
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Tulsidas’ testimony

 

It is a mystery that both the Supreme Court and Allahabad Court judgments failed to take into account his many writings while delivering the Ram Janmabhoomi verdict

An enduring mystery of the Ram Janmabhoomi court battle is the failure of the Allahabad High Court and the Supreme Court to mention the testimony of Goswami  Tulsidas regarding the destruction of the birthplace of Sri Ram in their respective judgments. The Supreme Court’s 1,045-page verdict gathered all evidence regarding Ramlalla’s birthplace in a 116-page addendum, but overlooked the saint from Chitrakoot (Uttar Pradesh). From the time Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalwart LK Advani launched the Somnath-to-Ayodhya rathyatra in September 1990, believers have agonised over the absence of “evidence” in Sri Ramcharitmanas. The erudite scrutinised Tulsi Granthavali in vain.

Cultural Marxists declaimed that when the foremost medieval devotee of Sri Ram did not mention the iconoclasm at Ayodhya, allegations of the alleged destruction of the temple were false. They refused to recognise the wealth of evidence adduced to prove the erection of a mosque over the temple’s ruins, using materials from the same temple, the hallmark of much medieval architecture.

They showed contempt for the fact that Hindus struggled desperately to reclaim this site for nearly five centuries and clung to its edges to keep memory alive so that someday its sanctity could be restored. That dawn arrived on November 9, 2019, and on August 5, 2020, a special puja was held at Ayodhya to launch the construction of a new temple on the sacred site. The presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accepted gracefully by the Muslim community (barring some pro forma opposition) and most Opposition parties, drove the Comrades apoplectic. And so the chorus began: Even Tulsidas never said ….

It may legitimately be asked why Tulsidas is so crucial for the anti-temple lobby. Born in 1532, two years after the death of Babur who founded the Mughal dynasty in 1526, Tulsidas grew up in an era when the wounds of the apocalyptic events at Ayodhya were raw and fresh in Hindu memory. He was a contemporary of Akbar who ascended the throne in 1556, just 26 years after Babur’s demise, and was perfectly positioned to be the best chronicler of the spirit of his age.

Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Swami Rambhadracharya of the Ramanandi Sampradaya submitted in an affidavit before the Allahabad High Court on July 15, 2003, stating that in Shri Tulsi Dohashatak, the poet bemoaned the misdeeds of Babur and destruction of the Ram Temple by Mir Baqi. “The Yavanas (foreigners) filled with anger ridiculed the mantras, Upanishads, brahmanas and Puranas; after cutting the tuft of hair (shikha, choti) and yagopavit (sacred thread of Brahmins), they expelled the followers of Hari from their homes. Tulsi says this is a bad time for Hindus” (Bhad hari bhagaye desh se, TuIsi kathin kujog).

“Babur came with sword in hand in the summer months of Vikram Samvat 1585 (1528 AD) and created havoc (anarth). The beautiful Ram Janmabhumi temple was ruined and a mosque built; Tulsi felt aggrieved (Tulsi kinhi hai).” Further, Mir Baqi destroyed the temple and the murtis of Ram Darbar (family of infant Ram) as a broken-hearted Tulsi cried for protection (Trahi trahi Raghuraj). Tulsi continued, “Where there was a temple on Ram’s birthplace, in the middle of Awadh, Mir Baqi built a mosque.” In Kavitavali, Tulsidas laments, where are the ascetics (dhoot, avadhoot), the Rajputs and the weavers? He expresses detachment from society. Tulsi, he avers, is devoted to Ram, will eat by begging, will sleep in mosque (masit mein saibo).

This is the historical environment in which Tulsidas began composing Ramcharitmanas in 1574-75. The epic is not a mere reiteration of Valmiki Ramayana in Awadhi; the language was chosen as it was the tongue of the land where the temple once stood. Tulsidas’s annual public performances of Ramlila had a vibrancy that helped overcome the disempowerment felt at the loss of the temple. Indeed, this is why Jaina monk Lonka Shah (c. 1450) began the practice of community worship in halls rather than temples, without images that could become the target of iconoclasts. Guru Gobind Singh continued this tradition when he declared the Granth Sahib to be the “Guru” of the Khalsa Panth.

Tulsidas reminded a shattered people that Sri Ram was the ideal sovereign and human being (maryada purushottam) who defeated many powerful evil-doers, including Ravana, to restore dharma. His epic soon acquired the status of a scripture. It is pertinent that Sri Ram is the only avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu who became king; Sri Krishna was a prince.

In Ayodhya, Prime Minister Modi summed up the spirit of the text when he pointed out, “Tulsi’s Rama was with form (saguna) while Nanak and Kabir’s Rama was formless (nirguna).” Those trying to diminish the temple may remember this. The Prime Minister also said, “Buildings collapsed, every attempt was made to erase the existence …but Lord Rama is fully embedded in our hearts. Lord Rama is the foundation of our culture; he is the dignity of India. He personifies dignity.”

Tulsidas’s narrative rests on three distinct conversations: Between Shiva and Parvati, between sages Bharadwaj and Yajnavalkya and between Kakbhushundi (the sage-crow) and Garuda, king of birds (eagle). Essentially, Shiva states that Ram incarnates on earth in different epochs to protect the righteous. The epic is noteworthy for its divergence from Valmiki regarding the fate of Sita after her return to Ayodhya. While Valmiki dwells upon the queen’s exile to the forest because of loose-tongued citizens, and her final anguished appeal to the Earth to open and take her back, Tulsidas ignores this episode entirely. The reasons cannot be merely emotional as some have surmised.

Sita (literally furrow in Sanskrit) is not merely the Divine Mother whose earthly travails moved the poet. Found in a furrow in a field by King Janak, she is also a metaphor for the Earth, the Kingdom. Sri Ramcharitmanas is a subtle exhortation to the Hindus to remember their duty to rescue the Goddess from the forces ravaging the land. Tulsidas’s Sita cannot be banished because she is still in bondage. Cloaked as a devotional poem, Sri Ramcharitmanas is a powerful political-civilisational treatise. Possibly this understanding is why the learned judges of the Allahabad High Court and Supreme Court  sidestepped Tulsidas’s testimony; he cuts too close to the bone.

(The author is a senior journalist. Views are personal)



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“Mangi Ke Khaibon, Maseet Me Soibo”: Jagatguru Rambhadracharya Maharaj’s testimony in Ram Mandir case and how it played a vital role in judgement

 

Swami Ji was deposed as an expert witness on religious matters at the Allahabad High Court in July 2003. Out of his 100-page affidavit and cross-examination, portions were quoted in the final judgment by the High Court, and later by the SC.

 
 
 

The Pran Pratishtha ceremony of Ram Lalla is scheduled for 22nd January 2024. It took over 500 years for the Hindu devotees to see their dream of having Bhagwan Ram’s temple in Ayodhya. The journey to the temple’s construction saw bloodshed and a lengthy legal battle that ended on 9th November 2019 when the Supreme Court of India gave judgment in favour of Hindus. Apart from advocates, researchers, and archaeological experts, Hindu saints played a vital role in providing the foundation for the final judgment. One such saint is Jagatguru Swami Rambhadracharya Maharaj, whose testimony was crucial in the final judgment.

Swami Ji was deposed as an expert witness on religious matters at the Allahabad High Court in July 2003. Out of his 100-page affidavit and cross-examination, portions were quoted in the final judgment by the High Court. In his affidavit, Swami Ji cited numerous ancient Hindu scriptures, including Ramayana, Rāmatāpanīya Upaniṣad, Skanda Purana, Yajurveda, and Atharvaveda, to support his viewpoint that Ayodhya, a holy city for Hindus, was the birthplace of Bhagwan Ram.

Swami Ji also referred to several verses from two works composed by Tulsidas. One of these was from the Doha Sataka, which described the destruction of a temple and the construction of a mosque at the disputed site by Babur in 1528 CE. The second verse he used was from Kaitavali, which mentioned a mosque.

During the cross-examination in the High Court, Swami Ji cited details on the history of the Ramananda sect, its Mathas, the rules regarding Mahants, the formation and working of Akharas, and Tulsidas’ works. Furthermore, he also refuted the claims that the original temple was on the north side of the disputed area, which was argued by the Muslim side. He cited the Ayodhya Mahatmya section of the Skanda Purana that mentioned the temple’s exact location.

OpIndia accessed court documents from both the Supreme Court and Allahabad High Court to understand Swami Ji’s perspective and testimony.

Excerpts from testimony used in the High Court judgment

In his testimony, Swami Ji asserted that, as per his knowledge and study, the disputed site was Bhagwan Ram’s birthplace. He said, “It is known to all that Lord Sri Rama was born in Ayodhya itself, and the disputed site is, as per faith, tradition and belief, recognised by the followers of Hinduism as the birthplace of Sri Rama since the time immemorial, and the worship of that place has consistently been performed.”

To support his claims, he mentioned several Hindu scriptures in his testimony. Citing verses from Valmiki Ramayana, Atharvaveda, Yajurveda, Ramtapniyayopanishad, Skandapurana and Tulsidas’s literature, Swami Ji detailed how these scriptures mentioned the birthplace of Bhagwan Ram. He pointed out that in ‘Sri Tulsishatak’, Goswami Tulsidas clearly described how Muslims and Babur destroyed the Shri Tam Janam Mandir in Ayodhya and constructed a mosque in its place.

In his writings, Tulsidas Ji expressed his deep anguish and distress over the actions of Yavans against the Hindu society and religious practices. The term Yavans was used for Mughals or barbarians. He described how the barbarians ridiculed and disrespected Hindu hymns, scriptures such as Upanishads and other religious texts such as Brahmanas, Puranas, and Itihasas.

Tulsidas Ji recounted the forceful attempts made by Muslims to drive Hindus away from their native lands. They stripped Hindus of their religious symbols such as Shikha, which is a lock of hair on the crown of the head and ‘Yagyopaveet’, which is a sacred thread that Hindus wear. The barbarians pressured Hindus to abandon their faith.

मंत्र उपनिषद ब्राह्मनहुँ बहु पुरान इतिहास ।
जवन जराये रोष भरि करि तुलसी परिहास ।।
सिखा सूत्र से हीन करि, बल ते हिन्दू लोग ।
भमरि भगाये देश ते, तुलसी कठिन कुजोग
बाबर बर्बर आइके, कर लीन्हे करवाल ।
हने पचारि-पचारि जन, तुलसी काल कराल ।।
सम्बत सर वसु बान नभ, ग्रीष्म ऋतु अनुमानि ।
तुलसी अवधहिं जड़ जवन, अनरथ किय अनखानि ।।
राम जनम महिं मंदिरहिं, तोरि मसीत बनाय ।
जवहि बहु हिन्दुन हते, तुलसी कीन्ही हाय ।।
दल्यो मीरबाकी अवध, मन्दिर रामसमाज ।
तुलसी रोवत हृदय हति, त्राहि त्राहि रघुराज ।।
राम जनम मंदिर जहाँ, लसत अवध के बीच ।
तुलसी रची मसीत तहँ, मीरबाकी खल नीच ।।
रामायन घरि घन्ट जहें, श्रुति पुरान उपखान ।
तुलसी जवन अजान तहँ, कियो कुरान अजान ।।

Excerpt from Sri Tulsishatak

Furthermore, Tulsidas Ji detailed how Mughal ruler Babur led a brutal campaign leading to the mass genocide of Hindus in Ayodhya around 1528 CE. He talked about the ruthless destruction of the Shri Ram Janam Bhumi temple and its conversion into a mosque by Mir Baqi, who was an associate of Babur. He described how heartbroken he was to witness the revered temple of Bhagwan Ram being replaced by a structure that symbolised the suffering and persecution of the Hindu community. The place that once resonated with Hindu religious discourse and the sounds of temple bells echoed with the Quranic recitations and Azaan, which deeply grieved Tulsidas Ji, leading him to cry out in despair to Bhagwan Ram for salvation.

In his work ‘Kavitavali’, Tulsidas Ji expressed detachment from society and his attachment and faith towards Bhagwan Ram. Further, he mentioned about the disputed site as follows:

“Dhoot Kahaun, Avadhoot Kahaun, Rajpoot Kahaun, Jolha Kahaun Kou. Kahu Ki Beti Se Beta Na Byahab, Kahu Ki Jati Bigaran Sou. Tulsi Sar Naam Gulamu Hai Ram Ko, Jako Ruche So kahe Kachhu Jou. Mangi Ke Khaibon, Maseet Me Soibo, Laive Ko Eku Na Deve Ke Dou.”

The Mosque mentioned in verse, particularly in the line “Mangi Ke Khaibon, Maseet Me Soibo,” holds the utmost importance in this context as it is believed that Tulsidas Ji was talking about the Mosque built in place of Shri Ram Janam Temple. He said in the verse that he was ready to ask for food and sleep in the Mosque, but his devotion to Bhagwan Ram would remain intact.

Swamiji further mentioned a Shlok from Sarga-18 of Balkand in the Valmiki Ramayana that talked about the birth of Bhagwan Ram. The Shlok read, “Tato Yagye Samapte Tu Ritunam Shat Samatyuyah. Tatasch Dwadashe Mase Chaitre Navamike Tithau. Nakshatre-aditi Daivatye Swochchsanstheshu Panjasu. Graheshu Karkate Lagne Vakyatavinduna Sah. Prodyamane Jagannatham Sarvalok Namaskritam. Kaushalyajanayad Ramam Divya Lakshan Samyutam.” Swami Ji said that the words “Sarvalok Namaskritam” referred to the birthplace of Bhagwan Ram, Ayodhya.

Referring to Skand Purana, printed and published in 1966 by Venkateshwar Printing Press, established by Kshemraj Shreshti, son of Shrikrishnadas, Swami Ji said that it contained a clear description of the Janmbhumi (birthplace) of Lord Sri Rama.

Excerpts from the Supreme Court’s judgment

The judgment read, “Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Swami Rambhadracharya states in his statement that disputed site is a Ram Janma Bhumi, which is being so believed from time immemorial by faith and tradition of Hindus.

In his statement, he states: “According to my studies and knowledge, the Ayodhya situated disputed site is Sri Ramjanmbhumi, which has been recognised as the birthplace of Lord Rama by followers of Hinduism from time immemorial on the basis of faith, tradition and belief, and the said place has been continuously worshipped.“

Source: Supreme Court of India

In his examination-in-chief, Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Swami Rambhadracharya has also stated that Ayodhya-Mahatmya, the birthplace of Lord Shri Ram, has been clearly described. Paragraph 25 of the examination-in-chief is as follows:

I am familiar with the Ayodhya Mahatmya of the Vaishnav Khand of Skand Puran, published in 1966 in the press established by Shri Krishnadasatmaj Kshemraj Shresthi in which the birthplace of Lord Shri Rama has been clearly described. The photocopy of the cover page and the photocopy of Shloka Nos. 1 to 25 on page No.292 of chapter 10 of this book is enclosed with this affidavit as enclosure-1, which is the valid photocopy of the original book.

Swami Ji’s testimony in the High Court was forwarded to the Supreme Court. Excerpts from the testimony were part of both High Court and Supreme Court judgments. Swami Ji was one of the saints who testified in court and referenced Hindu scriptures to prove the disputed site was indeed Bhagwan Ram’s birthplace.



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