Tulsidas (1532 – 1623 C.E.)
Tulsidas was a great poet, a Vaishnava saint and a devotee of Rama.
To Tulsidas, Rama was a personal and supreme God, who had feeling of compassion for the humanity which suffered. He is best known for his retelling of the Sanskrit Ramayana in the epic Ram Charit Manas in his local Awadhi dialect of Hindi
Apart from this, his works include Gitawali, Kavitawali, Vinaya Patrika etc.
Tulsi Das was a humanist and universalist and laid stress upon knowledge, devotion, worship and mediation He has blended in his work the philosophical monism of the past with stress on Bhakti.
He starts from the fundamental conception of philosophical theology, the ethical Brahman, passionless,’ formless, without attributes (nirguna) and yet possessing the fundamental quality of goodness (sattva)
Though Tulsi Das did not start any new sect or advocate any new doctrine, yet by his own pure life and the magic of his poetry he rendered great service to the Bhakti-marga.
Sur Das was another saint, and poet who preached religion of love and devotion to a personal God and provided inspiration to millions of men and women in northern India. It is commonly held that he was born sometimes in the last quarter of the fifteenth century. His works include Sur Sagar, Sahitva Ratna and Sur Sarawali. In Sur Sagar, Sur Das deals with the life of Krishna’s childhood. It focuses on descriptions of Krishna as a lovable child, written from the gopis’ perspective. He displayed himself not merely as a master of child psychology but also as a devotee of the Almighty. In contempary writings, Sur Sarawali is said to contain one lakh verses, out of which many were lost due to obscurity and uncertainty of the times. It is It is analogical to the festival of (Holi) Sahitya Lahari consists of 118 verses and emphasises on Bhakti (devotion). Sur’s compositions are also found in the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs. Sur’s poetry was written in a dialect of Hindi called Braj Bhasha. His work raised the status of Braj Bhasha from a crude language to that of a literary one.
Maluk Das was born at Kara in the district of Allahabad. He also founded a sect which mainly consists of laymen.
Like other saints and reformers of his time Maluk das also condemned the externals of religion like pilgrimage, idol worship, etc.
He teaches that the true religion is an inward faith, that Maya is the enemy of man, and God’s name is the only protection against it, that the world is transitory and the worldly relations of no avail, that man is born of dust and will return to dust, that those who are not devoted to spiritual life are the dogs of the world, that salvation is obtained by knowing the self, killing pride and egotism, controlling passions, trusting the Guru, and loving God.
Maluk Das also laid great emphasis on the unity of the Hindus and Muslims.
Sundardas was a disciple of Dadu. He was born in the family of a Bania in Rajasthan in 1596 C.E. He spent most of his early childhood with Dadu at Naraina, and soon gained popularity as a great poet and a saint.
He returned to his home in 1603 after the death of Dadu and spent the rest of the life spreading the religion of Bhakti taught by Dadu.
Sant Sunderdas composed about 48 books. He is revered as the Sankaracharya of Hindi literature, and is popularly known as Sant Kavi Sunderdas.
The reputation of Sundardas rests on his work Sundarvilasa.
In this work he deals with the six philosophic systems of the Hindus and emphasises their inadequacy in securing salvation of man.
He insisted on the teachings of Dadu as an easy way for salvation.
Birbhan was a contemporary of Dadu. He was born near Narnaul in Punjab in 1543 and founded the famous sect of Sadhus or Satnamis.
Birbhan was a monotheist and described God by the name of Satnam or Truth.
Birbhan did not believe in caste and other distinctions and was opposed to idol worship.
He insisted on meditation and virtuous life with a view to attain ultimate absorption with God.
Birbhan insisted on his followers to abstain from intoxicants and animal food as well as unnecessary accumulation of wealth.
The sect founded by Birbhan is known as Satnamis and their religious granth is known as Pothi, which is revered like the Granth of the Sikhs.