Lord Narayana called Valmiki and asked him to make an avatar in the world. He also told him that the Ramayana he had written was in Sanskrit and that common people were not able to read it so he wanted him to make an avatar in kaliyuga and sing and write in local language so that the common man could worship the lord.
In the city of Hastinapur (Delhi) there was a Brahman by name Atmaram. Akbar was the king at that time and he was at Akbar’s service. Valmiki made his avatar in this family. Atmaram performed the rituals and named him Tulasidas. As he grew up, his parents performed the rituals of investing a scared thread and he was a bramachari for 12 years. They also made him study the Vedas. Tulasidas was then married to Devi Mamata. They both were bonded together in love and were inseparable. One day king Akbar was going on a tour and Tulasidas had gone with him. There was a messenger from Devi Mamata’s house saying that her mother was ill and that she wanted to see her. On hearing this she started crying and became hysterical. On seeing Mamata’s reaction, the messenger then told her that her mother was fine and she had asked him to say this as she never came home to visit them since her marriage. Mamata then took permission from her in-laws and then went home to see her parents. Tulasidas returned from official tour the same day evening. At night he could not sleep and was missing his wife badly. So he decided to walk 10 miles to his in-laws house the same night. He braved the flood and forest and some how reached his in-laws house. On reaching there, he saw a rope hanging from the upper storey and caught that and climbed up to their house. On seeing some one coming up, the servants woke up and found that it was Tulasidas. Mamata then woke up and was astonished to see him at this hour. She then asked him why he came at this hour braving the flood and forest, and asked how he had climbed up. Tulasidas said that he had used the rope that she had suspended in the house to climb up. Mamata and others were surprised and they said that they have not suspended any rope. They then lit the lamp to check the same and it happened to be a big poisonous serpent. On seeing this Mamata was scared and she held her husband and asked him why he did such a thing in spite of being such a learned person. She then said that so many people have lost their lives running behind women. She also said that these men do not seek god but only seek to satisfy sensual desire. On hearing this Tulasidas conscious was awakened, he then realized who he was and about his previous birth. He then bowed to his wife and thanked her for awakening him and he left for Anandvan (Banares).
He was in Anandvan for 12 years meditating and living only on leaves that had fallen from the trees. One day when Tulasidas went in to the forest to have a bath and a demon appeared in front of him and told him that he was pleased with him and asked him to wish for any thing he wanted. Tulasidas told him that he dint want anything from him and all he wanted was Shri Ram’s darshan. The demon then stepped back and told him that he can’t even spell his name, but assured that he could tell him how to see Maruthi (Hanuman) and that Maruthi could help him get a darshan of Shri Ram. Tulasidas then asked him how he could meet Maruthi and the demon then told him that if he goes to listen to the Ramayana an aged Brahman would come there, he will be the first one to come and the last one to go. He also said that he would have a stick in his hand; he would be wearing a cap and would be wearing an old garment made of loin cloth. The demon then became invisible after saying this. The next day Tulasidas took bath and went to the place where Ramayana were being told and immediately recognized Maruthi. As soon as it was over, he started following him and once they came to a place where no one was there Tulasidas fell in his feet and caught him by his feet. Maruthi asked him who he was and what he was doing to which Tulasidas told him that he knew who he was and wanted him to take him to Shri Ram. Maruthi then recognized that Tulasidas was the reincarnation of Valmiki and he promised him that he would do so and became invisible. Maruthi then told Shri Ram about Tulasidas and then Shri Ram promised to appear before Tulasidas. He then called the vanara sena and went past Tulasidas hermitage. Tulasidas on seeing this thought it was some Mohamedian king passing by and ignored. Maruthi then came to Tulasidas and enquired if he had a good darshan of Shri Ram, to which Tulasidas replied that he had not yet come. Maruthi then told him that it was Shri Ram who had come with his sena but Tulasidas had thought that it was some Mohamedian and did not recognize him. Tulasidas felt very bad about his ignorance and asked Maruthi to help him again. Maruthi then told him that Shri Ram would fulfill his desire and became invisible again. Maruthi then went to Ram again and asked him to give darshan in a visible form to Tulasidas. Shri Ram asked Maruthi how he could do that in kaliyug. Maruthi then told him that Tulasidas was none other than Valmiki and he has reincarnated in this world only to fulfill Shri Ram’s wish and that he had given a word to Tulasidas and that he should oblige. Shri Ram then agreed and took visible form along with Sita and Lakshman. Maruthi then went to Tulasidas and informed that Shri Ram would fulfill his desire today. Shri Ram then appeared before him and Tulasidas prostrated before him. Shri Ram then embraced him. Shri Ram then placed his hands on Tulasidas head and blessed him and became invisible.
Tulasidas then started signing in praise of the lord and all the people in Banares came there to listen to him. There were a lot of wealthy and pious men who came to meet Tulasidas and became his disciples. Thousands of Brahmans dined in his hermitage everyday. Any poor person could come there for food and have a good meal. After the meal all of them would join Tulasidas in singing the praise of Shri Ram. Two thieves noticed all this and decided to steal the gold and silver from the hermitage as anyone was allowed entry. They went in as bhaktas and at night they woke up and started packing all the jewelry that they could find. They packed it in a cloth and came near the entrance. They saw two sentries in the main entrance sitting with bow and arrow. They then decided to go through the back gate and they found two sentries there too. On seeing this they thought that would sit inside for some more time and would go out once the sentries sleep. Around 4am in the morning they again tried to go out but this time one of the sentry was ready with an arrow aimed at them. Seeing them the thieves came running back and fell on the feet of Tulasidas. Tulasidas then consoled them and asked them what happened. They then told him the truth and also about the sentry standing on the entrance, Tulasidas asked his disciples why they had put sentries on the entrance when he had told them that it was not required as everything here belongs to god and anyone could take away what they wanted. The disciples promised that they had not put any sentry in any of the entrances. The thieves then said that they were still there and went out to show them, but now they were gone. Tulasidas asked them how they looked and they described that they were wearing a crown, one was dark and the other was fair and they had bow and arrows. Tulasidas immediately understood that it was Shri Ram and Lakshman who had come there and told the thieves that they were fortunate to see god who is difficult to see even after several years of meditation. While saying this tears burst out of Tulasidas eyes and Tulasidas then told them to take whatever they want and leave now. The thieves then fell on his feet again and said that they have been purified by the touch of Tulasidas and told him that they would not want any thing from him and became his disciple from then on. All the disciples then started singing in praise of Shri Ram.
One day some Brahmans were seated in Tulasidas hermitage and they were offering food to Shri Ram. Just then a Brahman came near the entrance of his hermitage and said Sita Ram and also said that he had killed some Brahmans and asked Tulasidas if he would offer him some food that he offers to all other visitors. Tulasidas then called him in embraced him and asked him to be seated next to him. He then told him that all the sins he had committed earlier are now gone as he had chanted the names of Sita and Ram. On listening to this, the other Brahmans seated there got angry. Tulasidas then told them that this is what was written in the puranas. The Brahmans did not agree and wanted some visible proof for the same. Tulasidas then asked them what proof they wanted beyond the puranas. The Brahmans then told him that they would believe him if he offered some food to the stone bull (Nandhi statue) and if it eats the food. Tulasidas gladly agreed to this and went to Vishveshwar temple with his offerings. He went there prostrated to Lord Shiva and offered the food in front of the stone bull. The bull then got up and had the offering including the banana leaf on which the offering was kept and then went back to it old state. The whole village saw this and from then on everyone in the village started chanting the name of Shri Ram.
There was a merchant by name Jaitpal in Banares. He suddenly died and his wife wanted to burn herself to death (Sati) during his funeral. On their way to the funeral, his wife happened to pass by the hermitage of Tulasidas and she wanted to have his darshan before performing Sati. She went inside his hermitage and prostrated to him. On seeing her, Tulasidas blessed her saying, may she have eight sons. She immediately felt bad and told Tulasidas what had happened. Tulasidas then told her not to worry and that Shri Ram would make his word come true. When she went out of the hermitage she saw that her husband had got up. She then took him and went back to Tulasidas for his blessings. The whole of Banares knew about this and all started praising Tulasidas. Some one carried this news to the king. Akbar then sent for Tulasidas and he decided to go there so that he could get the people of Delhi also to chant the name of Shri Ram. Akbar prostrated to him and then made him sit in his throne and worshiped him. He then whispered to his guards not to let him out. Akbar then told Tulasidas that he had heard about his great deeds like making a stone bull to eat and also making a corpse to get up. Tulasidas then told him that he is only a servant of Shri Ram and it is he who does all these. Hearing this, the king immediately said that he should make him see Shri Ram and that he will not allow him to leave the palace with out making him see Shri Ram. Tulasidas then called Maruthi for help. Maruthi then called 10,000 monkeys and asked them to show to the king their natural characteristics. The monkeys then flooded the city of Delhi and started breaking the roofs, the trees and demolished the houses of those who were not Rama bakthas. The monkeys then got in to the palace and started hurting the wives of Akbar and others in the palace. The ministers came to Akbar and told him that about 10000 monkeys have come in to Delhi and are destroying Delhi and that it looks like the world is coming to an end. They also said that, they feel this is because the king had arrested Tulasidas. Akbar then ran to Tulasidas and prostrated to him and apologized to him and asked him to send the monkeys back. Tulasidas then told Akbar that it was he who wanted to see Shri Ram and that he was on his way. He told him that these 10000 monkeys have come here belong to his army and that Shri Ram would follow them with his army of 18 billion monkeys as Akbar wanted to meet Shri Ram. Akbar then told Tulasidas that he has now understood the power of Shri Ram and if Delhi could not stand 10000 monkeys what would happen if 18 billion come. He pleaded Tulasidas to stop Shri Ram from coming there and also send the monkeys back. Tulasidas then requested the monkeys to go back and immediately all the monkeys become invisible and every one in Delhi worshiped Tulasidas. Tulasidas then remained in Delhi for a year and made every one chant the name of Shri Ram.
Tulasidas then left Delhi and went to Mathura and Vrindavan. He spent some time there singing the praise of god. One day he met a saint called Priyadas. Priyadas had written a book on the saints of all four yugas. Tulasidas wanted to read this book and asked Priyadas if he could do so. Priyadas was hesitant to give this book to him as he had not written about Tulasidas in that book. Priyadas told Tulasidas that he had not written about him in the book and that is why he was troubled to read it for him. However Tulasidas wanted to listen to the stories of other saints and asked him to read it for him. Shri Ram had written the story of Tulasidas in that book with out the knowledge of Priyadas. A group of vaishnavas gathered to listen to Priyadas and he started reading it aloud. Priyadas then told them that it was Shri Ram who came and wrote the story of Tulasidas in his book. All the vaishnavas then had a look at the book and the writing of Shri Ram. Shri Ram had also written that one who constantly listens and reads the story of Tulasidas will have his darshan one day.