In the 13th Century India, a fresh wave of the Bhakti movement started. It gave birth to some great poets and saints on this land. Two of these saints are Kabir Das and Tulsidas. They changed the face of Hinduism, Islam, Sufism and Nathpanthis, and Yogis.
Kabir vs Tulsidas
The main difference between Kabir and Tulsidas is that Kabir was critical of religious ideas. His allegiance was to the Supreme God, who had no form. His writing revolved around Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism. On the other hand, Tulsidas always saw God as Rama. His writing revolved around Hinduism only.
Kabir is an Indian poet of the 15th century whose writings influenced the Bhakti movement. He was critical of the unethical practices of the Hindus and Muslims. Accounts of his verses are present in the Guru Granth Sahib and Kabir Sagar. Kabir panthis, the followers of Kabir Panth, carry his legacy forward.
Tulsidas is the greatest poet and reformer of Hindi literature. He was born on the 7th day of Shravana month on the bank of the Yamuna river. Besides the Ramacharitamanas, his work, Hanuman Chalisa, also got famous. He founded the Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi. He lived for 126 years.
Comparison Table Between Kabir and Tulsidas
|Parameters of Comparison||Kabir||Tulsidas|
|Introduction||He was a mystic poet, critical of many religions’ unethical and traditional views.||He was a Ramanandi poet and saint who ardently followed Rama.|
|Writings||His writing revolved around Hindu Gods, Allah, and also Sikhs Gurus.||He wrote around Rama and his other incarnations.|
|Interests||His primary interest was in mysticism, poetry, syncretism, and theism.||His primary interest was poetry and verses.|
|Language||In his compositions, he used languages, such as Hindi and its dialects, Braj, Bhojpuri, and Awadhi.||He used languages like Awadhi and Sanskrit to pen down his work.|
|Most Famous work||His most famous work is Kabir Bijak, meaning the seedling.||His most famous work is Ramacharitamanas.|
Who is Kabir?
Kabir is an Indian mystic and poet born in 1446 in Varanasi, India. Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs admired him for his scepticism.
All this information relating to his birth is just assumptions gathered through stories and legends. There are many legends about his birth and his parents. One story believes that his mother was a brahmin who conceived him after visiting a pilgrimage shrine.
Meanwhile, when Kabir was born, she abandoned him as she was not married then. Afterwards, a Muslim weaver, Niru, adopted him, and thus Islam influenced his early life. But later, the Hindu monastic Ramananda influenced him.
His way of communicating with the world was through different poems, such as Padas, Dohas (couplets), Shabdas, and Sakhis. He was equally critical of Hindus and Muslims, orthodox thoughts and beliefs. Some of his couplets are today widely used by North Indians. He lived for 78 years.
The different traditions have interpreted his poetic character in their ways. Hindus designate him as a Vaishnavite who has a universalist leaning for Hindus. Muslims place him in Sufi lineages. For Sikhs, he is an interlocutor of Guru Nanak. He died in 1518 in Maghar, India.
Kabir Panth is a spiritual community based on the teachings of Kabir. Its participants were from different religious backgrounds.
Who is Tulsidas?
Tulsidas, also known as Goswami Tulsidas, was born in 1543 in Rajapur, India. Some believe his original name to be Rambola Dubey. His parents were Atmaram Dubey and Hulsi Dubey. Uncertain about his birth, legends relate three places to be his birthplace. However, the Government of Uttar Pradesh declared Sukarkhet Soron as his birthplace in 2012.
Tulsidas was an Indian Vaishnavite poet and saint. In Vinaya Pitaka, Tulsidas himself discloses he was born after a twelve-month stay in his mother’s womb. He was born with all thirty-two teeth, and he did not cry at the time of his birth, said Rama, instead. Legend believes that his physical appearance and health seemed like a 5-year-old boy.
He lived a prominent part of his life in Varanasi and Ayodhya. We know him for his work, Ramacharitamanas, the most loved version of Ramayana.
Two sources of Tulsidas were the Bhaktamal composed by Nabhadas and Bhaktirasbodhini were written by Priyadas.
The life of Tulsidas is unknown. Nabhadas was a contemporary of Tulsidas, and he describes Tulsidas as an incarnation of Valmiki.
Tulsidas started the Ramlila plays, a folk-theatre adaptation of the Great epic, Ramayana. He died in 1623 in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
Main Differences Between Kabir and Tulsidas
- Kabirdas was a mystic poet who criticized many faiths’ unethical and dogmatic ideals of various religious traditions. But Tulsidas was a Ramanandi saint and poet who devoted his life to Rama.
- Kabir’s writing centred on Hindu Gods, Allah, and Sikh Gurus. Padas, Dohas (couplets), Shabdas, and Sakhis, through which he communicated with the world. Tulsidas centred his writing on Rama and his other incarnations.
- Mysticism, poetry, syncretism, and theism were Kabir’s interests. Poetry and verses were Tulsidas’ interests.
- In his compositions, Kabir used languages, such as Hindi and its dialects Braj, Bhojpuri, and Awadhi. Tulsidas wrote in Awadhi and Sanskrit, among other languages.
- Kabir’s most notable work is Kabir Bijak. Tulsidas’s popular work is Ramacharitamanas.
These saints changed the literary history of India. The followers of Kabir commemorate his expression of poetry by celebrating Kabir Jayanti or Kabir Prakat Diwas on the full moon day in the month of Jyestha. There is a Kabir Matha in Kabir Chaura in Varanasi, which celebrates his life and works. Nearby is a cemetery named Nirutila, where his parents, Niru and Nima, are buried.
He wrote in Hindi and its dialects Braj, Bhojpuri, and Awadhi. His writings focused on many facets of life and devotion to God. Kabir Bijak, Sakhi Granth, Kabir Granthawali, Adi Granth, and Kabir Parachai are the compositions of Kabir.
The name of Tulsi Ghat on the river Ganga is in his memory. He wrote in Awadhi and Sanskrit. Other important works of Tulsidas include Ramacharitamanas, Krishna Gitavali, Vinay Pattrika, Kavitavali, Geetawali, Hanuman Chalisa.