Friday 5 August 2011


"Ratnavali-Charitra” written by Murlidhar Chaturvedi
Women obviously stand behind the success of men with devotion, dedication, sacrifice, self surrender. 
Ratnavali, Vidhuttamma and Kasturba Gandhi’s  iron wills had impacted the lives of Tulsidas, Kalidasa and Mahatma Gandhi.  Only a few know about “Ratnavali-Charitra” written by Murlidhar Chaturvedi.  It throws light on Ratnavali, incorporating some of the couplets (dohas) composed by her. 
Ratnavali was born in  Badariya village in Etah District of U.P. in Vikram Samvat 1567 (1511) A.D. Ratnavali served her husband as she served the Lord, and  life was going on smoothly and peacefully. Her devotion towards Tulsidas is reflected in her following words.
“My husband is my resort, he is my wealth, he is my understanding.  He is my Guru.  He is my God.”  For Ratnavali her husband was everything. 
If we  ponder over the ancient history of our Puranas, the coronation of Ram was converted into exile; the remarks passed by Draupadi on Duryodhan caused Mahabharat .  Likewise, the life of Tulsidas. He was rebuked by his wife thus :
“You are drawn by infatuated love towards this one, your wife, a bundle of flesh and bones.  Had you directed /diverted that love towards Sri-Ram, you would have been free from the cycles of birth and death”.
 Tulsidas left home and spent his days singing and composing the glory of Lord Ram. Ratnavali  had to suffer penury. The  social reformers put her in a disgraceful and disdainful situation, when she was abandoned by her husband.  She writes as under:
“It is just a matter of time and one of the understanding,
I am being blamed and my mind gets split,
You are paying for your sins, O woman,
My husband is pure and his life is appreciated by all”
 Ratnavali was a sati, a yogini and a staunch “Pativrata”.  She wrote: “A Pativrata does not abandon her husband even if he becomes blind, lame, deaf or afflicted by diseases, whether he is ugly, rude, poor or bankrupt.  A sati will not forsake him but will lend him a helping hand”.               
Amritlal Nagar, a prominent writer, in his novel “MANAS KE HANS” has narrated thus:
“Ratnavali used to visit that place where devotees used to assemble to listen, “Ramayan” composed by Tulsidas.  Once Tulsidas said to Ratnavali “Your  presence disturbs me very much.  You better not come here from tomorrow”.  In reply Ratnavali asked for one boon from Tulsidas.  “Oh My Lord,  I obey your order with heart and soul.  Please assure me when I shall depart from this world for my eternal journey, you have to come there, as I could see your holy feet”.  It is a fact that Tulsidas, was very much there at the time of Ratnavali’s departure when she uttered the following words: “Oh Nath, please forgive this Dasi, whose place is at your feet, pardon me for all my offences, for all good or bad words, please do not forsake me.”
Significantly, Tulsidas, the author of Ramcharit Manas, was a great devotee of Lord Ram.  He is known as  Valmiki reborn and his work has been translated into various languages within and outside the country. Ratnavali was equally great in thought, deed and action. 
Albeit succeeding generations have forgotten her, yet her sacrifice, devotion and dedication transformed into a Mahatma whose great epic still inspires, motivates and strengthens our spirit and soul at any critical time. 
Article by : N. S. Trivedi
Source: Bhavan's Journal 15 February 2008
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