|Tukaram(1608–1645) was a prominent Varkari Sant and spiritual poet in the Bhakti tradition. His poetry was very popular with ordinary people, expressing the possibility of direct communion with God.
Words are the only Jewels I possess
Words are the only Clothes that I wear
Words are the only food That sustains my life
Words are the only wealth I distribute among people
Says Tuka Witness the Word He is God
I worship Him With my words
– Tukaram (1)
View: Tukaram Poems
Tukaram was born in 1608, in the small village of Dehu in the West Indian state of Maharashtra to Bolhoba and Kanakai a couple belonging to the lower Sudra class. He had two other brothers. Despite their lower class status the family was well to do and enjoyed good social standing in the village. Tukaram’s troubles started with the illness of his father, due to which he had to start supporting his family at the tender age of thirteen. Shortly thereafter, both his parents died. Tukaram’s problems only mounted; death of his family members and economic hardship seemed to plague him.
Tukaram was married twice, his first wife Rakhumabai died due to starvation during a famine, his second wife Jijabai or Avali as she was called, was much younger than his first had been and had little patience with his devotion and for God and she nagged him continuously. He had three sons. Tukaram was initiated without any intermediaries as the other saints usually were. He dreamt that he was initiated by the Lord Hari himself dressed as a Brahman.
Tukaram continuously sang the praises of the Lord, he sang it in the form of abhangs which he wrote. These were in his mother tongue Marathi. The abhangs express his feelings and philosophical outlook. During his 41 years, Tukaram composed over 5,000 abhangs. Many of them speak of events in his life, which make them somewhat autobiographical. Yet, they are focused on God, Pandurang, and not Tukaram. His abhangs became very popular with the masses of common people. It was this very popularity that caused the religious establishment (the high caste Brahmins) to hate and persecute Tukaram. as, he was causing them to lose their power over the people. When Tukaram was invited to an audience with the king Shivaji, Tukaram refused saying he had no reason to go. Shivaji instead went to see Tukaram. (Tukaram and Shivaji)
There are many miracles attributed to Tukaram.
Poems of Tukaram
- First He looked confused
- How Could a Lover Fall?
- If Men
- In Me Thou Livest
- Name of God
- The Chief of the Yadavas
- When I lose Myself
” A great saint who lived only for his God vittala. He faced varieties of difficulties with astonishing patience. He refused diamonds and opals offered by Shivaji Maharaj himself. His devotional songs are an invaluable contribution to Marathi spiritual literature.”
Author – A.K.Rameswar