Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The life and teaching of Tukaram by J. N. Fraser & J. F. Edwards
Sant Tukaram, a prominent Maharashtrian saint and religious poet, was born and lived most of his life in Dehu, a town close to Pune in 17th century CE. Tukaram was a devotee of Lord Vittala (or Vithobā) - an incarnation of Lord Krishna, who in turn, is considered to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He is quite renowned for his contribution to the Bhakti Movement of Maharashtra.
Like Namdev, Janabai, and Eknath, Tukaram wrote in archaic Marathi a large number of devotional poems identified in Marathi as abhang (अभंग). A collection of 4,500 abhang known as the Gāthā is attributed to Tukaram. It is believed that he was a contemporary of Shivaji Maharaj.
Tukaram puts bhakti at the centre of his spiritual life. In one of his verses, he declares that Bhaktimarg is "the only way to God in this age". Another provides a succinct statement of his philosophy of religion: "God has no form, nor any name, nor any place where he can be seen; but wherever you go, you see God."