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.
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.
Name of God
He who utters the Name of God while walking
gets the merit of a sacrifice at every step
His body becomes a place of pilgrimage.
He who repeats God’s Name while working
always finds perfect peace.
He who utters the Name of God while eating
gets the merit of a fast
even though he has taken his meals.
Even if one were to give in charity
the whole world encircled by the seas
it would not equal the merit of repeating the Name,
By the power of the Name
one will know what cannot be known,
One will see what cannot be seen,
One will speak what cannot be spoken,
One will meet what cannot be met.
Incalculable is the gain that comes
From repeating the Name of God.
If men are habitations of God, we should fall at their feet
But we should leave alone their habits and goals.
Fire is good to drive away cold
But you must not tie it up
And carry it around in a cloth.
Tuka says, "A scorpion or a snake is a habitation of Narayana;
You may worship Him from afar, but you must not touch Him."
How Could a Lover Fall?
What could have caused your grip to weaken
that allowed creation to be?
How could a lover fall to his death
from the arms of infinite
How active you are in the mind sustaining such a great wall
that the sun can cast a frightening shadow
the world believes.
No one has ever really known sadness. No real God
would ever allow pain.
How then can a heart feel it is broken and in need
If we are held in the arms of infinite
The mirror you (God) stand before -
we need to gaze into it also.
That name you called Beloved
as I fell from your lips -
because I did not quite
so tell me again dear One