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Sant Tukaram
Date of Birth 1608
Place of birth Dehu, near Pune, India
Date of death c. 1650
Place of death Pandharpur, Maharashtra
Philosophy Varkari
Titles/Honors Sant in Marathi, meaning "Saint"
Literary works Abhanga devotional poetry

Tukaram (1608 – c. 1650) was a prominent Marathi Sant and religious poet in the Hindu tradition in India.


Early life and background

Tukaram was born and lived most of his life in Dehu, a town close to Pune city in Mahārāshtra, India. He was born to a couple with the family name "Moray" - the descendent of the Mourya Clan (Āmbile) and first names Bolhobā and Kanakāi. Through a tradition in India in bygone days, Tukaram's family name is rarely used in identifying him. Rather, in accord with another tradition in India of assigning the epithet "sant" (संत) to persons regarded as thoroughly saintly, Tukaram is commonly known in Maharashtra as Sant Tukaram (संत तुकाराम).

Scholars assign various birth years to Tukaram: 1577, 1598, 1608[1] and 1609 CE. The year of Tukaram's death —1650 CE— is much more certain.[2]

Tukaram's first wife, Rakhumābāi, died in her early youth. Tukaram and his second wife, Jijābāi (also known as Āvali), had three sons: Santu or Mahādev, Vithobā, and Nārāyan.[citation needed]

Religious life and poetry

Tukaram was a devotee of Lord Vittala or Vithobā -- an incarnation of Lord Krishna.

Tukaram is considered as the climactic point of the Bhāgawat Hindu tradition, which is thought to have begun in Maharashtra with Nāmdev. Dnyāneshwar, Nāmdev, Janābai, Eknāth, and Tukaram are revered especially in the wārakari (वारकरी) sect in Maharashtra. He has received guru-mantra containing names of Krishna, Rama and Radha (referred by "Hara," or "Hare" in vocative). This was at the hands or by the media of a dream, of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu,[3] and Gaudiya Vaishnavas document that he was initiated and was a disciple of Chaitanya.[4] Whatever information about the lives of the above saints of Maharashtra comes mostly from the works Bhakti-Wijay and Bhakti-Leelāmrut of Mahipati. Mahipati was born 65 years after the death of Tukaram, (Tukaram having died 50 years, 300 years, and 353 years after the deaths of Ekanath, Namdev, and Dnyaneshwar, respectively.) Thus, Mahipati undoubtedly based his life sketches of all above "sants" primarily on hearsays.

Tukaram's public religious discourses ("कीर्तने") used to be mixed, by tradition, with poetry, which included some of his own compositions. His discourses focussed on day-to-day behavior of human beings, and he emphasized that the true expression of religion was in a person's love for his fellow human beings rather than in ritualistic observance of religious orthodoxy, including mechanical study of the Vedās. His teachings encompassed a wide array of issues, including the importance of the ecosystem. Tukaram worked for his society's enlightenment in the "warakari" tradition, which emphasizes community service and musical group worship.

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. Mantra Geetā, a Marathi translation in abhang form of the Sanskrit Bhagavad Geetā, is also attributed to him. It is an interpretation of Geeta from a Bhakti (भक्ती) --devotional—perspective.

In Guru Granth Sahib

Saint Tukaram's composition ( poetries ) are found in Guru Granth Sahib . According to Sikhism , when a person reaches a state of enlightenment , God speaks through that person . That person doesn't speak for himself , God speaks through him . Sikh gurus recognised the state of enlightenment of Saint Tukaram & hence Tukaram's poetry was included in Guru Granth Sahib which in addition to six Sikh guru's compositions, contains poetries of many enlightened saints of India including Hindus & Muslims

In films

Sant Tukaram was also the subject of a biopic, title Sant Tukaram, in 1936, made by V. Damle and S. Fattelal of Prabhat Film Company and starring Vishnupant Pagnis as the lead, and released on December 12, 1936 at Central Cinema in Mumbai. The film was not only a big hit but also had won an award at the 5th Venice International Film Festival in 1937, and still remains a part of film appreciation courses [5][6][7].

The story of Tukaram is also made as a Telugu film as Bhakta Tukaram in 1973 by Anjali Pictures. Akkineni Nageswara Rao played the title role with great devotion.[8]

Special Edition 2 Rupee Coin issued in honour of the Saint Tukaram


Renowned Indian author, poet, sculptor and painter Dilip Chitre (18 September 1938 - 10 December 2009) has traslated writings of Tukaram into English in the book titled Says Tuka for which he was awarded Sahitya Akademi award in 1994. Says Tuka was later translated into other languages.( Times of India 11 December 2009 )

See also


  1. ^ A Social History of the Deccan, 1300-1761: Eight Indian Lives By Richard M. Eaton ISBN 0521716276, 9780521716277
  2. ^ A Social History of the Deccan, 1300-1761: Eight Indian Lives By Richard M. Eaton ISBN 0521716276, 9780521716277
  3. ^ Hastings, James Rodney (2nd edition 1925-1940, reprint 1955, 2003) [1908-26]. Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. John A Selbie. Edinburgh: Kessinger Publishing, LLC. p. 467. ISBN 0-7661-3673-6. Retrieved 03-05-2008. 
  4. ^ Durga Chaitanya Bharati Sri Gouranga: The Man, (1933) pp.107-108
  5. ^ 'Sant Tukaram' film still a topic of interest Anurag Basu -, Dec 26, 2007.
  6. ^ Lost & found: A piece of classic cinema history Indian Express, March 26, 2004.
  7. ^ Gokulsing, K.; Wimal Dissanayake (2004). Indian popular cinema: a narrative of cultural change. Trentham Books. p. 24. ISBN 1858563291. 
  8. ^ Retrospect : Bhakta Tukaram


  • Ayyappapanicker, K.; Akademi, Sahitya (1997). Medieval Indian Literature: An Anthology. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 8-126-00365-0. 
  • Starr, Chester G. (1991). A history of the ancient world. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-506629-4. 
  • Ranade, Ramchandra D. (1994). Tukaram. New York: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-2092-2. 
  • Multiple Essays on Tukaram and his work in books of M. V. Dhond
  • "Shakti Saushthava शक्ती सौष्ठव" by D. G. Godse
  • "Vinoba Saraswat" by Vinoba Bhave (edited by Ram Shewalkar)
  • "Tryambak Shankar Shejwalkar Nivadak Lekhsangrah" by T S Shejwalkar (collection- H V Mote, Introduction- G D Khanolkar)

External links



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