The Kirtan of Sant Tukaram Part 4 / Capt. Arun Karkare

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51. HAPPINESS & SADNESS.

Tukaram found it very challenging to explain to the mortals as to “how to deal best with these two extreme and opposite states of mind.”He also noticed that the state of sadness outnumbered the state of happiness in mortal’s life journey. The great saint realized that there were far more incidences, circumstances, events, moments, times, hours, days, weeks, months, years and in worst case scenario entire life time went in sadness for an unfortunate mortal! In short, Tukaram found that” in a mortal’s life state of happiness was rare and random whereas the sadness occurred frequently and at time with nagging regularity!” The great saint concluded that “mortals need to be guided as to how bravely to face sadness and not to get crushed or destroyed by it. Life has to be lived till it’s time to go from this world.” The great saint structured his bhajans to sooth the broken minds and fragile hearts of the mortals around him. He highlighted one hard truth that “the whole life is utterly temporary, unpredictable and vulnerable and therefore should not be wasted at all in pitfalls of happiness or sadness instead mind and intellect should be diverted to to do good karmas to attain moksha” In simpler words what the great saint says is to weigh happiness and sadness as two faces of the coin call ‘Life’and take it from then on to deal each with same mental strength of tolerance. He experimented this attitude with full success on his own self. He dealt with all his monumental losses and sadness with same ease and dignity as with his short lived happiness. It is authentically recorded that when Tukaram lost his young wife and son he profusely thanked God-Vitthal for taking away his distractions from him thus giving him more time to think of Vitthal and do some more kirtans! No doubt he paid the maximum price of self sacrifice to find true happiness and became greatest poet & saint ever in last several centuries

  Jai Hari Vitthal

I personally pray that if I have to be reborn again as a mortal I would like to be blessed by God to be given a female human form so I would be closer to attaining moksha / Arun Karkare

  Jai Hari Vitthal 51.

 52. FEEL & SEE GOD IN DAILY LIFE.

Tukaram fully realized that it was very difficult for a common and ordinary mortal in street to sit down and spend some time in prayers on a daily basis. The usual struggle to earn one’s living took all the energy and time leaving very little to spare to think of God even if one had the desire to do so. The great saint found the easiest way out from the tricky situation. In his kirtans and bhajans he gave a very clear message” we all mortals must feel, think and see God in all our daily work from sunrise to sunset. Dedicate all our actions, reactions, responses and behavior towards other mortals as if we are dealing with God.” It simply means that we would be able to worship, pray and live as per the wishes of God. This approach would reduce all our negatives to near zero. The elements such as anger, hate, animosity, jealousy, lust, selfishness etc would vanish and we will automatically help us to do good karmas. The common man found it very relaxing to hear the soothing kirtans of the great saint. The crimes came down in the villages where ever Tukaram visited. He advised the women to sing silently the bhajans of Vitthal while cooking food, washing clothes at the river banks, or working in the fields. This approach worked just wonderfully. Similarly, people greeted each other with words “Jai Hari Vitthal. The men folk too adopted the similar approach in their minds while at work in the fields and other places.

Today, the irony is that we mortals have the greatest benefit and comforts of every type of gadget and machines to give us high mobility in comfort and yet we do not have time to feel or see God around us. Is it that difficult to adopt the simple teaching of the great saint “Feel & See god in our daily life and its dealings “

  Jai Hari Vitthal 52

53. I begin with my prayers to Lord Shiva as today happens to be the most auspicious day in the Hindu almanac “Mahashivratri.” May his blessings to the world keep it safe and happy for all us mortals during our life journeys.

 ALL EFFORTS END AT GOD’s FEET.

Tukaram came to a miraculous conclusion that all the efforts done in doing good karmas end at God’s feet. So right he was in his assessments indeed. The efforts of all saintly and godly mortals have helped to elevate our lives towards attaining moksha. In fact the great saint has emphasized with crystal clear clarity that all physically and mentally able mortals keep doing efforts to do good karmas till they leave the world. He went on to say that the results of our various efforts end at God’s feet and the outcomes are according to the wishes of God.

 DONATE (DAN), MERCY (DAYA) & CONTROL (DAMUN)

Tukaram has narrated a story in one of his kirtans drawn from the mythology to convince his followers that there are few basic efforts to be done in life that can help lead us mortals to attain moksha. The story is as follows;

The universe created by the super creator was divided in three distinct areas , Heaven (SWARAG LOK), Hell ( PATAL LOK) and EARTH(BHU LOK). Gods ruled Heavens, the Demons ruled Hell and the Mortals (Manushya ) ruled the earth. The super creator told each of the created species one single advise as follows, to Gods the creator said “Do not misuse powers, to Demons he advised “Show mercy on others “ and to earthly mortals he said “Donate as much as you can “ . The great saint then went on to explain the logic of these advises as applicable to mortals. He says “just like Gods and Demons are bound by the advises so as we mortals too .He further adds “we have a choice of adopting additional advises as given to Gods and Demon! We mortals have been blessed with enough intellect to change our mind set that will help us attain moksha.” Tukaram succeeded through his kirtans to convince all the mortals of his times that one should not misuse his/her powers of positions, one should show mercy and empathy and one should donate anything and everything in excess of his/her needs .

  Jai Hari Vitthal 53

54. UNDERSTAND, AGREE BUT NOT PRACTICE

Tukaram could easily see the dilemma faced by ordinary common mortal in following his recommended path to moksha! The great saint was aware that those who heard his kirtans did understand and agree to the substance but had difficulties to follow the advised path. He found that all mortals were extremely possessive of their belongings, relationships and their surroundings. These bonds were emotional as well as physical in nature and hence extremely difficult to break or part with in spite of the naked truth that nothing belongs to us in reality of death. The irony was glaringly visible then and even today. We mortals have to understand Tukaram’s teachings, agree with its contents and implement in our daily lives to get the final result in our favor. To gain some thing we need to lose something. To convince the masses Tukaram told a very hard hitting story in one of his kirtans. The story goes as;

 One day a mortal asked his Guru “Sir Can you show me God? Only then I will adopt the path of attaining moksha.” Guru told him to come to the river bank at the break of the dawn. As agreed both met at the river bank. Guru asked his mortal follower to enter the river stream in waist deep water and take a deep breath and dip himself in the water in order to see God. The mortal did exactly the way it was explained but he came up gasping for breath shouting there is no God there! Guru said “repeat your action you will definitely see God!” The mortal repeated the action again but nothing happened. Now Guru said “I will help you now so that in your third attempt you will be able see God!” The mortal felt happy to receive help from his Guru. As soon as he dipped third time the Guru grabbed him by back of his neck and prevented him a little longer than his tolerance level from emerging back to surface. This made the mortal to panic and he pushed his Guru with all the force and freed himself to come up to surface in near suffocated condition. He shouted at his Guru “ sir you nearly killed me and yet I did not see God.” Guru told him to relax and then asked him “Tell me what happened when you dived first and second time?” The mortal replied “well I was thinking of all the worldly things I love and hoped that I will not be drowned accidently in search of God!” Guru smiled and asked again “what happened when you got nearly choked when I forced you a stay a bit longer that you could tolerate?” The mortal replied “I thought of nothing but God and prayed to him to save my life from your clutches!” Guru then told him that” finally you have understood that nothing you loved and cared could come to save your life except God. So now you know you need to feel God’s existence and then when you become absolutely pure in mind and spirit you will see God.”

The moral of the story is that the amount of valuable life time we spend on things we could never carry or bring with could be spent on following the path shown by Tukaram .

  Jai Hari Vitthal 54

 55. BE LIKE A SANDALWOOD( CHANDAN) TREE.

Tukaram found heavenly qualities in sandalwood tree. He noticed that any other plant that grew near or around a sandalwood tree would acquire its smell and overwhelming aroma till its existence in its close proximity! This natural miracle fascinated the great saint’s fertile mind. He thought if a mortal could choose to be in close company of a good and saintly guru then he/she could acquire all the goodness from him which would cause a change for the better and pave the way to attain moksha. To share his notion, the great saint told a very heartwarming story to his disciples through his kirtan. The story goes as follows;

Tukaram said “The sandalwood tree is very much loved by God –Vitthal. The paste(Gandha) prepared by rubbing a sandalwood piece on a stone sprinkled with clean water is sported on God-Vitthal’s forehead. The sandalwood tree felt very grateful and blessed for the quality and status given by God to it. The plants which grew in and around the sandalwood tree were also very thankful to the sandalwood tree as well as to God for blessings that allowed them to grow in the close proximity of the great tree. However, a nearby bamboo tree could not acquire the sandalwood aroma nor the smell like other trees could. The bamboo tree felt un- wanted and isolated. It decided to complain to God-Vitthal about the arrogance and partiality of the sandalwood tree! Bamboo tree pleaded its case “My dear respected God, I adore you for your fairness and I expect justice from you. This sandalwood tree has become very proud, arrogant and partial towards me. I have grown around it just like the other trees but it has not imparted its heavenly smell and aroma like it has done to other trees. Why so?” God heard with great patience, the complaint of the bamboo tree and with a smile he replied” You are as dear to me just like the rest of the plants and trees but the problem lies within you. You have not realized the blessings I have given you instead you are unnecessarily complaining against the sandalwood tree.” Bamboo tree was totally at a loss and further prayed “God please enlightened me for I confess I do not know my strength or weakness at all! I will be ever so grateful.” God said “Bamboo you have been blessed with unlimited strength in your body. You will be straight and upright throughout your life. Your smooth and nodded body will be used by the mortals, for building shelters to live in safely, to demarcate and secured the fields with barricades, for making rafts & crafts to enable mortals cross rivers and oceans and finally last but not the least you will have the honor to carry a dead mortal to his/her last journey. Why you are worried and upset about a small thing like acquired smell?” Hearing God’s words, Bamboo tree was overwhelmed with tears of gratitude. It went happily back to its place near the sandalwood tree and grew happily ever after serving the humanity till today!

The moral of the story is that the great saint tried to convey to ignorant mortals that God has blessed each of us with qualities if used correctly can help us attain moksha . We need to search ourselves first and be sure what we are and what we need to achieve.

  Jai Hari Vitthal 55.

56. BE USEFUL (UPAYOGI).

Tukaram realized that it is a better choice to become useful (Upayogi ) to other mortals than renounced the world( Yogi) for one’s own up lift only. He felt that the precious life given to us by God must be used in doing good karmas that will help the needy mortals. Therefore, great saint felt that he must give this vital message to the humanity around him. He said in his kirtans “that we must be ready to the best of our abilities to help others, be useful to others and do provide food, shelter, money and knowledge so that the needy persons are helped to recover from the bad situation. He was very clear “that one does not have to be rich to be good and useful to others instead one should be ready to develop the right mind set for becoming such a person. It was not as easy as it looked. The great saint had to set an exemplary code of conduct in his own self so that his followers would believe in such a divine doctrine. He was in money lending business. He never charged any interest on the loan given to needy farmers. He never set any time limit on his loans given to poor and needy farmers. Very soon these supreme monetary sacrifices made him bankrupt in his business. He struggled to support his own family but the God’s blessings kept him and his family alive throughout the life time. The people realized his goodwill and pious nature and they showered enough love, affection and respect on him. He sent a true message of ultimate usefulness “share, spare, distribute, giveaway anything and everything that we mortals have in excess”. The kirtans helped people to understand the message and there was far less hoarding of material things in those days. YOGI SE AACHHA UPAYOGI!

Today it is a fact that hoarding of food grains, essential goods and accumulation of ill-gotten money is order of the day! We must pray for another Tukaram to be reborn in this corrupt world to redeem us mortals.

  Jai Hari Vitthal 56.

Extracts No.57 from KIRTANS OF SAINT TUKARAM

  By Arun karkare

 17th of MARCH 2021.

57. Be like a fresh flower when prey.

Tukaram was very specific when he said “we all mortals should be like fresh flowers when we do Vitthal bhjan or prayers.” He went on to explain that “when ever we pray we offer fresh and full bloomed flowers and not the flowers which have gone dry and faded.” The great saint wanted to convince to his followers that we should be clean in mind and body when we pray. We should be in a happy state of mind and clean our body and sport simple washed clothes (whatever we can afford). The importance of this condition is common in all practiced religions existing today. The English saying “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” is a pointer to what the great saint said seven centuries ago! Of course this applies to healthy mortals and not for sick and injured ones.

 Knots in mind.

Tukaram studied the complex nature of mortal’s mind in order to find ways and means to achieve peace and happiness. He found that an average mortal’s mind was full of knots thus preventing him/her from being peaceful and happy. The problems of a mind being full of knots and blockades resulted in unhappiness, disturbed state and indecision for the mortals. The great saint advised his followers to open the knots in their prayers to God and seek the help to simplify their daily problems help untie such knots such as lies, deceit, cheat, steal, loosing temper, abuse, kill, body harm, suicidal tendencies, jealousy, destroy and many such trends and tendencies mortals capable of. When we do self thinking ( Atmachintan)and analyze our faults in front of God we can get rid of them for better life .

  Jai Hari Vitthal 57.

58. IDOL WORSHIP (MURTI PUJA)

Tukaram observed that all most all the mortals around and near him were very much involved in idol worship ( murti puja ). The great saint also noticed that ordinary stones would be picked up then coated with deep orange color paste locally known as “Shendur” and placed under the shelter and shadow of a big tree to attract innocent villagers and passersby to be worshipped as God hanuman or Ganesha or Shiva! The stories were then spread by the goons about the miracles that occurred there to attract more crowds. It was nothing short of a big mony making racket! Tukaram decided to remove this fraud hurting the true believers of Vitthal. In one of his well known kirtans he brought out the futility of such stones being used as God’s image or face by unscrupulous Brahmin priests to make easy money. He gave a very logical explanation and rezoning to convince the masses that “It is an insult to a stone when we coat it with shendur paste and worship it as God. Instead we should give the stone to a sculptor who will chisel, scrape, and cut it and turn it into a beautiful carved figure of a God or Goddess that is pleasing to the eyes and satisfies our mind when we pray.” He brought out this concept to wipe out the blind faith of worshipping a plain orange color coated stone. Later he again corrected the course of idol worship towards good karma theory to ultimately renouncing of big and expensive pujas and prayers practiced by mortals. He finally succeeded to convince mortals that way to moksha is only through good karmas and self realization to purify once own soul at all times throughout the life.

 Unfortunately , in 21st century we mortals do believe in all sorts of pujas and prayers and perform rituals in blind faith! Instead we could do donations of all that money for use of humanity.

  Jai Hari Vitthal 58.

59.  INTOXICATIONS IN MORTALS

Tukaram had a great blessing from God that he could easily notice fundamental human weaknesses. For example, the great saint realized that “there are four fatal prides a mortal could get intoxicated with and harm him/her during their life which in turn would prevent them from attaining moksha.”

Tukaram mentions them in his famous bhajans and kirtans and explains the fall out and harmful effects on a mortal’s life. They are as follows,

 Intoxication and Pride being young.

When we are young and full of vigor we do not care about of our social responsibilities, commitments, respecting elders, charity for a good cause and so many other things. It is a common fallacy that almost every young mortal thinks that youth is eternal! Most of the young mortals do a lot of bad karmas out of intoxication and false pride. Exceptions are always there such as soldiers, sport persons, artists, singers, instrument players etc.

 Intoxication and Pride holding a high & powerful position in society

Histories of many centuries have records to prove this fact. There are many stories of a single individual who has been responsible for acts of wars that changed the course of history and so on. In our daily life we see so many powerful mortals misuse there power of position. There are hardly any exceptions worth mentioning in this category!

 Intoxication and Pride being rich

The rich think that they can buy even God and perhaps moksha too! Less said the better about abuse of money by mortals.

 Intoxication and pride being a person of high and extraordinary intellect.

Tukaram faced this abuse from smart Brahmin community who be little the great saint many a times. He fought against them with a smile and humility. He won in his battle against their domination and managed to salvage the image of underprivileged mortals. He defeated them with his superior intellect and simplicity. We have such people in the society today who do not give fair and just credit where it is due. Instead of sharing knowledge they misguide their juniors to retain their supremacy. Unlike Dyneshwar who gave his knowledge for the upliftment of an ordinary mortal and help attain moksha.

  Jai Hari Vitthal 59.

60. FLOWERS & MORTALS.

Tukaram has made a very heartwarming and realistic comparison between flowers and mortals. The creator has left no stone unturned in the creation of incredible variety of flowers giving them basic rainbow colors and their combinations. The creator did not stop there but gave flowers different sizes, designs, patterns, smell, aroma and essence too. In short flowers are one of the nature’s biggest gifts to the Mother Nature. Similarly no two mortals are same looking out of over 7 billion of the species! The great saint has told an apt story in his kiratan to convince his followers,” In a flower shop, various garlands were prepared and kept ready to be sent to a temple as offerings to God. There were many other baskets full of other flowers to be used for making more garlands. The flowers in the baskets started to talk to flowers in the garlands! They said “how lucky you all are indeed. You will be placed around the neck of the lord and showered at the feet of Vitthal. You are really very blessed.” On hearing this, various types of flowers in the garlands woven with thread and needle replied” Yes we are indeed fortunate in spite of undergoing pains piercing of needle through our hearts and forced to be with many other types of flowers. The end result is we are at the feet of our creator and lucky enough to be around his neck and chest! The flowers in the baskets too started praying to be picked up by the floweriest to be part of the next lot of garlands due to be prepared for next prayers and offerings.

 The moral of the story is that we all mortals are like flowers of different faces , color, shape, size, sex, born and raised in the different parts of the mother earth in different environments. But we all should have one goal “ to be part of group those souls who mange to reach at the feet of our creator and finally attain moksha.

  Jai Hari Vitthal 60.

61-62. CULTURE Vs PROSPEIRITY.

Tukaram observed that all most all the mortals had wrongly linked happiness and satisfaction to being rich, prosperity and material well being and not to the cultural richness, being knowledgeable, well mannered, and doing good karmas. There was widespread belief that only money can bring ultimate happiness and satisfaction. To remove this fatal falsie from mortal’s minds he wrote dedicated abhangs and sang them in his kirtans to convey the right message. These two liners became all time greats with masses and are sung with ultimate reverence by 21st century Warkari followers in their kirtans. In spite of knowing fully well that we mortals bring nothing to and take nothing from this world and yet we refuse to see the reality of life that only decency, honesty, good karmas, and good behavior towards people around us bring happiness and satisfaction. To get good night rest and peaceful sleep we need to have a happy mind and carefree outlook on life and not a luxurious bed! A tired farmer takes a good nap under a shady tree during hot afternoons by putting his head on the trunk of the tree. If this was not true then only rich people could sleep well.

  Jai Hari Vitthal 62.

63. GOD & CAT

Tukaram has given a very candid and perhaps practically convincing example of how God chooses to visit his favorite followers (bhaktas)in one of his well known abhangs. The great saint’s observations on mortals behavior and belief patterns must be marveled by we ignorant people. He says in his kirtan” Do not worry as to when and how many times Vitthal will visit you during your life. Just give him unconditional love and devotion and trust him fully forever. He will visit you just like a cat who knows exactly which house to go to drink milk and how to enter it without the owner’s attention and alertness.” Tukaram was so practical about his views and understanding about a situation indeed. The great saint’s intellect and purity of heart was in total unison whenever he talked about his Vitthal. He had also used an ant as a example to talk of God when he says “ Dear God give me the smallness of an ant who only eats sugar and rava and gets to it so easily with peace and ease!.

  Jai Hari Vitthal. 63

64. BLESSING & KARMA

Tukaram realized that the blessings from God can be only of use if we do good karma. As said many a times before in these articles, the great saint tried equally to the best of his ability to educate the innocent, the ignorant, the victims of wrong doings, the suppressed, the enslaved, the poor, the depressed and the deprived as well as all those in the opposite camp to understand a simple point that God’ blessings need to be put in to good use for doing good karmas otherwise we waste our blessings. For example, if we are blessed with ability to have good, plenty and tasty food every day of our life, then we need to have capacity to enjoy, digest and remain healthy. But in fact in reality it is not true at all. We have to do work to digest that food or share it with have not’s. If we are blessed with any talent then we must use it for the humanity at large. An unused blessing is being insulting to our creator.

  Jai Hari Vitthal . 64

65. MORTAL’S DOORS FOR DEMANDS

Tukaram realized that no mortal can ever be self sufficient in his /her life time. He /she have to depend on help from different sources available to him /her. The great saint had to analyze different sources from where demands could be addressed and help needed could be effectively procured. There are four types of sources where most of the mortals put up their demands when in need. They are almost in logical sequence as per practices prevailed then and even today in our country.

 Birth Right to demand from parents

 Relationship Right to demand from Siblings

 Friendship Right to demand from very trusted and close friends

 Extended Relationship Right to demand from siblings of the parents.

However, the great saint had to bring out the point that demands may be made but not necessary expected to be met or full filled! God has given every mortal basic intellect to cut the demands to the fundamental needs. One should not make any demand from any available sources out of selfishness or treachery or deceit. A demand free life is perfect life and way to reach moksha. Keep the demands at the lowest low level as we bring nothing, take nothing but we can certainly give away many things and that includes unnecessary demands from our dear near ones!

There is so much to learn and adopt from a mortal who came in this world nearly four and half centuries ago and gave his entire life to up-lift humanity from bad practices.

  Jai Hari Vitthal . 65

66. BEING REALLY RICH!

Tukaram had to redefine the state of being truly rich so that mortals could understand the real meaning of richness. The great saint took pains to explain that material richness is of no consequences except that it drastically reduces one’s chances of reaching moksha. He says what good is richness if it prevents you from breathing god’s name (Vitthal), thinking of God, and doing good karmas. The great saint convincingly spread the word through his abhang and kirtans that the excess wealth has negative effect on a mortal’s life. In all his kirtans the great saint has been consistent to convey that excess wealth is to be avoided in order to live life of simplicity, virtue and devoted to good karmas. He concludes that a mortal who is able to breathe God in each breath is truly rich.

It is a fact so true indeed and valid in today’s times. The society is full of evil of drug abuse, rapes, loot, and fraud and daily murders with guns. The lust for becoming rich in shortest possible time is the objective of the new generation of mortals and they leave no stone unturned to achieve their sinister goal.

TYPES OF DEVOTEES

Tukaram perfectly understood the psyche of devotion and prayers practiced by various devotees of Lord Vitthal. His deep thinking, research and intellect enlightened him to a fantastic conclusion and he incorporated that in his abhangs and kirtans to convey and share that “God too has preferences in accepting devotion from the devotees!

The great saint simplified his explanation as follows; There are four types of devotees in all mortals who only pray for help and blessings when placed in special circumstances during their life journey.

1. Those who only think of God and pray when in some dangerous, difficult, unusual and life threatening circumstance and situation beyond a normal mortal’s capacity.

The great saint sites the classic and very well known example of Drupadi who asked for Vitthal’s ( Kishna’s) help when her modesty was publicly threatened in front of her helpless husbands!

2. Those who only think of God and pray when in great poverty and dire effects of it on the family and self. They pray for blessings of prosperity.

The great saint sites the classic and very well known example of Sudama who calls at the doors of his very close friend Lord Krishna, the king of Dwarka state.

3. Those who only think of God and pray for extension of life span of their dear near ones when they are seriously sick or on death bed due to various causes such as accidents, deceases and injuries in war. The great saint sites the classic and very well known example Kunti who prays to Lord Krishna to stop the battle of Mahabharata between the cousins!

4. Those who have the intellect to understand that nothing belongs to mortals except the unconditional devotion to VItthal and they only think of God and nothing else! Such devotees surrender to God in full totality. The great saint sites the classic and very well known examples of Saints such as Dnyaneshwar Maharaj, Namdev, Swami Samarth, Kabir, Mirabai and other well known saints of India.

God embraces the category- 4 devotees and takes them in his arms and escorts them to moksha. Tukaram left the mortal world the same way.

Jai Hari Vitthal. 66.

67. BEING BORN A MORTAL

Fortunate to be writing this abhang today, the 30th 30th March 2021, because the dates 29th,30th & 31st March are of great significance for those who are the devotees of the greatest saint ever born on this planet. These three days are locally known as “Tukaram Bij Diwas”. During this period the great saint got enlightenment came to understand the true essence and the very purpose of being born as a mortal (either as man or woman).His intellect advised him to renounce everything associated with being a common mortal such as attachment and attraction of human forms of dear near ones, personal material wants, fatal attractions such as lust, jealousy, enmity, dishonesty, robbery and treachery. It was not at all an easy task for an involved family man Tukaram! He had to perform the Herculean task of separating his soul from his human form during him being alive! He was slowly but surely convinced that we mortals are all born again and again to cleanse our soul to a point that it is so pure that God grants it moksha. Tukaram finally did that and left behind all the secrets to attain moksha through his abhangs and kirtans.

 BODY & SOUL.

Tukaram managed to study and compare Body and Soul of a mortal by experimenting first on himself. When he analyzed Body he got only negative feedback and impact too. The great saint has put down his brilliant observations in his work such as;

 Body is a serious liability rather than an asset as it is very vulnerable and fragile.

 Body ailments, pains & aches, body form faults, color, shape, facial looks, ugliness etc all are very hurting and humiliating to a mortal.

 Body is constantly changing towards degeneration as year of life passes by thus causing a very great discomfort in the mortal’s mind.

 Body’s aging process puts the fear of death in the mind of the mortal although it is an ultimate truth known to every mortal the day he/she is born!

 Body breeds more negative factors in life of a mortal than positive.

 Body never ever ends its attractions, attachments and wants till death destroys it forever.

 Body constantly encourages myths and confuses the Soul from remaining pure.

The above faults fully convinced the ordinary Tukaram to give up the Body in favor of the Soul. The greatest saint was in making now. When Tukarm lost his beloved wife he thanked Vitthal (God) to have reduced his attractions. When he lost his son he once again thanked God profusely to have him freed from family attractions. When he lost business and suffered unprecedented losses in farm productions he kept on praising the God to have helped him to renounce the world and its fragile life. Finally he could feel so close to his Soul and God that nothing mattered or bothered him anymore that would have otherwise!

The extreme choice which the great saint made may not be possible to so many of us but one could consider the midway choice of loving the Soul more than the Body.

 Jai Hari Vitthal 67

68. Equality at Birth

Tukaram pointed out to masses that all mortals are born as innocent, ignorant, pure and simple human beings. From the first cry we all begin our life journeys. Things change every day for each newly born mortal and we form ourselves into a single unique identity and live life on that basis. During our life time we do different types of karmas to achieve different objectives and goals. The good qualities at birth are slowly but surely lost without we being even aware of it! Why? The great saint took pains to ponder over it and found answers to each of his questions. The innocence is lost at the first instance as we get acquainted with our place of birth, parents and physical situation around us. The ignorance is replaced by types of knowledge, sights, surroundings, culture and environment we are exposed to. The purity and simplicity are lost in turn as we grow out of child hood towards state of adolescence. Tukaram realized that we all miss the opportunity of being guided and corrected at our young and vulnerable age by a saintly person (sage). He felt that there is a great moral obligation on him put up by Vitthal to offer sagely advice and guidance to the humanity and take them towards their moksha. He took upon himself this mission and renounced his own beautiful world of his family. First the great saint corrected everything wrong in him to utter perfection and achieved direct contact with God and then sat down to write his abhangs and sang his way to every heart by doing thousands of kirtans. Being a poet of great talent he could write two liners of deep wisdom that took hundreds of pages to be explained. His two liners stood the test of time of over 4 centuries without losing its contents and concentration. One of his most powerful abhang says” A pat from one single saintly person is far more satisfying experience than being carried over shoulders by thousand foolish persons”.

  Jai Hari Vitthal 68

69. WISHES OF KUNTI

Tukaram was overwhelmed with extreme admiration for KUNTI ( mother of five Pandavas) when he came to know her story ( through teachings of Dnyneshwar Maharaj) of her devotional feelings for Lord Shri Kishna. He picked up the powerful message of that story which goes as “Kishna was very impressed with devotion ( Bhakti) of Kunti. He said to Kunti “let me bless you with anything at all that you desire from bottom of your heart. It will make me very happy indeed.” Kunti was totally dumbstruck and was not ready to receive such wonderful response from Lord Krishna towards her constant prayers for peace and happiness for her family. However her pure and simple love for her God and her ultimate trust in her God came to her rescue! With folded hands, she said to Krishana “God I know you can give me any thing that I would desire, demand, ask or request for. I have not an iota of doubt on that score but I request you to bless me with pain, sadness, disappointments and setbacks so that I would not forget you ever during my living days on this earth because I fear that comfort, riches, success, luxury and worldly things will take me away from you forever.” These words of Kunti got engraved in the loving heart of the great saint till his end. They became his guiding light and he could easily deal with personal losses such as wife and son’s death, loss of business, loss of wealth and living as neighbor of nasty Brahamin Shatri . In one of his abhangs, the great saint has written; “Vitthala to reach at your feet at the earliest make me forget my parents, wife, children, friends, dear near ones, wealth, desires, needs ,wants and comforts so that I can then only be totally free to worship you ,think of you and my mind will have no confusion about my objectives

It is so true and ironic that we all mortals think of God only when we are in trouble! Why? We are selfish with God too. We could be more magnanimous and pious and pray in best of times and in utter comfort. Be grateful to God for the little mercies we receive daily without praying.

Jai Hari Vitthal 69

70. WORSHIPPING GOD /SAGE.

 During his search for path to attain moksha, Tukaram reached the cross road where he had to choose between God and a Sage as his guru. Although he was personally convinced that the surest way to reach God’s feet was only through the guidance and advice of sage, he decided to analyze his observation and feelings. He was blessed with the right answer! By worshipping God directly one would be able to get rid of all the material desires, basic wants and be free from fatal attractions (Vasana mukta) but by following a sage a mortal would be able to achieve a total renunciation which will take him /her to God’s feet and finally to attain moksha.

Tukaram also found that there was no difference between God and A sage! In fact in his own humble way he felt that Vitthal was always present at all times by the side his Guru Shri Dyneshwar maharaj. He could feel their presence together. By following Dyneshwar he could renounce the world( Vairagya purti) easily and handover the burdens of a mortal’s life to God! when Tukaram was away for days on his kirtan tours his family was miraculously helped and served by unseen hands of Lord Vitthal. There are factual records of hundreds of miracles that happened in Tukaram’s household without he knowing nothing nor did he ever find out anything!

Tukaram was now sure that total renunciation( Vairagya) is the only way to moksha and complete detachment with every human bond would bring him in God’s orbit under the guidance of a Guru like Dyneshwar ji. The eternal peace and happiness for a soul of a mortal is being in constant and close touch with his/her Guru.Tukaram just did that and became what he is known as today after 450 years after his departure for heavenly abode ( Vaikunth).

There is true story about him becoming sage during his own life time without him realizing it at all. “One day while walking in the village to conduct a kirtan the great saint was approached by an old lady. She said to Tukoba “ If you are going towards the market please buy some cooking oil as I am old and disabled person. Today my son is not present at home.” Tukaram took the empty oil pot and brought her the oil as asked. The lady used the oil for almost twice the normal period that it should have lasted before refill requirement. She looked into the pot to take the inventory of balance of oil left. She was shocked that the pot was as full as before and showed no sign of the consumption has taken place! She went to the house of great saint to report the miracle. She said to him “Tukoba what magic have you done? My oil is not finishing in spite of daily consumption. Tukoba replied with a smile “Aai(mother)Vitthal has blessed you” and walked away. The story was told to all the villagers by the old lady. That night the villagers realized that God is living with them but they failed to realize! Needless to mention Tukaram became a living sage for them and they started to believe his abhangs and kirtans. Rest is history .

Jai Hari Vittahl. 70

Manohar Khushalani

Manohar Khushalani

Prof. Manohar Khushalani is Currently a Visiting Faculty at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi. The courses he teaches  are: Animation & Graphics, Non Linear Editing for Film and Radio and Theatre Appreciation.  He has won Excellence in Teaching awards for all the courses he has taught at IIITD Based on a Belief that Culture and Environment are the two keys to global sustainability , Manohar Khushalani has launched two portals: A Portal on Environment and Water called One Vorld at url: www.onevorld.org and two Ezines on Culture called Stage Buzz at url: www.stagebuzz.org & www.stagebuzz.info He has taught extensively in varied subjects such as Dam Safety, Instrumentation, CAD, IT, Animation, Theatre, Newspaper Editing. He has conducted Courses on Environment Management, Water Shed Development, Team Building and Personality Development. He is an Expert Member of Prasar Bharti’s Committee for Grading & Short listing Films for Telecast on all channels of Doordarshan.  He is a Radio Anchor for All India Radio and has moderated several programs for the Rajdhani Channel He is a well-known Theatre Actor/Director and Critic, has been involved in theatre since 1977. He has worked as an actor in over 50 plays with almost every leading director/Actor in the Country including Badal Sircar, Feisal Alkazi, Amal Allana, M.K. Raina, Anuradha Kapoor, Maya Rao, Manohar Singh, Prasanna, Rati Bartholomew and Sushmita Mukherji. He has been active in the social sector as a street theatre activist. As a member of Workshop Theatre, Theatre Union and Prayog, Khushalani has participated in street plays taking up major social issues such as dowry, bride burning, Sati, banned medicinal drugs and communalism. Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Can’t Pay Won’t Pay, both directed by him, received rave notices from critics and audiences alike. Other plays directed by him include Badal Sircar’s, Sagina Mahato and Boris Vian’s Empire Builders for Ruchika Theatre Group. Khushalani has also acted in a few films such as Sudhir Mishra's Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi , Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Café and Pradeep Krishan's Annie Gives Those Ones. He is an Animator & Graphics Designer and has directed a number of documentaries. He also held a number of Honorary positions and was President of North India Films Association, He was the Chairman of  Jury for UGC CEC Educational Films Competition and has been on their Preview Committee since last many years. He was on the preview committee of Door Darshan Channel 3, was a visiting Professor at National School of Drama, New Delhi, and Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, AJKMCRR, Jamia Milia Islamia and Professor in Media at FICT, Delhi  He has judged a large number of Drama Competitions and conducted a number of Theatre / Management Games Workshops with Institutions such as AIIMS, NTPC, CWPRS, NWA, Karve Nari Prakshishan Sansthan, FICT, IIT, MAMC, Gargi College, KNC, Tagore International School and Vivekananda School. He is a Theatre Critic for IIC Diary, has also been a Columnist with Midday and Pioneer Daily and wrote Column's Called Culture Cocktail and Footlights Respectively. He was also the Guest Editor for an issue on Folk Theatre of ICCR Journal Horizons. He has written for Times of Indian, Hindustan Times, Blitz, Hard News, Hindu Business Line, Theatre India & Art Times. He has designed dams and hydraulic structures for the Government. He is a programmer and has developed Engineering design software in Fortran. He is a co-author of Irrigation Practice & Design (Vol 1 to5 - 1500 pages) published by Oxford & IBH and sponsored by National Book Trust. He has been a Director, Environment and Sociology, at the National Water Academy, Khadakwasla and Director, Environment Management Directorate, Central Water Commission and Member Secretary, National Environmental Monitoring Committee for River Valley Projects. He was also Director of Instrumentation Directorate in the Dam Safety Organisation. He was Chief General Manager and Head of Water Resources at Scott Wilson and is an accredited consultant with numerous other organizations He is a Delhi Public School, BITS Pilani, IIT Delhi and FTI Pune Alumini. He was also the President of BITS Pilani Alumni Association, Pune.

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