Sri Sathya Sai On: The Life and Teachings of SANT TUKARAM

LOVE FOR GOD AND HIS TEACHINGS

Shivaji offering obeisance to
Sant Tukaram
Tukaram was honoured by the gift of a gorgeous palanquin and caskets of jewels by Shivaji. But, Tukaram said, “Ram! I will not take my hands from off Your feet, for, I know you are waiting to escape from me, the moment I release the grasp to hold anything other than your Divine Feet”.
- “Yaaga is Thyaaga”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 10, August 15, 1970, Prasanthi Nilayam

Tukaram confessed that he was unacquainted with the techniques of meditation or the rules for performing sacrifices. “Oh Rama! The only method I know to attain You is to love You with a pure heart! Let me have Your grace for cherishing this love,” he declared.
- “See the One in the Many”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 25, October 4, 1992, Prasanthi Nilayam

Sant Tukaram 
When Tukaram was asked how man can keep this monkey-mind from running after sensuous pleasures, he replied to the enquirer, “Let the monkey run; you keep quiet where you are; do not let the body go along with the monkey-mind”. Tell the mind, “I shall not give you the body as your servant”. Then, the mind will desist and it can be defeated. Just as there is a method to be followed even in pulling down a house, there is a method to be followed even in pulling down the complex structure of the mind.
- “Jiva and Dheva”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 04, May 17, 1964, Prasanthi Nilayam

You may be a scholar or a wealthy person, or very clever and intelligent. But all these do not help you to secure God’s grace. Saint Tukaram sang, 
“Oh Swami! I am not endowed with knowledge. I am incapable of performing Yajnas and Yagas or doing severe penance. Here is one easy path that I know to win Your grace. That is the path of Divine Love. It is the royal road that will lead me to the Presence of Rama”. Tukaram declared emphatically that Rama cannot be realised by any other path except the path of love. This is the inner meaning of the statement, ‘Love is God and God is Love’.
- “Revere Truth and Love”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 18, May 6, 1985, Prasanthi Nilayam

A LESSON IN EQUANIMITY

There is a method by which the demands of the senses can be reconciled and harmonised. This is by treating both good and bad with equal-mindedness. Tukaram is an illustrious example in this regard. He was a great devotee, and very gentle by nature. His wife was a shrew. Nevertheless, by his calmness and forbearance, Tukaram managed to get on well with her. Only when one is in the habit of retaliating word for word, tit for tat, tooth for tooth, and nail for nail does one have to face discord and trouble. But Tukaram was the very embodiment of forbearance. He used to cultivate his small farm of half-an-acre to maintain his family. At the insistence of his neighbours, he once raised sugarcane crop in that small plot of land. When the crop was mature taking undue advantage of Tukaram’s good nature, many passersby used to pluck a couple of sugarcanes and chew them. Finally, Tukaram harvested whatever crop was left behind, bundled the canes, and was taking them home in his cart. On the way, the children of the village gathered round him and pleaded for a piece of sugarcane each. 

In his usual generosity, Tukaram allowed the children to help themselves to the canes in the cart. At last when he reached home, there was only one cane left in the cart. Seeing this, his wife flew into a rage and strongly scolded Tukaram, condemning him as unfit for family life; she took out the only cane on the cart in a fit of anger and struck Tukaram with it. The cane broke into three pieces, out of which two fell on the ground, and the other was in her hand. Tukaram calmly remarked, “I was wondering all along the way how to distribute the remaining cane to the three members of the family. I am glad you have nicely solved the problem for me. You can eat one piece, which is in your hand, and give the other two, which have fallen on the floor, to the two children”. 

Such forbearance and equanimity can rarely be found except in a few high-souled persons. These qualities can be acquired only through devotion and faith. You need not feel disheartened with the fear that you will not be able to control the senses. By developing one-pointed devotion and complete surrender to God, the senses can definitely be brought under control.

...The defects that you attribute to the senses are, in fact, the defects in your own thought processes and feelings. If the senses are properly used, they will offer you the right impressions. For example, Tukaram had good feelings and so gave a favourable interpretation to even the rude and negative behaviour of his wife; his senses did not stand in the way of his spiritual progress and equanimity, despite trying circumstances in his family.
- “Mastery of the Senses”, Summer Showers in Brindavan 1990, Brindavan
When Sai Vitthala Spoke About His Dear Devotee Tukaram

Note: Tukaram Bolhoba Ambile or Sant Tukaram, was born in the year 1608, in Dehu, Maharashtra. He was a prominent Varkari Sant (pilgrim saint) known for his contribution to the Bhakti Movement. Inspired by his devotion for Lord Vitthala, his family deity, he turned to devotional poetic compositions in Marathi (Abhangs). He composed songs in praise of his Lord on themes such as Vedas, Puranas, humility, equality and God's Grace. Tukaram put devotion at the centre of his spiritual life and set an example of surrender and equanimity in the vicissitudes of family life. He suffused the common man with devotion through his philosophy and teachings. Legend has it that, Sant Tukaram disappeared without a trace while performing Abhangs, in the year 1650. This event is celebrated every year as ‘Tukaram Beej’ the day he ascended to Vaikuntha, Lord Vishnu's heavenly abode.


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