Tukaram excerpts


We have built ourselves a house
in empty space

We reside in formless eternity

We are one with a reality bereft of illusions

We experience a wholeness that cannot be fragmented

Says Tuka, we do not have ego any more,

We have become what is immutable and pure.


Who is the one

That conceives?

Who is the one

That is born?

O Benevolent One

I cannot fathom

Your love of form.

Who is the one

That asks?

Who is the one

That gives?

O Benevolent One

I cannot fathom

Your form of love.

Who is the one

That asks?

Who is the one

That gives?

O Benevolent One

I cannot fathom

Your form of love.

Who is the one

That asks?

Who is the one

That gives?

O Benevolent One

I cannot fathom

Your form of love.

 

[ above two  trans. ©1991 Dilip Chitre, Penguin
Books India Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi ]


What does the lotus know of its own fragrance?

It is the bumble bee that enjoys it.

The mother cow grazes on pasture,

But the milk is relished by her calf.

The pearl lies hidden in the heart of the oyster;

‘Tis others, not the oyster, who get joy from it.

Likewise, my Lord, Thou cost not know the joy of Thy Name;

We are the ones who experience that bliss. .


 


( Tukaram Wachanamrit, 289, Ranade, R. D., Poona: Venus Prakashan)


Existence is lifeless without realization of the Lord,

Even as a corpse, though adorned with jewels.

Futile are words that speak not of the Lord,

Even as the jokes of a frivolous clown.

Practice bereft of the Lord is nothing but deception,

Like the beguiling softness of a serpent’s skin.

What more need I say? O Tuka,

Truly luckless is one devoid of devotion.


 


(Shri Tukaramachi Gatha, 4330, Wadapurkar, T. R., Pandharpur:
Digambar Hari Telang, 1933.)

 


All the rest (except one) are from:

Shri Tukaram Babachi Abhang-Gatha

Lad, P. M.

Government of Maharashtra, 1973.

Translated by Chandravati Rajwade in

Tukaram: Saint of Maharashtra

Radha Soami Satsang Beas, Punjab, India. 1978

The translations show the influence of the author’s tradition (Shabd
Yoga)

 


The monkey inserts his hand and clasps gram in his fist;

Little does he realize that the hand is thus trapped in
the jar.

Oh, how cruel and unjust he is to his own well-being!

The parrot holds on fast to the revolving reed;

It completely forgets that it has wings to fly.

Likewise, deluded man keeps clinging to worldly objects,

And yet desires, O Tuka, to seek liberation from bondage.


 


(Gatha, 132)

 


The munificent Lord is the bestower of gifts,

And He is the one who enjoys them.

What can I say of this paradox?

All explanation is a waste of words.

The seeing eyes and the forms they see, are one;

The all-pervading Sound, O Tuka, is the Lord Himself.



 

(Gatha, 321)

 


Adhere to the firm faith that there is only one secret:

The all-knowing Satguru and the Shabd

Are the key to liberation.

Give up, then, association with all else.

Turn with devotion to the Absolute one

(Gatha 426)

 


I speak and yet I am silent;

I have died, but am alive;

I live among people,

Though in truth, I do not;

I appear to enjoy,

But in fact have renounced;

I am in the world,

And yet out of it;

I have broken free of all bonds.

I am not what I appear to be, O Tuka.

You want to know?

Ask the Lord what I really am.

(Gatha, 537)

 


One absorbed in Unstruck Music is withdrawn from the outer
world,

And to descend to the gross level, he has to make an effort.

Drunk in the Celestial Melody, he becomes oblivious of
his own body;

He is impervious to worldly suffering and its cure.

The words he now utters are holy as scriptures.

When he narrates his experience of bliss

People are awestruck, but doubt his words.

One weary of the charms of this world

Drinks deep the nectar of Melody Divine,

And attains tranquillity within, O Tuka.

(Gatha,  637)

 


I have crossed this ocean of life;

What I had resolved upon has been fulfilled.

Thy Name alone cherish in my heart;

I have severed all links with worldly life.

Naught can affect me now, O Tuka,

And nothing remains to be achieved.

(Gatha, 763)

 


Says Tuka, I am even smaller than the atom,

But I’ve expanded to the outer limits of space.

I have swallowed my ego,

And I am freed from the bonds of body.

I have discarded the three coverings,*

And the flame of truth shines within me.

What is left of Tuka is only For the benefit of others.


 


(Gatha, 993)

*Physical, astral, and causal.

 


How can there be any room left for other desires,

When my entire being is engrossed in Thee alone?

Nothing is now a barrier between Thee and me,

For the seed of devotion has borne its fruit.

Gone from my heart is the anguish of separation;

Why need I now bother to contemplate on Thee?

By the grace of Thy feet, O Lord, says Tuka,

The illusion of this world has been destroyed.


 


(Gatha, 1276)

 


The soul was in truth free,

But it chose to be bound

By getting entangled in “me” and “mine”.

It tires itself out running after a mirage,

Like a deer in pursuit of water.

(Gatha 1567)

 


Infinite bliss has filled my entire being,

The stream of love divine flows freely

And I sing the Lord’s Name unceasingly.

I lead a life eternal that cannot ever ebb,

I repeat ever and again the Name of the Lord;

To me, this shore of the ocean of life

And the other one, O Tuka,

Are verily one and the same.

(Gatha, 1978)

 


In love with the Lord, we shall dance, clap and sing.

The Lord is infinitely kindhearted,

Ever merciful is He.

He fondly protects those who surrender themselves to Him.

He has liberated countless souls in the past;

He will liberate me too, of that am I certain.

The secret of love, says Tuka,

Has been bestowed on me by Saints.

(Gatha, 2105)

 


Satsang is the confluence of three holy rivers,

The Triveni of the Lord, the Devotee and the Name.*

The very dust of satsang is sacred and hallowed.

Who sing the praises of the Lord and listen to the tale
of His glory,

The mountain of their sins is consumed and they become
pure.

The holy places themselves owe their sanctity to this
confluence.

Auspicious, indeed, is every moment spent at the Saints’
feet.

Without compare is the glory of the Lord, the Saint and
the Name,

Which even Brahma cannot describe, says Tuka.


 


(Gatha, 2357)

*Triveni: the confluence of the rivers Ganga, Jamuna and Saraswati at
Allahabad,

regarded as a place of pilgrimage.

 


I have experienced my own death,

A festive occasion beyond compare.

My joy fills the three worlds over;*

I rejoice in my soul pervading all.

I was confined to this world alone;

The ego was my barrier, separating me from the Lord.

Now it is vanquished and I am in a blissful state of union;

Gone forever is the mire of birth and death.

His grace it is that He came to live in me,

And I, in my love, abide now in Him.

What I have experienced within, O Tuka,

I now reveal unto the world.

(Gatha, 2669)

*The physical, astral and causal worlds.

 


I have come to illumine the ways of God

And to distinguish the true from the false.

I speak, but it is in truth

He who speaks through me.

(Gatha 2950)

 


God is my constant companion.

Like the Saints of old,

I have come down to this earth

To pursue the path of Truth.

By ringing the bell of devotion,

By the help of His Name,

I shall carry you safe To the feet of the Lord.


 


(Gatha 2950 ?)

 


The tree is contained in the seed,

And the seed in the tree;

So it is with Thee and me, O Lord—

The one is merged in the other.

The wave that emerges from the ocean

Is part of the ocean itself.

The object and its reflection, O Tuka,

Have now fused one into the other.

(Gatha, 3069)

 


The whole of humanity has become the Lord;

My virtues and defects have both been removed.

Sublime beyond words, it is indeed a blessing;

In this great triumph, my heart is at peace.

The reflection in the mirror appears a separate being,

But the viewer and his image are one and the same.

When it merges into the ocean, O Tuka,

The streamlet becomes the ocean itself.

(Gatha, 3132)

 


He shatters your house of human existence;

This is the sign of the Lord’s advent.

He deprives you of all possessions

As though, beside Himself, nothing were of value;

This is the mark of the Lord’s charity.

He banishes your desires and casts out the ego;

Such is the sign of the Lord’s divine favor.

He makes you speechless to save you from untruth;

This is the sign of the Lord’s benevolence.

He cuts the veil of Illusion,

And makes you realize His omnipresence;

Such is the sign of the Lord’s mercy.

The Lord by force has occupied Tuka’s home,

And blessed him with all signs of His grace.

(Gatha, 3446)

 


In contemplation of the Lord,

My body and mind are transformed;

What can I now say, what can I convey?

For the “I” that was, has become the Lord Himself.

My soul and the Lord are united;

The creation has become the Lord Himself.

Tuka has nothing more to add; in divine bliss,

His soul has embraced the Lord.

(Gatha, 4077)

 


As I meditated on the Lord,

My mind and body were transformed;

What can I say about that state?

My sense of “I”-ness has become the Lord.

As my  mind subsided, it became pure Consciousness

And I saw the entire creation as the Lord’s form.

Tukaram says, “What can I say?,

There is only one, only one.

My only thought is of Him


 


( The above is the same as the previous;

but this translation is by R.D. Ranade in

Mysticism in Maharashtra

Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan

It shows differences in style and viewpoint

( side by side comparison )

 


Can one be entangled in the mire of Illusion

When the Name of the Lord is constantly on his lips?

One who ceaselessly meditates on Him,

While walking, talking, eating or sleeping,

While engaged in worldly duties,

The Lord is with him at all times.

Repeat constantly the Name of the Lord,

And know that devotion is indispensable for deliverance.

Thus the devotee becomes the Lord Himself,

And thus has the Lord become Tuka.


 


(Gatha, 4161)

 





I have built my home in the Realm beyond Illusion,

I live there eternally in that formless state.

Liberated from the snare of this world,

I have attained to unbreakable unity.

My ego is vanquished forever, O Tuka;

I have merged into Perfection everlasting.


 


(Gatha, 4326)

(another translation)

( comparison )


The signal sign of the supreme state of bliss

Soars high all over me like a canopy, a great shield:

The heavens are thundering with the reverberating Sound
Divine.

Tuka’s Lord has installed him in His own Self.

( Gatha 4330 )

 


I laid my head on my Satguru’s feet,

He raised me with his own hands;

He blessed me with his love

And lifted me unto him.

With love and gratitude, I offered myself in homage.

I ever bow to my beloved Satguru, O Tuka,

And repeat constantly the Name bestowed by him.


 


(Gatha, 4335)

 


Without the Satguru, all talk of liberation is the whispering
of ghosts.

Vyas, other sages, and scriptures, too, sing the glory
of the Master.

Consider the one without a Guru as ever in mourning;

Do not even glance at his face.*

No efforts will ever liberate him from birth and death;

Know that his human life will go to waste.

Holy books have stated thus, O Tuka,

And thus have declared all Saints in the past.

(Gatha, 4341)

*In India, in earlier times, a person in mourning was looked upon as
impure,

for in his grief his thoughts were predominantly negative.


Cream, curds and butter, all come from milk;

Many are the ornaments made from gold;

Diverse the pots that are fashioned from clay.

Likewise, countless souls inhabit countless forms,

But the core is the Soul alone:

In truth, all are One.

(Gatha 4353

We have built ourselves a house in empty space

We reside in formless eternity

We are one with a reality bereft of illusions

We experience a wholeness that cannot be fragmented

Says Tuka, we do not have ego any more,


We have become what is immutable and pure.
I have built my home in the Realm beyond Illusion, 

I live there eternally in that formless state. 

Liberated from the snare of this world,

I have attained to unbreakable unity. 

My ego is vanquished forever, O Tuka; 

I have merged into Perfection everlasting. 
In contemplation of the Lord,

My body and mind are transformed;

What can I now say, what can I convey?

For the “I” that was, has become the Lord Himself.

My soul and the Lord are united;

The creation has become the Lord Himself.

Tuka has nothing more to add; in divine bliss,

His soul has embraced the Lord.

As I meditated on the Lord,

My mind and body were transformed;

What can I say about that state?

 

My sense of “I”-ness has become the Lord.

As my  mind subsided, it became pure Consciousness

And I saw the entire creation as the Lord’s form.

Tukaram says, “What can I say?,

There is only one, only one.

My only thought is of Him

 



[ page of original manuscript from Tukaram’s abhangas
;


(lit.immortal) ;devotional song form in the Marathi language
]


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