4. The Two Monks


Tukaram now began delivering his discourses and keertan with renewed vigour, for it was the means chosen by him for people’s edification and uplift.
      Lord Krishna was born at Mathura, but it was the people of Gokul, who enjoyed his company. Similar was the case of Tukaram. Though he was born at Dehu, it was the people of Lohgaon (the village of Tukaram’s maternal grandparents), who benefited the most from his keertans, for Lohgaon was the place where he delivered his discourses often. Two monks (sanyasi) once came to listen to Tukaram’s keertan. They were quite surprised by what they beheld: men and women were lost in listening to Tukaram, all social and age difference were lost, Brahmins were rubbing shoulders with shudras and not a vestige of social discrimination was to be seen at this assembly. They berated Tukaram for this and censured the Brahmins. ‘You have fallen from grace. Instead of adopting the path of work, you have chosen just to recite the name of God,’ they said to the Brahmins. They left the venue of the keertan and made straight for Dadoji Konddev’s residence. There they lodged a complaint, saying, ‘The Brahmins of Lohgaon have renounced their bounden duty. They have begun revering a shudra. Religion has been defiled there. Therefore, punitive action is called for.’
      Dadoji promptly dispatched a few soldiers and imposed a fine of Rs. 100 upon the Brahmins. Tukaram and the villagers of Lohgaon were summoned to Pune. Accordingly, Tukaram came to the Mula-Mutha confluence (Sangam) in Pune along with Lohgaon villagers and began a keertan there. The news of Tukaram’s arrival in Pune spread everywhere and the people of the city soon made a beeline for the darshan and keertan of Tukaram. Dadoji also came and listened to the keertan. The two monks, who had earlier lodged a complaint against Tukaram, were there among the audience. Now they were so impressed by the discourse that they fell at the feet of Tukaram. Dadoji asked them for an explanation. He said, ‘First you lodge a complaint about Brahmins falling from grace by paying obeisance to a shudra and now you too follow suit. How can this be so?’ The monks said, ‘We saw God Himself in Tukaram during the keertan.’ Thereupon Dadoji himself felicitated Tukaram and ordered the monks to leave the city at once. 


5. A Persistent Devotee