8.Accompanists, Followers and Disciples


Mention is found at many places in hagiographer Mahipati’s (1715-1790) writings that there were fourteen accompanists to Tukaram’s keertan. They used to recite the dhrupad during his keertan. They were as follows:
1.   Mahadjipant Kulkarni: He was the Kulkarni of village Dehu and is also
     mentioned by Bahinabai Sioorkar in her writings. He also supervised
     the construction of the temple at Dehu.
2.   Gangadhar Mawal: He was a resident of the neighbouring Talegaon. He also
     wrote abhangs and documentary evidence is there of his being in the service of
3.   Santaji Teli Jagnade: He was a resident of Chakan. He also wrote abhangs of
4.  Kanhoba:Tukaram’s brother.
5.  Malji Gade:Tukaram’s son-in-law.
6.  Kondopant Lohkare: A resident of Lohgaon.
7.  Gawarsheth Wani: A resident of Sudumbare.
8.  Malharpant Kulkarni: A resident of Chikhli.
9.  Abajipant Lohgaonkar.
10. Rameshwar Bhat Bahulkar.
11.  Kondpatil of Lohgaon.
12. Navji Mali of Lohgaon.
13. Shivba Kasar of Lohgaon.
14. Sonba Thakur: He used to accompany Tukaram on the mridang.


      Tukaram’s disciple,  Sioorkar, had a visitation in her dream by Tukaram, who offered her counsel. She came to Dehu for Tukaram’s darshan and was inspired towards versification. She also had the fortune of listening to Tukaram’s keertans. Bahinabai Sioorkar’s eminence was next only to Tukaram’s and her compositions should be read at least once.
      Bahinabai Sioorkar(1629-1700) is remarkable among the Marathi poet-saints not just because she is a woman; so were Muktabai and   Janabai   long    before  her;  Bahinabai is 

Bahinabai Sioorkar

unique because she was an orthodox, married Brahmin and yet was attracted to Bhakti and particularly to the poetry of Tukaram about whom she heard in distant Kolhapur from a keertan-performer called Jayaramaswami; she was obsessed by the idea of meeting Tukaram in person and dreamt that Tukaram blessed her and became her guru; this resulted in her husband beating her up in jealous fury; he was horrified that his wife, a Brahmin, should want to make a Shudra who had no scriptural knowledge her guru; however, the husband changed his mind when persuaded by another Brahmin and accompanied Bahinabai to Dehu; there they saw Tukaram and attended his keertans; Bahinabai's vivid account of Dehu and Tukaram are like a poetic journal that vividly recreates scenes in evocative detail; this is the only contemporary eyewitness account of Tukaram available to us; Bahinabai's autobiography and verses are translated into English prose by Justin E.Abbott and have been recently republished with a perceptive foreword by Anne Feldhaus.


9.The Departure