9.The Departure


       It was on the Kartik (eighth month of the Hindu lunar calendar) vadya Ekadashi (eleventh day of the dark/waning moon) that Tukaram was doing keertan at Alandi before Jnanadev’s samadhi. There was a large turnout. The topic of exposition was: can the body ever become one with the Brahma? Has anyone ever achieved it? Tukaram said that he would do it.
      Once Tukaram was delivering a discourse at Lohgaon when enemy attacked the village and plundered it. Tukaram became very distressed. He appealed to God,
      ‘I just cannot see so much grief, my mind is distressed by witnessing others’ predicament.’
      However, there was no divine response to his appeal.
      One more incident. Tukaram did a great lot for Jnanadev. In a gesture of gratitude Jnanadev himself had a reincarnation as Jijai’s son. Tukaram realised that God was doing service to him. He did not relish this. He said to all, ‘I am going to Vaikunth. Come along with me.’ Nobody showed willingness. Tukaram then went to the bank of the Indrayani along with all and began a keertan there under the shed of a tree. He affectionately embraced all his fourteen accompanists. His son, Mahadev Vithoba, came forward and paid his respects to the father. Tukaram then cast a look at Jijabai and said to all,
      ‘Bid thee farewell to me now and each return home now. It’s high time I responded to Vithoba’s call in Vaikunth; Vithoba has been waiting for quite some time now. It’s time for me to leave now and beseech all for their blessings. Vithoba has come true for me at the end and Tuka will now disappear bodily.’
      Thus Tukaram bodily disappeared while reciting the name of the Lord. A mention of this is found in historical documents. Baloji Teli Jagnade in his notes writes , ‘Tukaram attained Vaikunth in his own body.’ Santaji himself was present at the time of Tukaram’s departure.
      All the people were engulfed in great grief with the disappearance of Tukaram. His children, brother and disciples stayed put at the place. On the fifth day Tukaram’s cymbals, letter and papers descended down from sky. Rameshwar Bhat said that Tukaram had bodily attained Vaikunth. Tukaram’s children and brother then had a quarrel with God. ‘God, please bring back my brother. Do not take him to Vaikunth,’ he said. God then pacified Kanhoba.


10. After Tukaram