Glossary III of IV ( Says Tuka) - Dilip Chitre


another name for Vishnu, Hari literally means "fawn coloured" and in this sense is perhaps synonymous with "Pandurang"; used as another name for Vitthal by Tukaram and other Marathi poet-saints; the various meanings of Hari in Sanskrit are: 1. Green, greenish-yellow; tawny, bay, reddish-brown etc.; 2. It is a name not only for Vishnu but also for Indra, Shiva, Brahman and Yama; it is connected with "Hara" which means to take away, to remove, to relieve of, to seize, to captivate etc. and so may mean "the one who takes away", "the one who robs", "the one who relieves", "the one who seizes", "the one who attracts" etc.; thus it is a name that can be used in both positive and negative senses and therefore it has been applied to the protective Vishnu, the ascetic Shiva, to the conqueror Indra, and to Yama who takes away life, but this is only what one presumes.

"viraga/a" is the original Kannada word for these commemorative stones erected at the place of a warrior's or a saint's death to mark his martyrdom. Gunther D. Sontheimer gives an illuminating ac- count of these; since the image of Vitthal is strikingly unique in Hindu iconography, Deleury was prompted to observe that among the four other types of similar images are "the personages on the viragalas or hero-stones"; since the etymology of the name Vitthal is also contested, one of the suggestions put forward is that it is a compound word made by fusing "vir" (hero) and "sthala" (place).

literally, "Lord of the senses", another name for Vishnu; also used for Vitthal by Tukaram; another name for Krishna; "Hrishika" means an organ of sense and "Isha" means Lord, God, master, or governor.

the river on whose banks Tukaram's village, Dehu, is situated; the same river also flows through the town of Alandi, sacred to all Varkaris because Jnanadev entered the state of samadhi there; the Indrayani at Dehu is associated with major events in Tukaram's life as recorded in his poetry; the most important of these is the water-ordeal his notebooks were subjected to and the sequence of poems in which Tukaram poignantly describes his state of mind before and after their miraculous recovery after thirteen days; it is possible that his lyrical poems such as the one about "the pool of bliss" with its "ripples of bliss" and the one in which "water turns into sky" are transformations of actual images of the river by the side of which Tukaram might have spent much time reflecting on his experience of life.

(1275-1296) one of the founders of the Varkari sect and also the first major poet in the Marathi language; he was also a philosopher and a saint; author of Jnaneshwari, Anubhavamrita, and several short poems; the first work is a long poetic discourse embodying a Marathi translation of the Bhagawadgeeta and the author's own commentary / interpretation; the second work is a long poem describing the descent of human awareness from a primordial cosmic being that produces the material world and all phenomena, and how an individual human being attains a state of oneness with the Cosmic Being by the grace of a guru, becoming a liberated "self'; in poetry as well as in the Varkari sect, Tukaram is a lineal, spiritual descendant of Jnanadev; Namdeo, who initiated Tukaram into poetry by appearing in his dream-like trance, was a spiritual disciple of Jnanadev, though Jnanadev was five years younger.

see Jnaneshwar or Jnanadev above; Jnanadev composed this work in 1290 when he was fifteen.

V.S. Apte's Sanskrit-English Dictionary defines Kali- Yuga as "the fourth age of the world, the iron age (consisting of 432,000 years of men and beginning from 8 February 3102 B.C.)"; however, "Kali" literally means dispute, dissension, quarrel, strife, contention; "Yuga" means "Age" or "Epoch"; in actual usage, mythical, epic, and poetic descriptions of Kali- Yuga are varied; it can be called the Age of Chaos, Age of Disorder, Age of Conflict, Age of Evil, Age of Sin, Age of Infidelity, Age of Dissipation, Age of Decadence, Age of Misrule, etc.; it is believed that the last avatara of Vishnu, Kalkin, will "descend to destroy the wickedness of this Age and liberate the world"; Kali-Yuga is our present Age, and it is the last and the worst of the Four Epochs; incidentally, "kalka" from which the name "Kalkin" derives, means grime, dirt, shit, filth, and also deceit, hypocrisy, meanness, wickedness, perversity, corruption, etc.; the thrust of the meaning is clear from this.

"karman"; action or its consequences; seen in the context of the concept of reincarnation and the belief that a human being is liberated from the cycle of death and suffering only when the action and reaction produced by "karma" ceases, "karma" is a torture some process of learning by trial and error, going through many births and deaths; Tukaram refers to the traditional belief that man has to pass through 840,000 experiences of birth, suffering, and death unless he sheds his bestial nature and sublimates himself; Tukaram believes, along with the tradition, that if a person's performance in the present life is faultless and fully meritorious, such a person will not have to be born again and go through the painful grind of transmigration; in Tukaram's view, Bhakti is the path of immediate salvation because the Bhakta spends his entire life in the worship of God; he is selfless and compassionate to all forms of life; he helps fellow human beings; he is saintly and godlike in his kindness; the Bhakta is therefore already liberated, in this very life, from the clutches of karma.

eighth lunar month of the Hindu calendar.

the eleventh day of the bright half of the month of Kartika; see Ekadashi above.

the legendary gem-stone or jewel obtained when the ocean was churned by gods and demons for its secret gifts; the Kaustubha was placed on Vishnu's breast; Tukaram describes Vitthal's image as the image of Vishnu, and the Kaustubha comprises the pendant in Vishnu's necklace in this image.

"long-haired" another name for Vishnu, used for Vitthal by Tukaram.

"the dark one"; one of the three (Rama, Krishna, and the Buddha) human avataras of Vishnu so far as "a son of man"; the divine charioteer and guru of Arjuna who helped him recover his nerve and overcome his self-conflict in the battlefield in the Mahabharata war; divine author of the Bhagawadgeeta; earlier, the fun-loving herdsman of Gokul and the lover of many milkmaids; the slayer of wicked men and demons; the performer of many miracles; Tukaram alludes to many of these contexts in his poems; for Tukaram, Vitthal and Krishna are synonymous; therefore Vitthal's wife, Rakhumai, is the same as Krishna's wife, Rukmini, and Vishnu's wife, Lakshmi.

is one of low castes, in the Shudra category; in Maharashtra, the Shudras were divided into different classes of village-servants known as balutedars, these are distinct from government servants and are sort of a servant sub-community entitled, for their services, to be paid a fixed share of the agricultural produce; there are twelve to eighteen kinds of balutedars, further subdivided into classes or orders known as kas or val; the mahars belong to the first division; but in derogatory usage the word is similar to "nigger", "wog" and other racist or communal terms of contempt.

1. a phantom image, an illusion, an apparition, a hallucination, an appearance, a dream, an unreality.
2. deceit, fraud, trick etc.
3. in Vedantic philosophy it is the mistaking of an ephemeral world for the Absoloute Being that is the true form of the immutable Supreme Spirit; in Samkhya philosophy, it is "nature" or the original source of the material world, consisting of the three
elemental properties-sattva, raja, and lama;
4. compassion, pity, mercy, kindness; However, the word "maya" is related to the word "ma" which means, variously "to measure" "to limit" "to compare" "to be in", "to find room in", "to be contained in": it can thus be related to "mother" and "womb" and by extension to "the world that contains us", "the space in which we are", "the dimensions that contain and confine us".
      Tukaram is much more subtle and sophisticated than meets the eye because his sub-texts range from the Bhagawadgeeta to various philosophies current in India; he uses a simple, everyday language only occasionally using words like "maya" with their full charge of multiple significance. In one poem, he has used the colloquial Marathi word "mav" meaning "maya" in the sense of both "compassion" and "conjuror's trick", both "nature" and "the unreal world mistaken for Absolute Being": he deliberately uses the tensions between conflicting significance to create deliberate reversals of meaning or to produce, from one set of words, fully separated diverse images.

final liberation or salvation or emancipation from the cycle of karma, the wheel of death and suffering, or from a confined sense of self/individuality/ego; freedom from desire, attachment, memory, hope, anxiety, anguish and boredom which comprise the experience of this-worldly life.


Glossary IV of IV