Notes on Tukaram - Mahatma Gandhi
SPEECH AT SECOND GUJARAT EDUCATIONAL CONFERENCE BROACH.
October 20, 1917.
These three great speakers have acquired this power of eloquence not from their
knowledge of English but from the love of their own language. Swami Dayanand did
great service to Hindi not because he knew English but because he loved the
Hindi language.English had nothing to do with Tukaram shedding lustre on
Marathi. Premananda and Shamal Bhatt and recently, Dalpatram, have greatly
enriched Gujarati literature; their glorious success is not to be attributed to
their knowledge of English.The above examples prove beyond doubt that, for the
enrichment of the mother tongue, what is needed is not knowledge of English but
love for one’s own language and faith in it.
LETTER TO MAGANLAL GANDHINAVAGAM.
Thursday,July 25, 1918.
The love taught bySwaminarayana and Vallabh is all sentimentalism. It cannot
make one a man of true love. Swaminarayana and Vallabh simply did not reflect
over the true nature of non-violence. Non-violence consists in holding in check
all impulses in the chitta It comes into play especially in men's relations with
one another. There is not even a suggestion of this idea in their writings.
Having been born in this degenerate age of ours, they could not remain
unaffected by its atmosphere and had, in consequence, quite an undesirable
effect on Gujarat. Tukaram had no such effect. The abhangas of Tukaram admit
ample scope for manly striving. Tukaram was a Vaishnava. Do not mix up the
Vaishnava tradition with the teaching of Vallabh and Swaminarayana. Vaishnavism
is an age-old truth.
Blessings from BAPU
LETTER TO PREMABEHN KANTAK
June 17, 1932
Personal experience is more important than the influence of external
circums-tances. The latter should have no effect on a votary of truth. He ought
to see beyond them. We often see that opinions formed on the basis of external
circumstances are afterwards discovered to be wrong. The connection between the
atman and the body is a well-known instance of this. Because the atman is
intimately connected with the body in this life, we cannot easily think of it as
distinct from the body. No one has equalled the power
of vision of the person who saw beyond this outward fact and first uttered: "Not
this". You will be able to think of any number of such instances. It is not at
all proper to take literally the utterances of Tukaram and other saints.
Recently I read one such utterance of Tukaram. I quote it for your benefit.
An image of Lord Pashupati is made out of clay: what, then, would clay called?
The worship of the Lord reaches unto Him, the clay remains clay.
An image of Vishnu is carved out of stone, yet the stone does not become Vishnu.
The devotion is offered to Vishnu, the stone remains a stone.
From this, I draw the lesson that we should pay attention only to the idea
behind the words of such saints. They may describe personal God and yet
worship the formless. We ordinary human beings cannot do that and,
therefore, we would come to grief if we do not try to understand their real
meaning and guide ourselves by it.
FOREWORD TO "TUKARAM KI RASHTRAGATHA" SEVAGRAM,
January 10, 1945
Dr. Indubhushan Bhingare had published earlier the first edition of Sant Tukaram
ki Rashtragatha. The present edition is the revised one. My knowledge of Marathi
is very slight. I like Tukaram very much. But I could read only a few of his
abhangas without effort.I therefore passed on Dr. Bhingare's selection to
Kundarji Diwan who took great pains to go through the whole thing. The Gatha
needed a fitting picture. Dr. Bhingare had selected a cheap one. It hurt me very
much. I sent it to Shri Nandalal Bose, the renowned Santiniketan artist. He has
been kind enough to send me pictures of Tukaram to go with the abhangas. I sent
the one that I thought the best among them to Bhingare and it will be published
in this edition. I hope this edition will command the respect of people.
M. K. GANDHI
Tukaram on Bhandara - Nandlal Bose
Tukaram and wife Jeejai - Nandlal Bose
LETTER TO PARACHURE SHASTRI
BIRLA HOUSE, BOMBAY,
April 15, 1945.
You have fallen ill! It is not good if it is from worry. But if it is death
calling, there is no harm. "You must go with a smile on your lips." And that too
from a Lepers' House . Whatever it may be,
remain calm and sing Tukaram's abhangas .
Blessings from BAPU
From a photostat of the Hindi: G.N. 10668.
Pyarelal Papers. Courtesy:Pyarelal.
SPEECH AT MEETING IN WAI
I co-operated for 30 years but, today, I have embarked upon non-co-operation.
Why? Only because, as our Shastras say, we may co- operate with a man while
there is some little measure of goodness in him, but when a man is obstinately
determined to forget his humanity, it becomes everyone's duty to turn his back
on such a one. Tukaram taught this same thing, that there can be no co-operation
between a god and a monster, between Rama and Ravana. Rama and Lakshmana were
mere boys, but they fought the ten-headed Ravana.This British Government of ours
has thrust a sharp dagger into the Muslims' heart, has slighted Islam. Cruel
things have been done to men and women and to students in the Punjab. To prevent
things from happening again, non-co-operation with the Government is the only
MY NOTES PILGRIMAGE TO MAHARASHTRA
A visit to the province in which Lokamanya Tilak Maharaj was born, the province
which has produced heroes in the modern age, which gave Shivaji and in which
Tukaram flourished, is for me nothing less than a pilgrimage. . I have always
believed that Maharashtra, if it wills, can do anything.
SPEECH TO HARIJANS
The Gita is one of the greatest scriptures, if not the greatest of all. A
religion which has given such a treatise and which has produced great saints
like Jnaneshwar and Tukaram is certainly not destined to perish. We must realize
that it is meant to live for ever, that is is imperishable.
Few of us here may know the name of Tiruvalluvar. People in the North are
innocent even of the great saint's name. Few saints have given us treasures of
knowledge contained in pithy epigrams as he has done. In this context, I can at
this moment recall the name only of Tukaram.
WHERE IS THE LIVING GOD?
The following is taken from a letter from Bengal.
Fortunately the vast majority of people do have a living faith in a living God.
They cannot, will not, argue about it. For them "it is". Are all the scriptures
of the world old women's tales of superstition? Is the testimony of the rishis,
the prophets, to be rejected? Is the testimony of Tukaram, Dnyandeva, Nanak,
Kabir, of no value?
With the growth of village mentality the leaders will find it necessary to tour
in the villages and establish a living touch with them. Moreover, the
companionship of the great and the good is available to all through the works of
saints like Kabir, Nanak, Dadu, Tukaram, Tiruvalluvar, and others too numerous to
mention though equally known and pious. The difficulty is to get the mind tuned
to the reception of permanent values. If it is modern thought-political, social,
economical, scientific-that is meant, it is possible to procure literature that
will satisfy curiosity. I admit, however, that one does not find such as easily
as one finds religious literature. Saints wrote and spoke for the masses. The
vogue for translating modern thought to the masses in an acceptable manner has
not yer quite set in. But it must come in time. I would, therefore, advise young
men like my correspondent not to give in but persist in their effort and by
their presence make the villages more livable and lovable.
SPEECH AT PRAYER MEETING February 11, 1942
We wondered where we should perform the cremation rites-at the Sevagram hillock,
the public cremation ground or Gopuri. And it was decided to perform the rites
at Gopuri where Jamnalalji had finally settled and for which work he had finally
dedicated himself by renouncing his all. I was neutral in the matter but I
welcomed the decision. Thousands of people converged on Gopuri to bid farewell
to the body. After the cremationI asked Vinobato recite recite an abhanga.He
recited one from Tukaram. Lastly I requested him to sing 'Vaishnavajana'. He
then sang this bhajan too.
SPEECH AT PRAYER MEETING , NEW DELHI,
Commenting on the Marathi bhajan sung by Shri Balasaheb Kher, the Premier of
Bombay, Gandhiji said that like Shri Thakkar Bapa, Kher Saheb had been a servant
of the Harijans and Adivasis ever since he had known him. Now he had put on the
crown of thorns and become the Premier of Bombay. For Gandhiji his service to
Harijans and Adivasis was more important than anything else. In the bhajan
Tukaram makes the devotee say that he would prefer blindness to vision which
could enable him to harbour evil thoughts. Similarly, he would prefer deafness
to hearing evil speech. He liked only one thing, namely, the name of God.
The Hindustan Times, 23-10-1946