Born in the little village of Dehu. Sixteen miles north-west of Poona, probably in the year 1608 A.D., the poet Tukaram was by caste a Sudra and
by occupation a corn retailer.
After a famine brought distress and bankruptcy, he devoted himself to the family God, Vitthoba of Pandharpura. He soon became a
well known teacher, and crowds of people were attracted to his Kathas and Bhajans
The circumstances of his death are unknown. The popular account states that he ascended into Heaven in the car of Visnu; a note on
the Dehu manuscript of his poems says that Tukoba started on pilgrimage: - and was, apparently, seen no more.
The translation here offered to the public aims at presenting Tukarama’s poetry in readable English; and accordingly it has not been made on
strictly “scientific” principles. Literal translation has often been replaced by accurate paraphrase; and religious expressions peculiar to the
Hindu system have been rendered by the nearest equivalents. It is believed this will not mislead a scholar, while others, who might not mislead a
scholar, while others, who might take a passing interest in Tuka’s spiritual experiences, will not be repelled from this version by unnatural
No attempt has been made to settle the text of Tuka. We have simply followed the edition of S.P. Pandit, published at the Indu Prakash
Press in 1869, occasionally preferring an alternative reading in the foot-notes.
The life of Tuka is an abstract of that printed in the same edition. Should I be able to do so, I hope to collect some day all accessible
information regarding him, and to publish it along with a study of his poetry. In the meantime I may say, for myself and my collaborator, that we
hope critical readers will pardon occasional mistakes in our translation and will treat with consideration cases where they will find we have
chosen a rendering which they would have rejected. The many difficulties and obscurities of Tuka’s old Marathi leave ample room for error and
difference of opinion.
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