Make Nama Japa your home. Make Nama Japa your treasury.
Accept Nama Japa as your challenge.
Tukaram is considered the greatest devotional poet in the Marthi language.
He lived in Maharashtra, central India, from 1608 to 1649, and had a difficult and relatively
short life. Born into a low caste, his father and mother died when he was thirteen leaving
him responsible for supporting the family. His first wife died during a famine. However,
hardship did not deter him from composing over 5000 abhangs, devotional hymns, describing
his spiritual experience and the glory of the Name, which he sang constantly.
We are your children and you're our Mother
Please give us food and give us love
If our faith is flawed, please disregard
to survive is a struggle and life is hard
Whether good or bad, we belong to You
we have no one else, what can we do.
Tuka says, to be good we'll strive
but we need both food
and your love to survive.
To repeat Your name is to string pearls.
The pleasure in your manifested form is always new.
I have ceased to desire the unembodied God.
Your worshippers do not seek liberation.
With You, it is still possible to give and to receive.
What use is the place where a dish sat when it is taken away?
Tuka says, "Give me the gift of freedom from fear.
After all, All-pervading Lord, my love has given the world You."
Without a worshipper
how can God assume a form and accept service?
The one makes the other beautiful
as a gold setting shows off a jewel.
Who but God can make the worshipper free from desires?
Tuka says, "They are drawn to each other like mother and child."
I am not starved for want of food
but it is Janardana(Krishna) who deserves my reverence.
I have looked on God as one who sees everything,
on bright and dark days alike.
God is like a father with his child
who both feels and gives pleasure at the same time.
Good acts and bad acts vanish.
Tuka says, "God's glory alone is left."
I have left my house and gone to the forest.
I do not want to be distracted from my devotion
This world evokes many feelings.
My heart aches for only one feeling.
I will not listen any more to talk of Oneness.
Tuka says, "This doctrine that God and I are one is false.
I will not let this thought disturb my mind.
I have no desire to be sugar, I want only to taste sugar."
Just beyond us we see that purple luster - how glorious!
With His noble crown of peacock feathers stitched together.
As you look upon Him, fever and illusion vanish
Adore then the Prince of the Yadavas, the Lord of Yogis.
He who filled with passion the sixteen thousand royal damsels,
Fair Creatures, divine maidens.
He stands upon the river bank with the luster of one million moons.
It is fastened in jewels on His neck
And merges into the luster of His form.
This God who bears the wheel is the chief of the Yadavas.
Him the thirty three crores of demigods adore.
The demons tremble before Him.
His dark blue countenance destroys sin.
How fair are His feet with saffron stained!
How fortunate is the brick that is grasped by His feet!
The very thought of Him makes fire cool.
Therefore embrace Him with experience of your own.
The sages, as they see His face, contemplate Him in the spirit,
The Father of the World stands before them in bodily shape.
Tuka is frenzied after Him; His purple form ravages the mind
Are you a creature of illusion? or illusion your creation?
Are you a part of the body? Or is the body a part of you?
Is space within the house? Or the house within space?
Or are both space and the house within the seeing eye?
Is the eye within the mind? Or the mind within the eye?
Or are both the eye and the mind within you?
Does sweetness lie in sugar, or sugar in sweetness?
Or do both sweetness and sugar lie in the tongue?
Is the tongue within the mind? Or the mind within the tongue?
Or are both the tongue and the mind within you?
Does fragrance lie in the flower? Or the flower in fragrance?
Or do both the flower and fragrance lie in the nostrils?
I cannot say, O Lord Adikeshava of Kaginele,
O! peerless one, are all things within you alone?
O my mind, I wish you were a better friend
you never remind me of my longing
for the Indestructible One
But distract me with the seven vices
singing their praises
knowing in the end
their sweet taste turns to poison.
Do you think it is funny
to keep me distracted
from my simple wish
to serve the Servant?
This life is passing quickly
You worry about the end -
There is no point if one
does not serve the Beloved.
You have made it miserable
Why do you want to cling to
such a miserable life?
I ask you.
The mystic sound of the day
was in my mind at sun set
when all is still with a stillness
one feels only in regret.
and the glow of light
the sun shrugs off
before it smiles good night
one last gasp of beauty
one last breathe of life
one last thought of wonder
my turn to say, good night.
the mountain path leads skyward
and desolves into light
there is no peaks
all desolves in a cloud of pure light
English Translation by Nee Mayeyolago