Sant Tukaram was a prominent Varkari Sant and spiritual poet during a Bhakti movement in India. He was a devotee of Lord Vithoba and during his 41 years, Tukaram composed over 5,000 abhangs. Many of them speak of events in his life, which make them somewhat autobiographical.
Tukaram is considered one of the greatest poet’s in the Marathi language and comparable to Shakespeare in English. Tukaram’s genius partly lies in his ability to transform the external world into its spiritual analogue. There is no other Marathi writer who has so deeply and widely influenced Marathi literary culture since.
Sant Tukaram Biography
Sant Tukaram was born around the 1600’s and lived most of his life in the small village of Dehu, a town close to Pune in Mahārāshtra, India. He was of the lower Sudra class in the traditional Indian Caste System. Tukaram was born to a couple with the family name “More”, the descendent of the Mourya Clan (Āmbile) with first names Bolhobā and Kanakāi. In accordance with an ancient Indian tradition, Tukaram’s family name is rarely used in identifying him. His real name is Tukaram Vhilhoba Aambe and he was a devotee of Vitthala.
Sant Tukaram’s first wife, Rakhumābāi, died in 1602 in her early youth due to starvation during a famine. Sant Tukaram and his second wife, Jijābāi (also known as Āvali), was much younger than his first wife had been and together they had three sons: Santu or Mahādev, Vithobā, and Nārāyan.
Tukaram’s troubles started with the illness of his father, due to which he had to start supporting his family at the tender age of thirteen. Shortly thereafter, both his parents died. Tukaram’s problems only mounted; death of his family members and economic hardship seemed to plague him. Tukaram himself died in 1650.