Rashtrasant Tukdoji Maharaj
“Mani Nahi Bhaav, Mhane Deva Mala Pav, Deo Bajarcha Bhaji pala Nahire”
“You have not made up your mind to give up your ego, and you want that God should bless you, why ? Do you think God is like vegetables available in any market.” This is one of the most popular bhajans (holy song) of Great saint Tukdoji Maharaj.
The name of this great man was Manik and father’s name Namdeo. He was born (1909) in Ingle family (surname). His father was a very poor tailor. He was never interested in taking the education, instead he would like to sit with the people in temples and sing the songs. He learned the art of playing “khanjiri” (an instrument of about 6 inches diameter with the diaphragm of thin animal skin, played by one of the palms and held in other). Manik accepted the great saint of Varkhed Shri Adkoji Maharaj as his Guru. Manik would amuse the people by singing his own instant compositions on the rhythm of khanjiri.
After a few years, Manik left the home and stayed in different dense forests for years to gather in search of the eternal knowledge. (Atmadnyan). After enlightenment he came back to public life. He came extremely popular due to his “easy to sing” kind of bhajans for the villagers.
Mahatma Gandhi used to call him for meeting and he would like his bhajans very much. Manik was named as “Tukdoji” by his Guru, the name which he very much like. Tukdoji Maharaj entered the independence movement at that time and instigated people to participate in the struggle for independence. He wrote the bhajans of patriotic meaning, that created awakening in the villagers. He wrote the volumes of “Gramgita” a book that became bible for the villagers. Rashtrasant Tukdoji maharaj participated in the Vishwadharma Parishad (International convention of religions) held in Japan in 1955 and received the applauding. He would help the people in distress at the time of national calamities.
Tukdoji was a noble self realised saint. His early life was full of Sadhana both spiritual and yogic exercises. He spent much of his early life in the deep jungles of Ramtek, Salburdi, Ramdhighi and Gondoda.
Even though he was formally not much educated, his metaphysical spirit and potentiality was of very high order. His devotional songs permeate full spirit of devotion and moral values. His Khanjedi, a traditonal musical instrument was unique and his style of playing it was unparalled. He was bachelor, however, his life was dedicated for the services of the masses irrespective of caste, class, creed or religion.
He was all the while absorbed in spiritual pursuits. He critically observed the nature of the people and channelised them for the cause of their upliftment. He had self realised vision and through out his life, taught the lessons for the purity of hearts and malice for none.
In early life, he used to sing the devotional songs, however, with the passage of time, he impressed the masses that God is not only in Temples, Churches or Masjids, he is everywhere. His powers have no limits. He advised his followers to follow the path of self realisation. He firmly opposed the priesthood and propagated the eternal values and universal truth.
Tukdoji stressed much on the congregational prayer wherein all the people irrespective of their religion, could participate. His prayer system is really unique and matchless in the world. He claimed that his congregational prayer system could be bound to bind the masses in the chain of brotherhood and love.
Rashtrasant Tukdoji used to work in person with the villagers in road construction, village-sanitation and other activities. His writings both prose and poetry are full of devotion and the spirit of humanity. His nobility was of very high order. His selfless devotion and dedication are .bound to teach the lessons for the generations to come. Tukdoji is a shining star in the tradition of the saints of our great India.