Sri Vitthalaya Namaha
नमो सदगुरु, तुकया ज्ञानदीपा। नमो सदगुरु, सच्चिदानंद रुपा॥ नमो सदगुरु, भक्त-कल्याण मूर्ती। नमो सदगुरु, भास्करा पूर्ण कीर्ती॥ मस्तक हे पायावरी। या वारकरी सन्तांच्या॥
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Shri Ajit Pawar ji, Leader of Opposition Shri Devendra Fadnavis ji, former minister Shri Chandrakant Patil ji, Warkari saint Shri Murli Baba Kurekar ji, Jagatguru Shrisant Tukaram Maharaj Sansthan Chairman Nitin More ji, Aadhyatmic Aghadi President Acharya Shri Tushar Bhosale ji, the saints present here, ladies and gentlemen,
I offer my obeisance at the feet of Lord Vitthal and all the Warkari saints! It is mentioned in our scriptures that ‘Satsang’ (sacred gathering) of the saints is the rarest privilege in human birth. There is spontaneous realization of God if one gets the grace of the saints. I am experiencing the same feeling after coming to this holy pilgrimage-land of Dehu today. Dehu is the birthplace of Sant Shiromani Jagatguru Tukaram ji as well as his sphere of activity. धन्य देहूंगाव, पुण्यभूमी ठाव। तेथे नांदे देव पांडुरंग। धन्य क्षेत्रवासी लोक ते दैवाचे। उच्चारिती वाचे, नामघोष। Dehu is also Lord Panduranga's eternal abode and the people here are manifestation of saint and full of devotion. In this spirit, I respectfully bow to all the citizens of Dehu, my mothers and sisters. Just a few months back, I was privileged to lay the foundation stone for the four-lane construction of two national highways at Palkhi Marg. The construction of Sreesanth Dnyaneshwar Maharaj Palkhi Marg will be done in five phases and the construction of Sant Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi Marg will be completed in three phases. It includes highways of more than 350 km length at a cost of more than Rs 11,000 crore. These initiatives will also give impetus to the development of the region. Today, I am privileged to be in Dehu for the inauguration of the holy Shila Mandir. The rock on which Sant Tukaram ji did penance for 13 days and which became a witness to the realization and asceticism of Sant Tukaram ji, I believe it is not just a rock, but it is the cornerstone of devotion and knowledge. Dehu's Shila Mandir is not only a center of power of devotion but also paves the way for the cultural future of India. I heartily congratulate and express my gratitude to the temple trust and all the devotees for rebuilding this holy place. I also salute Santaji Maharaj Jagnade ji of Sadumbere which is nearby for chronicling the saga of Jagatguru Sant Tukaram ji.
The country is celebrating the Amrit Mahotsav of its independence. We are proud to be one of the oldest living civilizations in the world. The credit for this goes to the saint tradition of India, to the sages of India. India is eternal, because India is the land of saints. In every era, some great soul has appeared to give direction to our country and society. Today the country is celebrating the birth anniversary of Sant Kabirdas. This is also the 725th year of the anniversary of saints like Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj, Sant Nivruttinath Maharaj, Sant Sopandev and Adi-Shakti Muktabai. Such great personalities kept India dynamic by safeguarding our eternity. Sant Tukaram ji has been described as the urn of the temple of saints by Sant Bahinabai. He lived a life full of hardships and difficulties. He faced famine-like conditions. He saw hunger and starvation in the world. When people give up hope in such a cycle of sorrow and pain, Sant Tukaram ji emerged as a ray of hope not only for society but also for the future! He dedicated his family's wealth to the service of the people. This rock is a testimony to his sacrifice and detachment.
We still have that understanding of the kindness, compassion and service of Sant Tukaram ji in the form of his 'abhangas' (devotional poetry). These ‘abhangas’ have inspired our generations. That which does not dissolve, remains eternal and relevant with time is ‘abhang’. Even today, when the country is progressing on the basis of its cultural values, the ‘abhangs’ of Sant Tukaram ji are giving us energy and showing the way. We always get new inspiration from the ancient ‘abhangs’ of Sant Namdev, Sant Eknath, Sant Savata Maharaj, Sant Narhari Maharaj, Sant Sena Maharaj, Sant Goroba-kaka and Sant Chokhamela. Today I have also had the privilege of releasing the ‘Sarth Abhangagatha’ composed by Sant Chokhamela and his family. More than 500 ‘abhanga’ compositions of this saint family have been described in ‘Abhanggatha’ in a very easy language.
Brothers and sisters,
Sant Tukaram ji used to say: उंच नीच काही नेणे भगवंत॥ i.e., discrimination of people in society is a great sin. As much as this teaching is necessary for devotion to God, it is equally important for patriotism and devotion to society. With this message, our Warkari brothers and sisters visit Pandharpur every year. Therefore, the country is moving ahead on the mantra of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas'. Everyone is getting the benefit of every scheme of the government without discrimination. Empowering the sentiments of the Warkari movement, the country is also making continuous efforts for women empowerment. Our sisters who walk in Wari with the same energy as men have been a symbol of equality of opportunity.
Sant Tukaram ji always said: जे का रंज़ले गांज़ले, त्यांसी म्हणे जो आपुले। तोचि साधू ओलखावा, देव तेथे-चि-जाणावा॥ i.e., embracing the person sitting in the last row of society and his welfare is the characteristic of saints. This is the resolution of Antyodaya with which the country is moving forward. The welfare of the Dalit, deprived, backward, tribal, poor and workers is the first priority of the country today.
Brothers and sisters,
Saints emerge in different junctures like energy to give momentum to the society. You see saints like Tukaram ji have played a very important role even in the life of a national hero like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. When Veer Savarkar ji was sentenced during the freedom struggle, he used to sing the ‘abhangs’ of Tukaram ji while playing handcuffs like ‘chipli’ in the jail. The discourses and energy of Sant Tukaram ji have been equally inspiring in different eras and for different personalities! It is this glory of the saints, for which it has been called 'neti-neti'.
The journey of Pandharpur ji is also about to start in the month of Ashadh (June). Be it the Pandharpur Yatra in Maharashtra, or the Yatra of Lord Jagannath in Odisha, the Vraja Parikrama in Mathura, or the Panchkosi Parikrama in Kashi, the Char Dham Yatra or the Amarnath Yatra, these ‘yatras’ (journeys) are like a source of energy for our social and spiritual dynamism. Through these ‘yatras’, our saints have kept alive the spirit of 'Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat'. India has been awakened as a nation for thousands of years despite diversities as such ‘yatras’ have been bridging our diversities.
Brothers and sisters,
Today it is our responsibility to keep our ancient identity and traditions alive to strengthen our national unity. Therefore, when modern technology and infrastructure are becoming synonymous with India's development, we are making sure that both development and heritage go hand in hand. Today Pandharpur Palki Marg is being modernized and new highways are also being built for Char Dham Yatra. Today a grand Ram temple is also being built in Ayodhya, the Kashi Vishwanath Dham complex is also present in its new form, and great development works have been done in Somnath ji. Pilgrimage places and tourist places are being developed under the PRASAD scheme all over the country. The places related to Lord Rama mentioned by Maharishi Valmiki in Ramayana are also being developed in the form of Ramayana Circuit. In these eight years, five pilgrimages of Baba Saheb Ambedkar have also been developed. Whether it is the development of Babasaheb's birthplace in Mhow, converting the house where he used to study in London into a memorial, the work of Chaitya Bhoomi in Mumbai, the development of Deekshabhoomi at an international level in Nagpur, or a memorial at the Mahaparinirvana site in Delhi, these Panchatirthas are constantly acquainting the new generation with the memories of Babasaheb.
Sant Tukaram ji always said: असाध्य ते साध्य करीता सायास। कारण अभ्यास, तुका म्हणे॥ i.e., if everyone's efforts are made in the right direction, then even the impossible becomes possible. Now the country has resolved to fulfill 100 percent goals in the 75th year of independence. We have to make access the schemes for the poor relating to the basic necessities of life like electricity, water, house and treatment to hundred percent people. Similarly, the country has started campaigns like environment, water-conservation and saving rivers. We have taken a pledge for a healthy India. We also have to fulfill these resolutions 100 percent. Everyone's effort and everyone's participation is needed in this regard. If all of us make these obligations of service to the country a part of our spiritual resolutions, then the country will benefit equally. If we take a pledge to make the country free of plastics and keep the lakes and ponds around us clean, then the environment will be protected. In the Amrit Mahotsav, the country has also resolved to build 75 Amrit Sarovars (ponds) in every district. The pace of this work will gather momentum if these Amrit Sarovars get the blessings and cooperation of the saints. The country is also taking forward natural farming as a campaign. This effort is linked to the ideals of the Warkari saints. We have to work together as to how we can take natural farming to every farm. International Yoga Day is also approaching in the next few days. The yoga which is flourishing in the world today is only due to our saints. I am sure all of you will celebrate Yoga Day with full enthusiasm and realize the dream of New India by fulfilling these duties towards the country. With this spirit, I give a pause to my speech. I thank all of you by bowing my head for the opportunity and honor that you gave me.
Jai-Jai Ramakrishna Hari, Jai-Jai Ramakrishna Hari, Har Har Mahadev!