Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

Hum to chale apne gaam

Posted on: November 10, 2013

This article is written by Arunkumar Deshmukh, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular contributor to this blog. This article is meant to be posted in If this article appears in sites like and etc then it is piracy of the copyright content of and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

The 6th song of the series “The Great Souls of India” is from a film “SANT TUKARAM-1965”, sung by Manna Dey.

One of the most popular and well known saints of Maharashtra, Sant Tukaram is well known and revered equally in Southern India, where he is also sometimes known as Bhakta Tukaram.

Tukaram (1609 to 1650) belonged to a Baniya caste and was a married man. His family was traditional Mahajan of the village. Due to Tukaram’s generous ways, all the land papers were given back to the poor farmers, without taking money and thus his traditional status as a mahajan came to an end. As a married man,he operated a Kirana Shop,as a Baniya, but here too he failed due to his involvement more in Bhakti than Business.

Tukaram is considered as the most important saint amongst the WARKARI sampradaya ( a sect, visiting Pandharpur annually) in Maharashtra. Sant Dnyaneshwar established this WARI system and in Tukaram’s times it reached its Zenith. Tukaram was propogating VITHOBA (a form of Lord Vishnu) Bhakti, at the same time, when Sant Ramdas and Shivaji Maharaj were also contributing towards the awakening of the sleeping masses to rise against the oppressive Mughal rulers, who had come from outside India.

Tukaram became more popular due to his easy to understand ABHANGS (couplets),which were in simple Marathi language. (UNESCO had selected Tukarams Abhangs for translations into 60 languages. This was one of the 4 world Literatures selected for this project). During this period, the country was undergoing a tough time. The selfish uppercaste Bramhins were tightening their hold over the commoners through caste system rigidly and untouchability. At the same time,outside invasions were dividing Indian people. The time was to ripe to get united against the attackers. During the Bhakti Movement, the Saints played an important role in this direction, uniting people through religious sermons. Tukaram exhortedted the Brahmins of his regions to join the majority, through his miracles,Abhangs,keertans and Bhakti.

Shri Tukaram or Tukoba (1609-1650) was a seventeenth century saint, who constantly sang the praises of Lord Vitthala, or Krishna in what is today western India. It was the constant singing about God which led Tukaram to compose the 5,000 abhangs for which he is most famous. The abhangs are unique in the world of literature and are often called poems, but they do not have the artful imagery associated with poems. The abhangs express Tuka’s feelings(whether elation or frustration) and philosophical outlook. While they are focused on God, many of them include brief mentions of events in Tukaram’s life, which make them somewhat autobiographical.

In his life, he patiently faced many difficulties but was steadfast in his devotion. At one point, his disciple, Shivaji Maharaj offered him diamonds and opals, but they were refused as they would become an impediment to his devotion.

Tukaram’s writings had pervasive influence on Marathi language, culture, literature, and spirituality. His followers say that his devotional accomplishments are so colossal that to describe them, many future generation of translators and commentators will have their pens occupied for centuries to come. In a sense, Tukaram is a saint-poet who belongs more to the future than to a specific historically bound past.

Tukaram was born in Dehu, a lively village on the banks of the holy river Indrayani, in approximately 1608 to two well-to-do devotees of Lord Vithala: Bolhoba and his wife, Kanakai. Dehu is located near the modern day Pune. He was one of three brothers.

During the time of Saint Tukaram, Muslims reigned in southern India and were constantly at war with each other. The rulers enjoyed the privileges of stolen royalty while their warriors plundered villages.

In spite of the difficult political situation, Shri Tukaram’s childhood was spent in comfort and luxury. His troubles started with the illness of his father, due to which he had to start supporting his family at the tender age of thirteen.

Soon after Shri Tukaram’s parents died, severe drought and famine struck his village during which his wife and son died of starvation. These relentless hardships convinced Tukaram of the temporary nature of earthly pursuits. In a mood of quiet prayer, he climbed Bhamgiri Mountain to seek solace from the Lord. Although attacked by the snakes and wild animals, he was determined to stay there until he had found the eternal truth. After fifteen days of seclusion, fervent prayer and calls for his Lord’s attention, Shri Tukaram received Lord Vitthala’s audience. Pleased with Tukaram’s bhakti, Lord Vitthala bestowed upon him the eternal truth and love of Godhead.

Shri Tukaram states in his abhangas that he received the guru mantra containing the holy names of Krishna, Ram and Hari—names of God in the Maha Mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama hare. (Hare is the vocative form of both Haraa and Hari).

Tukaram has revealed through his renowned devotional writings that he received his Mantra through the medium of a dream from a divine personality he called “Raghava Chaitanya, Keshava Chaitanya.” Scholars and historians cite evidence that Saint Tukaram had some mystical connection with Chaitanya Mahaaprabhu. Gauriya Vaishnavas (followers of Lord Chaitanya) believe that Shri Chaitanya Mahaaprabhu initiated Shri Tukaram by way of this transcendental dream. Sheila Prabhupada writes in his introduction to Shrimad Bhagwatam: “Saint Tukaram, after initiation by the Lord, over flooded the whole of Maharashtra province with Sankirtana movement, and the transcendental flow is still rolling on in the southwestern part of the great Indian peninsula”.

As Tukaram’s meditation on Lord Vitthala became increasingly more profound, he began writing and reciting verses called abhangas, which encapsulated the essence of ancient shrutis and shashtras. As Sheila Prabhupada writes in the foreword to Songs of Vaishnavas Acharyas, “Songs composed by Acharyas are not ordinary songs. When chanted by pure Vaishnavas, who follow the rules and regulations of Vaishnavas character, they are actually effective in awakening the Krishna Consciousness dormant in every living entity.

Saint Tukaram continuously sang the Lord’s praises in his mother tongue of Marathi, composing over 5000 abhangas. Many of these are reflections of events in his life, which make them somewhat autobiographical. However, there is an unmistakable clear focus of Lord Panduranga (Vitthala), Lord of Pandharpur.

Shri Tukaram regularly went on Sankirtana pilgrimage from Dehu to Pandharpur, along with thousands of his followers. Along the way he would stop and enlighten the crowds, which would increase from village to village. Always crying out to the Lord with his loving abhangas, Tukaram used his bhakti poetry to encourage every one to take up a God centered life.

Shri Tukaram’s public discourses focused on offering one’s daily life as service to the Lord. Tukaram worked for the enlightenment of the society and emphasized Sankirtana, chanting of the Lord holy names, rather than ritualistic observances or the mechanical study of the Vedas. Singing, dancing, Saint Tukaram and the crowds he drew would happily walk over two hundred kilometers to Pandharpur.

Shrila Prabhupada writes, “Tukaram Aachaarya became very famous in Maharashtra province and he spread the Sankirtana movement all over the province. The Sankirtana party belonging to Tukaram is still very popular in Bombay and throughout the province of Maharashtra, resembling the Gauriyaa Vaishnav Sankirtana parties in chanting of the holy name of the Lord, accompanied by Mridanga and Karataalas”.

Shri Tukaram states in his Abhangas that he received the guru mantra containing the holy names of Krishna, Ram and Hari—names of God in the Maha Mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama hare. (Hare is the vocative form of both Haraa and Hari).

Saint Tukaram knew and taught that a human being can never attain happiness if there is no place for God. He wrote, “ Look at my experience. I made God my own and He gave me the answers to my questions whenever and wherever I put them to Him.”

Saint Tukaram was several centuries ahead of his time. With utmost compassion, he anticipated the spiritual anguish of modern man. He would invoke divine love within his audiences, immersing them in deep emotions for God.

Several events in Saint Tukaram’s life deeply affected his spiritual writings and teachings. One incident involved a scholar named Rameshwar Bhatta, who was surprised to find the essence of the Bhagwat Gita being presented in the Marathi language with such eloquence. The envious scholar believed that Tukaram’s birth as a non Brahmana disqualified him from elucidating the essence of the Vedas. Tukaram responded: “You might think these are my verses, but no, this is not my own language. Nor is it my own skill; it is God who makes me talk. It was Lord Vitthobaa Himself who ordered me to versify.”

But Rameshwar Bhatta was not convinced of Shri Tukaram’s purity of heart. Backed by a local militia, he ordered Tukaram to sink his verses in the sacred river Indrayani. Laughing and humiliating Shri Tukaram in public, Raameshwar announced to the crowd that if these devotional works were the outcome of divine order, then Lord Vitthal Himself would save the books form being destroyed.

Tukaram collected all his abhanga books, tied in a heavy stone to the bundle and with full faith tossed his entire collection of bhakti writings into the Indrayani River. One night, thirteen days later, Lord Vitthala, dressed as a child visited Saint Tukaram. The Lord told him that He had been safeguarding the books underwater and that they would resurface the next day.

Some followers of Shri Tukaram received similar divine messages. Word spread and next day a large crowd gathered on the banks of the Indrayani. To the crowd’s astonishment and Raameshwar Bhatta’s dismay, the books were floating on the surface.

With exhuberant excitement and enthusiasm, people retrieved the sacred books-which were completely dry-and respectfully returned them to Saint Tukaram. His abhangas were protected by Lord Vitthal Himself, Tukaaram was free to preach and so he continued with his devotional discourses and Kirtana.

Shri Tukaram’s reputation eventually reached King Shivaji, who sent a messenger bearing valuable gifts, such as lamps, horses and gems. Tukaram politely refused the gifts and responded to the King with four of his abhangas. In one of the verses, Shri Tukaram complained to King Shivaji: “You seem to provide me exactly the things that do not interest me.” King Shivaji was astounded by Saint Tukaram’s attitude of renunciation. So later, the King decided to travel to Lohgaon, near Dehu, to see Shri Tukaram and seek his saintly association and advice. When the King presented more gifts, Tukaram said, “What use is this treasure to me; I want only Lord Vitthobaa. Your gesture shows your generosity but to me these gifts are like pebbles.” Shri Tukaram politely asked King Shivaji to recite the names of God and become servant of Lord Vitthobaa.

Saint Tukaram’s passing was remarkable. During the night before he left this world, the saintly devotee prepared for his departure by chanting the holy names without stop.

He extended an invitation to his family, friends and followers who had gathered there: “I am going to Vaikuntha. Come along with me.”

It is said that after Tukaram announced his imminent departure, Shri Garuda landed on the bank of the Indrayani to carry him to the spiritual world.

No one understood Tukaram’s invitation. He affectionately embraced his fourteen intimate followers and his surviving son named, Mahadev Vitthobaa.

They all came forward and paid their final respects to Shri Tukaram, who then cast a look at his second wife, Jijabai and said to all, “Bid farewell to me now and return home. Its high time I responded to Vitthobaa’s call in Vaikuntha. Vitthobaa has been waiting for quite some time now. Its time for me to leave and I beseech all for their blessings. Vitthoba has come through for me at the end and Tuka will now disappear.”

Shri Tukaram peacefully proceeded to board Garuda. The huge celestial bird flew to the spiritual sky, leaving behind a scene of hundreds of weeping and grieving devotees. He left this material world in his self same body, singing the holy names of the Lord, just as Dhruva Maharaj had done in a previous age. (Thanks to

Tukaram’s story has always attracted film producers. There were films on Tukaram in 1931,1936,1948 and 1965. Out of these the film made in 1936,by Prabhat was remade in Hindi,Tamil and Telugu also. This film was sent to International Film Festival at Venice,in 1937 where it won a Gold medal and was declared as one of the 4 best films of the world. This film ran 75 weeks (Marathi version) in Calcutta. This film is routinely shown in almost every film festival and is included in the curriculum of FTTI for its courses.

The film Sant Tukaram-36 was directed by Damle and Fatehlal,and the music was by keshavrao Bhole. The role of Tukaram was done by Debutant Vishnupant Pagnis,who not only won accolades for his work,but also acted in 7 religious films after this.

SANT TUKARAM-1965 was made by Ashok Films,Bombay, directed by Rajesh Nanda and the MD was Vedpal,for lyrics by Bharat Vyas and Madhukar Rajasthani. There were 8 songs in the film and one song by Manna dey-Pehle beej akela- is already discussed on this Blog. The cast was Shahu Modak, Anita Guha, B M Vyas, Badriprasad Helen etc.
The story was-

About there centuries ago, Tukaram was born in Dehu Gaon. He was a sudra and had poor village folk take good from his shop and asked them to pay when they could afford. Mumbaji, the Pujari of the Ganesh Temple held permanent grudge against him. He instigated another grocer of the village to set fire to Tukaram’s shop. As if all these calamities were not enough one more was added to his lot in the form of famine. Tukarams old mother, his first wife and son died of starvation. Thukaram became detached from the world and spent his whole time in worship. He developed extraordinary powers. He even gave life to a dead child. But all this didn’t offer bread to his family. His surviving wife, Jeeja Bai implored him to seek some avocation. The land lord offered him the job as the watch-man in his fields. Mumbaji drove cattle in the fields in order to destory the crop. By the grace of Lord Krishna, the yield was double and the land lord gave Tukaram place for worship of the Lord.

Now Mumbaji asked Rambha a Nautch girl to spoil his reputation by enticing Tukaram with her fake love. Rambha failed. As a last resort he invited Rameshwar Bhatt the religious head to Dehu Gaon. Rameshwar Bhatt ordered Tukaram to stop writing abhang since he was born a shudra and ordered him to throw his `Gatha (Collection of Abhangs) in the Indrayani river. He did so but took a vow that he will fast unto death till his Gatha was restored to him by the Deity of the river. This miracle happened after two weeks ordeal. Shivaji Maharaj come to meet him. He offered money and gold to Tukaram but he humbly declined to accept it. Shivaji that evening joined his keertan. Mumbaji informed the Moghuls to capture Shivaji. The Moghul Amry found a thousand Shivajis and they returned flabbergested. After this incident he peacefully wrote more abhangs. Mumbaji turned a leper and the village children pelted stones on him. Rameshwar Bhatt’s body felt burning sensation and even long submerging of the body in water could not heal him. At last Tukaram received the message of the Lord to go to Heaven. The village folk thronged the streets for his Darshan. Even Mumbaji and Rameshwar Bhatt came to ask his forgiveness. They were cured of their maladies. The celestial Viman descended from the sky before the entire gathering of the village and he went to heaven bodily.

Here is the song,depicting the Mahanirwan (last journey) of Sant Tukaram. It is sung by Manna Dey.



Song-Hum to chale apne gaam (Sant Tukaram)(1965) Singer-Manna Dey, Lyrics-Bharat Vyas, MD-Vedpal


is jeewan se jin jin se
meri bhent hui saakaar
bhool chook meri maaf karo
sweekaaro namaskaar

ham to chale apne gaam
sabko mera raam raam
ham to chale apne gaam
sabko mera raam raam
ham to chale

toote phoote bol thhe mere
tumne pyaar se gaaye
mere jeewan ki bagiya ke
kaante phool banaaye
maine tumhaare angna mein hi
paaye chaaron dhaam
raam raam raam raam
ham to chale apne gaam
sabko mera raam raam
ham to chale

sukh mein paagal mat ho jaana
dukh se mat ghabraana
oonch aur neech ka bhed mitaakar
sabko gale lagaana
antim vinti hai ye meri
antim hai ye pranaam
raam raam raam raam
ham to chale apne gaam
sabko mera raam raam
ham to chale

safal hua hai jeewan mera
poori hui hai aas
ho o
aaj bulaaya hai maalik ne
mujhko apne paas
aaj vidaa ki is bela mein
aansoo rakhna thhaam
raam raam raam raam
ham to chale apne gaam
sabko mera raam raam
ham to chale apne gaam
sabko mera raam raam
sabko mera raam raam
sabko mera raam raam
sabko mera raam raam
sabko mera raam raam
sabko mera raam raam
sabko mera raam raam

2 Responses to "Hum to chale apne gaam"

Hats off to you Arunkumar ji. Beautiful writeup. Thanks a lot.


earlier link is no more working; here is one;


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