The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi inaugurated Jagatguru Shrisant Tukaram Maharaj Temple in Dehu, Pune.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister expressed happiness at being present in the holy land of Dehu. The Prime Minister, referring to our scriptures, said that Satsang of the saints is the rarest privilege in human birth. If the grace of saints is felt, then the realization of God automatically takes place. “Coming to this holy pilgrimage-land of Dehu today, I am feeling the same way,” he said. The Prime Minister continued “Dehu’s Shila Mandir is not only a centre of power of devotion but also paves the way for the cultural future of India. I express my gratitude to the temple trust and all the devotees for rebuilding this holy place.”
He also recalled the privilege of laying the foundation stone of four-laning of two national highways in the Paliki Margs a few months ago. He informed that the Shri Sant Dnyaneshawar Maharaj Palkhi Marg will be completed in five phases and Sant Tukaram Maharaj Palki Marg will be completed in three phases. More than 350 km long highways will be constructed in these phases at the cost of more than 11000 crore rupees.
The Prime Minister noted the pride in India being one of the oldest living civilizations in the world. “If the credit for this goes to anyone, it is to the saint tradition and sages of India”, he said. The Prime Minister remarked that India is eternal because India is the land of saints. In every era, some great soul has been descending to give direction to our country and society. Today the country is celebrating the birth anniversary of Sant Kabirdas. He also noted key anniversaries of saints like Shri Sant Dnyaneshawar Maharaj, Sant Nivruttinath, Sant Sopandev and Adi-Shakti Mukta Bai ji.
The Prime Minister said that the kindness, compassion and service of Sant Tukaram Ji are still with us in the form of his ‘abhanga’. These ‘abhangas’ have inspired generations. That which does not dissolve remains eternal and relevant with time, that is the one that is ‘abhanga, he elaborated. Even today, the Prime Minister noted, when the country is moving ahead keeping in sync with its cultural values, Sant Tukaram’s Abhangas are giving us energy. The Prime Minister paid tribute to glorious traditions of ‘abhangas’ distinguished saints of the tradition. The Prime Minister highlighted the teachings that preached against discrimination between human beings. He said these preachings are equally for devotion to the country and society as they are for spiritual devotion. He said that this message underlines the annual Pandharpur yatra of the Warkari devotees. Spirit of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas. Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas is inspired by such great traditions. He specifically noted the spirit of gender equality and the Antyodaya spirit among Warkari tradition as an inspiration. “Welfare of Dalit, deprived, backwards, tribals, workers are the first priority of the country,” said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister credited saints like Tukaram for playing a very important role in the life of national heroes like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. When Veer Savarkar was punished in the freedom struggle, the Prime Minister recalled, he used to sing the abhangas of Tukaram Ji while playing handcuffs like chipli in the jail. He said Sant Tukaram has infused spirit and energy in the country at different times. He also pointed out that ’yatras’ like Pandharpur, Jagannath, Brij Parikrama in Mathura or Kashi Panchkosi Parikrama, Char Dham or Amarnath Yatra, united the diversity of our nation and created the spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat.
The Prime Minister stressed that it is our responsibility to keep our ancient identity and traditions alive to strengthen our national unity. Therefore, “today when modern technology and infrastructure are becoming synonymous with India’s development, we are making sure that both development and heritage move forward together”, he added. He gave examples of modernization of the Palki Yatra, new highways for Char Dham Yatra, the grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya, renovation of Kashi Vishwanath Dham, and development work in Somnath to illustrate his point. He also informed that under the Prasad scheme, places of pilgrimage are being developed. Ramayana Circuit and Panch Teerth of Babasaheb are being developed, he said. The Prime Minister said if everyone’s effort is in the right direction, even the most intractable problems can be resolved. He mentioned that today, in the 75th year of independence, the country is moving towards 100 percent empowerment through the saturation of the welfare schemes. The poor are getting connected with the basic necessities through these schemes. He also called for everyone’s participation in the Swachh Bharat Campaign and pledged for keeping cleanliness in every sphere of life. He also asked them to make these national pledges part of their spiritual pledges. He also asked for the push from the gathering for natural farming and popularisation of Yoga and the celebration of Yoga Day.
Sant Tukaram was a Warkari saint and poet, famously known for Abhanga devotional poetry and community-oriented worship through spiritual songs known as Kirtans. He lived in Dehu. A Shila Mandir was built after his demise. But it was not formally structured as a Temple. It has been rebuilt in stone masonry with 36 peaks and carries an idol of Sant Tukaram.