The Abhang 4-A man is only as chaste as his own belief
The brahmin who flies into a rage at the touch of a mahar
That’s no brahmin.
The only absolution for such a brahmin
Is to die for his own sin.
He who refuses to touch a chandal
Has a polluted mind
Says Tuka, a man is only as chaste
As his own belief
Extract from a Tukaram abhang. Dilip Chitre’s translation:From Says Tuka, Penguin Books 1991.
The Bhakti poets (not just those from Maharashtra, but on a pan -Indian basis) rejected the divisions of caste and class.
Quite a few of Sant Tukaram’s abhangas contain searing social commentary-he criticised everyone from exploitative Brahmins to ascetics to those claiming to be spiritual gurus:
He has corrupted the doctrine of the self-beyond-the-self:
In the name of the Guru, he is only indulging himself!
Anyone could form a direct relationship with the Divine-this did not have to be mediated by caste, community or ritual.
All that one needed was to take the Divine’s name.