Narayan Waman Tilak

5 02 2010

Narayan Waman Tilak (1861-1919) was a Marathi poet from Maharashtra, India.

Tilak was born on December 6, 1861 in a Hindu family in the village of Karajhgaon in Ratnagiri District of Maharashtra.

During 1869-1873, he studied in the town of Kalyan near Mumbai, and studied primarily Sanskrit literature during the next four years in the town of Nashik. After learning English and other school subjects during 1877-1889, he terminated his studies, undertaking a modest job as a teacher to support himself and his bride, Manakaranika Gokhale , to whom his marriage was arranged in 1880 by his family in accord with the social custom of his times.

Lakshmibai Tilak was the married name of Tilak’s wife. Laxmibai had no formal schooling; however, through Tilak’s encouragement, she learned to read and write Marathi, mastering the language to the extent of later writing her autobiography, Smruti Chitre , which turned out to be an autobiographical masterpiece in Marathi.

Tilak undertook a variety of modest jobs in different towns in Maharashtra at different times in his life, including the job of a teacher, a Hindu priest, and a printing press compositor.

In 1891, he got a job in Nagpur as a translator of Sanskrit literature. (He himself wrote some poems in Sanskrit in the following years.) Under the patronage of one Appasaheb Buti, he edited for a while a Marathi magazine named Rushi , which was aimed at discussions of Hindu religious matters.

In 1893, Tilak was once traveling by train from Nagpur to Rajanandgaon Sansthan –which was a princely state in the Central Province of India in those times—in search of a new job. During the travel, he met a Christian missionary, who glowingly talked of his religion to Tilak, presented a copy of the Bible to Tilak, and whispered a “prophesy” in Tilak’s ears that Tilak “would come under of grace of Savior Jesus in less than two years.”

Subsequently, Tilak, who already had in his mind some unsympathetic thoughts concerning the emphasis on “rituals” and the role of castes in traditional Hinduism, read the Bible, and felt attracted toward Christianity to the extent that he relinquished Hinduism and formally accepted Christianity in February 1895. He did so without informing his wife, who had at that time strong faith in Hinduism. The religious difference resulted in the separation of the couple for some time. During the time of separation, Laxmibai studied Christianity, felt drawn to it, accepted Christianity in 1900, and the couple resumed their matrimony with much mutual love.

After accepting Christianity, Tilak mostly lived in the town of Ahmadnagar and served the church as a preacher for about 24 years, until his death in 1919. (He had moved to Satara two years before his death.)

Tilak composed over a hundred Christian devotional songs in Marathi in either abhanga  or ovi  form. They were published in a book titled “Abhanganjali” . He also commenced in 1909 composition of epical Khristayan . He composed 10 chapters of it and left it uncompleted at the time of his death; Laxmibai subsequently completed it by adding 64 chapters of her own.

Besides the initial parts of Khristayan , Tilak wrote many long poems comprising several hundred lines, each. His over 2,100 poems include:

    * Khristayan
    * Wanawasi Phool
    * Sushila
    * Majhi Bharya
    * Bapache Ashru
    * Parwatarohan
    * Srushtichi Bhaubij
    * Pure Janato Micha Majhe Bala
    * Ranashing
    * Majhya Janambhumiche Nav
    * Priyakar Hindistan
    * Lekarachi Jidnyasa
    * Kawichi Winawani
    * Kawi

Source: Accessed on 27.01.2010, from the link:



7 responses

17 03 2010

I personally thank you for putting this information on Rev. NV Tilak on the net so as to all of us – especially Marathi Christians can know the background of such a great and selfless servant of the Lord. He was great scholar of Sanskrit. His songs were full of faith, devotion, dedication and worth to be sung not only in the regular Church services, but also solo and group songs. I must appeal all of Marathi Christian Community to give a serious thoughts for such hymns before they disapprears against foreign languages ( which are more encouraged in the Church Praise and worship ). These songs must be re-dubbed – remixed and made worth singing in Church services. The dubbing or remixing or new tuning should be more towards Indian classical and traditional Marathi style (MARATHI PADHHATI).

Churches, Youth Groups, Bhajan Mandalis, Christian Senior Citizens ( who are familiar with old and traditional tunes of these songs) must collectively contribute for this nobel cause. We all including, believers, Church goers, Bible Society, Local bhajan Mandalis, Choir Group, various small or large scale Christian institutions, Bible colleges must contribute for this reason by way of direct monetory support, group discussions, group competitions, solo competitions rather more frequently.

We all must emphasise Praise and Worship in Spirit and Truth … what Rev. Tilak has done without any help.

Similarly, Chruches must not sideline this remarkable contribution for the Glory of the Lord rather their existing survivors should be and frequently and publicly honoured and motivated. If required, financial assistance should be extended and thus they should be motivated to continue the task of their ancestors with more dedication and spirit.

If I can recollect, Church of Christ, Baramati, Nasik Marathi Church, Ahmednagar Church, Punch Howd, Pune and allied Churches have been contineously using his collection with better modifications. This must continue with vigor and enthu and Churches should add to it. Similarly, Marathi Churches must give due emphasise on singing in Marathi more than other foreign languages.

Your comments are invited.

3 05 2010
sandeep Joseph

Do we have good pics of Rev. N. V. Tilak’ s early days, his books, or any other so that it can be used to make a P.P to introduce him to next gen. christian
if you do have we would like to use it in a video being produced to mobilise christian lay leaders.

21 10 2010
Avinash anantrao parkhe

Rev.Tilak had a great work for well as for the religious literature.i do belive that singing a song once is equal to pray the same time the language used in the creation of the golden collection of tilaks hymns is very simple that a very child can understand the meanimmg of the words used in the hymn.i hope that very early the marathi christians wl use the hymns.

5 01 2011
2010 in review « Conversions in India – Testimonies

[…] Narayan Waman Tilak February 2010 3 comments 5 […]

11 04 2011

Rev. Narayan Vaman Tilak is itself is the greatest story ever happened in the land of maharashtra in the 19th century. He was extroordinarily brillient, greatest poet and urdent lover of CHRIST. He followed and lived like a Christ. He himself is a ” CHALTA BOLTA CHAMATKAR” that each and every person should try to be like him.

I request all Bishops and Highley placed leaders to teach the story of NVT to all Youth Groups, Sunday Schools, Mahila Mandals, Hospital Staff, NGOs, Churches and each person who loves CHRIST.

Kindly put up photographs of Rev. N.V. Tilak and Laxmibai on net.

5 12 2011
hanokh patel

I know it is hard to explan but it is very very simple to understand the truth because it cannot be hidden when truth appears it appeares with the great bang

22 02 2015
Sandesh Wagh

bhajan song

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: