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:
* Wanawasi Phool
* Majhi Bharya
* Bapache Ashru
* Srushtichi Bhaubij
* Pure Janato Micha Majhe Bala
* Majhya Janambhumiche Nav
* Priyakar Hindistan
* Lekarachi Jidnyasa
* Kawichi Winawani
Source: Accessed on 27.01.2010, from the link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narayan_Waman_Tilak