Shivaji welcoming Sant Tukaram arriving to perform Kirtana (c. 1548 A.D.)

When Sant Tukaram died in 1650, Shivaji was about 23 years old. But Tukaram's devotional compositions or abhangas in praise of Vitthala and Vithoba were already very popular in Maharashtra. It is believed that Shivaji's first meeting with Tukaram took place at Pandharpur. The tradition goes that once Tukaram was performing Harikirtan in a religious congregation. Shivaji was also present on the occasion. Suddenly a thousand strong enemy troops surrounded the gathering with the intention to capture Shivaji. Tukaram prayed to God for help and, as if from nowhere, an equal number of men, all alike Shivaji, appeared on the scene, and in the ensueing confusion, Shivaji could give slip to the enemy.

There is no reason to doubt about more meetings between Tukaram and Shivaji as the former was the most popular saint at that time in Maharashtra and Shivaji's spiritual yearning was acute from the very beginning. How could he have remained untouched by the Pandharpur movement of which Tukaram represented one of the important phases? The saints provided "spiritual background to the political aims of workers like Shivaji". There are some compositions believed to be of Sant Tukaram addressed to Shivaji in which the word Chhatrapati has been used.

The next painting shows Shivaji welcoming Sant Tukaram. Shivaji is hardly of 20 years at this time – very young looking. Sant Tukaram is coming to perform kirtana. He has his Ektara with him. A number of people are sitting at some distance. In the chariot is an image of Vitthala along with His consort Vithoba. In the chariot are also a pair of kartala and some pothis in which his abhangas are written. Tukaram is standing near the chariot. Shivaji is bending respectfully before the saint.