“My father is the husband of Rukmini Devi; Vitthal is everything.”—Sant Gyaneshwar, thirteenth century.
“My Mother Krishna is a good mother-sister.”—Sant Namdev.
Once Rukmini, jealous of Krishna’s consideration to one other consort, got here to the town of Pandharpur. While looking for her, Krishna got here throughout the ashram of Rishi Pundalik. Krishna discovered Pundalik taking good care of his dad and mom in utmost devotion. Despite coming to know the presence of God Himself, Pundalik couldn’t care much less as he was within the midst of service to his dad and mom. However, because it was raining and the ground outdoors was muddy, Pundalik tossed a brick to Lord in order that He might stand on it and wait till he was completed. However, because it turned out, Pundalik’s everlasting work of filial devotion was by no means completed and Krishna is nonetheless standing akimbo on the brick, eternally ready for 28 yugas (eons).
In Pandharpur, Krishna is accordingly often called Vitthal or the one standing (thal or sthal) on the brick (vit).
Vithoba: The Available God of His Devotees
Having learnt a lesson or two from Pundalik, in how to be a good household man, Krishna went on to resolve the matter along with his disgruntled spouse, Rukmini Devi, after which determined to settle together with her in Pandharpur out of affection for His devotees. Vitthal is, for his devotees, basically a household man—not simply husband of Rukmini Devi but in addition mom, father, sister, and good friend of devotees. Sant Namdev says that Vitthal “feeds him the milk of love from His own breasts.”
Pandurang, as Vitthal is also called, is the obtainable God who is all the time to callings of his devotees—not transcendental or distant God. Devotees refer to Him slightly informally as “Vithoba” (Vitthu + Baba) as we do to our buddies or shut ones. Vitthal even suffers from withdrawal signs if His devotees depart Him. As Vitthal confessed to Rukmini, as recorded in Namdev’s Tirthavali, His intimately particular bond with devotees:
“I keep my devotees close to my heart and to them too, there is no one as dear as I. I take the form of a human for their pleasure. I provide them whatever they desire as they are the greatest happiness of my life. They are my refuge and I am their rest. Their mouths invoke my name. I am their shade; they are my companions. It’s a wonderful thing to be in their company. Voice, mind, body, breath—they give it all to me. I cheer them by living amongst them. They make me happy; they’re in control. For them, I made the dwellings of Heaven. Their secrets I alone know, and they can read my signs. The sun shines with its rays, and those rays are not different from the sun. That’s the way it is with my devotees and me. We are of one essence, without division. They are constituted by their devotion to me and devotion produces my form just as a flame and a lamp are the same.”
Perhaps this is the explanation that the temple of Rukmini is individually positioned from Vitthal’s in Pandharpur. Vitthal’s indulgence in direction of His devotees is a lot that He has no time for her.
As Rohinimokashi-Punekar explains absence of identification of Vithoba aside from His devotees akin to poet-saints:
“In a curious fashion, and unlike the luxuriant descriptions of godheads in Hinduism, Vitthal is identified not by myths and stories surrounding him, but by stories about the saint-poets. The mythology of Vitthal is in a sense the mythology of the saint-poets. He is given shape and form and substance by the devotion of the varkam; by himself he is almost qualityless.”
The salutation amongst Waarkaris (the annual pilgrimage to Pandharpur temple) is “Bola Pundalik varade Hari Vitthal—Shree Gyandev Tukaram” which is an ode to his exemplary devotees Gyaneshwar and Tukaram. What issues to Vitthal is the sensation of devotion and never caste or standing or gender. Dnyaneshwar was a Brahmin, Tukaram a Baniya, Namdev a tailor, Chokha Mela, an outcaste, Janabai a poor housewife and Kanhoptara, a prostitute.
It is stated that when King Krishnadeva Raya determined to take vigraha/murti of Vitthal to Karnataka, Vitthal appeared in his dream and agreed to include the king provided that devotees too might have unrestricted entry to Him on the new place. However, when the settlement was breached and the general public was barred from having darshan of Vitthal, the God grew to become stressed. Vitthal then instructed a pious devotee, Bhandudas, to reinstate Him again at Pandharpur which he ultimately did.
Vithoba would wash garments of Janabai each day as she was overloaded by her duties. Vithoba got here speeding to the Help of Namdev when he was about to die of thirst when away from Pandharpur. Vithoba Himself would go to hut of Chokha Mela and dine with him as he was denied entry to the temple by the caste Brahmins.
The devotees of Vithoba undertake biannual pilgrimage on foot referred to as wari, from samadhi of saints to Pandharpur. The warkaris, as pilgrims are recognized, carry paduka (sandals) of saints in a palkhi. Of all, palkhis of sant Tukaram (from Dehu) and sant Gyaneshwar (from Alandi) are most well-known and attain Pandharpur on Ekadashi. More than 15 lakhs folks, of their respective troupe often called dindi, be part of wari which is the most important periodic motion of individuals from one place to one other on Earth. The custom is round 800 years outdated. Covering a distance of practically 250 KMs, the devotees attain to Pandharpur in 21 days. They know that their Vithoba has patiently been ready for them as He had waited for Rishi Pandurang for 28 yugas.