On the 11th day of the month of Asaadh, the Gods are put to sleep. This day is widely celebrated across India as Devshayani Ekadashi. (Do they sleep? Can we exist without them? is another question) But it is such a beautiful concept of “Sagun Bhakti”. As I sleep, so does my God. And our rishi’s have given a thought about people’s pshycology. The agrarian people will be busy with their work in the fields and will not be able to take care of the rituals associated with God’s. So the best way is to put Them to sleep. In this way, people can just concentrate on their work and give it 100% and at the same time do not feel bad or gulity about not doing their regular rituals and religious practises.
It was celebrated on 12th of July, this year, with a lot of fanfare at Pandharpur, the residing place of Lord Vitthal or Pandurang. Lacs of waarkari’s converge at the banks of Chandrabhagaa river and visit the deity residing in the temple. The waari ( वारी) as called in Marathi begins some 15/20 days before the Ekadashi. The devotees carry the Paduka’s (wooden sandals) of the great saints Tukaram from Dehu and Dnyaneshwar from Alandi, their birth places to Pandharpur for the Darshan of their Lord.
The roads are filled with the chants of
‘DNYANOBA MAULI TUKARAM”
“NIVRUTTI DNYANDEV SOPAN MUKTABAI,
EKNATH NAMDEO TUKARAM”.
All of them converge at Pandharpur on the day before Ekadashi. It is a divine trip from home to the temple, signifying the upliftment of the physical body to the spiritual soul. There are many waarkaris who have been taking this trip for years or from generations now. Their zest and enthusiasm irrespective of age and gender cannot be appreciated, but we can just offer them our ‘Namaskaars’.
The best thing about Warkari’s is that there is no distinction between caste or creed, rich or poor, King or layman and male and female. Not even between the child and the older people. They call each other ‘Mauli‘ and bow down to everyone whom they meet. It is a heartening picture to see a husband bowing down to his wife and a father bowing down to his son. The basic thought behind it is that I bow down to the God (Mauli – Mother) within you.
The saints Dnyaneshwar, Tukaram, Namdeo, Eknath, Gora Kumbhar, Chokha Mela, Muktabai and many others have done a tremendous work through this Bhakti movement in Maharashtra during the Mughal rule. They have visited hut to hut and touched the hearts of many a people and taken their Pandurang into the last person of the society.
Who is this Pandurang?
Who is this Vitthal?
Why does He stand with Hands onto his waist?
He is none other than Krishna who has travelled all the way from Dwarka to meet His Devotee Pundalik. Pundalik is the only son of two parents who have taken utmost care in his upbringing. Pundalik is a “ananya bhakt” of Krishna. He is spreading the word of Krishna to the people around him. His karmayog (work) is very big, but sadly lost today to history. When Shree Krishna hears about Pundalik and his work, He feels an urge to meet him. He rushes to Pandharpur in His chariot. The dusty roads make the dust stick to the skin of Shree Krishna. The already ‘Shyam’ (black) Krishna gets a new skin colour due to this dust. Hence He is called “Pandurang”.
When Krishna reaches the doors of Pundalik, He calls him out. It is said that Pundalik is busy with taking care of his parents, so throws a brick (eint) towards Him and asks him to wait. So Lord Pandurang puts His hands on His waist and waits for Pundalik to come out to meet him. Now this sounds a little weird to us. A devotee would never make his God to wait. Even the parents of Pundalik would have rushed out to meet Him. But due to poverty, there was no proper place to make Him sit, so they must have offered Him the brick shaped stone to sit on or stand on. We see Pandurang still standing on that stone at Pandharpur.
Jagadguru Shakaracharya gives us the meaning of this whole episode in his stotra “Pandurangashtkam.”
प्रमाणं भवाब्धेरिदं मामकानां नितंबः कराभ्यां धृतो येन तस्मात् । विधातुर्वसत्यै धृतो नाभिकोशः परब्रह्मलिङ्गं भजे पाण्डुरङ्गम् ॥ ३॥
Pramanam bhavabderidam mamkanaam,
Nitamb: karabhyaam dhruto yen tasmaat,
Vidhaturvasatyay dhruto nabhikosh:
Parabrahmalingam bhaje Panduranagam. ।।3।।
The God through this form of Pandurang wants to explain to His devotee thus:
“For those who are mine and reside in my heart, the waters of the Sansaar sagar, the Bhav sagar, are only upto the waist. So there is no question of drowning. One just needs to walk through these waist deep waters to meet me”
My dear readers, isn’t it big thing? It is generally, the devotee who goes to meet his God. Here it is the God, Himself, coming dow to meet His devotee. Namakaars to Pundalik and his karmayog.
From that day onwards till today, Pandurang through His various forms has guided His devotees to carry His word from heart to heart and hut to hut. It is through this thought, the saints came up with the thought of Dindi, or Wari, where devotees on their way to meet their Lord, walk from village to village. Visit hut to hut. Touch heart to heart. And spread the message of the Lord.
And after seeing, the work taken up and being done by His devotees, the way He wants them to, He goes to sleep. Why so? Is another topic which we will discuss and dwell upon when He gets up 4 months from now, on Prabodhini Ekadashi day.
PUNDALIK VARDE HARI VITTHAL.
SHREE DNYANDEV TUKARAM.
PANDHARINATH MAHARAJ KI JAY.
JAY JAY PANDURANG HARI
JAY JAY PANDURANG HARI…