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” (Idol worship). As I sleep, so does my God.
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 is being celebrated today on 19th of July, this year, without any fanfare, in every simple manner, at Pandharpur, the residing place of Lord Vitthal or Pandurang.
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 unto 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. And so Bhagwan Shankaracharya calls this place the “Mahayogpeeth“.
Let us all today promise our Bhagwaan that we will do your work and spread your message hut to hut and heart to heart so that you may sleep at ease for the next 4 months.
Let us all read the lives of the saints, understand what they have taught us and try to imbibe those things in our lives.
Let us pledge to see God in everyone, living or non-living and slowly develop an out of reverence for the same.
Will end with an ovi which is one of my favourite written by Sant Dnyaneshwar…
देवाचिये द्वारीं उभा क्षणभरी । तेणें मुक्ति चारी साधियेल्या, हरि मुखें म्हणा हरि मुखें म्हणा । पुण्याची गणना कोण करी, असोनि संसारीं जिव्हे वेगु करी । वेदशास्त्र उभारी बाह्या सदा , ज्ञानदेव म्हणे व्यासाचिया खुणें । द्वारकेचा राणा पांडवां घरीं,