Millions of devotees all over the world gather at Pandharpur on the eleventh day of the waxing moon in June -July ( Aashaada Suddha Ekadasi) and in October -November ( Karthik Suddha Ekadasi ) . The lovely devotees mostly are Varkaris . Kari means one who undertakes .. Vari means periodical piligrimage ..
Varkaris are advance devotees of Lord Vittala . The devotees form society ( mandalies) for spreading the love of Lord among the people by story telling , singing devotional songs and preaching Holy name . Walking in groups accompany the palanquin in which are placed the silver paadukaas of the liberated saints on their Annual piligrimage . Trekking on foot for almost 41 days helping each other , singing together , Singing Kirtans and dancing together repeating ………………………….. Vithobaaa.. Rakhumai .. Jai Jai Rama Krishna Hari …. making the place Golokaa…
Fortunate souls get this oppurtunity to serve the Lordships amongst the advanced devotees .
The annual Pandharpur yatra to the famous Vithoba temple at Pandharpur in Maharashtra culminates on this auspicious Aashada Ekadasi day ( Apperance day of Lord Vittala) on July 20 , 2021 . A vast sea of humanity seeking the Supreme Lord is seen at this holy place . The saints have shown their merciful favor. Several devotees and several saints have given us a path for devotion and surrender which takes us out of the material world which is temporary .
Santh Gynandeva laid the foundation and erected the temple of devotion . Santh Namadeva built the wall surrounding . Santh Ekanath erected the pillar in the form of commentary on Srimad Bhagavatha Purana . Santh Tukaram became its pinnacle . Now the worship in this temple should be our goal .
Few hundred years back , there lived a devotee Kurmadas in a village called Paithan . about 450 kms away from Pandharpur . He desired to have darsanam of the Lord on HIS appearance day-Aashada Ekadasi.
As he had tiny limbs, he couldn’t walk . But the strong desire to have darshan was making him anxious . Whoever he met , he used to ask the form and beauty of Lord Vittala . He wished to join few devotees to have darshan . But was feeling shy to ask them as his trekking along with them would delay their yatra .His prayers was sincere . Repeatedly thinking of the beautiful form of the Supreme Lord the desire to have darshan became more and more serious . He decided he would make it If Lord wishes . He took leave of family and undertook his pilgrimage by literally crawling .
Many villagers discouraged him and mocked at him for this tedious task. But he was firm in his devotion, he started off thinking of the Supreme Lord . Every day, he could crawl for few kms and take rest.
Every step was filled with the chant Jai Jai Ramakrishna Hari ….filled with unconditional love to Lord . Many watching him crawl laughed at his movements .
Lord appeared before him in the guise of a business man and asked, ‘
My dear friend , where are you going?
Isn’t it difficult for you to crawl thus without feet?’
When he heard about his mission, the business man said, ‘Oh! That’s fine. I too am proceeding to Pandharpur.
I am a business man there. My name is Vitobha. We make good company.’
Kurmadas laughed and said Sir How can we make good company?
You can walk very fast, while I cannot even walk.
Vitobha assured him, ‘Don’t you worry. I’ll take care of you.
So saying he provided him food, clothing and shelter for the night. Next morning Vitobha asked Kurmadas to proceed slowly. He said he would wait for him in the next village with food and shelter.’ I serve the poor pilgrims on their way to Pandharpur. That is my duty he added.
Kurmadas with great difficulty reached nearby village by evening.
Vitobha used to eagerly wait like a affectionate mother for her child . He used to make delicious food and served him food . Later he would make a nice bed for him sleep to comfortably for the night there. This practice continued for nearly four months. His food and accommodation was taken care of all throughout the journey. If there was no village en route by the evening Lord created one for him to make his stay comfortable.
Kurmadasa crawled like a lizard on the road continuously for four months … Finally , he reached a village called Laul which is 5 kms from a town kuruduwadi . By then, his body was totally scratched with blood oozing out everywhere. He couldn’t move an inch any more. Totally exhausted and understanding he cannot make it any more to Pandharpur , he mentally offered his prayers with tears saying he could not make it for Aashadaa Ekadasee.
He stayed back at the village Laul . He called few varkaris and sent a word to Lord Panduranga Vittala about his pitiable condition . They were touched by his pathetic story and offered to convey his message specially . Will Lord be unmindful of such staunch devotees?
When his devotee could not reach him, Lord reached him.
He went personally to Laul accompanied by three more devotees Jnanadev, Namadev and Savithamali.
Lord appeared in the same form he was meditating . Lord’s eyes were long like petals of a blooming lotus, and His charming lotus-like face made all the more charming by His extremely beautiful and sweet, nectarous smiles. His profuse curling hairs , the golden flute in his hand, and his blue-colored skin glowing with innumerable moons around ….
Can words describe the joy of Kurmadas on seeing his Lord Vittala with his close devotees, come down to personally bless him?
Tears gushed from his eyes like torrent ….
Oh My Lord !!!!! my life purpose is fulfilled. Your divine darsan liberates me from the cycle of life and death.
Oh Lord …Sorry for this trouble …Kurmadas was crying like a small child for disturbing the Lord Of Lords ..
Oh Lord !!! Instead of me reaching your lotus feet …You have walked down to see this sinner
He was uncontrollable .
Lord Vittala was moved by the Ananya Bhakti of his devotee. He embraced his devotee like a mother and behold the child regained his arms and limbs
Lord looked at him with bewitching smile and wanted to grace him further .. He asks him , my child I want to give you anything you wish …..
‘Oh My saviour ..Vittala..Vittala
! Why do you divert my attention? Why do you want to tempt me with desires?
You have imbibed in me that desires lead to sorrow.
Desires arise out of ignorance Do you want me to fall a prey to them once again ?
Oh My Lord , I do not seek any thing ,,anything
My mind has become blank. My senses have come to a stand still. My eyes which are blessed with the sight of your celestial divine beauty will not be compromised for any lesser beauty. My ears which were blessed with the nectar like sounds emanated from you are deaf to any other sound, however interesting it may be.
A honeybee, if it is dropped into a big vessel of honey, enjoys the honey to its maximum and remains there itself. Presently, I am like that. I am dead for the rest of the world. I have a new birth into your Kingdom my Supreme Lord . I don’t have any more desire! My life’s purpose is completed.
All the same, I can’t deny your grant of wish. It is not fair on my part to refuse a boon offered by you in the presence of my manasika gurus . Let me seek a small favor from you. There may be many more crippled and handicapped people like me who may not be able to have darshan of Pandharapur where you reside . Kindly stay back here in this village for many many souls to have your darshan
. As per his wish, Lord Vittala turned out to be an deity there and disappeared with his three saints .
Even today, this holy place where LORD personally visited is treated on par with Pandharpur. The devotees who go to Pandharpur in Ashad and Kartik months go for darshan at this place after the special festival at Pandharpur .
Jai Jai Bhaktha Kurmadasa
All glories to the great saints and the devotees
Your servant offers countless dandaavats pranaams to the mahasants who were able to please the LORD to remain here in the wonderful dhaam .and
All glories to the devotees who are in Pandharpur dhaam serving the Supreme Lord
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pics & Videos : Courtesy from afvance devotees who have uploaded in social web sites