Tag Archives: Panduranga

Lord Vithala and Pundalika

Janudev and Satyavati were a pious couple devoted to the Lord who lived in Dandirvan in Maharashtra. They had a son by name Pundalika (Pundarika). He was noble, respected his parents and was devoted to the Lord. At a suitable age, Pundalika got married. Under the influence of his wife, he neglected the worship of the Lord. He started abusing and ill-treating his parents. His wife started making them do all the domestic work. Tired and exhausted, sad and dejected at their plight they decided to go on a pilgrimage to Kashi. 

Pundalika and his wife also immediately decided to accompany them to Kashi. They made the old couple walk, while they rode on the horse-back. Throughout  the journey they harassed them enough that they even regretted having undertaken the pilgrimage. Enroute they arrived at Kukkuta Rishi’s ashram and decided to break the journey and stay there for a few days . 
At night when everyone was sleeping in the ashram, Pundalika was disturbed by the sound of anklets. He got up and went out to see from where the sound was coming. To his surprise he saw three young and beautiful women cleaning Kukkuta Rishi’s ashram. Their clothes were extremely dirty. And surprisingly, when they had finished cleaning the entire premises and were about to leave the ashram, their clothes were spotless white and clean! This happened consecutively for three days.

On the third day, unable to check his curiosity, Pundalika approached the women and asked them who they were and why their clothes were dirty and how their clothes became clean after cleaning the ashram. The women told Pundalika that they were the presiding deities of the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. They said, “every day thousands of devotees come and take a holy dip in our waters and wash off their sins because of which our clothes become dirty. As a result of serving the great Kukkuta Rishi by cleaning his ashram, we get rid off the sins of thousands of pilgrims and inturn our clothes again become spotless and clean and we once again regain back our lost glory.” And the river-deities continued, “of all the people, you are the most sinful one because you ill-treat and harass your parents. We are able to regain our glory because Kukkuta Rishi consistently and constantly served his old parents by looking upon them as the Lord himself. That is the Rishi’s Greatness and Glory .”

These words went straight into Pundalika’s heart. He immediately remembered how badly he had treated his parents. He was overcome with remorse. He narrated everything to his wife and told her that the rest of his life would be spent only in looking after his aged parents. He ran to his parents, fell at their feet and asked to be forgiven. He convinced his parents to return home and promised to look after them well. They were overjoyed at the transformation of their son whom they had totally given up and happily agreed to return back home. While coming back, the aged parents rode on horse-back and Pundalika and his wife walked by their side.
After coming back home, from that day onwards, day and night, Pundalika looked after and served his parents with all devotion. To him they were the manifestation of Lakshmi and Narayana. The Lord was very pleased with Pundalika’s devotion and decided to bestow his grace upon him and decided to come to the banks of the river Chandrabhaga where Pundalika was staying. Lord Shiva came to know about this and wished to accompany Sri Hari. The Lord agreed and asked Lord Shiva to occupy the crown on his head and Shiva seated himself on the crown of Hari in the form of Shiva-linga. 

Hari and Hara came to the dwelling of Pundalika and Hari called out to Pundalika and announced his arrival. Pundalika was massaging his father’s leg at that time and therefore told the Lord that he was busy serving his father and would not be able to leave his duties and come outside immediately. He threw a brick that was lying nearby and told the Lord to stand on it and wait. Lord Hari stood on the brick and with both his hands on his waist, waited for Pundalika. After his service, Pundalika came out of his house and was overwhelmed with the darshan of the Lord. He prostrated to the Lord. Pleased with his devotion to his parents, the Lord asked him what boon he wanted. Pundalika told the Lord that he wanted nothing for himself but asked the Lord to permanently stay there to bless all the devotees. The Lord agreed and stayed there standing on the brick with hands on his waist as Lord Vithala along with his consort, Rukmini in Pandharpur on the banks of the river Chandrabhaga.

Jai Sri Vithala! Jai Hari Vithala! Vithala Vithala! Panduranga Vithala!

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Shivaji Maharaj blessed by Lord Vitthala

Shivaji Tukaram

It was Ekadasi and Sant Tukaram had arrived at Vithoba temple in Pune. Devotees were glad that they could hear the bhajans sung by Sant Tukaram. Shivaji unexpectedly came to the temple to hear bhajans as he got to know the arrival of Sant Tukaram. Shivaji Maharaj considered Sant Tukaram as his guru like Samartha Ramadas.

It was not a safe place for Shivaji to stay at the temple as the enemy king was bent on capturing him. Having known Shivaji’s presence, the enemies thought that this was the right time to capture him at the temple. When the bhajans were going on, Shivaji’s bodyguard told him that it was not safe for him to stay there as the enemies had come to know of his presence at the temple.

Shivaji at once went to Tukaram to take leave, but Sant Tukaram unaware of the situation asked Shivaji to take Prasad after bhajan and then leave. Tukaram said that Lord Vittala would take care of everything. Shivaji decided that he would not disobey his Guru’s words and submitted himself completely at Lord Vitthala’s Feet. Tukaram continued singing bhajans with great devotion when one of his disciple came to him and said that they were surrounded by enemies eagerly waiting to capture Shivaji.

Realizing the gravity of the situation, heart overwhelming with devotion and eyes filled with tears, Tukaram invoked Lord Vitthala through four beautiful abhangs, asking the Lord to take care of the entire situation. It is said that at that time, the enemies who had surrounded the temple saw Shivaji on a horseback disappearing into the forest. The enemies at once went behind Shivaji. It was Lord Vitthala who had taken on the form of Shivaji who disappeared into the forests.

In the meantime, the real Shivaji after taking Prasad and blessings of Tukaram escaped. Tukaram who came to know about the situation shed tears in ecstasy thinking about the mercy of Lord Vitthala.

[Shivaji Maharaj was the greatest among the Maratha king warrior born in 1630]

Where there is unconditioned devotion and complete surrender, “I shall look after your Yoga-Kshema”, says Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Geeta.

[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]

Merit of feeding the poor – Story of Sant Eknath

Eknath

Eknath was a great devotee of Lord Krishna. He was born in the year 1533 in Maharashtra.

It was a day to perform funeral rites of his ancestors. On this day there is a tradition to feed the brahmins. But instead, Eknath had invited the poor and low-caste people to his house for food.  He served them all with great respect.

The brahmins got to know about this and were furious. They went to Eknath’s house and accused him for having broken the tradition of feeding the brahmins. To repent for his wrong deed, they asked Eknath to take bath in the river and pray to God to pardon him. Eknath without saying a word followed what was told.

When Eknath had just finished taking a bath in the river, a leper (diseased) came there searching for Eknath.  He fell at Eknath’s feet and pleaded Eknath to protect him. He said that he was a devotee of Lord Shiva and had come from Tryambakeshwar. Lord Shiva had come in his dream and had said that Eknath had accumulated so much merit (punya) by feeding the poor & the low-caste that Eknath had the power to cure him.

Hearing this, Eknath immediately took a handful of water from the river and sprinkled it on the leper. What a miracle! The leper was completely cured.  The brahmins who witnessed this realized the greatness of Eknath and pleaded for forgiveness.

Eknath later wrote a version of Bhagavata Purana known as Eknathi Bhagavatha and Ramayana known as Bhavarth Ramayan.

Moral: Jana seva is Janardana seva: “Service to people is Service to God”.

[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]