On 10th May evening we reached Pandharpur and since we made arrangements for our stay and dinner at Palijar Mutt, Ramdham we went there straightaway. After keeping our luggages in the room, we asked our car driver to drop us before the temple. We booked for darshan through online, already.
There was heavy rush there in the temple but the queue moved quickly. The Vithoba Temple, Pandharpur is officially known as Shri Vitthal-Rukmini Mandir. All the devotees are allowed to touch the feet of the idol of Vithoba. There is a legend about this temple. Pundalik is a devoted son to his parents Janudev and Satyavati, who lived in a forest called Dandirvan. But after his wedding, Pundalik begins ill-treating his parents. Tired with their son’s misbehavior and ill treatment, the elderly couple decide to leave for Kashi. However, the elderly couple are not destined to escape their suffering so easily. Upon hearing his parents’ plans, Pundalik and his wife decide to join them on pilgrimage. The ill treatment continues. While the youthful son and his wife ride on horseback, the frail old couple walk in bad weather. Pundalik even makes his old parents work to make his own journey comfortable. Every evening, when the party camps for the night, the son forces his parents to groom the horses and do other jobs.
On the way to Kashi, the group reached the ashram of a pious and venerable sage, Kukkutswami. Exhausted, the family decides to spend a few days there. That night, when all were asleep, Pundalik by chance is awake and sees a remarkable vision. Just before dawn, a group of beautiful young women, dressed in soiled clothes, enter the ashram; they clean the floor, fetch water and wash the venerable sage’s clothes. After finishing their chores, they go to the prayer-room. When they reappear after prayer, their clothes are spotlessly clean. Then, they vanish as inexplicably as they had appeared.
He approaches the beautiful women and asks details. They reply, they are the Ganga, Yamuna and other holy rivers of India which are revered for their holiness. Pilgrims wish to take a dip in their holy waters to wash away their sins, which in fact are soiling their clothes. Then, the women say: “But O Pundalik, you, with your ill-treatment of your parents, are the greatest sinner of them all!” Pundalik is utterly shocked and his consciousness transforms. He realizes his misdeeds, becomes entirely devoted to his parents and ensures their comfort.
Impressed by Pundalik’s devotion to his parents, Lord Krishna planned to bless Pundalik immediately. So, he left for Pundalik’s ashram. Krishna knocks at Pundalik’s door, when he is busy serving his parents food. Pundalik does realize God is at his door. But such was his devotion to his parents, he wants to complete his duties and only then attend the visitor. Then, Pundalik does something strange but out of real devotion. He throws a brick outside for God to stand on and wait for him until he finishes attending to his parents. It is the first day of monsoon so it is wet and muddy outside. If Lord Krishna stands upon a brick his feet will remain clean and dry.
Seeing this act, Krishna was extremely impressed and the ever-loving God waited for his devotee. When Pundalik came out, he begged for pardon but far from being displeased, Krishna was taken over by Pundalik’s love for his parents and granted a boon. Pundalik requested Krishna to stay back on Earth and bless all his true devotees. He agreed to take the form of Vithoba, or God who stood upon a brick, and a temple came up there. Along with Vithoba, Rukmini is also worshipped here.
We all had very good darshan there and returned to our room peacefully.