A Blog on Mythology and occasionally on Reality.

This is a Blog on Mythology, both Indian and World and especially the analysis of the myths.

In effect, the interpretation of the inherent Symbolism.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Vithoba of Pandarpur – Pundalik

Last time we read about Vithoba and Rakhumai and their association with Vishnu. We will now discuss about Pundalik, a devotee of Vithoba. There are a few stories associated with Pundalik.
According to one of the myths, an ascetic by the name of Pundarika (same as Pundalik) was a devotee of Lord Vishnu and was dedicated to the service of his aged parents. It is said that pleased with his devotion, Lord Krishna (again a form of Vishnu) came from the Mount Govardhana along with his cows to graze and meet Pundarika. Krishna at that time was in described as wearing a headdress made out of peacock feathers, with his hands on his hips and his cow-stick between his thighs. Pundarika, moved by the divine sight, requested Krishna to stay on at the site, which was at the banks of the river Bhima, as that would make the area a sacred place or a tirtha-sthana. The location is today identified as Pandarpur which is at the banks of river Bhima and the description of Krishna matches with the image of Vithoba at Pandarpur.
Another legend has it that Pundalik who was devoted to his parents, started neglecting his parents after his marriage since he had madly fallen in love with his wife. However, a sage made him aware of his folly and he felt guilty of what had happened and re-dedicated his life to the service of his parents. Meanwhile Radha, came to visit Krishna at Dwarka and sat on the lap of Krishna and did not even acknowledge Rukmini who was the queen of Krishna. As if this act by itself was not offending enough, Krishna did not even find Radha guilty of the act. Rukmini took offence to this and left the palace and went to the forest of Dandivan which is near the modern day Pandarpur. Later Krishna who was saddened by the absence of Rukmini went to Dandivan in search of Rukmini and later found her resting near Pundalik’s house. After a lot of coaxing and cajoling, Rumini agreed to return with Krishna. They then went to visit Pundalik who was busy taking care of his parents. On hearing Krishna, he threw a brick outside and asked him to wait and rest on it till he is done with his parents. Krishna stood and waited and it is said that on the request of Pundalik Krishna remained on the brick with Rukmini as Rakhumai.
Both the myths have very simple rustic origins, which imply that Vithoba was a local deity who in due course of time got assimilated with the larger Hindu pantheon. The larger association of Vithoba, with Krishna and thus Vishnu proves the ‘long-distance’ association with the mainstream gods. However, the local flavor has not changed and the rituals and the legends still bear testimony to the same. The legends of Pundalik also gives moral messages of taking care of aged-parents as that seems to be the underlying theme in both the above mentioned variants of the myth. Thus the myths have both religious as well as moral undertones.

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