Once upon a time, Devi Rukhmini, displeased with Shrikrushna, left for the forest Dindir in Pandharpur. Shrikrushna started off in the search of Devi Rukhmini. He also wanted to test devotion of Pundalik towards his parents. Shrikrushna arrived in Pandharpur and stood at the entrance of Pundalik’s house. When He peeped in, He indeed saw Pundalik engrossed in the service of his parents. Despite seeing the Parabrahman Pandurang (One who is hungry for spiritual emotion and had left Heaven for its sake) Himself standing at his doorstep, leave aside rising to welcome Him, he did not even shift from his place. How can he allow a break in the service of his parents? From the seat he was sitting, he humbly saluted the God with a smile on his face. He was in a great dilemma as he neither could break the vowed observance of service, nor could he follow the Dharma of a householder. He then picked up a brick lying nearby, threw it towards the entrance and pleaded the God to stand on it till the time he completed his seva. And what a surprise! Deity Vithoba indeed stood on the brick with His hands on His waist. God does everything for His real devotee.
Deity Vithoba was pleased with Pundalik seeing his limitless devotion towards his parents and asked him to seek a boon. Pundalik thought to himself what boon should he ask for – money, wealth, farm or a big house? Then he thought that material wealth should be attained by one’s own prowess, let me ask for something out of the world and said to the God, “O God, I do not need anything for my worldly life, I only seek You! I request you to stand in the same place on the brick as you are right now for your devotees and let them get your Divine vision all the time.” Deity Vitthal blessed him with the boon and since that time He has been standing on the brick with His hands on the waist for 28 eras or 700 years and fulfilling the wish of His devotees. It is only due to Pundalik that the devotees can cherish the Divine vision of God. Deity Vitthal is ‘samacharan’, meaning He looks at everyone with same view and whoever surrenders at His holy feet obtains a similar view. Blessed is Pundalik and blessed is his devotion towards his parents!
Some references found in the
Scriptures regarding devotee Pundalik’s devotion
1. The boon sought by devotee Pundalik – Padmapuran
As per the references found in Padmapuran and Skandapuran it can be observed that the temple of Pandharpur has been famous since ancient times. Since those times the people used to visit Pandharpur for the darshan. Padmapuran has a mention that, ‘Devotee Pundalik had sought a boon from Deity Pandurang that let the sins of all the people coming for His darshan get destroyed’
2. The boon sought by devotee Pundalik – Skandapuran
‘इति स्तुत्वा ततो देवं प्राह गद्गदया गिरा ।
अनेनैव स्वरूपेण त्वया स्थेयं ममान्तिके ॥
ज्ञानविज्ञानहीनानां मूढानां पापिनामपि ।
दर्शनान्ते भवेन्मोक्षः प्रार्थयामि पुनः पुनः ॥ – स्कन्दपुराण
Meaning : Thereafter he praised the God and gladly requested Him, “Please be with me in this same form. I humbly request again and again at Your holy feet that merely by Your Divine vision, let even the stupid, ignorant and sinful people get liberated.”
3. The first pilgrimage
Devotee Pundalik had sought a boon from the God that let Shrikrushna stand on the brick in the form of Deity Vitthal for upliftment of all the devotees. Since then, the pilgrimage to Pandharpur got initiated.
4. ‘Pandurangashtak’ – shlokas authored by Aadi Shankaracharya in 800 AD
महायोगपीठे तटे भीमरथ्या वरं पुण्डरीकाय दातुं मुनीन्द्रैः ।
समागत्य निष्ठन्तमानन्दकन्दं परब्रह्मलिङ्गं भजे पाण्डुरङ्गम् ॥ – आदिशंकराचार्य कृत पाण्डुरङ्गाष्टकम्
Meaning : I worship Parabrahman Pandurang who came to the holy seat at the banks of the river Bhima along with the seers to give boon to the devotee Pundalik.