The Secret Of Pandharpur, Krishna Panduranga Vitthala And His Consort Rukmini
Panduranga Vitthala. Deity at Maharashtra’s spiritual capital Pandharpur. Panduranga (white hued); Vitthala (standing on a brick).
Lord Krishna visits an ardent devotee in Pandharpur in physical form; devotee is pre-occupied with serving his sick parents.
Lord Krishna walks in thru doorway & stands behind devotee, who senses a visitor but doesn’t want to turn attention away from parents.
Devotee pushes a brick behind him & orders visitor to sit on it; in Indian custom, guests are not allowed to sit on bare floor.
Krishna hops onto brick & stands on it to keep devotee’s word, while indulgently looking over devotee’s shoulder with a smile on his lips.
That’s the deity at Pandharpur. Lord Krishna as Vitthala, standing on a brick, hands on hips, with a smile on his lips.
But why & how did he get the name Panduranga/white-hued? (Because Krishna is dark complexioned).
Tenali Rama was an Andhra poet, known for his wit, humor & poesy; he was one of the 9 `gems’ in kingdom of Krishnadevaraaya.
Krishnadevaraaya consolidated the Vijayanagaram empire that spanned across modern day Andhra & Karnataka.
Krishnadevaraaya was a devotee of Lord Krishna & greatly promulgated Vaishnavism in south-India.
King Krishnadevaraaya requested Tenali Rama to come up with a unique ode to Lord Krishna, in his own unique witty way.
Tenali Rama’s Panduranga-Mahatyam is one of is his most celebrated works; originally in Telugu & translated into many languages.
In Panduranga-Mahatyam & many other works dedicated to Lord Krishna, we find references to how the Lord got this name `white-hued’.
Panduranga is revered on Shukla-paksha (bright half) Ekadashi (11th day of lunar cycle) & Vitthala on Krishna-paksha (dark half) Ekadashi.
Sant Tukaram & Sant Namdev, of Maharashtra, have immortalized Panduranga & Vitthala in their odes, chants & devotion. (Sant=Saint).
Hari Om Vitthala: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaeKVG_SuvI
Padma-Purana & Skanda-Purana briefly, & Panduranga-Mahatyam in detail, describe why Lord Krishna journeyed to Pandharpur.
Rukmini implores Krishna to invite Radha home; her request is fueled by her own curiosity & those of other wives.
Few days later; Rukmini reminds; Krishna indicates he has conveyed her invite; more silence; Rukmini egged by wives provokes Krishna.
Rukmini speaks of Radha’s disrespect to Krishna; Krishna shrugs it off; Rukmini persists.
Do you really want to meet Radha or is it just curiosity? asks Krishna; because if it is curiosity, it is disrespectful to her.
Rukmini is hurt. She decides to spy on Krishna. Late 1 night, Krishna sets off towards Vrindavan. Rukmini follows.
Rukmini reaches Vrindavan & spots Krishna from a distance; he appears fair-skinned & there is a glow around him.
Krishna? Pandurang? (Krishna? Fair complexioned?) utters Rukmini in surprise.Krishna turns around. Rukmini spots Radha in his embrace.
Krishna in his embrace with Radha, has momentarily taken on her color & complexion. The glow is from their togetherness.
Rukmini is shocked, furious, seething. She storms off in opposite direction. Krishna follows Rukmini.
Trying to get as far away as she can from Krishna, Rukmini reaches Pandharpur; Krishna catches up with her; Rukmini turns her face away.
Krsna: The secret of Radha lies in the form I’ve taken today; you’ve christened me Pandurang; if you look at me, I’ll enlighten you.
Krsna: You wished to meet Radha; I’m standing here in her form; if you look at me now, you’ll understand everything about Radha.
Rkmni: My Lord, please leave before I say or do something that I will deeply regret; I do not wish to look at you; this is not my Krishna.
Krsna: Very well then; there’s a devotee of mine in Pandharpur; I shall go & see him instead. (Krishna leaves).
After a while Rukmini turns around; disappointed to see Krishna has really left; she’s afraid to lose him; she searches for him.
Rukmini reaches devotee Pundalik’s house; spots Krishna from far; Krishna senses Rukmini; but she has missed her moment of enlightenment.
Krishna has frozen into the form of Vitthal, (black stone, standing on a brick, hands on hips, smile on lips). Rukmini dare not face him.
Standing many paces behind him, she wills herself to turn into stone as well. Pandharpur. Vitthoba & Rukhmai Devi.