Pandharpur: Where spiritual knowledge has no barrier!

The festival of Ashadhi Ekadashi will witness the Warkariyatra enter the Vithoba temple at , marking the culmination of the auspicious pilgrimage to the abode of the Lord Vitthal. The Warkaris, devotees of Lord Vitthala trek to see their very own ‘Vithaimauli’, putting up cheerfully with all the difficulties and inconveniences of a long journey.
The stress on enhancement of knowledge, though has come out strong in the past decades, can be traced back more than 700 years to Sant Dyaneshwar, the poet saint, who brought a revolutionary change by spreading spiritual knowledge to all including the downtrodden.
Dyaneshwar, himself a devotee of Vithoba, was instrumental in introducing this practice of Warkari pilgrimage to the common people, breaking the barriers of caste and creed. Through the centuries, he has been one of the main attractions of the Warkari Panth or Bhagwat Dharma. Dyaneshwar rejected the caste system and reinforced the belief that everyone is equal before God and has an equal right to worship. He tried to awaken people against the dominance of the Brahmins.
Dyaneshwar who opened the doors of knowledge for the common man in an utterly orthodox society is remembered even today for his immense contribution in the field of Indian philosophy. The orthodox pattern of the society which prevailed during that time, restricted knowledge to a privileged class giving wrong signals to the society, encouraging the prevailing caste system, had damaged the social structure.
Dyaneshwar changed this pattern of thinking and encompassed all the people irrespective of their caste or creed in his religion. He made people aware that all men are created equal and that is the ultimate truth of life.
Known as Mauli – meaning mother in Marathi, Dyaneshwar who made remarkable contributions is believed to even made a bull recite Vedas. This story explains teachings of the saint which says that realisation of truth can be attained by anybody irrespective of his caste and religion should not be confined to the privileged class alone.
Throughout the centuries, from the time of Dyaneshwar, one of the main attractions of the Warkari Panth has been its non-esoteric and non-elitist quality and its openness to all walks of life. Dyaneshwar’s life clearly was animated by a completely different standard of castelessness, non-hierarchy, and caring human fellowship. This standard became a model for the entire Warkari movement.
Thus the Warkari movement became the converging point of people from various castes and creed to come and pray together. This gave out a strong message to the upper caste that ‘God’ is available for all for the worship and anybody and everybody has the right to spiritual knowledge.
Temples dedicated to Vithala, in Sion and Wadala, will hold bhajans and special prayers on Ashadhi Ekadashi.


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