Early morning today I was lucky to witness an amazing happening in Pune morning for almost. It was the Waari (adevotional annual 21 day pilgrimage to Pandharpur). The long procession accompanied by thousands of devotees singing and dancing divine songs took almost ½ an hour to pass the point from where I was. The devotional fervor of faith was stirring and charged with emotion and despite the large numbers there is absolutely no pushing and shoving each other.
These thousands of devotees who accompany the Palkis of Sant Dyaneshwar’s commonly known as Mauli or Jnanadev or Jnaneshwar and Sant Tukaram Maharaj had a nights rest in our city. Every morning the palki’s (palanquin) carrying the silver padukas (foot imprints) are lovingly decorated before they set off for the days walk . The carrying of silver padukas (foot imprints) of the two Sants in their respective palkhis was started by Sant Tukaram’s youngest son Narayan Maharaj in 1685. Devotees on the way reverentially try to reach as close as they can to the padukas of the Lord to seek blessings.
Sant Dynaneshwar was a spiritual guru who had translated the Sanskrit script of the Bhagwad Gita to Marathi language to be easily read by many. His follower Sant Tukaram was also considered a great saint and a folk poet. The theme of this awesome ‘walk of faith’ is to keep alive the wisdom & teachings of these enlightened saints – give up discrimination, denounce immorality and bring about social change.
The tradition of annual pilgrimage is said to have started more than 800 years and is popularly known as Waari. You may like to read more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varkari Sant (Saint) Dyaneswar’s Palki starts from their resting place at Alandi and Sant Tukaram’s palki starts from a nearby town of Dehu. Groups from various towns and villages join the procession at designated points and are known as Dindis.
People from all walks of life follow walk, singing and dancing as they go along. In India our village folk and farmers generally lead simple lives. Kirtans (singing devotional songs) and Satsangs (meetings) to interpret spirituality in common lives are held at points where the Palki rests for the night.
Interestingly you can spot a large number of Doctors, Politicians, Businessmen, Professors and city folk also in procession. The power of chanting and faith is said to be electrifying and devotees return fully charged-up of their sorrows. Many who do not join the procession just stand on the route and seek blessings. Even they feel good and peaceful. Blessings to all!