Wishing all, my dear Adbhut friends, a blessed Devashayani Ashadhi Ekadashi with this famous Bhakti Geet “Taal Bole Chipalila.”
This Bhakti geet is about the Warkaris who take on a 21-day annual pilgrimage on foot. From Alandi and Dehu, these Warkaris (devotees who participate in the Wari) walk up the 250 km distance to reach Pandharpur on Ashadhi Ekadashi. The warkaris carry the Padukas (Sandals) of Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram in Palkhis (Palanquins). All along, singing and dancing in praise of their beloved Vithoba.
Vithoba, the avatar of Bhagawan Vishnu standing on a veeth (Brick), is the presiding deity of Pandharpur. As the story goes, one householder named Pundalik neglected his parents in his younger days. One incident brought in a change in his temperament, and he started taking care of his aged, ailing parents. Meanwhile, Bhagawan Krishna came searching for his wife, Rukmini, who had come to a forest near Pundalik’s home in Pandharpur. Bhagawan Krishna pacifies Rukmini to return with him, and they visit Pundalik’s home. Pundalik is busy and deeply involved in attending to his aged parents and asks Bhagawan Krishna to wait. He throws a brick towards Krishna Bhagawan and asks him to rest on it till he finishes all his duties towards his parents. And thus, Krishna Bhagawan came to be known as Vithoba, standing on a brick with his hands holding his waist, eagerly waiting for his ardent devotee Pundalik. We can see the deity of Panduranga in the same form at Pandharpur Shri Kshetra. This tale is a beautiful story of a person’s love for his parents and how the supreme Bhagwan waits for a true devotee, showcasing the beautiful and powerful bond between the Bhagawan and the bhakta.
Braving the difficulties of the strenuous walk in completing the 21-day pilgrimage, the warkaris reach Pandharpur on Ashadhi Ekadashi. Abhang, Bhakti geete, and Vithu namasmaran keep the company and provide inspiration and energy to these exuberant Warkaris. Their Bhakti and Nishtha (Devotion and Faith) towards Panduranga give them the strength to complete the Wari as it is believed to bestow the Warkari with moksha. It is a kind of detox at a physical, mental and spiritual level.
Now, coming back to the Bhakti Geet. Initially, Pt Bhimsen Joshi Ji and Pt Vasantrao Deshpande Ji sang for the Marathi movie Bholi Bhabadi. The music is composed by Ram Kadam, and the simple lyrics are written by Shri Jagadish Khebudkar. Though I haven’t heard much about the movie, the songs are pretty famous, especially Bhakti Geet, as it is sung in almost every music concert held to celebrate Ashadhi Ekadashi. This traditional devotional music of Maharashtra has reached all the southern states of India and has a large devotee audience base.
My knowledge of classical music( both Hindustani and Carnatic) is almost close to nil. I do not understand the intricacies of taans and murkis, nor can I identify ragas. All I do is enjoy it without going into many details. I love any music as long as it doesn’t trouble my ears, stirs my heart and soul with minimum instrumentation. I love folk music, bhakti geete, and Abhang for the sole reason that one can sing in a group with very few musical instruments. I like how the pieces start with a medium tempo, have an energetic crescendo leading to a spiritually uplifting ethereal zenith. I love how these Abhangs make one forget the world and immerse oneself in the love and devotion for Vithoba.
Because of the Pandemic, the Warkaris won’t complete their Wari for the second consecutive year and take darshan of Vithuraya as only a restricted no of Palakis are allowed to reach Pandharpur. But for sure, we all will experience the (Vthumauli’s) motherly love from wherever we are.
May Panduranga bless us all with good health, peace, and joy !
Rama Krishna Hari
Pandarinath Maharaj Ki Jay 🙏
Kalyani Sreedhar Kakade
11, AshadhaShukla Paksha, Ekadashi1943 Plava, Shaka SamvataSingapore, Singapore20July 2021