The saga of Pundalik is one of the most important Mahima legends about Vithoba. How Vithoba came to Pandharpur is a story in which Pundalik is vital. Pundalik is a devoted son to his parents Janudev and Satyavati, who lived in a forest called Dandirvan. But after his wedding, Pundalik begins ill-treating his parents. Tired with their son’s misbehavior and ill treatment, the elderly couple decide to leave for Kashi. Legend holds that people who die in the city of Kashi attain salvation and emancipation from the cycle of birth and death; so, many pious Hindus in the bygone era would relocate to Kashi as their end drew near.

However, the elderly couple are not destined to escape their suffering so easily. Upon hearing his parents' plans, Pundalik and his wife decide to join them on pilgrimage. The ill treatment continues. While the youthful son and his wife ride on horseback, the frail old couple walk in bad weather. Pundalik even makes his old parents work to make his own journey comfortable. Every evening, when the party camps for the night, the son forces his parents to groom the horses and do other jobs.

On the way to Kashi, the group reaches the ashram (hermitage) of a pious and venerable sage, Kukkutswami. Exhausted, the family decides to spend a few days there. That night, when all were asleep, Pundalik by chance is awake and sees a remarkable vision. Just before dawn, a group of beautiful young women, dressed in soiled clothes, enter the ashram; they clean the floor, fetch water and wash the venerable sage’s clothes. After finishing their chores, they go to the prayer-room. When they reappear after prayer, their clothes are spotlessly clean. Then, they vanish as inexplicably as they had appeared.

Pundalik is not moved to raise an alarm, but feels a deep sense of peace witnessing the scene. It remains on his mind the whole day and he resolves to remain awake the next night, and confirm it was not merely a dream. This time, however, Pundalik is very curious. He approaches the beautiful women and asks details.

They reply, they are the Ganga (Ganges), Yamuna and other holy rivers of India—revered for their holiness. Pilgrims wish to take a dip in their holy waters to wash away their sins, which in fact are soiling their clothes.

Then, the women say: "But O Pundalik, you, with your ill-treatment of your parents, are the greatest sinner of them all!

Pundalik is utterly shocked and his consciousness transforms. He realizes his misdeeds, becomes entirely devoted to his parents and ensures their comfort, even risking his own.

Devotion in any form reaches God swiftly. Impressed by Pundalik's devotion to his parents, Lord Visnu plans to bless Pundalik immediately. So, He leaves Vaikuntha (His abode) for Pundalik’s ashram.

Vishnu knocks at Pundalik’s door, when he is busy serving his parents food. Pundalik does realize God is at his door. But such was his devotion to his parents, he wants to complete his duties and only then attend the visitor. Then, Pundalik does something strange but out of real devotion. He throws a brick outside for God to stand on and wait for him until he finishes attending to his parents.

Seeing this act, Visnu is extremely impressed and the ever-loving God waits for his devotee. When Pundalik comes out, he begs for pardon but far from being displeased, Visnu is taken over by Pundalik's love for his parents and grants a boon. Pundalik requests Visnu to stay back on Earth and bless all his true devotees. He agrees to take the form of Vithoba, or God who stood upon a brick, and a temple comes up there. Along with Vithoba, Rakhumai (Mother Rukmini, the consort of Krishna, one of avatars of Visnu) is also worshipped here.

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  •  The parents were pious people and child was impious. In this world there are two kinds of people, one group is ajna (agya) those who are sense gratifiers and do not understand their real benefit. the others are vijna (vigya) those who have understood the true purpose of Human life. For them ordinary rules and regulations are not applicable. even this is said that even most learned person cannot understand activities of High Class devotees. If one tries to instruct such and exalted person then he will incur great offense (read Saubhari Rsi's story in srimad bhagvatam).

    For example, One must not take grains on ekadashi but due to spiritual ecstasy Srila Gaurakishor das Babaji used to do madhukari on ekadashi and fast on other days.. one will commit offense if one tries to correct him.   

    Also This is a misinterpreted story.. here is glorification of serving devotees and not serving parents.

  • Hare Krishna Dear Prabhuji

    You may call it whatever you like. But what i mean can be understood only by my viewpoint. I am not rejecting the rules of scriptures because such an activity is called vikarma in terms of srimad bhagvad gita. even it is said  that bhakti devoid of rules and regulations of scriptures is simply a social disturbance. At any point we must submit to scriptural injunctions but to follow them very strictly also hampers our bhajan and our acharyas call this niyam agraha and this should be avoided according to Sri Upadeshamrit or Nectar of Instructions. 

    Bhakti is always difficult without proper guidance and surrender. 

    you only tell me. Can you tell you prahlad maharaj to be devoted to his father's words? would you yourself do that? If by providence one's parent has bad habit then should such parent be served with all the bodily functions? many of the truths are not palatable but they have to accepted as they are just as bitter pills. 

    If serving parents could please Lord extremely then Bhagvad Gita would not have had been spoken at all. 

    Please consider these points. And kindly forgive me if any of my words has caused you trouble.

  • gaudiya vaishnavism means  Vrndavan consciousness...Vaikunta entry was always available even in the previous yugas...n by following any of the other bonafide sampradayas vaikunta liberation is achievable...but being descendents of sri gauraanga we must aspire for vraja prema...eternal entrance into Radha Krsna's nitya lila

    • Other sampradayas too offer vraja rasa but not unnat ujjval rasa which was easily distributed by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.. That is even higher to Love of Gopis for Krishna.

  • Service to true mother and father...

    True mother is kama gayatri...and true father is sri guru

  • Volunteer

    Dear Rahul Prabhu,

    Please accept my humble obeisances.

    All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

    One more point relevant to this discussion...

    To not follow any rules is animal life.

    To follow scriptural rules is human life.

    When we start following rules to please Krishna, it is the beginning of devotional service.

    Sadhana bhakti is the beginning of pure devotional service.

    Regulated devotional service will take us to Vaikuntha.

    But only spontaneous devotional service can take us to Goloka Vrindavana.

    What Lord Caitanya, six Goswamis and their line have given us is actually spontaneous devotional service. And the rules and regulations are there just to take us to that platform. The bliss we feel while chanting, preaching, taking prasadam etc. is actually the first glimpses of spontaneous devotional service.

    So in this story the Lord came from Vaikuntha, not from Goloka Vrindavana. The Lord of Vaikuntha can be pleased by rules and regulations, but Lord Krishna only by spontaneous devotion developed by the mercy of His pure devotees.

    Your humble servant

    • Unless one comes to the point of spontaneous attraction towards Lord, one should with patience practice the process of Vaidhi bhakti 

  • Volunteer

    Dear Siddharta Prabhu,

    Please accept my humble obeisances.

    All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

    All the scriptural rules, such as serving parents, are made by the Supreme Lord and yes, by following them we are pleasing Him. But it is a more indirect way of pleasing Him then the direct devotional activities of hearing, chanting, remembering etc. the Lord's glories and pastimes. The Lord has created all the rules and has given stories in the scriptures of wonderful results achieved by following such rules with the idea to encourage the fallen, conditioned souls to gradually become elevated and at the end achieve pure devotion to Him. This is one such story, making the point of importance of serving parents. But we may also think after reading it that we might not be able to serve our parents so nicely that Lord Himself would come to us...

    If we are at present sincerely unable to follow more direct devotional activities, we should follow whatever scriptural rules possible and try to dedicate those activities for the pleasure of the Lord, and in this way we will progress. It will not be so quick as by chanting the Lord's name purely, but still progress will be there. If you are serving your parents and thinking that it is a rule made by the Lord and you are thinking of the Lord's form and name and thinking of pleasing Him by your service to parents, it is also devotional service, just more indirect.

    There are 5 levels of human consciousness: 

    1. Anna-maya, gross, selfish sensual platform;

    2. Prana-maya, expanded sensual platform, taking into consideration the senses of others;

    3. Mano-maya or jnana-maya, platform of religious duties (serving parents, dealing properly with husband, wife etc., behaving properly within civilized society, or in other words, Varnasharama duties);

    4. Vijnana-maya, platform of understanding oneself to be spirit soul and different from matter;

    5. Ananda-maya, understanding oneself to be eternal servant of the Personality of Godhead and participating in His pastimes.

    So being nice, religious person by serving parents is the 3rd level of consciousness. It is not at all bad, it is a great advantage of many Indian devotees that they have some culture, while most of us western devotees join Krishna consciousness from being on the 1st or, at best, the 2nd level of consciousness. So there is more work ahead for those who do not have any culture. But still, even from the 3rd level we should progress.

    So Krishna in Bhagavad-gita explains, Ch.12, verses 8 to 10 that the best thing a person can do is to immediately fix their mind fully on Him. But if one cannot immediately do that, one should follow regulations of bhakti yoga, follow sadhana bhakti. And if one is not able to practice sadhana bhakti, one should dedicate one's work to Krishna. So dedicating one's work to Krishna means that we are on this 3rd platform of consciousness, we follow religious and scriptural duties and dedicate those duties to Krishna. In this way we will attain purification and eventually be able to take up sadhana bhakti.

    Your humble servant

  • Hare Krishna!

    serving parents as good as krishna is applicable only if parents are not against principles of Krishna conscious and pose as at least vartma pradarshak guru or one who shows the path to spiritual life. if they lead you away from it then reject them at once just as Arjuna did. 

    • Volunteer

      no one has right to become a mother, father, a guru if one is not able to make their kids Krishna Conscious and free them from samsara of birth and death. 

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