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Bhakta Pundalik – Life – History – Information – Story Of Pundalik of Pandharpur

Bhakta Pundalik was a devotee of Lord Vitthal. He is revered as a great devotee in the Varkari tradition. Little information, however, is available about him or his personal life.
Legend has it that once, when Pundalik was engaged in serving his parents, Vithal (Lord Krishna) came to his and stood outside. Ad Pundalik did not want to leave his ministrations, he threw a brick towards Vithal and asked him to wait.

The Lord stood on that brick waiting for him. Vitthala was pleased with this devotion to parents, so he granted a boon to Pundalik.

Pundalik asked Vithal that he should stand there on the brick for ages for giving darshan to the devotees. Accordingly, even now Vitthala stands on that brick in the temple at Pandharpur.

Besides this tale told by Sant Namdev, there are several others narrated by Eknath, Bahinabai, Sridhar and Mahipati. None of these, however, tells us about the exact place and time of Pundalik, or his family background.

According to one account, Pundalik was totally under the control of his wife and never cared for his parents. He left his parents and went to Kashi on a pilgrimage. On his way he met Sage Kukkuta and repented, after listening to the sage’s advice. Returning to Pandharpur, he engaged himself in attending to his parents.

There are some manuscripts of Panduranga Mahatmya in Marathi and Sanskrit. In some of these, there are references to Narada as his mentor, whereas according to others the advice to Pundalik came not from Kukkuta but Ganga River. In Maharashtrian versions, it is invariably mentioned that he made Krishna stand on a brick. But this is not found in the stories from other regions. He is said to have been taken to Vaikuntha by the gods themselves as described in Padma Purana.

Another version says that Pundalik was born to a learned Brahmin known as Janudeva and his wife Satya. Tenali Ramakrishna, a poet of Vijayanagar, has different version, in which he states that the sacred place Pandharpur became famous due to Pundalik.

In Panduranga Mahatmya, the story is narrated in the form of a dialogue between Shankara and Goddess Parvati. In one of the accounts, the name of the father of Pundalik is mentioned as Kundalika.