Pandharpur is known for many great devotees of Lord Panduranga. One such exceptional devotee was Gorakumbhar. He was a potter by profession, and yet he was always engrossed only in chanting Lord Vittal’s (Panduranga’s) name. Once a tragic incident happened in his life. He unknowingly crushed his own child with his feet, when he was kneading clay with his feet while he was lost in the highest degree of bhakti and unaware of his surroundings. Although Gorakumbhar regretted what had happened, he accepted it as the Lord’s will and did not give up his love for Lord Vittal. Later, in other chaotic circumstances, he also chopped off both his own hands, as he had broken a vow that he had taken on Vittal. Then Panduranga and Rakhumai themselves came as a young couple Ranga and Rukmini to serve Gorakumbhar. Such are the incredible incidents that happened in Gora’s life, out of his great, incomprehensible devotion to Panduranga.
Years later, on realizing that it was Panduranga and Rakhumai who had showered Their grace on him by taking care of him, Gora was extremely moved and rushed to Panduranga’s temple along with Bhagavatas who had come to his home. When the bhajan started, Gora, filled with enthusiasm and bhakti, inadvertently moved to ‘raise’ his missing hands to clap to the tune of the Lord’s Name. To everyone’s wonder, Gora’s hands emerged from his broken arms and he started clapping. By seeing this astonishing miracle, people around were amazed, applauded and hailed, “Vittal, Vittal” out of ecstasy. On seeing this, Gora’s wife advanced rapidly to Panduranga and holding His cheek, she cried, “Hey Panduranga, did You not protect Prahlada, Draupadi, the elephant Gajendra by Your boundless grace and prove Your existence? You have even given back my husband’s arms today! I now beg you to give back my child to me! I plead You for mercy!” In that tearful state, she started banging her head on the deity. Suddenly, she heard a voice calling, “Amma!” Yes! Panduranga, the sweetest Lord had blessed her and given back her child whom He had only taken away. The child’s body had been burnt to ashes! Yet Panduranga showered His inexplicable blessings and brought back her child. The devotees gathered there were dumbfounded. They could not tell which was a greater miracle – Gora’s hands that had grown back or the child that had come alive after years!
Though the happenings are said to be miracles, actually it is all the nectarine leelas of Panduranga. Although being in a deity form, Panduranga proves His real live existence through the lives of His loving devotees. Through all the unfavorable situations happened in Gora’s life, the most admiring part in him was that he continued to chant Vittal’s Name all along without questioning the Lord ‘why’ for any of the happenings. But the glorious Lord blessed him with all that had he lost and also proved his pure bhakti to the world.
Like Gorakumbhar, let us also keep chanting the Lord’s Name, the Mahamantra, constantly with unshakeable faith and true devotion, leaving the rest at the Lotus Feet of Panduranga.
“Nama Sankirtanam is the only way to attain the highest truth” – Maharanyam Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji
Jai Jai Vittala! Jai Hari Vittala !!
By A. Ieswarya, Bengaluru, India
Based the discourse of HH Maharanyam Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji