Ashadi - Dindi Yatra/ Seva - Pathway to experience the omnipresence of the lord

Sai Ram

Happy to inform all that the responsibility of organising this year's Ashadi Dindi Yatra / Seva has been given to Navi Mumbai Zone once again. A copy of the circular issued by State President in this regard can be viewed from the below-mentioned link.

Seva Dindi 2011

Significance of Ashadi Dindi & Seva Dindi.

Jai Jai Ram Krishna Hari…Jnyanba-Tukaram…Sairam-Sai Vittala, this is the chant that fills the air while devotees sing the praise of Lord Vittala of Pandharpur, the presiding deity of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. From all corners of Maharashtra, the people come to pay homage to Vittala whom they regard as their Mother and Father.

Ashadi Ekadasi is a religious procession and is celebrated during the months of June- July (Aashaadh Shukla paksha). It consists of a beautifully decorated Palkhi having the “padukas” of the lord and the Palkhi procession consists of people collectively walking, singing and dancing the glory of the Lord in what are called as ‘Dindis’. This custom of taking out a holy procession is said to have started in 1810.

Tradition has it that two of the greatest devotees of Lord from the Maharashtra state, Sant Jnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram had set out on a pilgrimage to Lord Vittala from their respective places and reached the Divine Abode in fifteen days time on the auspicious day of Ashadi Ekadasi. Following this set tradition by these great souls, even after their merger with the Divine, devotees from the entire length and breadth of the state and even from outside the state set out for Pandharpur, wearing basil beads and singing His glory on a pilgrimage to reach on this auspicious day to have Divine Darshan. This pilgrimage is traditionally called Dindi Yatra. Commemorating this maiden Dindi Yatra undertaken by these great saints even today people from the state traditionally carry Padukas (divine sandals) of these great souls in palanquins on their procession to Pandharpur. Upon reaching Pandharpur on Ashadi, these devotees take a holy dip in the sacred River Chandrabhaga before proceeding for the Darshan of Lord Vittala.

Myth has it that Pundalik, an earnest devotee of Vithoba, placed the service of his parents higher than to that of God. He commanded the violent Bhima River not to disturb his sleeping parents. Pleased by his devotion, Lord Vishnu blessed him with a boon, and the river mellowed and now flows silently as the Chandrabhaga in Pandharpur. On appearing at Pundalik's doorstep, Vithoba found Pundalik with his parents sleeping with their heads on his lap. So as his parents do not get disturbed, Pundalik slipped a brick forward. Till date one finds Vithoba standing on that brick, waiting to be entertained by his 'host', at Pandharpur.

The Palkhi procession has remained unbroken since it began despite wars, famines and floods. More than Fifty Palkhis of saints assemble at Pandharpur every year. In Maharashtra “Varkaris” (predominantly simple farmers) is a big community. They usually undertake 21-day walk after they have completed the sowing process in their fields. In the Ashadi Ekadasi festival, people from every faith and religion participate. Learned sages also come for it. Jnyaneshwar preached the Gita which is considered the highest religious text in Maharashtra.

The 'Bhakti Marg' (the path of devotion) as propounded by Sant Jnyaneshwar, teach us to forget the physical self in pursuit of the Lord. When the Varkaris sing and dance during the pilgrimage, they forget the material world around them.

Along with the Dindi procession, seva to the poor and needy is done reflecting that Lord is in all forms. This is called ‘Seva Dindi’. During the Seva Dindi, the people on pilgrimage undertake selfless service to the poor and needy like Amrut Kalash (Annadhan), Narayan seva, Medical seva, Building & repairing rural infrastructure etc.

Participation in Ashadi Dindi and Seva Dindi helps an individual in many ways by bringing good health, peace & prosperity in his life. Chanting the continuous glory of the God in the Ashadi Dindi procession and Seva Dindi purifies an individual, there is an inner cleansing that takes place in Mind, Body and Spirit and the participants tend to lose their individual identities and experience bliss. It develops all aspects of human personality and helps us understand the true purpose of Life.

So it is time for all of us to once again come together for the Dindi Yatra / Seva. I would urge all to participate in this programme in large numbers. You will agree that Swami will be waiting to receive the Dindi Warkaris at Prashanti Nilayam, as usual, at the end of the Dindi journey.

We will have a meeting on this very shortly.

Sai Ram

Babu Iyer