Lord Vitthal is known as Vithoba, or Pandurang (a form of Krishna) is a Hindu god predominantly worshipped in the Indian states of Maharashtra, Karnataka. The name Vithoba means Father Vitthala. Vitthala is said to have been derived from the word Vishnu in Kannada. Panduranga is a sanskritized form of Pandarga, the old name of Pandharpur. Vithoba is often depicted as a dark young boy standing on a brick with His hands on His waist, sometimes accompanied by his main consort Rakhumai. Lord Vitthal is worshipped on the first Ekadashi (eleventh day) of the two Ekadashis celebrated in the Hindu lunar month.
Vitthal is the Supreme lord for warkari/Vaishnava in Maharashtra. Lord Vitthal also called as Pandurang, is incarnation of lord Krishna/Vishnu. Vitthala’s original temple is at Pandharpur, Maharashtra. It is located on the banks of the river Bhima also known as Chandrabhaga. Phandarpur is referred as Pandaripuram also.
Story of Lord Vitthal and Pundalik
Once Lord came to see his devotee Pundalik at his hermitage while searching for Mata Rukmini. At that time Pundalik saw the Lord at his door but his devotion to his parents was so intense that he wanted to finish his duties first and then attend to his guest. Pundalik had reached such a stage that it didn’t matter to him whether the guest was a mere mortal or God. All that mattered was service to his parents.
Pundalik gave Lord Krishna a brick to stand on and asked Him to wait until his duty was completed. Lord Krishna was moved by the devotion of Pundalik to his parents and waited for him patiently. Finally when Pundalik went to meet Lord Krishna. He saw that he was standing on the brick with his hands on the hips waiting for his dear devotee ( same form of Vitthal which we see today ).
Lord Krishna was very pleased with Pundalik devotion to his parents and told him to ask for a boon, to which he replied that he wants the Lord to stay there and bless all the people of this material world and let people know how much Lord love his devotees that he’s ready to stand on a brick waiting for him.
Pandharpur and God Vitthal Name
This whole incident occurred in Pandharpur ( Maharashtra ), there’s a temple dedicated to Lord Vitthal where there’s a self manifested deity standing in the same form in which he gave darshan to Pundalik waiting for devotees. The idol of Lord Vitthal with His hands on the waist signifies waiting for the devotees.
Vitthal(विठ्ठल): Brick in Marathi is known as Vhit. Thal is Ground. Hence he is also known as God standing on Brick. Vitthal. One standing on the brick ( to show his simplicity) and one who cultivates the mind and heart of beings.
Why is Lord Vitthala addressed as Mauli?
Mauli (माऊली) means mother in Marathi. And devotee calls Lord Vitthal as mother instead of father because he is very caring just as a mother. Though Vitthal is male but his love is so pure that it almost feel as if mother loves to her children. Saint Dnyaneshwar used this word to describe his earnest desire to meet Vitthal (or God or the Self).