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Friday, 27 December 2019

MargazhiBlogotsavam: Day 11: The One Whom the Lord Traveled to Meet: Kurmadas

Kurmadas was a pious man who lived in Paithan of Maharashtra. Born a cripple, he could move only by rolling his body over the ground. One day he attended a kirtan where the preacher sang and narrated the glories of Lord Vitthal. Overcome with devotion, Kurmadas declared that he would go to Pandharpur and see the Lord.

People mocked him, saying, “We, who are in good health, have ourselves not been able to go to Pandharpur. How can you, with no hands and feet, ever reach there?” Their ridicule only made his resolve stronger. “If Vitthal so wishes, I will reach Him, if not, let me die trying,” he said. And off he went, crawling and rolling as well as he could, towards Pandharpur.

He traveled about 2 miles and when darkness fell, he rested in a Hanuman temple. Hungry, thirsty and bruised all over, he cried out to his Vitthal for help. A merchant came there shortly and they got talking. The merchant said he was also going to Pandhari (another name for Pandharpur) and they could go together. Kurmadas warned the merchant saying he would be very slow; the merchant replied that he would go at his pace, do his business on the way, and stop after 2 miles for Kurmadas to catch up and they could rest for the night, and be going again the next day.

Kurmadas agreed and the merchant dressed Kurma’s wounds and cooked food. They ate and went to sleep. The next morning, they began their journey and in the evening, they met up again. This routine went by and in a few days, they came to a place near Pandharpur called Lahul.

The next day was the auspicious Ashada Ekadashi. The merchant said, “If I wait for you, I may miss reaching Pandharpur in time for the darshan.” Kurmadas told him, “You have helped me enough all these days. You please go ahead. When you reach Pandharpur, tell Vitthal that a cripple named Kurmadas is coming to meet Him.”

The next morning, the merchant left, and Kurmadas sat where he was, singing bhajans of Vitthal, and telling all the passing pilgrims to remember him when they stood in front of the Lord.

Meanwhile, in Pandharpur, the bhajans started as usual in the temple.

All the devotees sang and danced, lost in chanting the Lord’s Name. One of the pilgrims remembered Kurma’s message, and told Vitthal, “Your bhakta Kurmadas is waiting for You in Lahul. He is a cripple and cannot come here fast enough.”

Hearing this, Vitthal started walking out of the temple; seeing this, Dnyaneshwar and Namdev followed him, and the Lord told them of Bhakta Kurmadas. The two saints also wanted to have the darshan of such a great devotee so they joined the Lord. On the way, they passed the fields of Savata Mali, and the Lord slipped inside without telling the two saints, because He wished to give that devotee His darshan, too.

In Lahul, Kurmadas sat thinking, chanting, and crying out Vitthal’s Name. Appearing in front of His crippled devotee, the Lord hugged him and held him on His lap.

“Ask me what you want, Kurma, and I will give it to you,” said Vitthal.

“Give me Your blessings, and never depart from this place,” is all that the joyous Kurmadas asked. 

Image courtesy: Wikipedia
Ever since Lahul is considered as sacred as Pandhari, and devotees make it a point to visit this place too where the yatra of Kurmadas is celebrated on the Ashada Ekadashi.

By the way, did you guess the identity of the merchant who had brought Kurmadas to Lahul, caring and cooking for him?

Are we, able-bodied people, like the ignorant villagers who ridiculed Kurmadas?

Can we learn from Kurmadas about how to not let obstacles come in the way of efforts to achieve our goal, however difficult they may seem?

Can we stop cribbing about our difficulties which are surely not as bad as being crippled?

Can we learn to see the good that happens to us, and find in that, the hand of God?



  1. πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸ»
    Hare Krishna
    πŸ’ 🌈

  2. Can any human match the compassion n kindness of the Lord himself? But it is up to us to try to our optimum. Lovely narration.... Got goosebumps all over πŸ˜‡πŸ™ŒπŸ™

    1. How great a bhakt he must have been that even reading his stories, we feel inspired! πŸ™πŸ™


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