Vitthal and Rukmini have been liberated! In a recent Supreme Court decision, the tyrannous Badwes and Utpats, hereditary priests at Pandharpur, have been stripped of their powers. This climaxes years of agitation and movement activity directed against the priests.
Vitthal (Vithoba, or Pandurang) is the favorite deity of Maharashtra. His Varkari cult is supreme. Every year lakhs of devotees walk hundreds of miles on the “Vari” or pilgrimage to Pandharpur. During the medieval period, for centuries a strong bhakti movement lived, centered on Vitthal, ranging from Namdev and Dnaneshwar to Cokhoba and Tukoba.
From Namdev and Cokhoba onwards to Tukoba there was opposition to the Badwes and Utpats controlling the temple rites and preventing untouchables from entering the temple, doing so-called religious rites of puja in a brahmanical manner. From 1948, Sane Guruji, a socialist leader of the freedom movement, sat in an indefinite fast demanding the entry of untouchables…
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