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Varkari Movement

By | October 2010
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Varkari Movement

Varkari (Marathi: वारकरी) is a religious movement (sampraday) within the bhakti spiritual tradition of Hinduism. It is geographically associated with the Indian states of Maharashtra and northernKarnataka. •In the Marathi language of Maharashtra, vari (वारी) means 'pilgrimage' and a pilgrim is called a varkari. Every year, Varkari walk hundreds of miles to the holy town of Pandharpur, gathering there on ekadashi (the 11th day) of the Hindu lunar calendar month of Aashaadha (which falls sometime in July). Another pilgrimage is celebrated on the ekadashi of the month of Kartik (which falls sometime in November). •Varkaris worship Vithoba (also known as Vitthal), the presiding deity of Pandharpur. Vithoba is a form of Krishna, an avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu. Because of this association with Vishnu, Varkari is a branch of Vaishnavism. •The teachers responsible for establishing and supporting the movement through its history include Dnyaneshwar, Namdev, Tukaram, Chokhamela and Eknath, who are accorded the Marathi title of Sant (Saint). Varkari making the pilgrimage to Pandharpur ca rry the palkhis (palanquins) of the saints from their places of samadhi (enlightenment or "spiritual birth"). •According to historians, Vitthal devotees were holding pilgrimages prior even to Saint Dnyaneshwar of the 13th century. However, the current tradition of carrying the paduka (sandals) of the saints in a palkhi was started by the youngest son of Sant Tukaram, Narayan Maharaj, in 1685. The Varkari movement includes a number of specific principles and practices, including: •Worshipping Lord Shrikrishna in the form of Vithoba.

A duty-based approach towards life,
Moral behavior and strict avoidance of alcohol and tobacco, •Strictly vegetarian diet on Thursday,Tuesday and on Ekadashi Day , •Fasting on ekadashi (Twice in a month),
brahmacharya (self-restraint) during student life,
Rejecting discrimination based on caste or wealth, and
•...

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