Saint Tukaram was immersed in bhakti for Lord Vittala, whose defining characteristic is His simplicity. When Lord Narayana took the Rama avatara, He assured the sages in the forest that they will be reborn as Gopikas and able to express their love for Him again and be constantly in His company when He took the Krishna avatara. But the Gopikas were proud of their association with Krishna. In order to humble them, the Lord disappeared from their midst, leaving them heartbroken. When He reappeared, they were overjoyed. The bhajan tradition celebrates this reappearance of the Lord.

We, who were not fortunate to be born when the Lord took the avataras of Rama and Krishna, however, have the good fortune of worshipping in temples. The Lord can be seen and worshipped by us only in the idol form now, and so temple worship assumes significance. But even here, Pandarpur has a special position, because here, we can embrace the idol. God must have wanted to comfort His devotees and give them solace, and hence His appearance as Vittala in Pandarpur, Kidambi Narayanan said in a discourse.

Vittala is proof of the fact that the Lord loves us, for why else would He be so easily available to us for worship?

Tukaram says Vittala is beautiful. He does not wear many ornaments. A tulsi garland adorns Him. This simple adornment is to show that to God rich and poor are alike. There is a story about a potter who would make flowers of mud, and imagine that he was offering them to the Lord of Tirumala. One day, the Lord rejected the garland offered by the king and told him to visit the potter’s hut to see for himself the poor man’s bhakti. The Lord said the flowers offered by the potter were more welcome. The king might be wealthy, and it might seem as if the potter was poor because of his lack of material wealth. But, in fact, the potter was far richer, for God resided in his heart. Three things cause us to be arrogant: wealth, education and family pride. Pride is a stumbling block in our attempt to reach His feet. Vittala shows us through His simplicity that he values not pomp and show.

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