Our Popular Deities


Shri Vittal and Mother Rukumayi

Pundalik was a great devotee of Lord Krishna and at the same time he was wholeheartedly serving his aged parents. Whenever he was serving he was chanting the name of Lord Krishna devoutly. Pleased with his devotion, the Lord came down and standing in front of his hut, called out, “Pundalik dear, I am your Lord. I have arrived to grace you.  Will you please come out for a while?” At that time the devout Pundalik was engrossed in serving his parents. He saw the Lord and gently flung a brick and appealed, "Lord, I am happy you have come but just now I am busy. Will you please take your seat on the brick for a while. I shall come within a few minutes to receive you.” The all-merciful Lord smiled for a while and without a single word of murmur stood on the brick with his hands on his waist. After beholding the Lord in all his glory Pundalik thought that his mission in life was over. He touched the feet of his parents, sought their blessings and left the world forever. But, the Lord!  Lord Krishna stood there on the brick waiting for Pundalik to come out. In one of the Marathi Abhangas it is stated that since 28 yugas he is waiting and waiting standing on the brick. The brick is called ‘veet’ in Marathi and Lord Krishna thus became Vittal and his consort Rukmini—Rukumayee

Shri Vittal or Vithoba is fond of bhajans and he does not need any other poojas. A good number of saints and devotees sang in his praise by way of bhajana songs and there are hundreds of such songs composed by celebrated saint-poets like Purandar Das in Kannada and Tukaram in Marathi.The bhajans are not only prayers but also group songs and also full of philosophical ideas mostly borrowed from Vedas and Upanishads but told in commoner’s language capable of being sung melodiously with the accompaniment of the beating of drums and cymbals. Ashadha Shukla Ekadasi, or the Prathama Ekadasi is associated with Shri Vittal.

Present Status:

Since when did we adopt Shri Vithoba Rukumayi, we do not have exact historical details. Mulki temple started in 1260 AD was a Vittal Shrine and even today there is an idol of Lord Vittal there. Then Shri Gokarn Partagali Math has one of its presiding deities as Shri Vittal. Today almost every GSB home at least in Dakshina Kannada District has a god’s niche in which we have the idols of Vithoba and Rukumayi. Every evening our ladies keep in front of them milk and water in small pots as an offering. Grown up children and elders sometime joining them will sing bhajans in front of the niche in the late evening. In fact all our GSB Associations  have their origin in weekly  or monthly bhajana programmes only.  There are two famous Bhajana Saptahs  in the month of Shravan 1) Shri Walkeshwar Kashi Math, Mumbai  and 2)Shri Venkatraman Temple Udupi when hundreds participate in weeklong non-stop singing of bhajans.